A surprising number of good routes spring out of the timber at this cragging area in NE Oregon. There is a nice variety of sport and trad climbs anywhere from 5.4 to 5.13 on fairly solid andesite. Most of the climbs are about a half pitch in length but there are a few multi-pitch routes that top out.
The crag is nestled in the Blue Mountains and has an excellent vista of the nearby mountains including Mount Emily that overlooks the nearby Grande Ronde Valley. Large talus fields line the base of the crag and create an area for lazy belayers and bystanders to soak in the sun. The relatively high elevation and ability to find shady areas makes this an ideal summer crag for those hanging out in Eastern Oregon. Most people wait till the snow melts (usually April) to venture up the gravel roads.
These days the crag gets fairly crowded on the weekends with an influx of climbers from Walla Walla and Portland but usually climbers can still get a secluded feel by skipping the first talus field.
From La Grande: head west on I-84 until you reach the "Summit Road, Mt. Emily" exit (#243) continue to the right on the Summit Rd. for about 8 miles until you see a sign on the right that says "Whitman Route Overlook" and take the gravel road on the left. Along this road you will see multiple pull-outs where people camp and after about a mile there will be a small gravel road to the right (directly after a down-hill grade) that winds up hill. Take this road for about 1/4 mile until you reach a parking area where boulders block the road. The trail follows the road for a short distance then heads up to the left for another 10-15 minutes to the crag. The road is usually passable for any vehicle (once the snow melts).
From Pendleton: Head east on I-84 for about 30 miles till you reach exit 243 (the "Summit Rd., Mount Emily" exit). Take the exit to the left over the freeway and follow directions above from La Grande.
This is on of the best routes I have climbed at the forested area where the trail comes up to the cliffs. Climb a short slab to a shallow dihedral that moves you out onto the gently overhanging face.The crux for me was some powerful moves on good holds out the overhanging section. Up higher is a really fun left leaning edge....[more]Browse More Classics in OR
I thought at the time we were putting up routes at Spring Mtn in the 1980s that it was one of the best places to climb in that area. I can see why it has become so popular. It's a sweet place. I'll dig around and put in some of the routes we put up then. They aren't real hard, but they are pretty nice.
I'm planing to be on camp at spring for bear season no later than this friday. In high hopes of cleaning up a possibile boulder route I saw a few years back. That is, if it hasn't already been discovered. I shall try my best to obtain the angled pics needed so that the people can generalize and try to relate a routes difficulty by its image. Should have them ready to be posted next week,,that is if "mt.project inc" deems them worthy. Could use a fellow climbing hand and insight, if anyone would like to lend it. Tas
Just went there today for the first time since fall. It's a great little crag to go to. A good mix of climbing, something for all skill sets. There is also a multi pitch and some trad spread throughout to try. I will take pictures next time I make it out there and post up.
David, there are loads of free camping spots before you get to the crag and if you drive past the final turn up to the crag there are nice spots as well. No camping at the trail head. If you are headed down this weekend the place is crawling with hunters so it might be a bit crowded but you will find a place.
I'm a big fan of Spring and was surprised to see only a few of the many great climbs added to this page. I've added a few more and plan to add the rest in the near future. The ratings and descriptions are courtesy of Kevin Pogue, who's complete Spring guide can be found here
If you have experience with a specific route(s) feel free to message me with any edits you might have.