I am making this page a major project of mine...should be a very comprehensive page when all is done. I will continually add photos and routes as I do them!
Mt. Erie stands nearly 1300' above the surrounding saltwater, and is visible from many points in the San Juans to the west, and as far away as Mt. Vernon to the East. It is Fidalgo Island's high point, and has a road to the top which offers views of the Cascades and Olympics. The mountain is contained within an Anacortes city park, and consists of a feldspar and hornblende rich diorite. It hosts many established climbing routes on its various walls, and a well-developed system of trails connecting the climbing areas to the road and each other. Climbs are a mix of sport and trad, with crimpy face climbs and moderate shallow crack climbs being the norm. I will continually update this page as I climb more routes but for now I will describe the classics.
There are four major walls at Mount Erie which include the Summit Wall, Powerline Wall, Black Wall and the Main Wall. The nice thing about Erie is that all the walls are south facing so like the Sunshine Wall at Vantage, the walls tend to warm up nicely on a sunny day. The mountain lies in the rainshadow of the Olympics, meaning it stays dry much of the year. That being said it does rain here quite a bit in the winter and due to the damp air on the west side, it can take a day or so to dry out the walls. The Main Wall typically dries out first even though they are lower than the Summit and Powerline Walls, which are shaded by trees more. The mild temperatures allow for comfortable climbing at any time of the year though so this crag can be fun all the time. Check the weather forecast for the town of Anacortes and the weather atop the mountain will be the same. Views to the south from any of the walls are breathtaking especially on a clear day.
From Seattle, take I-5 north to exit 230, and follow the signs west along Highway 20 towards Anacortes/Whidbey Island. Cross the large bridge over the Swinomish Channel and count the streetlights from the west end of the bridge. You want to take a left at the 4th stop light to stay on Hwy 20 and avoid the "Highway 20 Spur" which leads to downtown Anacortes off to the right. Continue 1.7 down Highway 20 and take a right onto Campbell Lake Road right before you reach Campbell Lake. Go another 1.6 miles along the north side of the lake and trend right at the Lake Erie Grocery, onto Heart Lake Road. Parking for the lower mountain (Main Wall area) is in a gravel pullout on the right hand side after another 0.2 miles. If you want to drive to the top parking for access to the Summit and Powerline Walls, continue another 0.1 mile, and make a sharp right turn on Ray Auld Memorial drive which winds its way to the summit. There is plenty of parking at the summit and it can be quite busy in the summer. There is a pit toilet at the summit during the summer months. From Seattle it takes about 1.5 hours to drive to Mount Erie and approach hikes can vary in length from 5 minutes (Summit Wall) to a half hour (Main Wall).
Mount Erie was home to Dallas Kloke. The Washington state climbing legend literally lived here and put up many of the routes found at Mount Erie. When he wasn't cragging here he was up in the North Cascades climbing alpine style or maintaining the trails throughout Washington. Known as a very friendly and nice person, many people enjoyed his presence and were honored to climb with him. Tragically, in late September, 2010 he passed when a rock gave way and he fell 800 feet off Mount Larrabee near Mount Baker. Every day he is thought of and remembered for not only his incredible climbing resume but for "his boundless energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for the mountains".
His lasting legacy has to be his Mount Erie climbing guide titled "Rockin' on the Rock" which was published in 2005 and is now out of print. Before he passed, he was actively working on a new version to his guide but never finished. The new version of the guide will come out this summer! Until then, you can buy a small packet guide describing many of the routes he was going to put in his new book. These are sold at the Lake Erie Grocery store at the corner of Heart Lake Road and Rosario Road at the base of the mountain. Their address is: 13378 Heart Lake Rd Anacortes, WA 98221
Climb on Dallas
The Summit Wall is the closest to the summit parking area and offers a handful of short easy trad routes as well as a few decent crimpy face climbs that can be top roped. In fact, just about anything on this wall can be top roped and the best way to approach this wall is to rappel on one of the anchors from the top. Start at the small pull-off for the tower just across the road from the pit toilet and hike southeast for a few minutes until you break out of the trees. Scramble the top of the cliffs until you find a set of bolted anchors where you can rappel down to the base of the Summit Wall. There should be 4-5 anchors in close proximity two of which can easily be reached from the top. Once at the bottom you will have a handful of routes to choose from. This wall is only about 50 feet high so it's pretty short and keep in mind there are a bunch of trees at the base shading it from the sun so in winter the rock is typically damp. To get to Lookout Wall from the base, to the next small wall just to the west.
Rogers Romp - 5.3 50 Feet Gear to 1.5"
This climb is the furthest left (west) on the Summit Wall and offers an easy slab, step and short face with cracks for protection. This is a good beginner lead. Reach it by traversing around a tree to the left (west) along the base of the wall. It starts in a more opened area and may dry sooner than others on this wall Unfortunately there are no bolted anchors at the top.
Open Book - 5.6 50 Feet Gear to 1"
This climb heads up the dihedral crack to the left of The Nose. It's usually wet in winter and drooling with water since it's shaded by a couple large trees behind the wall. It starts with an easy face climb then veers right into the crack which has great protection. Bolted anchors at the top.
The Nose - 5.8 R 50 Feet Gear to 1"
Climbing The Nose can be done several ways. The usual way is to start up the large crack just to the right side and once at the same level as The Nose traverse left onto a foot ledge and finish the climb up the arete. Another way to do it is to climb the first part of Open Book and traverse right onto The Nose halfway up the dihedral which goes at a 5.8. The hardest way is the 5.10d Nose Direct which climbs up the overhang and over The Nose from bottom to top. This variation is R rated. Bolted anchors at the top. These climbs are good top ropes.
Jack of Diamonds - 5.8 40 Feet Gear to 3"
This climb starts on the right (east) side of the wall next to the typical start to The Nose route. Start the climb with a slightly overhung bouldering move next to a large tree (requiring precise nut placements to protect) and follow the left of two cracks up to the final slab. Bolted anchors at the top. The crack just to the right of this route is the Queen of Diamonds which is slightly more difficult with a harder bouldering move at the start. Further right there is a nice positive angle slab without many cracks offering crimpy climbs to top rope but wet moss sometimes covers the rock making it damp in winter.
The Powerline is a popular wall due to its easy access and good quality rock. There is a mixture of good sport climbs and moderate trad climbs. One real nice thing about this wall is that it receives unobstructed afternoon sun allowing for 50-60 degrees days even in winter! There is a small parking area just below the summit parking lot (room for about 6 cars) that you pull off to the right at a 90 degree left turn just before the summit tower. Park here and follow the Sunshine Trail west along some grass ledges and into the trees above the power lines. Head through the woods a short ways and underneath the power lines to the top of a cliff overlooking Lake Erie and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Walk to the NW along the top of the cliff and locate the descent ramp heading down the west side of the cliff which seperates Powerline Wall from the small Crack Wall to the west. This ramp is 3rd class and the anchors for Powerline Wall West are located just below the ramp. To reach the base of the wall, turn left at the bottom of the ramp and descend a bit farther to find the start of the lower routes including False Impressions and Intimidator. The lowest point at the base of the wall is the start of Intimidator. Scrambling further south and ascending two blocky 4th class steps brings you to the base of the upper routes including Tindall's Terror and Scarface.
False Impressions - 5.8 60 Feet 5 Bolts
This sport climb is the first bolted line you come to after descending to the base of the wall on the Sunshine Trail. It is a real good route for its grade and great for beginners to lead. The route starts in a shallow crack, then heads up and through a steeper section with good holds and ends going up a left trending crack above a bulge. The route is a bit run-out above the last bolt where a small stopper can be used. There are bolted anchors at the top.
Intimidator - 5.10a 60 Feet 8 Bolts
This route is a sustained slab route with good positive crimp holds. It's located just to the right of False Impressions and the start to this route is the lowest point of the wall. There's a good anchor at the top.
Tindall's Terror - 5.7 75 Feet Gear to 1" and a couple QD's
From the base of Intimidator at the lowest point on the wall, ascend two blocky steps to the right and when you reach the first major Madrona tree begin the climb up to another large ledge. This ledge is the start for both this route and Scarface (located just to the right of this route). The first crack trends left, then continues straight up before curving back to the right and crossing the bolt line for Scarface. A couple bolts from Scarface can be clipped into on this trad route for added protection. Nice anchor at the top that can be walked off to reach the Sunset trail with some class 3 scrambling.
Scarface - 5.10b 40 Feet 6 Bolts
This sport route starts just right of Tindall's Terror on the same big ledge above the Madrona tree as described above. The climbing is very crimpy, with some good positive holds and friction climbing. Between the 4th and 5th bolt, you will cross Tindall's Terror. The crux is above the "scar" in the rock. Good bolted anchor at the top.
Main Wall West
Main Wall East
Pigeon Stool Wall
Camping is not allowed at Mount Erie. The summit area parking may be patrolled so don't think you can hide up there. Private property surrounds some of the trails so stay on established trails and keep the area open for the future. The surrounding area is quiet neighborhoods with nice lake homes and it is assumed these people don't necessarily like having hundreds of climbers around their homes every weekend. Please respect the people living around the mountain and their properties.
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