Tieton (pronounced Tie it en) is a rockclimbing destination in central Washington State consisting of Andesite columns and walls. This area is an excellent location for fall to spring cragging with it's dry desert enviornment and high quality crack and face climbing. The Tieton River Canyon is located in the rain shadow of Mount Rainier. Currently there are almost 400 routes on 21 different formations. Route lengths vary from a single pitch to seven pitches.
Tieton has always been known for its crack climbing. The first cracks were ascended in the 1960s using hammers and pitons with difficulties up to the 5.10 level. The 1970s brought new hardware and many strong climbers to the area pushing the difficulty into the 5.11s. Recently, some new development specifically the Wall of Many Faces, The Cave, Lava Point, The Dream Wall, and The Honeycomb Buttress has included bolted sport climbing as well.
The rock at Tieton is Andesite, which is similar to Basalt, but much more solid. Andesite is a gray to black volcanic rock with between about 52 and 63 weight percent silica (SiO2). Andesites contain crystals composed primarily of plagioclase feldspar and one or more of the minerals pyroxene (clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene) and lesser amounts of hornblende.
Number of Routes
Tim's Pond Wall
Cat In The Hat
Goose Egg Mountain
Tieton is located west of Yakima and Naches along highway 12. From Portland, take I5 north to route 12 east. From Seattle, follow I90 east to Ellenburg, then route 97 south to Yakima, then route 12 west to Tieton. The first climbing area, the Royal Columns, are about 30 minutes west of Yakima.
From February 1st to April 1st of each year, the Royal Columns and The Bend are closed for Raptor nesting. For 2006, the Bend is closed until August 1st, because of a nest at that crag.
A Washington State Fish and Wildlife Permit is required to park at most trailheads. For information on where to obtain this call 1-866-246-9453 or visit this website. The permit costs $10.
When To Climb
Tieton is a fall, winter, and spring cragging location. It is very hot and dry during the summer and is not recommended then.
Between White Pass and Naches, there are nine Forrest Service Campgrounds. Unfortunately, they are closed during the fall, winter, and part of the spring. The best place to stay would be a motel in Yakima, 30 minutes from the climbing area.
The ratings at Tieton are said to be "old school" by climbers visiting here for the first time. The ratings tend to be similar to Yosemite or Index, so if you are coming from a place with softer grades like Vantage, Smith, Squamish, or Exit 38, add 1 grade and you should feel right at home.