Ice Climbing Near Ellensburg, Washington, USA

Where: Ellensburg

Austin Eats It. WI3. Ellensburg, WA. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.


Umptanum Falls (aka Tootsie Rolls Falls) – WI2, 30 feet (a 50m rope is more than sufficient), top ropable just bring a lot of long slings you’ll need them to build anchors on a number of small tree clumps

Austin Eats It – WI3, 30 feet (50m rope sufficient), top ropable on one large tree just bring a couple of long pieces of webbing

These two little frozen waterfalls are a great top-rope spot, first lead and come in reliably. It has been pretty warm in Seattle for the past few weeks, so Umptanum Falls was only starting to come in. But, the WI3 across the way, Austin Eats It, was in.

Approach:Take I-90 East to exit 109, Canyon Road, Ellensburg. At Canyon Road take a right, heading into Ellensburg. Follow Canyon Road (Main Street) to Umptanum Road and turn left onto it. Drive a little less than 10 miles to a distinctive large parking area on the left side. There is a Wildlife sign. Just beyond the parking area, also on the left is a little turn off and a bridge. If you’ve reached this then you have gone too far. A permit is required currently to park in this parking area. You can park along the side of the road a little farther along, just make sure you are far enough off the road.

Umptanum Falls (aka Tootsie Rolle Falls), WI2. Very much not in on this cold December day. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Follow the distinctive trail at the far end of the parking area. This trail follows the creek into the woods. Even with snow it is usually a very obvious path. The Washington State Ice Guide Book indicates that one should cross two gates. When we followed the trail to the climb we did not come across any gates or even a fence. The trail ends at a drop off into a pond. The main falls where the trail ends is Umptanum Falls, opposite is Austin Eats It. It takes about 15-20 minutes from the car to reach the climbing area.

Avalanche Danger: Minimal

Umptanum Falls is a fun little WI 2 climb. There are many thickets of trees set back from the top that can be used to top-rope it, be sure to bring enough, with plenty of length, anchor building material. Umptanum Falls was not in when Peter and I were there.

Across the way is Austin Eats It, a WI 3 seep that forms some decent ice. It can also be top-roped from a large tree just set back from the drop off. Farther along the edge of the drop off from Austin Eats It is a walk down to reach the level.

This is a great little area due to the easy access and reliability of ice. Here are a few photos from the climb.

Rapping down Austin Eats It. Photo copyright Peter West Carey.
Rapping down Austin Eats It. Photo of yours truly. Photo copyright Peter West Carey.
Austin Eats It. WI3. Photo copyright Peter West Carey.


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