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-the movie 'White Tower'
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Northwest Oregon Rock

Northwest Oregon Rock is a book that discusses in detail the ongoing quest for elusive summits, alpine pinnacles and other rock climbing opportunities in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.

NW Oregon Rock provides an intense look at the sport of rock climbing throughout Northwest Oregon. From rock pillars to alpine pinnacles, from tiny bluffs to huge vertical rock walls, this guidebook expands upon the Portland Rock Climbs theme by taking you on a grand tour of the great and unique treasures well beyond our local city crags. The original heart of this guidebook came from a rather brief analysis in the 1993 edition of Portland Rock Climbs called ‘Cragging Options’. Northwest Oregon Rock incorporates a broad selection of rock climbing opportunities available within a relatively easy one-day drive from Portland, Oregon.

NWOR is nearly 400 pages of quality information describing climbing areas around Mt Hood region (French's, Illumination Rock, Razorblade, Enola (aka The Swine), Coethedral, Newton, Lamberson, Pete's Pile, Bulo, Area51, etc.), Columbia Gorge region (Chimney Rocks, Rooster Rock, Crown Point, The Rat Cave, St Peters Dome, Apocalypse Needles, Rabbit Ears, Clif Cliff, Wind Mtn, Windy Slab, Wankers, OH8, Horsethief, etc), Santiam valleys (Needle Rock, Elephant Rock, Spire Rock, condensed Menagerie, Santiam Pinnacle, Iron Mtn, Two Girls, etc), McKenzie valley area (Skinners, Wolf Rock, Moolack), and Northeast Oregon (Spring Mountain, High Valley, etc). Let's take a quick tour:

  • Enola Hill has a fine selection of nearly 50 fixed bolt and trad gear climbs just a few minutes from the parking spot. The rock quality is considered to offer some of the best sticky andesite in the region with plenty of stout climbs ranging from 5.9 to 5.12+. Its scenic views overlooking the majestic Rhododendron, Oregon valley region and the summer breezes that waft up the slope offer an unbeatable idyllic retreat from the roaring masses.
  • Pete's Pile and cousin offers one of the few places in this region where you can hone your skills with traditional gear leads, with some as reasonable as 5.7.
  • Bulo Point has a great selection of 30+ routes where you can climb moderate 5.9/5.10 (and 5.11s) bolt routes all day at a forested upper eastside Cascade's site.
  • The counterpoint cousin is Area51 where you can tackle a fabulous string of 65+ power lines ranging from 5.9 to 5.12 on a quality south-facing forested crag. Area51 offers a tremendous selection of mixed climbs where some minor natural gear is needed.
  • In the Gorge there are favorites like the fabulous Chimney Rocks (visible from east Portland) perched on the ridge crest east of Silver Star Mtn. The incredible quality of the rock and the scenic beauty of the region are more than enough reasons to hike up there.
  • Visit the Rock Creek Crag which is Stevenson, Washington's new addition deep in the Rock Creek valley. Where superb sticky andesite awaits with numerous bolt lines (and some gear leads) await ranging from 5.8 to 5.12. This climbing site also sports a few routes in the low 5.12- range.
  • A plethora of other great tiny sites exist in the Gorge. From the easily accessible and roadside Windy Slab with its slabby short climbs, the ultra-cool winter season hangout spot working slippery basalt climbs of Wankers Columns (aka Syncline Wall), the string of routes at OH8, to everyones multi-season favorite Horsethief Butte with a ton of top-ropes and short leads and bouldering problems.
  • On the Santiam river valleys, the infamous Needle Rock, and Elephant Rock across the valley will certainly tantilize the adventurer type climber. Spire Rock, and X-spire fit well as two long-standing regional classics known and enjoyed by generations of sub-alpine rock climbers who relish 5.4 to 5.7 climbing at altitude. The Menagerie assortment of rock spires around Rooster Rock still appeal to a select group who are foot-ready for the long uphill hike to it.
  • If you happen to be in Eugene for a day, definitely stop in at Skinner Butte and tackle the columns where quality basalt and convenience converge in the heart of downtown Eugene.
  • We all go on road trips sometime...and when you do, absolutely reference the chapter and make a 1-2 day visit to Spring Mountain climbing area, one of the finest examples of rock climbing in northeast Oregon. With well over 100 rock climbs ranging from 5.7 to 5.12, and sporting a fine selection of bolt routes and traditional gear leads, this fabulous and reddish-orange stained andesite wall is among the best Oregon has to offer.
  • The chapter on Columbia Gorge Ice explores a bold new frontier of adventure climbing. This fascinating sport is popular due to easy roadside access to the ice routes in the Gorge. The wild vertical world of Gorge ice is spectacular to climb and to photograph.
  • And for you boulderers we have included diagrams and an intro to TWO great new hot spot bouldering sites near Portland. The Larch Mtn Boulders and Cascade Boulders. Both are stellar sites with an abundance of bouldering opportunities, easy access, and a plethora of stellar problems ranging from VB to V7 (so far), and room for V10 and above.

Each NWOR chapter provides an in-depth analysis of the regional rock climbing opportunities and shares a bit of all its tremendous variety that climbers might find, from French's Dome to Pete's Pile, and onward to Steins Pillar and Spring Mtn crag.

This book educates users about long-term stewardship of our natural resources we enjoy climbing upon. Our purpose is to provide information that will help influence rock climbing for the public good. This guidebook aims to give insight about the nuances of each different climbing site, and encourages users to become involved in trail maintenance and other crag stewardship opportunities. The book broadens user interest throughout the entire region, and brings beneficial tourism-based stimulus to our local economies.

Open Season at Larch Mtn Boulders

ta Get out of that winter rut, the snow is gone, the season is in, opening day bouldering at Larch Mtn Boulders has begun. Things are a changin' fast in Portland this year for bouldering. No need to make repeat dry runs to damp, slippery, in-town sites. Now you can find virtual year-round bouldering in a nice combo at several local hot spots - Larch, Cascade, and BOG Boulders (Bridge of the gods boulders). All are local, fast to get to, and offer plenty of flavor that sure beats a repeat trip to old haunts. Larch Mtn Boulders are good from late April thru October, and even into December on dry days if the wind is not too stiff. Yeow! Then shift over to Cascade Boulders and spend all winter (on dry days) workin' the circuit over there on an endless string of tricky andesite beasts, some as tall as 16'. So, don't hold back, when sunshine and clear sailing skies beckon.
Get in touch with reality, and browse the bouldering web page at Portland Rock Climbs for more details.

Northwest Oregon Climate

Rock climbers in northwest Oregon generally seek the local crags from May to September. During this portion of the year mild Pacific marine air often mixes with inland Great Basin hot weather to bring a climber friendly cycle that keeps Northwest Oregon quite comfortable.

  • Summer month temperatures average about 70°F to 80°F with occasional short peaks of hot sunny days in July and August in the 90°F to 95°F range.
    Check the forecast link NOAAWestern US.
  • Winter Pacific marine air brings a consistent series of rain showers, starting in late October through March. Cold winter rainy days offer temperatures that average in the 35°F to 50°F range.
  • Virtual year-round rock climbing or bouldering is readily available at various regional climbing sites, particularly low elevation sites from Horsethief Butte, or Broughton Bluff, Ozone Wall, the Druid Stones boulders, and Skinner Butte.