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French's Dome

Oregon > Mt Hood
Access Issue: TEMPORARY CLOSURE :: FIRE DANGER Details

Description

French's Dome is a lone andesite crag located on the flanks of Mt. Hood near the town of Zig Zag, Oregon. Routes range in height from 80ft. to 160ft., and most are well-bolted. The setting is tranquil, invoking a feeling of solitude in the old-growth forest. Spectacular views of Mt. Hood abound.

The climbing is sporty, crimpy, and pumpy. Most of the routes feature chains and steel biners on the anchors, however, a couple don't have biners, so don't always plan on them being there.

Due to heavy snowfall this area is generally a late Spring to early Fall crag. The best hours are in the afternoon when the majority of the climbs are in the shade.

Getting There

To get to French’s Dome take Highway 26 from Portland towards Mt. Hood. In the town of Zig Zag take a left onto Lolo Pass Rd and continue for approximately 6 miles. The dome is not clearly visible from the road, but there is an obvious dirt pullout for parking on the right with a sign. Take the small trail downhill from the parking area to the dome; the majority of the climbs are on the left side of the dome as you're walking down the hill.
a NW Forest Pass is required to park here. You can get one from the ZigZag Ranger station if you don't have one.

Routes from Left to Right

5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 6
Road Head
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 11
High Voltage, AKA 'Rhoid Rage
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 23
Road Face
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 6
Road Kill
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 11
Road Rage
Sport
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 7
BSD
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 13
Jackie Chan
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 66
China Syndrome
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 10
China Side
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 4
Dark Syndrome
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 23
The Dark Side (AKA The Siege)
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 8
Philanthropy
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 38
Pump-O-Rama
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 86
Crankenstein
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 3
French's Doughnut
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 153
Dirty Deeds (aka Silver Streak)
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 115
Straw Man
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 26
Emerald City
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 105
Alpha Centauri
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 74
Oz
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 71
Tin Tangle
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 55
Do it Again
Sport
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 119
Giant's Staircase
Sport 2 pitches
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 2
[Redacted]
Sport
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 52
Giant's Direct
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 10
Balloon Knot
Sport 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 34
Static Cling
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 9
Low Voltage
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 6
Psoriasis
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
 6
Yellow Brick Road
Trad
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 4
Uncle Rick
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
 2
Golden Shower
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Road Head
 6
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
High Voltage, AKA 'Rhoid Rage
 11
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Road Face
 23
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Road Kill
 6
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Road Rage
 11
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
BSD
 7
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Jackie Chan
 13
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
China Syndrome
 66
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
China Side
 10
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Dark Syndrome
 4
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
The Dark Side (AKA The Siege)
 23
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Philanthropy
 8
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Pump-O-Rama
 38
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Crankenstein
 86
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
French's Doughnut
 3
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Dirty Deeds (aka Silver Str…
 153
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Straw Man
 115
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Emerald City
 26
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Alpha Centauri
 105
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Oz
 74
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Tin Tangle
 71
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Do it Again
 55
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Giant's Staircase
 119
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport 2 pitches
[Redacted]
 2
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Sport
Giant's Direct
 52
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Sport
Balloon Knot
 10
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport 2 pitches
Static Cling
 34
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Low Voltage
 9
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Psoriasis
 6
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Yellow Brick Road
 6
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad
Uncle Rick
 4
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Golden Shower
 2
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13 Sport

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Aerial shot of the dome.
[Hide Photo] Aerial shot of the dome.
Odessa at the top of Frenchs Dome after climbing Giants Staircase
[Hide Photo] Odessa at the top of Frenchs Dome after climbing Giants Staircase
New practice anchor at Frenches Dome, located at the lowest tier.
[Hide Photo] New practice anchor at Frenches Dome, located at the lowest tier.
Top of French's Dome
[Hide Photo] Top of French's Dome
The top 15 ft. of rock is broken, covered in moss, and otherwise crappy. The rest of the wall is better than perfect. I love French's.
[Hide Photo] The top 15 ft. of rock is broken, covered in moss, and otherwise crappy. The rest of the wall is better than perfect. I love French's.
View from the top of the dome
[Hide Photo] View from the top of the dome
we belayed the start of the 3rd pitch of giant's staircase from these anchors... not much of a ledge... there was a much better anchor system up and to the left--could've had a bbq at that belay station, but this one worked...
[Hide Photo] we belayed the start of the 3rd pitch of giant's staircase from these anchors... not much of a ledge... there was a much better anchor system up and to the left--could've had a bbq at that belay st…
The parking lot. The dome is right next to it.
[Hide Photo] The parking lot. The dome is right next to it.
Myself on the scenic summit (photo by Thor Retzlaff)
[Hide Photo] Myself on the scenic summit (photo by Thor Retzlaff)

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Access to French's Dome is not free and unregulated. The trailhead is a Northwest Forest Pass (NWFP)site. Users may purchase a $5 daily pass or a $30 annual pass. 80% of the Northwest Forest Pass revenues go directly back to the ground - maintaining trails and sites like this. NWFP funds were used in 2005 on French's Dome to get engineered drawings and a contract package developed to construct climbing platforms. These climbing platforms will replace the eroded hillsides and user created stop gap measures that are currently on site. The total cost of this project (scheduled to start in Spring of 2006)is over $50,000 so please support the NWFP program as it paid for this work. Your fees will also pay for a porta-potty at the site to reduce the white flowers and worse in the woods around the crag. Volunteers that work on trails on the Mt. Hood Forest receive annual Northwest Forest Passes as recognition awards for 2 days of work. See Forest website for more info. Frenches Dome can be busy when local mountain snow-board and ski camp groups are using it on summer afternoons. Jan 30, 2006
Peter Franzen
Phoenix, AZ
[Hide Comment] French's just had a ton of work done on the retaining walls and trails. They've really been beefed up, and the whole effort looks awesome. Thanks to anyone out there who put in some hard hours out there! Jul 10, 2007
jeb013
Portland
[Hide Comment] The guide book shows 23 routes and I believe a few more have gone in since it was published. Aug 19, 2013
Micah Klesick
Kalamazoo, MI
[Hide Comment] French's Dome is completely accessible as of now. May 30, 2017
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
[Hide Comment] This crag is super fun, but the hardware seems pretty janky. I only did a handful 5.11 and 12-, but the theme of the day was rusty bolts that were varying degrees of uninspiring. Maybe I just don't spend enough time climbing in wet climates, but it seems like we can do better... Jun 30, 2017
[Hide Comment] Max, I agree. The few routes I climbed had some pretty rusty hardware on them. Jul 3, 2017
[Hide Comment] An FYI, in this day and age of expecting cell coverage at our outdoor gyms, it should be noted that at French's there is no cell coverage by at least a couple of the major carriers. Jun 2, 2019
Tiffany Samson
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] This is a neat crag. Great for the 5.8 climber or the 5.12 climber. Even on a cloudy day when you can't see Mt. Hood, the forest views from the top of the dome are mesmerizing. The retaining walls are the cream of the crop. Not sure what the hooks are intended for, but they were being used to hang gear, which kept the place more tidy. Even though there are power lines nearby, you don't hear them when climbing. On my visit, there were a lot of small groups mentoring their newbie friends and giving introductions to outdoor climbing and multi-pitch. Some notes: The standard rappel from the top of the dome is free hanging, and that can be pretty scary for a newbie on their first rappel. Also, it's difficult to hear on these multi-pitches, even though at the base it sometimes sounds like voices from other parties are loud. There is a Honey Pot in the parking lot. Jul 13, 2019
Trent Williams Jr
Tacoma, WA
[Hide Comment] My car was broken into yesterday at this lot. 8/31 Saturday, Labor Day weekend. Way bigger bummer than the stuff and the money missing is it cut my climbing trip short by two days!

Take it with you, don't leave it in the car. Sep 1, 2019
Nate Ball
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] Trillium Lake Crag presents a fine summertime alternative to this often-crowded crag. If you're looking for a quieter, more secluded, but still casual cragging experience, TLC is the place to be. Thanks Tristan for all the work you've put in there! mountainproject.com/area/11… Dec 1, 2019
Nate Ball
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] The Forest Service is planning to allow logging in this immediate vicinity which will make access challenging if not impossible while it's happening. The logging is formally titled "The Zigzag Integrated Resource Project" and currently has no set date. The effort to stop this project is being led by Bark, check out the details here: bark-out.org/project/zigzag… May 1, 2020