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Areas in Royal Columns

Main Face 24 / 6 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 28
Orange Sunshine area 16 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 22
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details
Access Issue: Temporary Closure (From April 28, 2017) Details

Description

With more than 70 routes and some great entry-level cracks, the Royal Columns is the historic heart of Tieton River climbing. It's still the most popular crag in the area.

About every five years or so someone touts the Columns as a "new" area. There's a lot of history here. Washington pioneers Tom and Meade Hargis cut their teeth at the Columns in the 1960s. In the 1970s, a talented group of Yakima climbers including Paul Boving, Matt & Jamie Christensen, Matt Kerns, and Kjell Swedin explored the crag before leaving their mark at Leavenworth, Index, and beyond. And, contrary to its reputation as a "trad" area, sport routes were being established at the Columns (and elsewhere in the Tieton) in the 1980s, before the first bolts were ever drilled at Little Si, Exit 38, or Frenchman Coulee.

The rock at the Columns is well-featured with horizontal edges, making for some fun footwork along the cracks and fun crimping on the face routes. The rock is generally quite solid, although there's a fair bit of loose stuff on the slopes above the cliff. Keep an eye out for rock fall when people are above the cliff, particularly if (or rather, when) an instructional group shows up.

In summer, the crag is shaded and cool in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. Be alert for rattlesnakes on the approach hike and along the cliff base. If you run into a snake, please leave it in peace.

Getting There

The Columns are directly across the Tieton River from the Oak Creek Wildlife Area headquarters, about 3 miles west of where Highway 12 splits off from Highway 410. Park either on the broad shoulder along the river, or in the huge Wildlife Area lot across the highway. If parking in the lot, you'll need a Washington Discover Pass or you'll risk a ticket. This is the same pass you need to park at Frenchman Coulee or Little Si.

Cross the Tieton River on a nice footbridge, then follow the signs and cut to the right through a gated fence to pick up the Tieton Nature Trail. In a few hundred yards, the trail to the crag branches left and heads up the hillside. Please use this trail both getting to and leaving the crag. The trail reaches the crag around the area of Orange Sunshine.

50 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Royal Columns

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 52
Western Front
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 44
The Cutting Edge
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 21
Little Known Wonder
Trad
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 45
Mush Maker
Trad
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 44
X-Factor
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 10
Render Us Weightless Roof
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 21
First Blood
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 60
Jam Exam
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 49
Inca Roads
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 36
Thriller Pillar
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 65
Orange Sunshine
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 22
Paul Maul
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 19
Solar King
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 13
The Price of Complacency
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 6
Morning After
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Western Front Orange Sunshine area
 52
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad
The Cutting Edge Orange Sunshine area
 44
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Little Known Wonder Main Face
 21
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Mush Maker Main Face
 45
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
X-Factor Orange Sunshine area
 44
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Render Us Weightless Roof Main Face
 10
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
First Blood Main Face
 21
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Jam Exam Orange Sunshine area
 60
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Inca Roads Main Face
 49
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Thriller Pillar Orange Sunshine area
 36
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Orange Sunshine Orange Sunshine area
 65
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Paul Maul Orange Sunshine area
 22
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Solar King Orange Sunshine area
 19
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
The Price of Complacency Orange Sunshine area
 13
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Morning After Orange Sunshine area
 6
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Royal Columns »

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Photos

andyf
Tacoma, WA
andyf   Tacoma, WA
The division between the Main Face and the Orange Sunshine area is where you scramble over (or around) a nose of rock. You can see it in the photo where the cliff is divided into a shaded side (Main Face) and a sunny side (Orange Sunshine area). In terms of routes, the Rap Route would be the last route in the Orange Sunshine area, and Slacker the first route on the Main Face. Jul 2, 2007
Tess Wendel
Seattle, WA
Tess Wendel   Seattle, WA
Royal Columns has been re-opened as of Friday May 26th May 30, 2017
geoff georges
Seattle, Wa.
geoff georges   Seattle, Wa.
WARNING: DANGER : ALERT : WARNING : MAJOR CAR BREAK INS ARE HAPPENING ALONG HIGHWAY 12. We were one of 4 cars hit at the Bend area 7/8/2018, I don't know about other areas but many were hit at the parking on the road for Royal Columns too. Jul 9, 2018

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