While there are plenty of climbing spots scattered throughout the Olympic Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula. We have a few favorites and well documented areas.
Crags and Routes can be found on MOUNTAIN PROJECT. For those unfamiliar with Mountain Project, it is a site operated by REI and is a repository for climbing, including route details, directions, comments, and ratings. A great tool for exploring new areas.
Climbing areas (and so much more) can also be found in Olympic Mountains, A Climbing Guide, Fourth Edition.
Route conditions and crag conditions are most up-to-date on the Mountain Project page, or even better, talk to a local or message us here at Olympic Peninsula Climbers
THE ELWHALL // Elwha Crag West
Located on the Western side of the Elwha River, it is a local favorite. With 29 sport routes, theres plenty to keep you interested. Ratings range from 5.7 – 5.12, with the majority of routes leaning towards the harder end of the spectrum. Admittedly, the sandstone and siltstone makes for relatively unsafe trad conditions, so most people only climb the multitude of sport routes available. As the season dries out, the wall becomes climable sometime in late April and becomes rather wet again in late October. This is often home to Wha-Wednesdays, the OPC weekly meet-up during the warm and long summer Wednesday evenings. ATTENTION: Rock quality leads to very dirty and sandy route conditions with a high probability of rocks peeling off. Keep your eyes open, helmet on, and your wits about you. See directions below. THE ELWHALL (WEST)
WAKA BEACH // Elwha Crag East
A more recent addition to the peninsula’s climbing areas, Waka Beach is quickly becoming popular with its large, juggy routes and epic scenery. On the banks of the mighty Elwha this crag sports nice breezes, sunny east and south facing routes. However, being that it is RIGHT on the Elwha, it is only accessible during the drier months when the low river levels expose sandy beaches for belayers. With approximately 17 sport and mixed routes ranging from 5.4 – 5.10 and higher, this is a great place for beginners and those just that enjoy fun climbs with excellent scenery. ATTENTION: Rock quality leads to very dirty and sandy route conditions with a high probability of rocks peeling off. Keep your eyes open, helmet on, and your wits about you. See directions below. WAKA BEACH (EAST SIDE)
OTHER PENINSULA CRAGS
Have recommendations. Shoot us a message!
GYMS & INDOOR CLIMBING
Edgeworks Climbing // 6102 North 9th Street, Suite 200, Tacoma, WA 98406
Island Rock Gym // 9437 Coppertop Loop NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Sound Bikes and Kayaks // 120 E. Front Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362
DIRECTIONS & APPROACHES
Accessing the Elwhall: Park in the diagonal parking spaces for the Olympic Adventure Trail right off of Highway 112 (be sure to lock your doors and keep valuable out of sight). Start walking south following the Olympic Adventure Trail. After about 0.2 miles you will hit the very large Bonneville Power Transmission lines. Depart the trail and turn left following the clear cut for the power lines. The trail will head downhill and take a hard right onto a two-track road/trail. Keep on keeping on through the woods until the path take a left turn and head steeply downhill to the site of the old Elwha Dam, removed in 2013. Just to the north west of the old dam is a small footpath leading upwards into the trees. Follow this footpath about 25 yards and the striking sandstone walls of the Elwhall will greet you.
Accessing Waka Beach: Park in the gravel access lot just before the entrance to the Dam RV Park (47 Lower Dam Road, Port Angeles, WA 98363). On foot follow what would be Lower Dam Road straight past the large metal gate (If you go to the right you’ll find an informational center for the former Elwha Dam and Port-Potty!). After skirting around the gate there is a small footpath on the right after the trees stop looming overhead (Only about 200′ after the gate). The path is still rough, even though out 2017 work crew busted buns to make it 1000x better than better. Use caution and watch your step. The switchbacks will take you down the 240′ ravine to the rushing waters of the Elwha River. Follow the rock wall left and around the fallen tree to encounter the first three routes tucked up under the trees. Warning: This crag is usually only accessible to normal people between late July and October while the river exposes some areas for belayers. After heavy rains and during the early season, water levels inundate most of the access for this climbing area.