Getting the Most out of Life

Rock Climbing for Beginners: Off the Beaten Path From Seattle, Washington

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Are you an adventure seeker interested in rock climbing? Washington State offers one of the country’s best mountains for this sport. The state also charges no income tax, so if you’re a resident or decide to become one, you’ll be able to keep more money in your pocket while building your career and your climbing skills.

This guide is aimed toward rock climbing for beginners who want to explore off the beaten path. Wenatchee Valley is located just a few hours’ drive from Seattle, and it offers great rock climbing from early spring to late fall.

My husband and I discovered this beautiful valley on our way to Mission Ski Ridge for a few days of snowboarding. The surrounding mountains are less traveled than other outdoor tourist locations, and they offer excellent crags for adventurous rock climbers. The area is home to wildlife as well as many rare plants, so you never know what will cross your path.

Two climbing locations in Wenatchee, Icicle Creek Canyon and Peshastin Pinnacles State Park, offer a variety of choices for different experience and age levels. Whether you’re looking for rock climbing for beginners or more advanced trails, you’ll find something to like here.

1. Icicle Creek Canyon

Icicle Creek Canyon is located near Leavenworth, a small Bavarian-style town that offers authentic food, beverages, and festivals. Because of the hundreds of different hiking and rock climbing routes available, as well as the canyon’s hard granite slabs, Icicle Creek is a climber’s dream. There are several free campgrounds to stay at, and you’ll likely come across an array of endangered and unique plants. It’s important to note, however, that some of the land is privately owned. Be sure to check with the local authorities before starting any climb, and adhere to any signs that prohibit trespassing.

When you’re ready to refuel after your climb, simply drive to Leavenworth and take a refreshing break, eat some food, and check out unique sites such as the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.

2. Peshastin Pinnacles State Park

If you’re planning to go rock climbing in the summer or late fall, Peshastin Pinnacles State Park is the ideal choice. Positioned above fruit orchards, this desert park is famous for sandstone slabs that reach nearly 200 feet in the air. Climbers who reach the tops of these spires are rewarded with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and the Wenatchee Valley below. This park’s popularity has decreased in recent years, which is good news for beginner or intermediate climbers because you can take your time without worry. Just be careful—sandstone crumbles easily.

Climbing Email List

Want to become an experienced climber and connect with others who share your interest? Find out the latest rock climbing news by joining the Wenatchee Climbing-Chatter Group email list. Each week, this group organizes climbs up a specific crag in an effort to connect locals with rock climbing newcomers. This isn’t a teaching type of event, so you need to be good enough to climb on your own.

As you plan your next rock climbing trip, add these locations to your list, and set aside a few extra days—I promise you won’t want to leave! Not only is Wenatchee less well-known, but it also offers some of the most amazing scenery in the Pacific Northwest.

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Carrie Smith is the financial writer and the owner of CarefulCents.com, a site that helps creative freelancers discover the art of making a living. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship. She's been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Yahoo! Finance and many other business websites. Find her on Twitter at @carefulcents.