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Shuksan Crag

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Beginner's Route TR 
Excavation, AKA The Crack T,TR 
Katie's Corner TR 
Last Chance for Gas, AKA Tricky Start S,TR 
Pumporama S,TR 

Shuksan Crag Rock Climbing 

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Page Views: 1,307
Administrators: Scott Coldiron, Nate Ball, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jason D. Martin on Dec 29, 2014


63° | 50°

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67° | 50°

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74° | 56°
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BETA PHOTO: 1: The Crack - M5+ 2: Tricky Start - M6+ 3: Pumpor...


This is a somewhat forgotten rock climbing area that was rediscovered by mixed climbers. The routes are right next to the road!

There are currently plans to rebolt the routes. The bolts on the lines right now are old and rusty and until recently were often covered by moss. Until the bolts are replaced climbers should avoid leading these routes.

A short static rope is useful to help set-up some of the mixed lines.

Getting There 

Take Highway 542 from Bellingham to Glacier. Drive another 13.3 miles and turn left on the unpaved Hannegan Pass Road just before crossing the Nooksack River near Milepost 46. If you drive over the river and past the campground, you've gone too far.

Once on the Hannegan Pass Road, drive for two minutes to the crag on the left.

Climbing Season

For the Northwest Region area.

Weather station 11.0 miles from here

5 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For Shuksan Crag
Rock Climbing Photo: A climber on Tricky Start.

Last Chance for Gas, AKA Tricky Start 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c M6+  Washington : Northwest Region : ... : Shuksan Crag
The start of this route is really tricky...thus the name. If you can avoid pumping out in the first ten feet, the rest of the route is more reasonable....[more]   Browse More Classics in Washington

Photos of Shuksan Crag Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A climber on The Crack.
A climber on The Crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: 1: The Crack 2: Tricky Start 3: Pumporama 4: Katie...
1: The Crack 2: Tricky Start 3: Pumporama 4: Katie...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Tricky Start and Pumporama.
Climbers on Tricky Start and Pumporama.

Comments on Shuksan Crag Add Comment
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By Nickley
Feb 24, 2015
This crag was "redeveloped" for mixed climbing. The "redeveloper" did not receive permission from the first ascensionist to publish a mini guide. We have been having problems with people prying off the holds of established sport climbs. This is not a drytooling crag despite what aai guides have to say.
By Micah Klesick
From: Vancouver, WA
Feb 24, 2015
If its on public land, permission is not required by any means to put routes on MP, or in a guide. It's a nice gesture, but that's all.
By Jon Nelson
From: Bellingham, WA
Feb 25, 2015
Thanks Nickley.

Maybe you can post these sport climbs here, and let us all know about the history of the routes and who first put them up.

If I had put up a sport route, cleaned it, and bolted it, then I might not be pleased to have people swinging their metal tools at it. But I have no knowledge of this area or who the FA persons are.
By Nickley
Feb 26, 2015
The topo for these climbs can be found in the guide book called "A Rock climbers Guide to Bellingham Rock!" On page 19 and 20. The left side route is called, appropriately, Excavation 5.7 (natural pro/60 ft) f.f.a. Chad stebbins, Scott Carr, Brandon Sirguy (1995).
The middle route is called "Last Chance for Gas"** 5.11a (6 Bolts/ 50 FT) f.a. Chad stebbins and Brandon sirguy. F.f.a. Brandon sirguy and Jason henrie (1995).
The hard route on the right has been a long standing project that has only recently been red pointed by Quinn Baumgartner of the chuckanuts. It is 5.hard and really fun.

This is a sport climbing crag. The gentleman that posted that this is a drytooling crag knew of the first ascensionists but has not made an effort to contact them and ask their permission to rebolt, deface, and rename their routes. What is more disturbing is the publication of small guide in a local tourist rag with a large distribution. He has already broken several key holds that have changed the character of the climbs forever. These are difficult mossy, and delicate climbs which require a gentle touch.
By Jason D. Martin
Apr 15, 2015
The redevelopment of these routes took place due to the fact that the bolts are bad - as in very bad. And the routes (and bolts) are covered in moss.

I did publish a miniguide, but the area had been used for drytooling for several years prior to the publication. AAJ Editor Kelly Cordes drytooled in this area in the late nineties, and it's very likely that Steve House did as well, amongst others...

No holds have been removed or broken by drytooling. The holds required to drytool on this crag are primarily pockets and thin cracks. A large loose block was trundled during the cleaning, but there is no way that it was a "key" hold. Instead it was a death block. And we spent hours upon hours upon hours removing moss. I probably personally removed 40-50lbs of dirt from the left-hand crack.

The left hand crack was essentially unclimbable prior to the dirt removal project. And while the route was climbed in the past, it was likely untouched for 20-years. There was a six foot tall "slope" of mud in the middle of the route that covered the crack and all holds, with large amounts of moss on both sides. The crack is in a natural drainage and mud appears to pour down the crack during and after every storm.

I'll leave it to the community to decide, but I have posted two pictures here that show the types of things we encountered and the reason we felt the toproped drytooling was appropriate. Please see both exhibits A and B.

Rock Climbing Photo: Exhibit A - A bolt on the Shuksan Crag. This is th...
Exhibit A - A bolt on the Shuksan Crag. This is the worst one, but there are several that were placed wrong or that are hanging half-way out of the rock.

Rock Climbing Photo: This is what my partner looked like after cleaning...
This is what my partner looked like after cleaning these supposedly "classic" sport climbs. Every day we went to this crag we cleaned more and more mud and moss from the wall.

I was honestly shocked and saddened to find out that someone was upset about people drytooling on this crag. I have been climbing in this area for over twenty years, know literally hundreds of local climbers and have talked about drytooling at the area a lot. I've never seen anyone on the crag (summer or winter) and those who have been on it n the past have stated to me and to others that have drytooled there that this was a good use for the crag. The combination of the moss, the death bolts and the history of people drytooling at the crag lead me to believe that no one would really care if someone published a miniguide to the area.

Lastly, I would like to note that that route on the right is approximately 11b. It has been lead by several people, many of which I spoke to about drytooling at the crag. Though leading the route today on the bolts as they are is dangerous. If you choose to lead here, whether on sport or as a drytooling route, I would urge you to toprope until the bolts are replaced by someone who has a solid knowledge of bolting technique.

We had planned to replace all the bolts on the crag as part of our cleanup effort, but it's not really worth it to do it for sport climbing. If the community decides that drytooling is a reasonable use of this crag, we will finish the project and replace the bolts.

And if the community believes that I was wrong in publishing a miniguide and that drytooling is a poor use of this crag, I will happily edit my original post and identify this as a sport climbing only crag...

By Scott Underwood
Aug 1, 2016
FYI-the primary developer and first ascensionist of most of the routes in this area was Jason Henrie. I climbed an .11a route in 2000 that he had put up at the Shuksan crag. At the time, it was the only fully bolted route on the wall. Jason used to have a guide that was available (and I used to own it) at REI and the log-house-looking gear shop that used to be in Bellingham. Other locals who would be in the know on history include Greg Heffron and Chris Taylor (though I'm not sure if either are still around).

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