The Morpheus Creek Bouldering area is a very cool newish area near Seattle. The Seattle bouldering scene has exploded in the past two years as climbers are finding some of the older, hidden climbing and bouldering spots that have gone off the radar for more than a decade and finding completely new, unexplored areas. Some great energy is fueling development of new and older re-discovered areas. Morpheus falls into the newly developed and newly discovered category. This spot is a quite new area that very devoted Seattle locals have been putting a lot of TLC into. Thanks to their efforts this area is a great alternative to nearby Index and Gold Bar. And since a lot of the roads are now off limits to the larger Gold Bar areas, this is a really close area with less of a drive than Leavenworth. The rock is granite. Not as perfect as Gold Bar or Index but still really high quality after it’s cleaned. The interesting thing is that some of the terrain that’s left after de-mossing yields more features and more interesting lines than the mighty “Worth”, and you have pretty much no crowds.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Boulders
This trip I made to the boulders was in the early summer. I had also been out over the winter but came out for a two day session in early summer. I drove up Money Creek, an adjacent valley to Miller (Morpheus Creek) from the main road and headed up to some stuff I was exploring way up Money Creek. I did some cleaning and sending then went back to civilization. Not long after I made another trip and much to my surprise a large boulder was sitting right in the road! At some point during the melt/freeze cycle this giant boulder slapped down onto the road. The forest service already had marked it so what to do? Do a few problems of course! There is actually a pretty easy traverse and a few super-sit starts. I even managed to milk out a nice V5-ish eliminate. These will go as some of the most irrelevant sends in history and I’m sure the boulder will be removed–if it hasn’t been already. I was tempted to attempt the Sisyphean task of moving the boulder from the road, I mean come on who wouldn’t be? But for now I will wait for the forest service to move this wondrous chose-block.
Other Hidden Gems
The nearby forest and mountainsides in Miller River and its river valley have some awesome bouldering as do all the mountains neighboring Skykomish. The main attraction is Morpheus Creek which has been well cleaned with good, really hard lines established (like Landjaeger Direct an amazing V10). If you drive slightly farther up Miller Valley there are a few other really good areas both across the river and on the same side.
I’m really excited to get back up here before the weather changes. I found some great bouldering in the large river as well as a bunch of hidden areas in the forest along Miller River. If you go here I would, hands down, recommend the Morpheus boulders as they are easy to navigate whereas other areas in Money and Miller valleys are still quite overgrown and not quite ready for prime time. I believe this will change really soon however. As more and more boulderers switch gears from the usual haunts and continue to explore the wealth of rock that is closer to Seattle, areas like this will continue to grow in popularity and size. A “lot” of bouldering exists out here. There is a wealth of areas from Gold Bar to here and from here all the way to Leavenworth. If you are adventurous enough and don’t mind a little hike, you can find a treasures trove of bouldering that is untapped.
Other Nearby Rock
I also had the chance to explore some of the other nearby spots. Miller areas and Morpheus are amongst of several dozen areas scattered throughout this part of western/central Washington. If you love granite you should love Washington state. Amazingly some of these areas dry quickly and dispel the myth that you can’t climb in the Northwest during the rainy season. There are at least a dozen individual spots in the Money valley. The nearby Money areas, Miller areas, Galena, IR boulders, Boulderville, and a dozen other great areas are getting traction, better trails and some fantastic, hard lines. I plan to head back up soon and explore more areas and see what amazing new lines have been added since my last visit. If anyone is looking for beta or directions feel free to contact me.
Edit: 12-13: I realized that I wrote this original post after a long, long day and was pretty exhausted when I did the article. In my sleepy state was calling Money as Miller and vice versa. I corrected this. Sorry for any confusion.
See ya out there