“I came for the mountains and stayed for the culture.” So sums up Eric Frank’s love of the Pacific Northwest.
The climbing guide grew up in the pancake-flat lands of Ohio and became enamored with rock climbing during college. As he scaled larger and larger peaks, the mountains came calling and he moved out west. “In the Lower 48, the Cascades are about as big as you can get,” he notes.
Now a senior lead guide for Rainier Mountaineering Inc., one of the premier guide services in the country, Frank regularly leads climbers up and down various peaks. During the summer season, he ascends Mount Rainier several times, leads technical climbs in the North Cascades, and travels to peaks in South America and Alaska.
When he’s not strapping on crampons, Frank spends his days in Seattle, biking, reading, barbecuing with friends, soaking his feet in Puget Sound, and drinking in the caffeine culture.
I love Golden Gardens and Discovery Park. I spend so much time in the mountains for work that going to the beach and wading around in the Sound is always a welcome relief for my feet.
Second Ascent is a nice alternative to REI. They really know their stuff and have a broad offering. As someone who is constantly fixing packs and climbing cloths, Seattle Fabrics is invaluable. And for cards and gifts, I go to Three Birds in Queen Anne.
Eat at Umi Sake House in Belltown. In my opinion, this is the best sushi in Seattle. Macleod’s in Ballard has a great scotch list. I like the scallop sandwich at Paseo. Try the carnitas or fish tacos at El Camion—you can’t really go wrong here.
My favorite way to spend the weekend is getting up early on Saturday and going climbing at Vertical World in Interbay. The place is nearly empty on Saturday mornings. I’d meet up with friends later in the day and have drinks and dinner together—stay out late. Sunday morning, I’d have a lazy brunch at Portage Bay Cafe in Ballard, then wander up and down the beach at Golden Gardens. Finally, I’d relax Sunday night with a movie or good book.
Discovery Park 3801 Discovery Park Blvd
El Camion 6416 15th Ave NW; elcamionseattle.com
Golden Gardens 8498 Seaview Place NW
Macleod’s 5200 Ballard Ave NW; macleodsballard.com
Paseo 4225 Fremont Ave N; paseoseattle.com
Portage Bay Cafe 2825 NW Market St; portagebaycafe.com
Rainier Mountaineering Inc. rmiguides.com
REI 222 Yale Ave N; rei.com