Type: Trad, Alpine, 790 ft, 14 pitches
FA: Mike Shannon, Cam Robertson, Jeff Sherstobitoff
Page Views: 6,062 total · 60/month
Shared By: Mike Stripes on Aug 18, 2010
Admins: Kate Lynn

You & This Route

12 Opinions

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Pitch 1: 5.4 - Gear Lead, 60m
A nice gentle warm-up. Belay in the scoop of rock between the two ponds. Trend up and left towards the right-facing finger crack. Good pro on the underside, but the crack is fragile as it thins towards the top. Use long runners, as this pitch is a full 60m. Straight up to the darker rock for the belay with one more piece optional at the ledge before the 1st station.

Pitch 2: 5.4 - 1 bolt - 1 piton, 55m
Pad up the slab towards the massive horn high and left. Look for the station to your right in the small dishes as you approach the feature. 1 bolt and one old piton midway.

Pitch 3: 5.6 - 1 bolt + Gear, 55m *SOMWOW
Protect the move around the horn, and head straight up towards the flowery cracks with good pro. 1 bolt before you step up and left to the next level. Don't drop anything in the cracks, as it's unlikely you'll get it back.

Pitch 4: 5.3 - Gear Lead, 55m
Straight up at the small breaks. Good pro abounds above. Watch for station in the brown horizontal seam once the pitch flattens out.

Pitch 5: 5.4 - 1 bolt, 60m
Straight up looking for a bolt near the darker band at 30m and then trend slightly left. Pad up towards the large ledge. Continue up and left to the station, near the right-facing crack.

Pitch 6: 5.5 - Gear Lead, 55m
Staying left of the bigger roofs to the right, either take a small step up at the overlap, or work left, then back right, around the corner.

Pitch 7: 5.5 - Gear Lead, 55m *SOMWOW
Step right just above the bulge @ station. Stuff something in the left-facing corner and head straight up on easy ground.

Pitch 8: 5.4 - Gear Lead, 50m
Scramble through the broken rock up and right, throw in a piece on the right, then look for an easy crossing to the anchors. The traverse left to the anchors is often wet, so choose wisely.

Pitch 9: 5.7 - Gear Lead, 60m *SOMWOW
Straight up at the UFO. One piece on right @ 1st bulge then to the middle of the UFO you go. Protect the committing steps (dead centre) that get you on top, then pad straight up to the station.

Pitch 10: 5.5 - 2 Bolts, 55m
Follow the lighter-colored rock up and left. Head for the high bulge.

Pitch 11: 5.7 - 1 bolt + Gear, 55m *SOMWOW
Aim for the breaks in the rocks above, clipping bolt at 1st bulge. Protect the featured yet polished section of rock. Venture back to the left to find the station.

Pitch 12: 5.7 – Gear Lead, 60m *SOMWOW
Straight over the middle of the block – a fun and well-protected move. Work up the cracks to the right of the bushes to finish in a small dish. The rock on the right of this bulge is rotten so heading over the middle is the best route.

Pitch 13: 5.8+ - 2 bolts + Gear, 60m *SOMWOW
Head straight up to clip the bolt, just over a small black bulge, then up to 2nd bolt and plan your move to the right into the dirty trough.

Note the break in the greenery above. A couple of good placements in messy seams gets you through the worst of it and into the junipers. Trend right at top of trough, slinging stumps if needed. Station is straight up from trough, approach is across ledge from the right to left.

Pitch 14: 5.7 - 2 bolts + Gear, 55m *SOMWOW
This Pitch becomes Adventure Climbing. Left of station head straight up the 2 veins to the juniper island. STAY LEFT of island heading to the whale's back. Sling a tree or 2 if needed and head left up the whales back for an easier approach to the little ledge above the whales back. Gear placement optional 1/2 way up whales back on right. Once on ledge clip 1st bolt then trend right to the 2nd bolt and then right towards the opening in the greenery. Chained station right above small trough in the white rock.

  • **NOTE****. If you do not plan on summiting Yak Peak this is where you need to rappel from. Continuing pitch 15th up to meadow commits you to the summit and walking off.

Pitch 15: 55M = Choose Your Own Adventure
Sling as many trees as you need. Trend right at station on rock and then straight up to into the open meadow.

This is where the climbing becomes a ‘choose your own adventure book’ to the Summit. THERE IS NO STATION FOR THIS PITCH.

From here it is possible to continue scrambling up tree ledges, moss grooves and dirty cracks for about 200m of sustained 4th/5th class climbing to the summit, or rappel from pitch 14 with 2 ropes back down.


Getting There: From Highway 5, park at Zopkios Rest Area. Walk a short distance east heading up out of the rest area. At the ‘Wrong Way’ sign (or 2nd telephone pole) look left into the trees to start on the new ‘West Side Trail’. This new trail was put in to access the west side of Yak Peak for a more direct approach to SOMWOW and Speedway. The West Trail leads upwards to the base in about 40 minutes / 300m elevation gain.
Once reaching the top of the trail and base of the slab, head East towards the 2 small ponds before Speedway. SOMWOW starts just after the 1st pond you will approach. The start of the climb gets belayed from the dish adjacent to the 1st pond.
This climb may be considered run-out to some climbers in some sections for the grade. All parties should be solid and confident on run-out slabs – If you are, this puppy will be a tremendous adventure!

Descent: At Yak Summit – Navigate to the saddle of the 2 peaks (East). There is sometimes a snowpatch to negotiate at the top of the saddle. Looking down to meadow below will allow you to spot the trail and plan your descent down to continue to the base of Yak Crack and the descent down to the Highway. This descent trail will shoot you out at the start of the Medians for the exit ramp. It’s about a 1 km walk back to the start of the West Side Trail and Rest Area.


1 x 60m rope
Full rack to 3.5" - doubles may be required depending on how much protection you use.
Set of Smaller Nuts
Long Slings (4 Min) and Alpine Draws (5 Min)
2+ Quickdraws
  • Bolted Belays to Pitch 14
  • 2 x 60m ropes required for rappel


Dru B.
  5.6 R
Dru B.  
  5.6 R
Can't comment on grades or quality yet as the slabs were soaking wet today due to thunderstorms, but there is a massive ground wasp nest on the new trail, about 200m from the pavement just where you start to get into the forest. Aug 29, 2010
Pala, CA
Giza   Pala, CA
Thanks for the heads up about the wasp nest Sep 3, 2010
Dru B.
  5.6 R
Dru B.  
  5.6 R
Climbed this rig on Thursday Sep 30.
Belay station below the UFO was in a slime streak and UFO cracks were oozing water. We climbed the broken rock to the right and then traversed to the station above the UFO, about 5.6 this way with decent pro but hard to build an intermediate station so best simulclimbed.

Last 5.8 pitch was also soaking wet with two separate wet streaks so we built gear belay (#2 and #3 Camalot) up and left of the 13th station and then climbed up and left into the choss-gully and on up to the same ledge the 14th pitch finishes on.

Not as sustained or quality a route as Speedway and the rock is not as good, but still a pretty good climb overall. Gearwise we used 6 cams from finger size to #3 Camalot, double ropes, and two small-med nuts. n many of the easier pitches the bolt placement is somewhat random and it is easy to go station to station without seeing or clipping anything between. Oct 3, 2010
Tonasket, WA
  5.6 R
applewood   Tonasket, WA
  5.6 R
8/27/12 - Daughter and I camped in the forest at the base (hidden from the sight, if not the sound, of the trucks and highway) - blueberries plentiful.

8/28/12 - climbed 12 pitches before rapping the route due to threat of rain. Very enjoyable, and we much appreciated the hard work put into the approach trail and the belay stations. The climbing is a bit inconsistent though (lots of easy ground, and a line somewhat contrived in spots), and definitely runout... We also felt the ratings are soft (which was a relief given the lack of pro) and unreliable (which just added to the adventure I guess).

P1 - fun start, good pro, (5.3 not 5.4)
P2 - runout (5.3 not 5.4)
P3 - good pro (didn't notice any SOMWOW, 5.2 not 5.6)
P4 - mostly runout (5.0 not 5.4)
P5 - runout, daughter seconded this 'hands free' (5.2 not 5.4)
P6 - probably runout, but the details blur...(5.3 not 5.5)
P7 - runout - one bolt, hanger smashed but able to be threaded with thin runner, (didn't notice any SOMWOW, 5.3 not 5.5)
P8 - somewhat runout - especially top wet/slick area before station, which seems like it could have been placed somewhere better (5.3 not 5.4)
P9 - We avoided the SOMWOW move because it seemed contrived (scary high step onto the UFO face), instead continued up right side/right facing corner, with good pro; more consistent seeming with rest of route. (5.4 not 5.7)
P10 - runout (1 bolt hanger smashed down, but thread-able, 5.5)
P11 - fun, interesting varied climbing (3 star). Somewhat runout but with good #1 and 2 cam placements in middle polished band (5.6 not 5.7)
P12 - Lots of good pro, interesting varied climbing (5.6 not 5.7)

Here we decided to bail due to rapidly building clouds. Next pitch looked similar to P12 (not sure what 5.8+ would mean up there though), then it continued into the broken and vegetated upper slope. It took us 5 hours to climb 12 pitches and 2.5 to descend them. Overall I'd rate this a 5.6 R ** route - fun experience for the amount of climbing, views and vast expanse of clean granite. (But I kept thinking how good a steeper, more bolted line would be going up the slab to the West across the runoff gully...)

Gear needed - full range of cams from #00 to #3 Camalot (a couple of small/medium stoppers and tricams were used but are not essential), plus 6 medium draws, 6 shoulder length slings, and 2 double slings, and an extra rope for the descent. Aug 30, 2012
Nick Barnwell
Bellevue, WA
  5.8- R
Nick Barnwell   Bellevue, WA
  5.8- R
Summited 7/31 after a failed attempt the day prior. Climbing time to top of P15 was ~nine hours, with several lengthy breaks during. Car-to-car in just under 15 hours.

Climber's trail was extremely overgrown at the start and almost impossible to discern from the road as described in Route Info. To save others from our mistake of taking the Yak Crack/Reality Check trail roughly 1km up the road, we recorded a GPS track: gaiagps.com/public/0IpZGKHFFmH...

With the exception of P8 all pitches were climbed as described in topo; up to P9 was mostly roped slab scrambling with little need for your hands. 5.- would be a fair grade for these. Strong parties could easily simulclimb or solo.

RE: Safety - "Slightly runout" is an understatement; we couldn't find half of the bolts described, and had multiple pitches with only a single placement. P13 is genuinely scary with even the slightest hint of moisture.


Rack was pink+brown tricams, single C4s 0.5-4, C3s 00-2, .2 and .1 X4s, and a set of nuts. C3s and nuts could have been left at home; they never left the harness. Highly recommend bringing a #3.5 or #4. We brought a second rope in case we had to rappel and wouldn't countenance climbing the route without one. Even a spritz of rain would render otherwise trivial portions extremely difficult.

Anchors for P8 were difficult to find and between large wet streaks. We built a gear anchor up and to the right on the broken rock band and then traversed/scrambled down to set up the belay for P9.

The crux of P9 was wet and sketchy. It looked like you could go around to the right and join back up at the anchors without too much trouble or rope drag. 5.7 felt fair for the one mantle.

We could not find the first bolt on P13 or P14. Stay right on P13 - I went up left to try and place intermediate pro in the flowered crack but couldn't find a placement, and the face was extremely polished traversing up towards the second bolt. I typically don't mind runout and had quite the scare on this.

Stayed too far right on P14 and made it a fair bit more difficult than it should've been. Not sure where the 2nd bolt mentioned could've been, but anchors were near to where it seemed it should be.

We chose to continue up towards the summit and do the walk-off rather than rappel. The scrambling is exposed and wicked chossy. Safety-conscious parties (and especially those without approach shoes) may want to remain roped up for the first section past P15, which is 5.Fun gravel masquerading as rock.

From the summit, the descent is on the North face. Follow the cairns down and across the gully towards the Yak Crack trail. Including scrambling and failing to find the proper trail down, the descent took us ~4 hours. Aug 1, 2016
Grant Gibson
Cincinnati, OH
  5.6 R
Grant Gibson   Cincinnati, OH
  5.6 R
Climbed SOMWOW Oct 1 2016

Trip Report:

Very fun climb and be prepared for your typical ever changing mountain weather. The approach trail took us a few minutes to find so I stacked a few rocks on the edge of tbe road berm but the trail is well marked with orange tagged trees to the base of the slab once you enter the woods.

The views are fantastic and the rock was clean with a few wet streaks near pitch 8 and 9. Was very surprised someone had tied orange tape to most of the belay stations. I feel that takes away from an adventurous alpine climb.

Rack: This is where the beta from some of the earlier posts seems a little off (the one from august sounds about right). I could have left almost my entire rack at home. Single cams from .5 to 3 inches and maybe a set of nuts. 5-6 Alpine draws for the few times you place gear and your gear of choice for bolted belays.

Grade: didn't really feel 5.8 except for the UFO move. Three of the pitches near the base went the entire 60m without pro with my partner yelling i was near the knot at the end of the rope. 5.5-5.6 is my two cents for the entire climb.

Rappels: We rapped the whole thing since there was a pair of climbers just above and didnt want garbage kicked down on us during the 15th pitch. Highly recommend simul rappels. Makes it much faster and you can alternate who pulls the rope. Leather gloves are a plus because after about 7 raps, things get old and the hands get a little worn.

Overall, fun run out slab climbing. Reminds me of North Carolina granite slab. Oct 4, 2016
Kevin Patterson
Wellington, New Zealand
Kevin Patterson   Wellington, New Zealand
This is pretty much a full day route, for us anyway. We were up at 4, away by 5.15am. At base by 6.30am, climbing 6.45am. Summitted 2pm, descending 3.30pm, back at car 7pm. 14h day. Approach track was difficult to spot from road. Advise to go direct to that 2nd pole (with grey round box on it) amd thwn direct to woods where you will spot a bunch of orange tape. Then keep following orange tape. Climb was fast, mostly 5.4 slab, 2-3p/h. No moisture except top of p8 (stepped over a couple of trickles) and beginning of p14 (climbed to the left of it). But then this was mid-July amd it hadn't rained in 3w. Found all belay stations easily except top of p8 which took an extra 30m. P13 needs 4 extra bolts, too run out for it's grade (5.8). P14 was overgrown with bushes and slow. Summit is well worth it, supremely expansive views of granite domes and glacier covered mountains, enjoy :). Jul 18, 2017
Eric Cytrynbaum
  5.8- R
Eric Cytrynbaum  
  5.8- R
This is a good route if you're looking for a long easy/moderate low commitment alpine route. We simul-climbed most of it on 40m of rope (I dropped my 10m of coils around pitch 6 because we wouldn't have had any pro in otherwise). I only noticed two of the SOMWOWs (on pitches 9 and 12). Much of the climbing aside from pitches 9, 11, 12, 13 is 4th class and low 5th slab. We climbed pitch 13 as described (from the comments here it sounds like there are easier variations to be found) and I found it to be 5.8 R. There's about 10-15 m of sustained 5.7-5.8 slab (Squamish grades) between the two bolts on less than totally solid rock (some crumbly crystals). I found this pitch out of sync with the rest of the route - one or two more bolts would have been nice given the grade of the rest of the route. The scramble to the summit is also sketchy in places but I don't think I'd trade it in for all the rapping you'd have to do otherwise. Sep 22, 2017
Nick Bekolay  
We climbed all 15 pitches and scrambled to the summit in mid July, 2018, starting off on a small (~5m) snowband at the bottom of the first pitch.

We lost 15 or 20 minutes searching for the anchors at the top of pitch 8, but still consider the first 12 pitches to be a fun, straightforward and safe beginner mixed slab multi-pitch.

Pitch 13, by comparison, was anything but fun and safe. Until another bolt (or two) is added to this pitch, the R rating stands; a fall from near the second bolt would translate to a 15- to 20-meter slide and/or fall and the rock near bolt two was polished enough that maintaining friction was a tenuous prospect, even with brand new shoes.

The push to the top is marked at intervals by steep and exposed scrambling across patches of scree and/or chossy, crumbling rock. If this isn't outside your realm of comfort, topping out is more than worthwhile as it opens up amazing views of the Cascades in northern Washington State and southern British Columbia, along with a vast expanse of interior mountains stretching out toward the Okanagan.

Re: time, we made the entire climb and descent in 10 hours, car-to-car. This included a 45-minute hike to the base of the slab and a descent from the summit to the car in one hour 20 minutes.

As for ratings, pitches 1 through 12 would rate 2.5-stars; P13: 1 star (R); P14 and P15: 1.5 stars (due to wet slab, rope drag and a scrambly finish to P15) Jul 21, 2018