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Ice Climbing in The Pencil Route, Wenatchee, Washington USA

Top elevation:
4900ft/1493m
Skill level required:
Grade WI5
Wenatchee is the largest city of Chelan County, located in North Central Washington and lies on the west side of the Columbia River. The city is also known as the Apple Capital of the world, due to the valley's many apple cultivations.

The Pencil Route is located across the Wenatchee river from the highway, high in Tumwater Canyon. In order to get there, you must first paddle across the river with an inflatable craft and then walk to the Falls Creek drainage. Once you get to the Pencil Falls, you will find a three pitch route.

The first route is perhaps the most difficult and classic route to climb. It is also considered to be one of the Washington’s best waterfall ice climb. The skill level, required to climb Pencil Falls, is grade WI 5. The route has at least 100 ft/30.5 m of vertical climb, with good quality, thick ice and protection. Once you reach the top at 4900 ft/1493 m, climb down on the left as you face the route, follow a ramp and at the end of this ramp, you will find a rappel station.

Pencil Falls route is an exciting adventure for ice climbers, that starts from the moment you get out of your car and have to carry all your gear through an icy and big river. Climbers should take two 196 ft/60 m ropes, ice tools, ice protection and snowshoes with them. Always check the weather conditions before you choose this climb due to high avalanche danger on the area.

How to Get to Destination

BY CAR FROM Seattle
145mi/233km, 2hours and 23min
Head East on I-90 E and take exit 85 to WA-970 N towards Wenatchee. Turn left on WA-10/WA-970 and enter US-2 E/US-97 N and continue towards N Wenatchee Ave.
BY CAR FROM Wenatchee
29.4mi/47.3km, 35mins
From N Wenatchee Ave drive towards US-2 W/US-97 S and stay on US-2 W. Turn right on NF-112 to Tumwater Campground where you can leave your car.
BY AIR
Sea-Tac International Airport,
146mi/234km from Wenatchee Town
BY TRAIN

From downtown Seattle, not far from the airport, the King Street Train Station is a perfect way to get to Wenatchee. The station offers an enclosed waiting area, with restrooms, ATM and a ticket office. It is located at 303 South Jackson Street.

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