Mt. Erie - Organizers Guide


<insert overview of weekend>


All instructors helping out this weekend should know how to do a safe inline belay backup, especially if you are a Group Leader or helping out at the Climbing Station. A more detailed video demo is here.

There is no pack check, but be advised that we may encounter any type of weather and there will be no food or water available on the mountain. Your level of comfort will be dependent on how well you are prepared.

<last year's packet had a weather forecast to underscore the necessity of being prepared>

Allow at least 1.5 hours to get from Seattle to the lower parking area. From there, it will take 20-30 minutes to shuttle everyone to the top.

Be at the lower parking lot no later than 7:30 a.m. with your gear. Group leaders need to be ON TOP by 7:30 and ready to meet their teams as they arrive.

There are limited restroom facilities at Erie; be prepared to possibly pack out any solid waste.

All climbing takes place at the Summit Wall.


Three weeks prior:

  • Determine if there are any events on the day of the class outing. is a good source of info for this. Contact the event organizers to let them know. (e.g. Last year (2013), there was a work party on the same day as our field trip so organizers had to ensure that we weren't in the work party's way.)

    • Note that I (JL) already asked PatO this, and there is no event occurring on our field trip date

Week of the trip:

    • Make announcement to the students at the Tuesday night class before the field trip

Day before the trip:

    • Arrange for food with the restaurant

Day of trip:

This document is a day-of cheat sheet for the Mt. Erie organizers.

    • Setup Notes

      • Pat and Ira will lead the setup

      • Jennifer will document

      • Use solid knots (e.g., rewoven figure eight, not bowlines) in case interlopers come and decide to fiddle with our work.

      • Designate early, non-setup instructors to do the safety check: touch every knot, check every biner.

    • Instructor Briefing

      • Safety is paramount

        • Encourage safe behavior by all

        • Everyone looks out for everyone else - speak up.

        • Report near misses

        • Everyone must use handlines - no exceptions

        • You must wear close-toed footwear

      • Students who may need special attention

        • Names in email

        • Get them on easy routes

        • They should do prompt rappels as it was drilled pretty hard at Spire

        • They will need lots of belay practice since they got fewer in at Spire

      • Students who could be challenged: <student names>

        • Put them on harder climbs, climb with pack earlier

      • Radio usage

        • Group leaders, weekend organizers, area organizers should have radios

        • Don’t sit on your radio

        • No chatter

        • Review basic protocol: Key, wait, say “Will calling Jennifer. Over.” Wait for response. Then speak.

      • What to do if someone is struggling (tell weekend organizers)

      • What to do if something bad happens

        • Who is the ERP

        • Who is the response team

    • Group leaders

      • Keep track of all students, their activities, and progress

      • Encourage and comfort

      • Make sure people are eating, drinking, sunscreening

      • Double-check student safety (helmets must stay on!)

    • Weekend organizers

      • Intercept interlopers wandering in

      • At top: get people to the right place based on their needs, do knots

      • Periodic safety checks

      • Offer instructors coverage during breaks

      • Create a plan for the Dallas work party cleanup

    • Student briefing notes

      • “Rock!”

      • Helmet on at all times. If you must take it off, move far to the side of the rock.

Map & Driving Directions:

  1. North to Highway 20, West on Highway 20.

  2. After about 12 miles, Hwy. 20 will turn to the left heading for Oak Harbor / Deception Pass.

  3. After ~ 2 miles take a Y to the right onto Campbell Lake Road.

  4. Proceed ~ 1 mile to Heart Lake Road, turn right. (Look for the country store)

  5. Continue ~ 2 miles to another Y and bear right.

  6. The parking area will be just past the road up the hill on your right.

There is very limited parking space on top. PARK at the parking lot at the bottom of Mt. Erie and shuttle to the top. Instructors will be giving students rides to the top. CARPOOL!


Required Gear



Three locking carabiners

Four non-locking carabiners



All runners

Personal Prusik

Mountaineering boots


Extra gear instructors should bring: <insert list>


All new ropes

All webbing

Some (how many?) old 1/2 ropes to use as backup anchors

All locking carabiners

Class rack

WAC radios



(At least four; one with your opposite hand)

Belay 1 with ATC Belay 2 with Munter hitch

Belay 3 with ATC Belay 4 with Munter hitch


(Must do all four)

Climb 1 Climb 2

Climb 3 Climb 4 with pack

Climbing Signals


(At least one over the nose)

ATC, right-handed Munter Hitch

ATC, left-handed Leg wrap, mid-rappel

Rappel with pack Rappel signals




(At the end of the day)

Butterfly coil


(Some can be signed off as you climb; do the rest with an instructor while you're waiting to climb or rappel.)

Harness Double fisherman's

Re-woven figure eight Klemheist knot

Figure eight loop Bachman knot

Girth hitch Mule hitch

Clove hitch One-handed Prusik knot

Munter hitch Autoblock

Water knot Reversed and opposed carabiners


    1. No one will be allowed on the rock without harness and helmet.

    2. The designated yell for ANYTHING dropped or kicked off the mountain will be: "ROCK!"

    3. When you hear the yell "ROCK": Don't look up, cover up.

    4. Don't leave anything loose on the outside of your pack.

All activities must have a signature of an instructor. Due to the nature of the area, signatures can come from any instructor that witnesses your climb, rappel/belay/knot/etc...


Eat and hydrate throughout the day since we will not be taking any meal breaks. Keep in mind that all instructors and students will be ferried up from parking lot at base of mountain, so consolidate all your stuff into one pack if possible.


  • Permit usually allows for 50 people at Erie, which we usually push to 55 but no more. That means 30 students and no more than 20-25 instructors.

  • Last year we had 25 instructors.

    • Last year, co-chairs worked stations since the permit has a quota.

Setup Crew - be on top of the mountain at 6 am!

<Insert any notes for the setup crew... pictures of setup could be helpful>

  • Topo of crag is attached below

  • Photos of setup to come.

Area Organizers

Oversee assigned area, makes sure rotation ends on time, keep eye on students AND instructors to ensure safety and well-being. Relay major concerns to weekend organizers.

Parking Coordination

Coordinates instructor and student arrival in parking lot. Minimizes impact of WAC on parking lot and organizes students and their gear for carpool pickup.

Group Leaders - be on top of the mountain at 7:30 am!

Oversee general well-being, care-and-feeding, and movement of students. Assist where needed at each station. Keep eye on times and moves students effectively and efficiently from one station to the next. Relay student concerns to Area Organizers. You will be provided with radio.

Response Team

Respond to students who become stuck in mid-rappel or climb. Work with Area Organizer and rope rappel/climb/belay instructors. Relay major concerns to weekend organizers.

Lead Belay Demo

Demonstrate the practice, challenges and safe techniques of lead climbing/belaying. This is an introduction demo, not a hands-on training session for the students.

Top Rappel Station

Assist student rappels at the top. Relay student concerns to Area Organizer.

Top Climbing Station

Assist students at the top of each climb, sign off climbs. Relay student concerns to Area Organizer.

Bottom Belay Station

Assist student belays, climbs and rappels from the bottom. Sign off belays, knots and rappels. Relay student concerns to Area Organizer.


Student packet from 2013

Instructor packet from 2013

Volunteer signup and sign-in sheet from 2013

Photos of the crag (Summit Wall) from left to right


If you plan to camp on Friday night, directions to two campgrounds are given below.

Directions to camping at Washington Park:

6300 Sunset Avenue, Anacortes

    1. From Commercial Avenue in Anacortes, turn west on 12th Avenue following signs to San Juan ferry terminal.

    2. At the terminal turn-off stop light, continue straight on Sunset Avenue, following the road to its end in the park.

Directions to camping at Deception Pass Campground: From Seattle, drive north on I-5 to exit 230, then travel 18 miles west on SR 20 toward Oak Harbor (do not take spur into Anacortes.) Park entrance in on right, one mile south of Deception Pass Bridge.

Directions to the Pizza Factory (after Erie):

3219 Commercial Ave., Anacortes. Phone: (360) 293-1000

    1. From Erie, head north on Heart Lake Road toward Erie Mountain Drive. Heart Lake Road becomes H Avenue.

    2. Turn right on to 32nd St.

    3. Turn right onto Commercial Avenue. Pizza Factory is between 32nd St. and 33rd. St.

Please bring cash.


From 2013:

    • Tribal knowledge about the setup slows down setup.

    • It’s important to review with all instructors what is expected of them at their station, rather than just assuming they know.

      • For example, one of the bottom belay instructors didn’t know how to do a backup belay.

        • This seems like it would be a good topic to add to instructor training. Everyone should know how to do this.

      • Add this information to the existing instructor handout, so everyone knows the expectations.

    • It wasn’t a good idea to put someone who hadn’t done Erie before as an “area organizer.”

    • Set a time for the instructor briefing and hold people to attending.

    • Setup might go faster with teams of people established ahead of time to set up each climb or rappel, so they can gather the right gear and work on them in parallel.

    • Set up the right climbs and rappels from the get-go. Easy routes should be climbs, hard climbs should be rappels.

      • Adapt this based on general class ability which can be assessed at the Spire trips.

  • The instructors manning any climbs/rappels that are not easily visible from the top should have a radio and use it.

  • Unique numbers should be assigned to each station (climb or rappel) so there's no ambiguity when communicating over radio.

From 2014:

  • Remove specific activity for the climbing/rap station and just call it climbing/rap, since students are expected to do both depending on what open climbs/raps there are.

  • Helmet stickers to better track what skills students still need to complete and give priority to those who need them at certain stations.


The nearest hospital providing 24/7 emergency care is:

Island Hospital

1211 24th St


(360) 299-1300

Directions (from the summit):

    1. Head west on Erie Mountain Dr.

    2. Turn right onto Heart Lake Rd.

    3. Continue onto H. Ave.

    4. Continue onto I Ave.

    5. Turn left onto M. Ave.

    6. Continue onto 29th St.

    7. Take the 2nd right onto 24th St.

Destination will be on the right.

ERP Plan:

Click HERE for last year's ERP. Make sure all content and contacts are up to date prior to the weekend.