Making the Most of Climbing on the Coast

  |  Posted in

Yesterday was beautiful and sunny. Today, it rained for hours, soaking the rock. The entire town of Squamish soaked after a night and morning of wet weather. Climbing in coastal areas like Squamish, Mickey’s Beach or the bouldering in Humboldt can be fickle at best. There’s a few tips to making sure your next climbing trip to the coast works out.

jon gleason, squamish, climbing, coastal climbing

 Watch the Weather

Since 1807, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has brought up to date weather advisories to the United States. Many other weather sites base their meteorological forecasts off of NOAA. NOAA provides precipitation amounts, hourly, daily and weekly forecasts. Checking the weather will help you know when and how big the next storm will be. Periods of cloudy weather may mean it’s sunny for a spell and allow the rock enough time to dry. Some days climbing a few extra days in a row can work well and allow for a long rest during the rain. Watch the weather for best conditions.

coastal climbing,

Check the Tides

With some coastal climbing like Mickey’s Beach, Panther Beach in Santa Cruz and the bouldering at Moonstone beach, the tides need to be out. Check the high and low points of the tide. The tide comes in and out twice a day and one tide will be higher than the other. If you can, time you’re climbing so you make the most of the tide being out. Also, the tide affects the level of sand at the beach. The height of the sand can be seasonal as well and it affects many bouldering areas. A lowball in high sand can be an ankle breaker during low sand. The sand levels are harder to check online. Ask locals about the conditions.

Lucho Rivera, Naked and Disfigured, coastal climbing,


Go Anyway

This seems a bit counter intuitive but can produce solid results. Often weather doesn’t come in until late evenings, after the climbing day is over. There can be bursts of sun on cloudy and over cast days. The rock can be drier than expected. The clouds can hang overhead for a bit but the climbing can be reasonable. There are often spots that dry fast than others. The boulders in the Apron in Squamish, dry quickly.

Be Patient

Eventually, the weather will clear. The rock will dry. The climbing will be good again. Just remember that while refreshing the NOAA forecast every five minutes. Squamish will be good again soon.