NCMG guide and author of the Supertopo guide to Washington pass, Ian Nicholson, calls this area “the best alpine rock destination in North America.” With scores of classic climbs covering the full spectrum of difficulties, there is truly something here for everyone. Offering an all snow approach in the early season, these climbs can have a distinctly alpine feel in the Spring and early Summer. Later in the Summer, the approaches become snow free and most of these climbs can be reached in a pair of approach shoes in only an hour or two. This allows us the unique opportunity to spend the night in a comfortable bed in Mazama, climb to the top of a major alpine peak and return to the Valley in time for dinner. While popular in Europe, this is one of the few areas in the U.S that allow climbers this comfortable style of climbing. Our guides are skilled at helping to choose a route that be an appropriate and rewarding experience for you. To get a sense of some of the climbs offered here, we have selected some of the most classic routes at Washington Pass. Click on the links in the side bar for more information on each route.
Our guides are skilled at helping you choose a route that will be an appropriate and rewarding experience for you. To get a sense of some of the climbs available at Washington Pass we've listed some of the most popular routes below. Additional routes can be found in the side bar.
We start the day meeting early in the morning at the NCMG office. Your guide will go through with you: the itinerary for the day, weather and route conditions, all clothing and equipment needed and any remaining paperwork. Soon afterward, we head for the trailhead, after a quick stop at the Mazama store for any last minute treats.
The vast majority of our alpine routes begin at one of the following trailheads: cuthroat, wine spires pullout, hairpin and blue lake, and all begin with a scenic hike to the base of the route.
There are literally hundreds of possible climbing and scrambling routes in the Washington Pass area - from 3rd and 4th class scrambles to moderate alpine classics to aid climbing lines. We are able to customize trips for climbers of all abilities. For new alpine climbers, we strongly recommend our two-day Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing Course , which combines a day of skill review and practice at the crags with a day of alpine climbing at Washington Pass.
Climbers should arrive able to hike off-trail and potentially on snow in challenging terrain, and possess basic climbing skills such as:
- the ability to safely belay a lead climber
- the ability to "clean" traditional gear
- the ability to rappel
If you're concerned that you don't have the requisite skills, please give us a call to discuss, and check out our Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing Course .