Elevation: 4,400 ft
GPS: 46.613, -121.213 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 9,327 total · 64/month
Shared By: andyf on Feb 18, 2007
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick
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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


Perched high on a ridgeline, the South Fork Cliff has a commanding view of the upper Tieton basin that stretches clear to the desert hills of central Washington. To the west, Mt. Adams pops up above the Klickton Divide. It's a gorgeous place to climb.

The cliff has two major aspects. The Astral Wall is a 170-foot blocky sport wall. The Main Wall has scores of vertical columns from 50 to over 100 feet high, with occasional bulges and roofs.

South Fork is a summer and fall crag, with the season starting when the access roads melt out (usually in May) and extending into early November most years. The cliff gets a lot of sun and can get hot, but it's still possible to climb fairly comfortably at South Fork when it's over 100 degrees in Yakima. The main wall comes into the shade in early afternoon.

This is true backwoods climbing. The cliff is remote.

Getting There

Plan on a long, very dusty drive on Forest Service roads. While there are quicker (and better) ways to get to the cliff (especially if coming from the west), this one is the most straightforward.

From Highway 12 (coming from either the east or west), turn onto the Tieton Road, which is a loop road that skirts the south shore of Rimrock Lake. Once you're along Rimrock Lake, watch for the South Fork Tieton Road (Forest Road 1000) on the left if you're coming from the east, right if you're coming from the west. Turn onto this road. If you're coming from the east, you'll cross a bridge over the South Fork of the Tieton just before the turn. If you're coming from the west and hit the bridge, you've come too far.

Follow Road 1000 5 or 6 miles until the pavement ends. Right where the pavement ends, turn right onto Forest Service Road 750. (At this point, you can see the South Fork Cliff above you.)

Follow Road 750 (somewhat rough) to the top of the ridge and turn left at a T-intersection. After 1.3 miles, turn left again onto Road 1204 ("Section 3 Lake").

Follow Road 1204 another 1.3 miles, then turn left yet again onto Road 755. Stay left whenever there's a choice, eventually reaching a choice between continuing down a rough logging spur or turning right into a spacious parking area. Turn right and park if you're nervous about driving the spur. Otherwise, continue down the spur another 0.7 miles to its end at a berm. The road is rough, but a Subaru Outback handles it fine. There's limited parking at the end, so park carefully and leave room to turn around.

From the end of the spur, follow the road trace through an old clearcut, then pick up a trail that follows the top of the cliff to a descent gully next to the Astral Wall.

12 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at South Fork Cliff

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Milky Way
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Rules for Stems
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Milky Way Astral Wall
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Rules for Stems Main Wall
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Whitewashed Astral Wall
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
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Kelty Godby
Spokane, WA
Kelty Godby   Spokane, WA
The forest service added an additional sign: You will hit a major Y intersection on 755, after about a 1/2 mile. You will see a sign on your left that says 747. Take 747 left; when 747 Y's, a right will take you to the parking area, referenced in the original directions; a left takes you down the spur.
Regarding the "Spur Approach" trail: after about 2 min of walking (couple hundred meters), you'll see some trail sign branching L and down some really steep terrain (if you are going to the "Main Wall" this is probably the better/faster approach, but there is a little exposure and down climbing required). If you are going to Astral wall or Hexagonal Satellites, I recommend staying high on the cliff band (trending slightly right, obvious trail), after 5-10 minutes you'll come to a steep gully (switchbacks), at the bottom of the gully you follow the trail left. You'll come to Hexagonal Satellites first. From climbers L to R the walls are Hexagonal Satellites, Astral Wall, Main Wall. Hope this is helpful; the climbing is well worth the drive/approach. Sep 24, 2018