Little Si is best known for being one of Washington’s most popular hikes but, just a 30-40 minute drive from Seattle, the base of this mountain is also home to the city’s closest sport climbing. Climbers commonly refer to the spot as “Exit 32,” because that’s the I-90 exit you take to get there. The routes are long and overhanging, showcasing pretty much every kind of grip you could wish for.
What Makes It Great
Little Si’s igneous rock is slick (so bring your stickiest shoes), but it is solid. The routes range in difficulty from 5.8 to 5.14c; the area will be more fun for those who can climb at least 5.10 or 5.11. There are two major climbing areas within Little Si: World Wall I, and World Wall II. These walls are easily found after a mellow, 30-minute walk from the Little Si trailhead. Once you get to the walls, the routes up them are continuously steep, lengthy (so bring a 70 meter rope), and many of them are quite difficult. This is Washington’s highest concentration of 5.13 and 5.14 sport climbs. If, like most recreational climbers, you don’t climb at that grade yet, World Wall I also contains a good selection of 5.10-5.12 routes. World Wall II has one 5.11 and several 5.12s. Options for easier climbs are more limited, but World Wall I has three 5.9s, and the Blackstone Area has one 5.8. There are a few more good-quality 5.9s scattered between it and the other walls. If after clipping all those bolts you’re left hankering to plug some gear, there are three fun trad lines (a 5.6, a 5.9, and a 5.10a) at British Ailses area, and a few more scattered amongst the other walls.
In the summer, when there will be enough light out to climb until 9 p.m., you can come here after work and still get in a good session. Why bother with climbing plastic in the gym when you can so easily come out for the real deal? Plus, thanks to the World Walls’ overhangs, some of the routes stay dry in the rain.
Who is Going to Love It
Climbing addicts who want a close place to try hard on some burly routes. With so many tough lines to choose from, this is a great place to get strong! If you’re motivated to keep pushing yourself, work your way up the classics, from “Goddess” (5.10c), to “Hydrophobia” (5.12c), to “Black Ice” (5.13b). You’ll always have something to project.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
After getting off I-90 at exit 32, turn left onto 436th Ave SE and then take a left on SE North Bend Way. Turn right on SE Mount Si Road, and the parking lot will be on your left after 0.4 miles. There is also an overflow parking lot west of the main lot, between SE Mount Si Road and 434 Ave SE.