Friction Slabs Project - Update & Call For Backup

We have raised funds and drawn plans to build a one-of-its-kind friction slab climbing center. Learn about this project and sign up to be our project manager to help make this dream a reality.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 18, 2016
Friction Slabs Project - Update & Call For Backup
Friction Slabs project design.

Beginning in late 2012, our volunteer climb leaders started dreaming about new, easier ways to teach friction climbing. From their imaginations came the idea to build our very own friction slab climbing center. The plans are drawn, the money is raised, and now we need a project manager to help make this dream a reality.

The resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another

A large, thick, flat piece of stone, concrete, or wood


Friction slabs are like wide cracks. Love them or hate them, you can’t climb the most classic trad routes or scramble our iconic peaks without working through them. Access to friction slabs is vital to your climbing and scrambling experience.

Most climbers and scramblers learn friction climbing at the crag or on a mountain. To reduce our human and environmental impact on the outdoor slabs where we teach climbing, we're bringing that experience to The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center. 

The Dream

Since opening the Seattle Program Center in 2009, we've reduced our outdoor lessons to learn basic skills by nearly a third. We're proud that our clubhouse offers one of the best venues for climbing instruction in the nation, if not the world. Its instructional features are a central part of our mission to offer world-class, comprehensive learning of essential skills to get outside and explore. 


Our dream will be nearly complete with the addition of Friction Slabs. Once finished, they will help teach important skills like proper footwork and how to “read the rock.” All of these structures not only enrich the student experience, but help the environment by offering an in-city, safe, cost-effective, and sustainable alternative to learning the basics of scrambling and climbing on fragile alpine peaks and at crowded crags.

The Project Status

Beginning in 2013, our Friction Slap Committee volunteers built sample slabs in the basement as proof of concept, and used them to gather initial data on things like angles and textures to inform the final design. Then we drew up plans. Our Board granted project approval in May 2013, and we were on our way!


Two years of fundraising brought us to the project's overall goal of $150,000 - thanks to the generosity of individual donors, the Seattle Branch council, and the Friction Slabs, Seattle Climbing, and Seattle Alpine Climbing committees.

With the funds collected, it was time to get moving. We immediately set about clearing the area just north of our building where the slabs would live. We set about finding someone who could build it for us, and ready to begin construction in the summer of 2015. Unfortunately, delays with permits and the contractor set us behind, and a year passed without much progress despite our best efforts. 

Now, we have identified a new contractor who is ready to move forward on the first phase of the project by creating a scale model of the structure. Once the model is complete, the construction phase will begin.

Call For Backup

Our current volunteer project managers, Adam Rhode and Nicole Twaddell, have generously committed their time and professional expertise since the beginning of this project. With their day jobs consuming more of their time, they need to pass the baton to the next volunteer(s). Will you be our next new project manager for the Friction Slabs project?

Project Manager Responsibilities

Work in a volunteer capacity to oversee the progress of The Mountaineers Friction Slab Project. This includes managing timelines,  providing project oversight, and supervising the contractor's build/revisions of the scale model and final structure.

As with most jobs of this type, there's an indoor "administrative" portion and an outdoor "oversight" portion. One project manager could handle the complete project or a project management team of two could divide the project.
A full job description is available for those who are interested. Also know you will receive extensive support from our outgoing project management team as you get up to speed.

To learn more about this project and position, please send an inquiry with your resume to .

Thank you. We can't do it without your help.



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