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When Cat's Away
Nathan on When the Cat's Away, the Mice will Play.
Photo by Jim Thompson.

Calvin leads Zig Zag in mountain boots
in honor of the late Dallas Kloke.

Photo by Matt Perkins.


Climbing Area: Mount Erie
Mount Erie is designated community forest land, owned by the City of Anacortes.

Land Manager:
Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department
904 6th Street
Anacortes, Washington

Current status:
Mount Erie is open year round. Falcon closures have been imposed for the last several years and climbers are asked to respect them. If you observe falcons in the area, and particularly if you observe their territorial displays which frequently include dive-bombing climbers on the rocks, please report these to Anacortes Parks and Recreation. For some background information, visit Friends of Anacortes Forest Lands.

Access considerations:
The parking area and viewpoints at the top of Mount Erie are very busy with visitors coming to enjoy the view during periods of good weather. The cliffs immediately below can be clogged with instructional groups. Watch for seasonal falcon nesting closures on the western portion of the Main Wall and Skyline Arete.

Other resources:
Weather forecast
Weather cams (Anacortes)

Mount Erie was first explored by Dallas Kloke and other local climbers over forty years ago. It's seen steady climber traffic ever since. The area has many excellent climbs, ranging from easy 5th class to 5.12.

Most routes are on steep but rarely overhanging faces. The rock is some weird kind of diorite, and although there are some cracks for gear, there's little true crack climbing. Many of the newer routes are sport climbs. There are some excellent top-rope crags near the parking area, and for many years Mount Erie's been a popular practice area for climbing clubs and instructional groups.

The crags on Mount Erie are scattered on the south slope of a mini-mountain overlooking Puget Sound. Wide views take in the waters around Deception Pass, the San Juan Islands, the Olympics, and several of the Cascade volcanos. There are madrona trees, shore pines, and wild roses around the cliffs. It's common to see eagles and turkey vultures soaring overhead. Mt. Erie is worth visiting as much for the atmosphere as the climbing.

Mount Erie is a city park owned by the City of Anacortes. The city has been generally tolerant of climbing. Visual impacts are minimized by the fact that most of the crags are below or unseen from the main visitor areas. There have been few other concerns associated with climbing, although erosion could become a real problem if people stray from trails.

The biggest issue at Mt. Erie is its popularity. A road leads to the top of the mountain. As a result, a lot of tourists drive up to take in the view. It's not unusual for people to throw rocks or beer bottles off the edge of the cliffs near the summit parking area. A helmet's not a bad idea at these areas.

These crowds mean that parking can be a problem. Parking at the mountain top is extremely limited and you should carpool, if possible. Some cliffs, including the Main Wall (Snag Buttress), are reached by hiking up from the bottom of the mountain. There's a small parking area off Hart Lake Road, but space is limited here, too. The parking area is also close to a residential driveway. Be sure not to block the driveway and observe any property signs.

The park is closed at night. There is no camping.

Dallas Kloke's long awaited guidebook came out in March, 2005. A second edition was released in 2013.


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