Climbing at Exit 38
While not a premier sport destination by any means, we enjoyed a nice little stop out at Exit 38 while we were visiting friends in Seattle. Exit 38’s exotic name comes from the exit number you take off the I-90 when traveling East out of Seattle. The area has 3 main climbing areas (we went to Deception Crags) and over 250 routes.
At the crag, a 10 minute uphill approach leads to several scattered crags each with a handful of routes. Most of the routes are in the easier grades and quite a few can be set up on top rope. This creates a bit of a “Hey everyone, it’s our first day climbing outsideand we brought 18 of our friends with us!” kind of scene at the easier crags but there are several options with harder routes and fewer people as well.
When we visited we brought a friend who had never climbed before and she had a fantastic time. The reason it is so crowded is that it is a great beginner’s crag. We were busy being belay and beta slaves so we didn’t climb anything beyond the easy stuff, but looking at the guidebook it has some potential for a fun day of climbing.
You can park for free if you are willing to slog uphill (through a really ridiculously good looking forest). Exit at…you guessed it…Exit 38 from the I-90 and pass by a gravel road right turn that takes you to the State Park. Parking is on the left right across from the trailhead that leads you up the hillside by a little creek. Alternatively, you can drive up the gravel road and pay to park at the State Park which will make your approach a 100% flat stroll on an old railway line.
Exit 38 has its very own guidebook which is available here and covers the Deception Crags, Mount Washington and the Far Side.