Climb Like a Local: Leavenworth Bouldering


Categories: Climb Like a Local

The faux Bavarian town of Leavenworth, WA, sees a seasonal flock of boulderers descend every spring. And with good reason. When the snow melts, cool, sunny conditions mean tacky granite boulders for all. Hone your foot technique and be ready to go from gnarly crimps to slopers without warning.

Jessica Campbell bouldering in Icicle Creek Canyon in Leavenworth, Washington
Photo courtesy of ©Truc Allen

THE VIBE: Leavenworth is ground zero for Northwest bouldering and mountain adventures of every kind. Join the ranks of local boulderers, and you’ll find yourself in the company of teachers and nurses, wine makers and architects, pro climbers and dirt bags. They are all psyched and ready to cheer on anyone who steps up to the plate.

AVOID THE CROWDS: If a bounty of pre-placed crash pads, spotters, and free beta isn’t your jam, avoid the ultra- popular Forestland and Mad Meadows in Icicle Canyon, as well as the Swiftwater Picnic Area in Tumwater Canyon. You don’t have to try hard to find solitude ... pick up a copy of Kelly Sheridan’s Leavenworth Bouldering and check out Fern Gully, The Airfield, Mitchell Flats, or the bouldering areas along Mountain Home Road.

LOCAL PET PEEVES: No one wants to see your micro- trash (orange peels, corners of your bar wrappers, tiny bits of tape) or tick marks out here. Keep it beautiful, be nice, and leave the yelling and music at home.

WATCH OUT! While not every plant or animal is out to get you here, watch out for the occasional rattlesnake, poison ivy, and spring ticks. If you have any doubt, don’t play lumberjack, and leave the flora alone.

WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK: Leavenworth Mountain Association represents the climbing community in Leavenworth, and Washington Climbers Coalition is there to support.

PRO TIP: “The air here is humid, and locals swear by liquid chalk for those hot summer months. If you don’t want to spend the money, get a small spray bottle of rubbing alcohol to douse your tips, air dry, and then apply your chalk. Voila! You’ll gain a little more holding time on those greasy crimps that may be just enough for your send.” ~Jessica Campbell, local pro

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