OverviewThe Baker City Cliff (usually referred to as the "Pumphouse Wall") is a collection of cliff faces off of Hwy 542 near Bellingham, WA.
The area is a collection of about 6 climbing faces. The Baker City cliff itself is about 250' tall at it's greatest relief, and encompasses 4 of those faces. The other two can be found by heading east to the next crag over.
The rock is very interesting, much different than anything else in the area. Climbing consists mostly of overhanging slopers from 5.10a - 5.12d. There's bolts, trad lines, even ice and mixed climbing here in winter (see ethics section).
The Cobblestone wall (furthest west) offers a more intermediate experience on wild fun rock. Routes are long (Use a 60m rope) and range from 5.8 - 5.10. The wall is aptly named as the rock really is quite like cobblestone, just with a lot of moss added. This wall needs an annual cleaning after each winter and a touch-up in June. The 5.8 is a classic.
I'll be adding topos soon
Getting ThereFollow Hwy 542 heading East from Bellingham until just past milepost 37. There is parking for two cars on the right-side of the road across from the trail. There is another spot about 1/4 mile down the road.
Baker City Cliff is on the North side of the Hwy. Est time from B'ham = 40 minutes.
Red TapeNo red tape (see ethics section)
EthicsThe crags here are super accessible and fun year round, but there's a few things to consider...
This area receives heinous amounts of rainfall each year. As such moss grows rampantly on non-overhanging walls and drips, often on the route you want to climb.
You'll want to carry these any time of year at this crag:
- Soft Brush
- Wire Brush
- A Stick
- A Nut Tool
For annual cleaning trowels, extending poles, a flat shovel, and gardening tools work best.
In general the more cleaning these walls receive the better they get, but it is possible to be destructive. Use common sense, be respectful, and have fun. These routes are very good and worth the effort, you'll be doing the community a favor.
Generally the fixed gear is quite good here, let's keep it that way! Many of the routes have "fixed" carabiners at the top, please inspect these and replace if necessary. DON'T TAKE THEM, they're not leavers (it's called the pumphouse wall for a reason, you'll appreciate them being there).
Always top-rope through your own gear! Please don't use the fixed gear for top-roping, it prematurely wears them out and can even endanger other climbers. It's easy enough to just haul up if your second can't make it.
Dry Tooling and Mixed Climbing
Please don't dry tool established routes. Dry tooling can damage the rock, break critical holds, and in general change the character of the climb. Many B'ham areas have already sustained damage at the hands of picks and crampons.
There are definitely areas that can be dry-tooled and excellent mixed climbing here, on quite solid gear for B'ham. Be respectful, reasonable, and creative and you should be able to have fun without causing harm. There's plenty of lines that no one wants to rock climb that can be top-roped or lead in mixed (even pure ice) conditions.
GuidebooksThis is a relatively unknown area. Jason Henrie's "Bellingam Rock Climbing" is the only real resource and it has a lot great beta. It's the definitive B'ham guide for Sehome Hill, The Chukanuts, the Bat Caves, and Baker City Cliff.
If you climb here this shot should make you smile. Classic Bellingham climbing, it may not be the most spectacular (choss, moss, short, wet, vegetation, portable holds, bad fixed gear, and more) but it's all we've got AND WE LOVE IT!