Snow Creek Wall is an impressive 800 feet tall granite face that towers above Snow Creek on the outskirts of Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The wall is about 0.25 miles wide and offers a substantial number of technical rock climbing routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.12 in difficulty and one to eight pitches in length. Climbing up to grade IV (Hyperspace
) can be had on the wall (thanks to Martin Cash
for pointing out these two grade IV's). The climbing typically follows cracks connected by knobby slabs. "Summit" elevation given is a rough approximation based on USGS maps.
Information taken largely from Jeff Smoot's Rock Climbing Washington
Snow Creek Wall is located in the north eastern reaches of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. From the downtown of Leavenworth, WA, head west on US highway 2. Right before the road leaves town, watch for a well-signed Icicle River Road on the left hand side. Take the Icicle River Road for 4.3 miles to the Snow Creek parking lot on the left hand side.
Hike the Snow Creek trail from the parking lot as it initially drops down and crosses Icicle Creek and shortly thereafter the aqueduct. Stay on the trail for approx. 2 miles from the parking lot as it switchbacks its way up the east side of Snow Creek Canyon. As the trail levels off (c. 1 mile into the hike), you get your first good view of Snow Creek Wall on the opposite side of the creek. Stay on the trail until you are directly across from the Wall's "Shield" - a large face in the upper 1/3rd of the wall with a distinct crack running down its middle (pitches 5 and 6 of Outer Space). Watch for a tiny rock cairn on the right side (elevation approx. 2850 feet). At this point you are no more than a hundred feet above Snow Creek. Follow a faint (tree fall covered) climbers' trail down to a double log crossing over the creek (visible from main trail). Once across, look for cairns marking an initially faint climbers' trail which steeply climbs its way to the base of the Wall. There's a well beaten trail running directly under the foot of Snow Creek Wall which permits easy access to most routes.
Snow Creek Wall is located within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The North West Forest Pass
is required to park at the trailhead ($5/day or $30/year). Also, a self-issued permit (at TH) for both day and overnight visitors is required to enter the wilderness. Note that pets are NOT allowed in the wilderness.
When To Climb
Icicle River Road (to the trail head) remains open year round. Climbing season is limited by your desire to posthole your way up through the snow in the winter time (and to climb in sub-zero temperatures). Typically, comfortable climbing season runs from March till October. The wall is E/SE facing.
Several NFS operated campgrounds are located along Icicle River Road. The closest one from Leavenworth is Eightmile followed by Bridge Creek. There are several more further in along Icicle River Road which tend to be slightly less crowded on busy weekends in the summer. They range in price from $10-$11 per site, per vehicle (2004 prices).
Wenatchee National Forest ranger station in Leavenworth, WA might be able to provide some basic access information. Their address is:
Leavenworth, WA 98826
A family (a gang?) of goats has made Snow Creek Wall and the surrounding area their home. So here they are for the viewing pleasure of all you goat perv's out there. Also check out this tease here