When Can I Climb at the Seattle Program Center?

With all of the different climbing walls and features at our Seattle Program Center, it can be tough to know when you can use them. Read on to learn about when the walls are open, and what their rules are.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
July 27, 2021

When our volunteers designed our donor-funded Seattle Program Center (SPC), which opened in 2009, the goal was to create a top-notch instructional center to teach outdoor skills. As we've grown, we continue to add new features and spaces for experiential learning. In total, the Seattle Program Center has nearly 400 bolts around the building, and we've been able to decrease our trips into the mountains by 40%, decreasing our carbon footprint on our wild places.

With many different climbing walls and features at our Seattle Program Center, we get lots of questions about when they can be used and by who. Our outdoor spaces are open to the public during Magnuson Park Hours, provided we aren't running an activity on them, and all of our members can use our indoor walls as well.

Note: climbing anywhere on our outdoor features is "at your own risk. We do not supply climbing harness, ropes, or other equipment for use on our outdoor walls. Mountaineers staff will not setup any ropes, and users are responsible for knowing how to safely climb within their abilities.

Find all of the rules listed by space below. Thanks for helping us share this space with the community, and for being safe and courteous users.

Remember, safety first

Just like any other time you're climbing, be sure to:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Check knots and make sure harnesses are secured properly (if using ropes and harnesses)
  • Establish clear communication standards with your partners
  • Know your own abilities and be cautious

If you encounter spinning holds, aged or worn carabiners/achors/webbing, or any other safety issues with climbing equipment at the SPC, please email the Climbing Wall Committee.

South Plaza (Outdoor Climbing and bouldering walls)

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After completing construction on the South Plaza, the largest climbing area at our program center, we donated the space to Magnuson Park for use by everyone. As long as we're not running a program on the climbing wall, it is open to the public anytime the park is open. But, even when we are using it, we may not need the entire wall and we like to share. Please ask if you're interested in climbing too, and we might be able to offer you a section. 

The wall is setup with bolts and anchors suited for lead climbing and top-roping. Please note, the south plaza wall is not designed for placing gear. Do not trad climb. If you'd like to boulder, please use the bouldering rock or stay below the designated height restrictions. 

Plaza climbing reservations can be made through either
Magnuson Park Events  (magnusonevents@seattle.gov) or
via The Mountaineers at (garretta@mountaineers.org). 

All reservations for the Seattle Program Center are listed on the following calendar page.

basalt columns (Outdoor)

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Our basalt columns, called The Mountaineers Massif, are also open to the public. You will need cams  to safely climb the columns, and once at the top you'll find anchors to set up top ropes and a summit register to celebrate your climb (legend has it Conrad Anker once signed the summit register!). 

Note: climbing the columns requires skill and caution. Metal bars connect the columns to one another. Do not grab, or place any  climbing equipment on these bars.

If you'd like to know more about the basalt columns, you can read about their perilous journey across Washington state. 

friction slabs (Outdoor)

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The friction slabs opened to much fanfare in 2018, and as far as we can tell are a one-of-a-kind training center in the world! Like our other outdoor climbing areas, the friction slabs are open to the public during park hours. This is a smaller outdoor area, so if you are looking to use these features outside of regular 9-5 hours, it may be a good idea check the Seattle Program Center Calendar  to check and make sure there is not a Mountaineers group running a course during that time.

Note: This facility is a great place to work on your footwork, and anchors are available at the top for practice in the chimney. The friction slabs are not designed for trad climbing. Do not place gear in the cracks. 

Want to learn more about friction/slab climbing? Check out our 3-part blog series, written by Super Volunteer Cebe Wallace, about the basics of friction climbing, the basic skills you'll need to become a slab master, and where you can go to practice your skills.

Goodman c (Indoor Rock Wall)

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Our Goodman Auditorium boasts a rock wall on it's south end, set with ropes and holds for use in our programs, camps, and by our members. Climbing at the Goodman C wall is open to Mountaineers members during business hours from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, with extended hours until 7pm on Wednesday evenings.

If you'd like to climb in Goodman C, please contact our member services team in advance to make sure the space is available. This space is frequently occupied by events during business hours, so be sure to email before you plan to arrive.

Note: Anyone climbing the walls is required to hold a belay certification from a rock climbing gym or have the skills through Mountaineers courses. Signing a Mountaineers waiver is also required (if you are an active member, you likely signed this through your profile). If you're not yet a member, set up a free Guest account to sign your waiver. Guest members must be accompanied by a dues-paying member to be allowed access. The Goodman C walls are not designed for trad climbing. Please avoid placing gear while climbing on the walls. 

Goodman C (Indoor Simulation ICe Wall)

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To climb on the ice wall, specific training and equipment is required. Please contact Member Services for more information if you are interested in using the ice wall. 

basement

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Our basement climbing facility is often busy with course workshops and skills practices. It is not open to members or the public during the day, and is generally only used by our course students and partner organizations. If you would like to use the basement, please  contact Member Services for more information. 

Courses

Interested in learning more? Take a look at overviews to learn more about our volunteer-led courses to teach you new outdoor skills. Learn with any one of our seven branches at any one of our 3 program centers.

Climbing Courses

Scrambling Courses

Canyoning Course

Backcountry Skiing Courses

 


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