For anyone interested in rock climbing, Spokane is a great place to try it out. With easily accessible mountains near campus, routes for all experience levels and beautiful scenery, Spokane offers it all.
Climbing is a productive activity with both physical and mental health benefits. While initial equipment can be pricey, used gear stores can offer ways to get quality climbing gear for a better price.
Aidan Smith, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, climbs at Bloc Yard Bouldering Gym when he can.
“I like climbing because it is kind of rhythmic and meditative in nature and the people surrounding it are very relaxed,” Smith said.
The best way to climb as a beginner is with an experienced friend to guide you through, but the variety of options in Spokane make getting into climbing easy even if you don’t know anyone.
Senior Paal Bredal, a member of the GU climbing team, is an avid outdoor climber and frequently climbs in Spokane.
“Outdoor climbing offers a new way of experiencing the outdoors,” Bredal said. “Instead of just going on a hike, you can hike and then just go climb the mountains and experience a whole different feeling.”
For outdoor climbing, Spokane has three main options under a 30-minute drive.
Minnehaha Park is a 15-minute drive from campus across from the Spokane River. Minnehaha offers something for everyone, making it possible for beginners to climb as long as you are with someone experienced.
Minnehaha provides access to bouldering and top roping, with chains at the top to attach the rope to because there are no bolts.
The park also offers lots of non-climbing activities like walking, mountain biking and light hiking.
Second is Rocks of Sharon. Rocks of Sharon is 25-30 minutes outside of Spokane. To get to the climbing spot, it’s about a 15-minute walk until there is a 100-foot boulder surrounded by smaller boulders. The variety of sizes offer climbs for all levels.
“It’s the prettiest climb in Spokane because when you get to the top you can see all of the city and the eastern Washington area,” Bredal said. “You can go up there with no climbing gear, it’s just a beautiful area.”
The third spot is Deep Creek. Located 15-20 minutes from campus, Deep Creek is slightly hidden by a dry creek bed. Walking down the bed takes you to the rock.
“It’s actually really cool because in the spring, the water goes through there so the sand level changes,” Bredal said. “Sometimes the rock is bigger or smaller because the dirt builds up in different ways.”
Deep Creek is only for advanced climbers. If you are an experienced climber looking to challenge yourself, Deep Creek is the place to go and test out your skills.
If the outdoors seem too intimidating, consider trying an indoor gym to learn the basics. There are two indoor climbing gyms in Spokane.
For indoor climbers, Wild Walls offers a wide variety of options for those who want to try the different styles of climbing. Located downtown, it is the closest option to campus and offer $8.50 Friday night passes for GU students.
Wild Walls offers introduction to top rope classes that teach knots, commands and proper belay techniques. Other classes offered include lead classes, technique, vertical introduction and private instructions.
GU offers an off-campus climbing class through Wild Walls that covers belaying, bouldering and other climbing essentials during both semesters.
Another indoor option in Spokane is Bloc Yard. Located 15 minutes from campus, Bloc Yard only offers bouldering and is the practice gym for GU’s climbing team. With routes for all levels of bouldering, Bloc Yard is a good indoor place for anyone with no previous experience to climb.
“Bloc Yard is more bouldering oriented and I prefer the routes,” Smith said. “But I always prefer climbing outdoors over indoors when the weather allows it.”
No matter what time of year it is, Spokane has a way for you to start climbing. Indoor or outdoor, beginner or experienced, there is something for everyone in the Spokane climbing community.