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Sport Climbing Destinations Near Seattle

Original Post
Greg Phrank · · Issaquah, WA · Joined Jan 2020 · Points: 22

Hi,

I'm taking off July 16-21st from Seattle for a sport climbing trip. I'm looking for the best destination within a shorter (4-6 hour) drive.

Smith is going to be too hot. City of Rocks is too far. So thinking Skaha, Mazama or Squamish. I know if I was looking for trad climbing (I'm not) that Squamish would be the obvious answer. I've been hearing more and more about good sport climbing in and around Squamish. Is that real? If so, would it be the best choice? Any recommendations for the best areas with 5.10 to 5.11 sport climbing? I'm open to wild cards if someone has a different suggestion - or to specific suggestions within the above areas. Open to cragging and multipitch options.

Thanks for any thoughts! I really appreciate this forum!

Greg

JCM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 115
Greg Phrank wrote:

 I'm looking for the best destination within a shorter (4-6 hour) drive. So thinking Skaha, Mazama or Squamish. I know if I was looking for trad climbing (I'm not) that Squamish would be the obvious answer. I've been hearing more and more about good sport climbing in and around Squamish. Is that real? If so, would it be the best choice? 

Skaha and Mazama are pretty hot this time of year. Go to Squamish. It's for sure the best summer option within a 4-6 hour drive. The sport climbing there is plentiful and high quality, even if it is overshadowed by the trad climbing. You could easily spend entire seasons sport climbing there, and not feel limited.

Chek is the highest concentration of sport climbing and is a sensible starting point. The main Chek areas get crowded, but there are outlying satellite crags available to explore also around Chek (Rogues Gallery, etc).

Area 44 (between Squamish and Chek) has the highest concentration of 5.10 sport, and is another spot to look at.

Lots more good sport climbing all around Squamish proper also, though a bit more spread out.

Kemper Brightman · · The Old Pueblo, AZ · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 2,971

The sport in Squamish is really fun, and I think that's probably the right call here as far as bang for your buck especially if you haven't been before. Unfortunately every climber within a 4-6hr drive (or more) agrees that Squamish is amazing and will be joining you there. Prepare for parking issues, crowding and struggles finding a place to camp. That said, the town itself is a fun hang and If you're into mountain bikes there's tons to ride on your rest day too.

On the wild card front, spring mountain in NE OR is a fun spot with easy camping and lots to climb in your grade range. It's a bit far for what is essentially a local crag, but you could drive through the Tieton Valley on the way and camp and climb there too.  

if you really want to go big, Bow Valley is exceptional, and you could drive through Skaha and climb there on the way. Skaha is definitely worthy in its own right and in the summer you'd have it to yourself. 

Have a great trip and report back wherever you decide to go! 

Sage Bedell · · Seattle, WA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 626

If you are looking for multi-pitch sport, then Mazama or Squamish + Sea to Sky are solid bets. Mazama also has a lot of single pitch, but its not incredibly well documented and you have to buy the guidebook + all the little additional guidebooks that have recently been created.

An alternative not mentioned here is Mt. Hood in Oregon has 6+ crags spread out all over it that are all different and interesting if you don't mind bouncing around. A couple of smaller crags in the Olympics might be neat yet smaller. Index has some sport. The upper Skagit valley has Ryan's wall plus other not as well documented spots.  I love Spring Mountain but check the weather this time of year. Its nice to be so far away from everyone. Mt. Erie is kinda interesting and worth a look. 

For world-class summer sport destinations I think Wyoming is the best summer location if you get lucky with weather.  

Greg Phrank · · Issaquah, WA · Joined Jan 2020 · Points: 22

Hi!


Wanted to give everyone an update. We went to Squamish and Whistler - twice. It was fantastic! TONS of sport climbing. Slab-heavy, but other climbing opportunities, too. Even a few bolted cracks around. The books and MP will get you started, but there's even more up there that doesn't appear in MP or in the books - we got lucky and stumbled across some new crags. Lots of newly bolted spots. I'd highly recommend getting some local beta on the area (and of course, buying gear ;)

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Pacific Northwest
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