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Washington Climbing Areas You Should Check Out This Spring

This diverse group of climbing areas not far from Seattle features something for every climber

Washington has some amazing climbing. Alpine adventures, trad, sport, and bouldering – the state has a near endless number of routes and boulders across many different climbing areas. Here are four popular Washington destinations to visit this spring. Whether you’re looking for sport, trad, trad multi-pitch, or bouldering, you should find something perfect for you at one of these spots.


Leavenworth is an quirky little Bavarian-styled tourist town two-ish hours east of Seattle (four-ish hours from Vancouver, BC). The regions surrounding the town contain some world-class bouldering and trad multi-pitch climbing. The bouldering is primarily found in two major areas, the generally south-facing and sunny Icicle Canyon and the shadier Tumwater Canyon. Both house a staggering number of problems of exceptional quality on well-featured granite. Landings are often quite good and you can find a wide range of problem heights. Leavenworth Bouldering by Kelly Sheridan is the go-to book for bouldering.


There’s plenty of roped climbing in the Icicle and Tumwater Canyons as well. Single-pitch bolted and gear lines are scattered throughout the canyons but the trad multi-pitch is what really shines. The impressive Snow Creek Wall in Icicle Canyon is the area jewel and should not be missed if the weather is right. Pick up Leavenworth Rock by Viktor Kramar for your roped climbing needs.


The crags in Index, Washington contain some of the best granite you’ll find anywhere. The rock is very fine-grained and almost has a coarse sandstone feel making for some great climbing. You’ll find cracks, slopers, edges, crimps, jugs, and bulbous knobs up single and short multi-pitch climbs. Many climbs contain multiple climbing styles all in one pitch – delicate sticky slabs, splitter cracks, and sporty face climbing. You’ll undoubtedly find the grades tougher than those you find in nearby Squamish.

At only around an hour from Seattle and three hours from Vancouver, Index is a quick stop for a lot of climbers. Be sure to visit sooner than later though because the area’s premiere crag, the Lower Town Wall, faces south and gets a ton of sun making summer climbing a little too hot. The Index Town Walls by Chris Kalman and Matty van Biene is a fantastic guidebook for the area.

Frenchman Coulee

Frenchman Coulee (also known as Vantage) is a columnar basalt climbing area out in the desert near the town of Vantage. The area gets a bit of a bad rap. The rock is definitely not world-class (it can be quite chossy in places), but some fantastic trad and sport climbs can be found, especially in the 5.6 to 5.11 range. The aptly named Sunshine Wall features some great crack climbs between giant basalt columns. And cool sport climbs work their way up the smooth column faces. The shady Middle East Wall houses some of the best rock at Frenchman Coulee. The climbing is similar to Sunshine Wall, although a little tougher. If you’re going to check Vantage out, go sooner than later because it’s already getting too hot to climb at many crags for most of the day.

Frenchman Coulee is also an excellent winter destination. When it’s raining in Squamish, or Index, or Leavenworth, it’s often bright and sunny in Vantage. The drive is only two and a half hours from Seattle and around five hours from Vancouver. Frenchman Coulee by Brenden Sullivan and Jim Yoder details over 700 routes at over 50 crags in the area.

Little Si

Little Si (also known as Exit 32) is fun sport climbing area just outside of North Bend. Of the areas listed in this article, Little Si is the closest to a major city – 45 minutes from Seattle and three-ish hours from Vancouver. You can find great sport climbing from 5.8 to 5.14+ on a range of rock textures and styles requiring a variety of techniques to succeed. The World Wall is arguably Washington’s best hard sport climbing crag, housing many great climbs in the 5.12’s, 13’s, and 14’s. Most crags in the area are found on the northeast side of Little Si mountain, providing lots of shade, which is great for late spring and summer sport cranking.