Ice climbing in Washington
Mt. Baker Ski Area.
To approach the ski area, drive the Mount Baker Highway (WA 542) from Bellingham East to the Ski Area. From Bellingham, the drive will take about an hour and a half.
- Pan Dome Falls (WI 3-4, 1 pitch). Park in the upper parking lot. Follow the Austin Pass Road until able to cut across slopes toward the climb. The approach takes about ten minutes. Additional ice can be found to the right of the Falls.
- Toolshed wall. On the cliffs near the Pan Dome Falls there are some mixed climbs.
Near Glacier, Washington.
- Death Picnic (WI 5, 2 pitches).
- Glacier Creek Road just beyond the town of Glacier has seen reports of ice.
- On the Heliotrope Ridge Trail (1/2 pitch). Approach is over 2 hours. that one uses to access Mt. Baker,
there is a short but interesting fall high on the trail. The approach, however, would be very difficult
s the approach road (Glacier Creek Road found just beyond the town of Glacier) is unplowed.
If you can get up it, park at the trailhead at 3700 feet. The forty foot route can be found a
solid two plus hours up the trail.
- Rainbow Falls
From Highway 20 drive the Baker Lake Road to .2 miles beyond the Boulder Creek Bridge.
Make a left turn onto Marten Lake Road (#1130). Follow this road for approximately nine and a
half miles to a clearcut at 3600 feet. Hike, ski, or snowshoe North to Rainbow Falls.
North Cascades Highway.
- Pour Les Enfants Avec Autos (WI 5+). Just past the road cut in Washington Pass.
Immediately after the North Cascade Highway has been plowed and opened, there is tends to be a
large amount of ice just off the road along a good portion of the highway. T
he plowing usually takes place in April or May.
A dozen, or so, routes can form.
To approach Mazama after the North Cascades Highway is closed drive Highway 2 to Leavenworth. It is approximately one-hundred and twenty-nine miles from Leavenworth to Mazama. From Leavenworth continue to follow Highway 2 for approximately 19.4 miles. Turn left ontoUS-97 and follow this through Entiat and Chelan for approximately fifty-three miles. Turn left (North) onto WA-153 and follow this for approximately 55.3 miles. At 30.8 miles WA-153 will join with Highway 20.
- Goat Wall
- Goat’s Beard (WI 6+, 13 Pitches).
- Mixed Route to the Left of Goat’s Beard.
- Gate Creek (WI 3
- Foggy Dew Falls
From Pateros on the Columbia River, drive the Methow Valley Highway (Highway 153) seventeen miles toward Twisp.
You will cross the river six times before turning off on Road #4340. The road includes a sign that says
“Foggy Dew.” Some maps call this road the “Gold Creek Loop Road.”
At the five mile mark on this road, turn left onto Road #4340.
In 3.7 miles the end of this road and the trailhead proper will be reached at an elevation of 3490 feet.
Follow Foggy Dew Creek for two and a half miles until one reaches the base of the falls.
North Eastern Washington.
There are reports of ice in the Northeastern most corner of the state.
Mountain Loop Highway.
Mountain Loop Highway near Silverton.
Alpine ice on Big Four Mountain
- North Face of Big Four Mountain, Spindrift Couloir Grade: IV+ 5.9 WI 5
Drive to the end of the Mountain Loop Highway (State Route 530), or at least as far as it is plowed.
Usually, it is plowed to within three miles of the ice caves on Big Four Mountain. Park in the Sno-Park
facility on the North side of the highway. Hike, snowshoe, or ski the remaining two miles up the road
alongside the Stillaguamish river to the Big Four Picnic Area. From the Picnic Area continue for another
mile on the Big Four Ice Caves trail to the base of the mountain. Usually this trail is well tracked by snow-shoers.
The route ascends the rightmost couloir, just left of the North Face Bowl.
Route: From the base one can see three steps to the summit. Here, the steps will be the means to
explain the route. Cross the moat beneath the rightmost couloir (the Spindrift Couloir) and ascend
thin seventy-five degree ice with a few 5.8 moves thrown in for good measure to easier ground above.
Climb easy snow fields to the couloir proper. Climb two pitches of steep (WI 3 5.7) mixed ice to the
top of the first step. Ascend fifty degree snow for another two pitches to the base of a steep mixed
section. Climb one full pitch of 5.8 WI 5 to easier ground above. The next two pitches should be in
the WI 3 range and put a climber on top of the second step. Following this there will be approximately
three pitches of steep snow until one reaches the base of the third pitch. This is where things get
really difficult. Climb the third mixed step at 5.9 WI 5. The top of this pitch exceeds 95 degrees!
From the top of the third pitch climb seventy degree ice and up to sixty-five degree mixed ground to the
summit cornices. Tunnel through a cornice and you’ll be on top! The first ascent party descended from here.
If you would like to attain the true summit, ascend the ridge line to your left across dangerous cornices.
Alpine ice on Mt. Persis
- North Face of Mt. Persis:
There is an ice flow up the North Face.
- The Pass Wall (WI3-4+, ¼ pitch). This particular wall can be found at approximately 3500 feet, 1.5 miles west of Stevens Pass. Many routes in the 3 – 4 grade.
- Nordic Wall (WI3-5). 1.1 miles west of the Stevens Pass Nordic Center at 3200 feet. Park in the Nordic Center lot and hike to the climbs.
- East of Steven's Pass are three large falls to the north of the
highway around mile post 80.
- Tumwater Canyon
- Drury Falls (WI4-5, 6 pitches). Above the Wenatchee river. Visible at mile 94. Use a boat to cross the river.
- The Pencil (WI5, 3 pitches). Near Drury Falls.
- There are other short climbs high in the Falls Creek drainage. Some are as long as two pitches.
There are a number of smears and short routes throughout Tumwater Canyon.
- Icicle Creek Canyon
Falls Behind the Snow Creek Parking Lot. Park in the Snow Creek parking lot approximately 4.2 miles from the start of the Icicle Creek Road. Cross the street to obvious steep falls left of Careno Crags.
There appear to be a number of potential routes on and around the Careno Crags area. Whether these ever come totally in is anybody’s guess.
There appear to be a number of potential routes on the Icicle Buttress. One that may come in and go at about WI 4 follows Cocaine Connection then the R&D Route. Early season it could be done in thin conditions, but one would have to climb up to 5.6 on rock to finish it.
- Hubba Hubba Area:
From the Bridge Creek Campground, one can see three large falls on the hillside across the Icicle. There are actually four routes up there in the WI 2-3 range. The fourth route is to the left of the largest fall (Hubba Bubba) and one can only see it when close to the routes.
- Hubba Hubba (WI3, 1 pitch). Approximately 8.4 miles from the intersection with highway two is the Bridge Creek Campground. Park at the campground. Cross the bridge and turn right onto a small gated roadway. Follow this road for about one hundred feet . Turn left and go straight up the hillside toward the falls.
- Left of Hubba Bubba (WI3, 1-2 pitches). This is the thin route in the gully to the left of Hubba Bubba.
- Right of Hubba Bubba (WI 2-3, 1 pitch). Couple routes to the right of Hubba Bubba.
- Blast Rock Wall (WI4, ¼ pitch). The Blast Rock wall on Icicle Creek Road sports a number of short interesting toprope problems. Many of these climbs require a bit of drytooling here and there. On the Icicle approximately 9.7 miles from Highway Two. Usually the road is closed at Bridge Creek Campground, 1.2 miles from the wall.
- Snow Creek Valley
- Switchback Smear (WI4, ¼ pitch). Park in the Snow Creek Parking Lot and hike the trail for about fifteen minutes. When this route is formed one can see it across the Icicle. It can be found in the middle of the first set of switchbacks on the trail.
- Millenium Wall Area:
The three Millenium Walls can be found about an hour’s hike up the Snow Lakes trail. For those familiar with the area, the ice crags are at the turn off for Snow Creek Wall or at approximately 2800 feet.
- First Millenium Wall (WI2-3+, ¼ pitch).
- Second Millenium Wall (WI4-5, ¼ pitch).
- Third Millenium Wall (WI3-4).
- Snow Creek Wall Area. Route potential on Snow Creek Wall. Left of Snow Creek Wall, there are two gullies with some interesting ice available.
- Mountaineer Creek Rd.
At approximately one mile up the Mountaineers Creek Road, one can see a tremendous amount of ice on the other side of the valley. There is a potential log crossing at the one-mile point. However, one should be very aware of avalanche danger.
Northwest Side of Cashmere Mountain – Intermittent ice connected by steep snow. Some sections of steep are in excess of five hundred feet.
This is a twenty-five mile long canyon with a river at the base that empties into the Columbia River.
The geology of the rock that the ice forms on is similar to that in Frenchman’s Coulee. Most of the routes
fall from basalt cliffs and columns.
All of the climbs are on private property. Seek permission.
To get to the town of Palisades from Leavenworth, drive East on Highway 2. Note that Highway 2 joins with
US-97 shortly after passing Peshastin. Continue driving on this road for twenty miles until you reach Wenatchee.
Stay straight to eventually merge with Wenatchee Avenue. Wenatchee Avenue will become WA-285 South.
Make a slight right at 1.1 miles to stay on Wenatchee Ave/WA-285. Continue straight onto N. Wenatchee
Avenue and follow this for two and a half miles. Take the WA-285 South ramp towards East Wenatchee
(US-2)/Spokane/(WA-28). Shortly after that, merge onto Stevens Street. Continue on straight to join with WA-285.
After one-half mile take a slight right onto WA-28. Follow this for 14.2 miles. Turn left onto Palisades
Road Southwest and follow this for eleven and a half miles into town. Three miles beyond the town the valley
turns and Douglas Creek flows into the main creek.
- Anaerobic Sex (WI5, ¼ pitch). The route is six hundred feet off the road to the left, near the
Douglas Creek Bridge. Park .2 miles beyond the two mile marker.
- Aerobic Sex -- WI 4-5, 3 pitches). Found 2.7 miles up the valley, just before the alluvial fan.
It is the left fall of the two.
- White’s Delight (WI4, ½ pitch). 50 feet to the right of Aerobic Sex.
- Biram Left and Right (WI5, ¼ pitch). Immediately after Douglas Creek there is a driveway on the right.
The route can be found approximately three hundred yards behind the house and can easily be seen from the road. Enter the driveway and ask permission before attempting the falls or trespassing.
- Skookumchuck (WI5, 2 pitches). Found one half mile from town on the left. It is on private property,
so be sure to get permission. The family that owns this property has had difficulty with trespassers,
so tread lightly and DO NOT climb without permission.
- Yerba Buena (WI3, ½ pitch). Found between mile markers seventeen and eighteen on the left across the valley.
- The Shipman Route (WI3-4, ¼ pitch). Turn left just beyond mile marker eighteen.
Drive approximately one mile up the road and park. The route is a short hike up the creek.
- The Blue Cocoon (WI5, 2 pitches). After mile marker eighteen, make a hard right up a
steep hill. From the top of the hill note the valley to the right.
- Tracks of My Fears (WI5, 1-2 pitches).Two hundred feet right of The Blue Cocoon.
- Falling Falls (WI5, 3 pitches). Found after mile marker twenty after a sharp left turn
- February Falls (WI5, ½ pitch). Approach the same way that Falling Falls is approached.
However, this route can be found a few miles beyond. Park at the cattle guard above the valley. Walk
North toward a large bushy tree. Pass the tree on the right. Cross a small fence and continue North
toward cliffs. Climb down through a few short cliffs to a small group of trees with red bark. Here
the creek can be found that feeds February Falls.
- Mayme and Rose (WI4-5, ½ pitch). Three hundred feet to the West of February Falls.
Lake Lenore & Soap Lake.
To reach Lake Lenore, continue to follow Highway Two until just before reaching Coulee City. Turn right (South) onto Highway Seventeen. Routes can be found alongside the two lakes on Highway Seventeen.
- Guiness (WI 4-5, 1 pitch). This route can be found approximately a quarter of a mile up the gully West of the Lake. Look up to the opposite side of the road from mile marker 82. Walk across the frozen lake and up the gully to the base of the route.
- Kickapoo Joy Juice (WI 4-5, 1 pitch). Found approximately one hundred feet North of Guiness.
- Miller Time (WI 5, ½ pitch). Found just Southwest of Soap Lake. Exit Highway 17 onto Road 23, heading Northwest. Drive approximately 1.8 miles before the route comes into view.
- Bavarian Dark (WI 5, 2 pitches). Turn South off Highway 17 just past mile marker eighty-one. Drive a quarter mile and park at the gate. Continue another quarter mile South until the route comes into view. This is the route on the left.
- Henry’s (WI 2, ½ pitch). 75 south of Bavrian Dark.
- Sody Pop (WI 4, ½ pitch). 300 yards North of Bavarian Dark.
- Rainier Light (WI 4, ½ pitch). 450 feet West of Bavarian Dark.
- Champagne (WI 5, 2-3 pitches). This route can easily be seen on the south end of Blue Lake up a short ravine. Park at the Blue Lake Fire Station.
- Scotch on the Rocks (WI 5, 1 pitch). This route can be found one mile North of Champagne on the highway. One can see the route from the rest area. Park approximately nine hundred feet south of the rest area. Hike up the drainage for about twenty minutes until you reach the base of the route.
- Even Cowgirls get the Blues (a.k.a. Children of the Sun) (WI 5, 1 pitch). This route can be seen above the golf course at Sun Lake State Park.
- Clockwork Orange (WI 5, 3 pitches). Across the road from Even Cowgirls get the Blues.
Twenty Miles West of Coulee City, Highway Two crosses the Moses Coulee. There are two prominent routes in this part of the gorge and many possible routes.
- Butch Cassidy (WI 5, 2 pitches). Drive North of Highway Two on Jameson Lake Road for three and a half miles.
- The Sundance Kid (WI 5, 1 pitch). Found approximately four miles North of Jameson Lake Road. Take the left fork and
you will be able to drive to within a couple hundred feet of the route.
Coulee City is approximately eighty-four miles East of Leavenworth on Highway Two.
Shortly after passing through Coulee City, turn left (North) onto Highway 155 heading towards Grand Coulee Dam.
Most of the routes can be accessed from this highway.
- The Devils Punch Bowl (left side) (WI 2, 1 pitch). Approximately 1.3 miles North of Steamboat Rock State Park.
Note the location of the climb and park in a turn out. The remainder of the approach will take about five minutes
to walk to the base of the route.
- The Devils Punch Bowl (right side) (WI 3, 1 pitch). Left side.
- Phase Transition (WI 4, 1 pitch). 40 feet to the left of The Devils Punch Bowl.
- Trotsky’s Folly (WI 3, 1 pitch). On the approach to the above climbs note the small cove to the Northeast.
- The Absent Minded Professor (WI 3-4, 2 pitches). East (right) of Route 155 near mile marker four.
- The Cable (WI5, 2 pitches). Across from the Banks Lake Reclamation District sign. Park in the turnout.
- H2O2 (WI5, 2 pitches). 300 yds north of The Cable.
- Zenith (WI 5, 2 pitches). On Route 155 between mile markers fourteen and fifteen.
- The Emerald (WI 4+, 1 pitch). In a hidden coulee slightly North of H202.
- Tea n’ the Sahara (WI 5, 3-4 pitches). On the West side of the lake, approximately five miles from the South end.
The easiest way to approach these climbs is to walk across the frozen lake.
- elusions of Grand Do-er (WI 6, 3 pitches). Across the lake, just South of the boat ramp.
It is approximately eleven and a half miles from Coulee City on Highway 155.
- Keekwulee Falls (WI ? Drive I-90 and take the Denny Creek exit. Follow the Denny Creek road three miles
to the Melakwa Lake trailhead at 2300 feet.
Follow the Denny Creek drainage 1.5 miles to Keekwulee Falls.
- Snowshoe Falls (WI ? See approach for Keekwulee Falls. Continue up the Denny Creek drainage from Keekwulee Falls
for one half mile until Snowshoe Falls come into sight.
- Franklin Falls (WI ?
To approach Alpental, drive Interstate Ninety to Snoqualmie Pass. Drive under the freeway onto Alpental road.
Drive a short distance to the Alpental parking lot.
Alpine ice on Chair Peak
- Alpental Parking Lot Routes (aka Alpental Falls 1-4) (WI 2-3+, 1-4 pitches). Park in the Alpental Parking Lot and
climb up easy snow fields.
- Chair Lift Falls (WI 4, 1/4 pitch).
This particular route is inside the ski area directly to the left of the Armstrong Express chair lift.
Alpental Ski Area tends to be closed on Mondays after the first of the year.
- North Face of Denny Mountain (WI 2-3, rock, 1-3 pitches).
Denny Mountain is the peak on which Alpental Ski Area is located. Approach to these routes is to take
chairlifts to the summit and ski down to the climbs. Ski the Adrenaline Run, which starts to the right
of the Edelweiss Chair. Descend the mountain keeping right on the Lower International Run until you are
beneath the North Face of Denny Mountain. From there hike up snow slopes to the gullies.
To hike in, park in the Alpental Parking Lot and go straight toward the North Face.
Choose one of the four gullies to climb.
- The North Face of Chair Peak:
Grade: III WI 2+
- The North Face Coulior, Abiel Peak
Grade: III WI 3.
Abiel Peak is located just above and to the southeast of Lake Annette.
Park in the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail parking lot. A trail from the lot ascends
seventeen hundred feet in three and a half miles to reach Lake Annette. From the lake,
the route can be seen just left of the center of the peak. Ascend steep timbered snow slopes
to reach the base of the route.
Climb the narrow ice gully ending in a hanging belay. On the second pitch traverse somewhat diagonally
and to the left ascending two short near vertical steps.
Climb two pitches of forty-degree snow until back into the coulior.
Climb the last two pitches in the coulior until near the top. Exit left at the top of the route.
small climb on Umptanum Creek near Ellensburg.
Alpine ice on Esmerelda Peak
- Southwest Face, Esmerelda Peak
This is the peak North of the parking lot at the end of the Teneway River Road.
The route is on the left side of face split by gullies. One may require a snowmobile to make the approach.
Frenchman Coulee and Vantage climbing are located two miles North of Interstate 90 between the towns of George and Vantage.
From I-90 take exit 143 and go Northwest on Silica Road.
After traveling approximately .7 miles, turn left (West) onto Vantage Road.
Park at the Feathers Parking Lot 1.5 miles down the road at the base of Agathla tower.
- Frenchman Fall (WI 4, 1 pitch). Visible as one drives down the paved road to the feathers.
- Red Rain (WI 4, 1/2 pitch). 600 feet to the left of Frenchman’s Falls.
- Arctic Grail (WI 4, 1/2 pitch). 400 feet to the right of Frenchman’s Falls.
- Fugs Fall (WI 3+, 2 pitches). Between Rump Rider Wall and Fugs Wall at the head of Echo Basin.
From the base of Agaltha Tower, take the Near Trail across the top of the Mesa.
Hike past the Tower until you reach the “Y” in the trail.
Follow the steeper trail West up switchbacks until you are on top.
Continue to follow the trail down the notch of the Near Chimney.
Once at the base of the Chimney, continue in a Southerly direction to the base of the falls.
- Horsetail Falls (WI 3-3+). On the right side of Forest Road #19, one mile beyond where FR 19 turns off of
Highway 410 heading towards Chinook Pass from the East.
Tieton River Basin on the North side of Strobach Mountain has iceclimbs.
- 1st Ice On the Right (WI 4
- Ice Dream (WI 4+
- Sad Ce’bu (WI 3+
- Sudden Change of Plan – WI 3, Just left of Sad Ce’bu.
There are reports of ice in the Southern Cascades
Mt. Rainier National Park.
Alpine ice on Pinnacle Peak
- North Face of Pinnacle Peak
Grade II (WI 2). Park at the Narada Falls parking area and climb towards the peak.
The Bluewood Ski area is located in the southeastern corner of the state.
Ice formations from seeps above the North Fork of the
Touchet River very near there. Under the right conditions a very nice band of ice forms that is
approximately seventy-five to a hundred feet wide.
Northfork Touchet River.
- Weeping Wall WI 2-6, 1/4 pitch). Drive to Dayton on US Highway 12. From Dayton follow the signs to the
Bluewood Ski Area. Once the paved road becomes gravel, continue for 4.1 miles and park on the left.
There is literally no approach time from the car as the routes are about three minutes away.
Routes may be found on a wide weeping wall above the creek-sized Touchet River.