A Climbers Guide to the University Range

(aka A Guide to Buildering on the University of Washington Campus)

The Red Square Towers
Photo: Jeff Smoot

Building climbing, or "buildering", has had a long history at the UW. A long time ago there was a guide book to ascents that had been completed. In 1972, Thomas Brown and Jerry Walsh revised that guide into what is a more complete "book" that encompases most buildings on campus. The only copy of the more recent guide is a photo copy located in the Special Collection of Allen Library which, as far as most climbers are concerned, is a bit inconvienient. Thus the idea to put that information into this website came, along with the opportunity to update the old guide with new constructions and add pictures of selected climbs.

The descriptions here come directly from the 1972 guide. If you would like to submit a new "route" or crag, email me at alpinedave_com@hotmail.com



From the 1972 Guide...
As mentioned in the original guide, building climbing and the original guide was looked upon as some sort of joke. It has recently developed into a recognized sport and a local renaissance is currently underway. Some route descriptions were borrowed from the earlier guide, some were eyeballed from the ground or partway up and these descriptions followed by two capital letters in parentheses were done by people known to the author and the descriptions are probably right.
The primary techniques that are involved in building climbing are mantelling and chimney stemming. To a lesser degree, liebacking, jamming, thrutching and even face climbing are involved. As most of the climbs involve a series of mantles or some such technique, rating the climbs became a matter of hair-splitting, so I simplified the rating system to this:

  •  E - denoting easy, as implied, not too difficult or demanding.
  •  H - denoting hard, also like it sounds, hard either in difficulty or in terms of demanding or both.
  •  ND-E or -H means that the route hasn't been done recently, so as to determine the authenticity of the route description, and that the degree of difficulty has been estimated as easy/hard.

There is some danger of police interfereance associated with this activity and the appropriate precattions should be taken to guard against discovery. Some time was spent in attempting to determine what the reaction of the fuss would be if an encounter should take place. The response of the University's finest ranged from a request to "come down before you hurt yourself" to citation and report for a first offense and expulsion from the 'U' for a second. The latter policy is the one offered most often.

Major Peaks

 Aerospace Research Lab
 Anderson Hall
 Art Building
 Architecture Building
 Atmospheric Sciences
 Balmer Hall
 Benson Hall
 Clark Hall
 Denny Hall
 Electrical Engineering
 Faculty Lounge

 Guggenheim Hall
 Haggett Hall
 Hall Health
 Hansee Hall
 Hec-Ed Pavilion
 Hutchinson Hall
 Johnson Hall
 Kane Hall
 Lewis Hall
 Loew Hall
 Mary Gates Hall
 Mackenzie Hall

 MEB Annex
 McMahon Hall
 Music Building
 Padelford Hall
 Parrington Hall
 Power Plant Stack
 Red Square Towers
 Roberts Hall
 Suzallo Library

Practice Crags

 Hitchcock Bridge Cracks
 The Broken Obliesk
 Heck Ed Arch
 Wind Tunnel
 Odegaard Traverse
 Big George Spire
 Henry Art Gallery
 Jim Hill Statue

 IMA Boulder
 Ocean Wall
 Kincain Hall Area
 Haggett-McMahon Spire
 Engineering Library


By reading the information on this web site you implicitly take full responsibility for what you do with it, and implicitly release the author of these pages from any and all liability! Buildering is generally not considered to be legal by Campus Police, and you will pay the consequences if you are caught by them attempting any of these routes. These pages are for informational purposes only!

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