Pearly Gates is a north-facing crag in the Icicle Creek Canyon near Leavenworth providing shaded rock climbing and excellent crack climbing on clean, white granite. There aren’t that many easily accessed north-facing crags in the Icicle because Icicle Creek itself blocks access to those crags. Some would argue Pearly Gates doesn’t qualify as easily accessible because it’s a good uphill hoof to get there (1000+ vertical feet) but the Snow Creek Trail, from which the climbing trail branches off, gets you across Icicle Creek.
Access: From the very western edge of Leavenworth, turn off Highway 2 and follow the Icicle Road about 4.25 miles to the Snow Creek parking lot and trailhead (on left side of the road). Park here (Northwest Forest Pass needed). Walk the Snow Creek Trail for about .3 miles until you cross the irrigation ditch on a small bridge. Shortly thereafter a climber’s trail splits off on your right just before the main trail starts switchbacking uphill. Follow the climber’s trail, cross Snow Creek on fallen trees, and then start climbing steeply uphill on a well defined path until you reach the crag. The approach takes most people 30+ minutes.
Map: Our topographic map will help you find the crag (and several others) in the vicinity of the Snow Creek Trailhead.
General Climbing Info. Pearly Gates is a mainly a crack climbing wall. There are multiple lines for 5.8 to 5.10 crack climbers. Most of these lines require that you place protection (bring up a standard rack), although there are double bolt anchors at the top of most routes (about 100 feet off the deck) to lower off. Bring a 60 meter rope.
Shady Summer Climbing: mid-morning to late afternoon.
Climbs at Pearly Gates. The route information listed below was compiled from personal visits, information at ClimbingWashington.com and SummitPost.org. This list of routes is not comprehensive but gives rock climbers an overview of some of the routes present as well as some landmarks for orientation. These routes are listed from left to right as you walk along the base of cliffs.
- Celestial Groove (5.9+) Immediately right of a thin flake.
- Pearly Gates (5.10c) Twin cracks. There’s a bolt for the overhang.
- Meathooks of Mercy (5.8+) Uses the same belay as Cloud Nine.
- Leap of Faith (5.10d) This is the next crack right of Meathooks. Tricky start.
- Cloud Nine (5.9+) Two pitch climb starting about a quarter of the way down the wall on a downward pointing spike that follows a good crack (5.8) to chains. The second pitch (5.9+) has a few bolts leading to chains. Use small cams to augment bolts. Pro .3 to 3” cams and wire stoppers.
- Cloudburst (5.10a) An alternate second pitch to Cloud Nine. Goes left through a bulge.
- No Room for Squares (5.8) Obvious cracks with a variety of options.
- Lost Souls (5.9) Next cracks to the right.
- Last Rites (5.10a) Short but tough crack with a wide (double-fist) crux.
- Angelic Curses (5.10c) Shorter than Last Rights…but trickier too.
- Speak No Evil (5.10c) A bolted route up the slabby right side of the wall.
- Divine Line (5.9) Lies to the left of Speak No Evil.
- The Scene is Clean (5.8) A bolted route above Speak No Evil.
Two additional routes that are highly rated and are two pitches long:
- Loaves of Fun. A climb reached by walking past the first section of wall past some broken terrain to the second system of cracks. The first pitch (5.8, 140 feet) is a left-slanting double crack that leads up to face/slab climbing. Go past the first anchor (lying slightly to the right) and work a bit more left to a second anchor. Second pitch (5.9+ to 5.10c) has nice slab climbing with bolt protection. The bulge area is the crux and is mid 5.10 in difficulty– climb slightly left or right of the bulge to make it easier. Gear: micro to 4” cams, wire stoppers, quickdraws. Descent: 3 rappels on a 60-meter rope.
- Milky Way. Located a ways right of Loaves of Fun. Start at a dihedral with a bolt above it. Pitch 1: Climb the dihedral (5.10a finger crack), clip bolt, and work left on slabs to a flake. Climb flake and work right on slabs to belay on ledge. Pitch 2 is mainly 5.9 slab climbing to chains another 110 feet up. Gear: small cams and quick draws. Descent: Rappel this route with 2 ropes or Loaves of Fun with one 60-meter rope.
Guidebooks. The second edition of Viktor Kramar’s guidebook Leavenworth Rock gives written and pictorial coverage of the routes at Pearly Gates.
Leave It Better Than You Found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or not know all the issues affecting a route. You are responsible for yourself, your actions, and your safety. If you won’t accept that responsibility, you are prohibited from using our information.
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