Thursday, October 2, 2008

Western Washington Sport Climbing

Here’s a collection of photos taken at a few western Washington crags late this summer. Although we live in Squamish and there’s plenty to do, we enjoy fresh rock from time to time so went searching for some new options to our local sport crags. We’d climbed at Little Si a number of times over the years and it’s definitely a good cliff, but Newhalem and Equinox were both new to us; different yet equally good climbing.

Newhalem – This steep cliff is located right off the highway to Washington Pass so it makes a combination with some alpine tower climbing. The crag is vertical to gently overhanging and is fine grained granite. There are around 30 sport routes from 5.9 to 5.13b and some up to 40m in length! The rock is well featured and goes into the shade around 1:00pm. The approach is 5 minutes from the car and there is a great swimming hole in the river underneath the crag!

Equinox – This cliff is rather small, but hosts a bunch of steep, blocky power-endurance sport routes form 5.11b to 5.13+. For anyone who’s climbed at Cheakamus Canyon in Squamish, the rock is similar to the Circus wall but steeper. This wall gets morning shade and filtered afternoon sun. There are two downsides: the easiest route is a tricky 5.11b and the wall seeps after rain. Also, the approach is somewhat “up in the air” right now as it crosses private land. Regardless, the routes are steep and physical – you can get a good pump going here for sure!

Marc Bourdon – Mammut Canadian team member