This page is intended to tell Scout Leaders what they need to know when they register for one of the pre-scheduled outdoor events that are listed on the Council website. If you still have questions, please check our FAQ page first. If that also doesn’t answer your question, don’t hesitate to reach out to Joe Davis at

Day of the Event information

Timing. The climbing event is a DAY event. Your unit should be in the parking lot at HorseThief Butte and ready to go by 9am. Climbing will conclude around 3:30pm and we should be back in the parking lot by 4pm. Outdoor climbing is subject to weather conditions and the event start may be delayed or the end accelerated due to weather conditions. BSA weather guidelines are followed at all times.

Venue. Washington’s HorseThief Butte Park. Washington Discovery pass is required for parking, even if you park on the roadside. There is a kiosk in the parking lot, or you can purchase passes at REI and other local venues. Parking is very limited, so we strongly encourage aggressive carpooling. There is NO WATER at this site. There is a kybo at the parking lot, but no other facilities at the climbing site. There is little to no shade at the climbing site, and it is a 15min hike from the parking lot to the site.

Camping. Units often camp the Friday night before the event. Common campsites are Washington’s Columbia Hills State Park or Maryhill State Park or Oregon’s Deschutes State park or Memaloose State Park. Please see our Resources page for more information. Camping close by makes it easier to make it to HorseThief in time to start at 9am sharp.

Meals. Units are responsible for showing up well fed and ready for the day, and to provide their own lunch. We will take an approximately 45min lunch around noon. Timing depends on your unit and the weather. If your unit wishes to provide lunch for the instructors, we very much appreciate it! However, this is not a requirement. There is NO WATER at the venue. You must bring all water with you.

Medical. We want to review Class C medical forms for your climbers before the events starts. Climbing is a high adventure activity can be dangerous and our instructors need to be aware of any relevant medical issues. If a few of your climbers do not have Class C forms, we can interview them instead. We strongly prefer to have a Class C form, though.

Special needs. Universal access is a guiding principle for BSA climbing. Our instructors are experienced working with many different types of special needs. Please contact us before the event with more information so that we can better prepare for a successful event with your Scouts.

Gear. We provide harnesses and helmets for 24 climbers. This is the reason for the 24-climber limit for the event. Personal harness and helmet can be used, subject to passing inspection by the climbing team. Personal hardware is not allowed.

Climbing Merit Badge and other training. It is easy to sign Scouts off for the climbing and rappelling requirements of the MB during the event. We have cards that we sign off that the Scout then takes to their MB Counselor. We are also happy to train Scouts how to belay and get them signed off for those as well. Our focus for the event will be on the over-all success for the unit, and only those Scouts who are already ready to demonstrate the skills are likely to complete all of the requirements during the event. If the whole unit wants to do the MB, we can discuss and possibly arrange, but this requires ground school training before the event, which is another set of commitments that have to be negotiated.

Unit-level pre-requisites. Every unit which comes participates in the event must fulfill the following training pre-requisites. One leader does not have to have all of the qualifications. These qualifications can be spread across multiple leaders.

  • 21 years of age
  • Completed Climb on Safely in the last 3 years
  • Completed Hazardous weather training in the last 3 years
  • has current CPR training

Spectators. Non-climbing spectators are welcome. If they are within the climbing “bounce zone”, they will be required to wear helmets. If the spectators stay outside of the bounce zone, then they do not require helmets. Spectators often bring chairs and shade, although pop-ups are not encouraged due to the typically high winds at this venue.

Photos. We love photos! We take lots of photos and are happy to share with you. We also appreciate your photos, too. When you post to social media, please add #cpcclimbing to your posts so that we can find them!

Instructions for Climbers

Climbers should know that one of the strongest principles for climbing in the BSA is “Challenge by Choice”. This means that success for the day is defined by each individual. For some, that may mean climbing every route. For some, that may mean putting on a harness and touching the wall. We work with climbers of all physical and mental abilities to have a successful and enjoyable day.

Each climber should bring

  • Good attitude
  • AT LEAST one water bottle. For events in May and June, TWO water bottles are strongly recommended
  • Sunscreen, to be applied in the parking lot before 9am, and re-applied at lunch time.
  • Appropriate clothing. No baggy clothing like basketball shorts. Shoes appropriate for hiking will work. Boots are actually better than running shoes, but running shoes work fine. Climbing shoes are not necessary.