American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

United States, Washington—Cascade Mountains, Beacon Rock, East Face Closure

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

Beacon Rock, East Face Closure. The southeast face of Beacon Rock was closed in July of 1989. The Washington State Park Ranger, Steve Johnson, caught two climbers climbing near the east central buttress. As they were ascending a new route, the ranger demanded that they come down and waited for their arrival. He was adamant about the east and southeast face closure. Previously, informally Beacon Rock’s east face was closed due to traffic jams as cars stopped to watch climbers. Ranger Johnson threatened to cite the climbers for “mining without a permit” in a Washington State Park. There was also some rockfall from new-route activity near the trail. The closing of the southeast face is a loss to the climbing community. Long climbs, like Pacific Rim and Final Curtain, have gained popularity and kept the south face from overcrowding. The south face is more dangerous than the east face since there are many scree fields above the south face. The trails can be relocated away from the rock on the east and south faces. Beacon Rock State Park is a multi-use facility. Hikers have as much right to the south-face trails as climbers, although 85% of trail use is climber oriented. A petition is being circulated to reopen the southeast face to the central buttress. Negotiations with the park service are under way.

Robert McGown

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