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Frenchman Coulee Route Advice and/or Partners 7/2-7/5
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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 17, 2013
Me
My girlfriend and I will be in the Vantage area in the middle of a two-month road trip on 7/2-7/5- our first trip to the area. We'll be camping in Vantage proper and climbing most days.

If you're interested in climbing with us, please let me know!

If not, I would love to hear your advice on your favorite can't-miss routes/areas. I've reviewed the Ford & Yoder guidebook, but it's a bit scattered and I'm having a hard time figuring our the best spots for concentrations of high-quality moderates.

So far I've bookmarked various single-pitches at The Feathers, Sunshine Wall, Middle East Wall, Millenium Wall and Riverview Park, but that's purely based on the guidebook, so I'd love to hear any (positive, constructive) opinions from you locals!

For reference:
- I lead ~5.9/10a trad and follow 10c/d
- I lead 5.10d/11a sport and follow 11b/c
- My girlfriend is just learning to lead over the last year but she's a great climber and fast learner (5.8+ trad/5.10a+ sport)

Cheers and thanks for reading,
-Jason from San Francisco

(forgive me if you see a similar post in other regional sections or a refresh of this post in a few weeks - I am trying to ping locals in each area along our trip!)

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By DuncanKL
May 19, 2013
I've had almost nothing but bad days in Vantage, and would recommend just spending more time in 11worth, Squamton, etc. But at least you'll be there during the week, which should help. It will likely be really hot, though. Anyway, Sunshine wall seems like the place to be, but I'm not an expert on the area. Sounds like a sweet trip you have lined up!

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By Eric Fjellanger
May 19, 2013
Me on top of Chianti Spire
Agreed that there is better climbing around, and it'll be hot, but the Middle East Wall faces north and has some good routes in your range.

Sunshine wall is... sunny.

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By jordand
From Seattle, WA
May 20, 2013
Climbing in Leavenworth, WA.
Definitely recommend sticking to Middle East Wall, as every crag in the sun will be pretty unbearable. Desert Dessert is a great sport route there.

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By EliseR
May 20, 2013
I am going to piggy back here; I would consider another area. It is going to be pretty unbearable there, particularly at the sunshine wall. The sunshine wall soaks up the sun in such a way that makes it possible to climb in your t-shirt in mid February. Middle east wall has some great routes (sex party is a fav) but not enough for the four days you will be there.

Try Taking a look at Leavenworth. There might be something there that strikes your fancy.

Best of luck!!

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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 20, 2013
Me
Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. We will actually be coming this way after stops at Smith, Index and Leavenworth. We are then heading south afterwards to City of Rocks.

Our timeline would have us in Frenchman Coulee on weekdays only, if that helps. Other than crowds, can folks say a bit more about what they don't like about the climbing? I thought it looked pretty cool since we have never climbed on basalt columns before, but I'm all ears for other suggestions!

Or said another way, if you were leaving Leavenworth and on your way south towards Idaho and had a choice between stopping at Frenchman for a few days of cragging at Middle East Wall, Millenium Wall and Riverview Park, OR stopping elsewhere, what would you do?

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By jordand
From Seattle, WA
May 20, 2013
Climbing in Leavenworth, WA.
Quality rock at Vantage is few and far between. It's a bit of a choss fest, and it's entirely possible to break off holds even on well-trafficked routes. You might consider climbing the Royal Columns at Tieton, which is about 1.5 hours SW of Vantage. It's smaller than Vantage, also basalt, but much more solid rock. Or you could hit Trout Creek on the way to/from Smith Rock.

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By SpokaneBob
May 20, 2013
Hi Jason,

I agree with the others--Vantage will be very hot and not necessarily the best option in July. The real answer to your question regarding alternatives is dependent upon which road combination you take to get from Leavenworth to City of Rocks. Basically it is two choices (but there are some other road combinations). One is I-90 to Butte, Montana and turn south. The other is via secondary roads cut down to Boise, Idaho, and turn east. Both have tradeoffs. I would take I-90 if I were you. One somewhat long day of driving gets you to Butte from Leavenworth (est. 9-10 hours of driving). If you go that route then climb at the Humbug Spires just south of Butte, then go on the City of Rocks. July would be a great time at the Spires.

Cheers,

Bob Loomis, Spokane, WA.

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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 20, 2013
Me
Thanks Bob, interesting idea! I am currently researching the Spires...

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By Pete Spri
May 20, 2013
Jason, one other option that could be fun is Banks Lake. Granite climbing... near a lake. It gets hot their too, but at least there is water to jump in! Some of the routes even start from a boat!

Edit: Alternate idea is like Bob is mentioning, but to drive South from Missoula and hit up Blodgett Canyon.

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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 21, 2013
Me
Thanks Spri!! We are already driving a long way on our trip, so we'll probably not add anything that adds more than a couple net hours of driving :). But I'm definitely looking up your recc's as well.

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By micah wright
May 21, 2013
Just so you know, the Middle East Wall is closed from march (the 31rst I think) to August 1rst for prairie falcon nesting. It's not signed very well, so it might not be obvious. Please respect the closure, keeping good relations with the WDFW is a high priority.

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By frankstoneline
May 21, 2013
The north bend area may offer some escape from the heat and is ~2 hours further than vantage. World wall and nevermind wall both stay pretty cool even in the hotter months. Camping can be a bit cruxy, as there are many seattle folks headed out that way, but you may be able to reserve a site early or stay in your car in a pullout or whatever.

Keep in mind your stay is over the 4th of july holiday which will put the rednecks out in force at the camping around frenchman's coulee.

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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 21, 2013
Me
Thanks Micah! Seems like not a single endorsement for climbing at this place, and if Middle East Wall is closed anyway that definitely limits the possibilities even further!

Guess we are probably leaning towards another destination.

Frank: thanks for the notes - checking on that Area now! I did consider the redneck factor, but this just so happens to be when we'll be passing through :)

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By Darby
From Snoqualmie, wa
May 22, 2013
Jason Albino wrote:
Thanks Micah! Seems like not a single endorsement for climbing at this place, and if Middle East Wall is closed anyway that definitely limits the possibilities even further! Guess we are probably leaning towards another destination. Frank: thanks for the notes - checking on that Area now! I did consider the redneck factor, but this just so happens to be when we'll be passing through :)


I like climbing in Vantage. I'm not going to disagree with any of the comments on Vanatge, but I stopped their for a few days last year while on a climbing trip around the same time and had a blast. Yes there are always better places to climb but there is still lots of fun to be had in Vantage. Climbers aren't the most optomistic bunch. It's not that bad there in my humble opinion and I rarely have holds break, especially that time of year.

I say stick to your plan and have fun. I'd even be willing to meet you there on the 2nd or 3rd and show you around.

Happy climbing!!

FLAG


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