Elevation: 4,147 ft
GPS: 45.348, -121.438 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 26,431 total · 185/month
Shared By: Peter Franzen on Jun 19, 2007
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick
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Description

Area 51 is a sport climbing crag that's located in the forest on the eastern flanks of Mt. Hood. It's a single cliffband around 60-70ft. high that's composed of nicely featured andesite.

There are a few dozen bolted sport routes here that range from 5.7 to 5.13. There is about 30 more routes that require gear of some sort. The routes are very well bolted with up to date hardware.

Getting There

Drive South on Hwy-35 out of Hood River. Take a left on NF-44 towards Dufur. Drive up this road for a few miles and take a right when it splits at a large intersection. Keep driving for a couple more miles and take another right on NF-4420 towards 15 Mile Campground and Flag Point.

This road will split after a few hundred meters-- stay right on the paved part (the left fork goes to a small crag named Bulo Point). Take this road for another few miles; you will pass 15 Mile Campground, and shortly after that you will pass the turnoff to Flag Point. Stay on the road, and look for a large pullout a few hundred meters past the cattle guard. Park here and take the trail down below the bluff and follow it down and around to the right to the cliffs.

47 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Area 51

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 28
Out of this World
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 16
Roswell
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 12
Alien Observer
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 11
Solar Flair
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 27
First Contact
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 14
Luna
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 18
Rocketman
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 7
Sunspot
Trad
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 27
The Mothership
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 8
Cattle Mutilation
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 7
Little Grey Men
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 10
Shape Shifter
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 3
Lies and Deception
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 5
Resistance is Futile
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 6
Event Horizon
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Out of this World
 28
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Roswell
 16
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Alien Observer
 12
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Solar Flair
 11
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
First Contact
 27
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Luna
 14
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Rocketman
 18
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Sunspot
 7
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
The Mothership
 27
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Cattle Mutilation
 8
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Little Grey Men
 7
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Shape Shifter
 10
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Lies and Deception
 3
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
Resistance is Futile
 5
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Event Horizon
 6
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
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Beautiful but quite chossy. I pulled a microwave-sized hold off of one of the better routes with little effort and pulled more rock off of the crux bulge of another "3 alien head" rated route. There's some fun stuff, but IMO not worthy of a long drive. Jun 23, 2007
I have been climing at A51 for about 8 years now. Most route anchors can NOT be reached from the top - and should NOT be given the fragile dry soils and plant life. So you really need to be able to lead 5.10. And 1/3 of the routes are mixed gear/bolts, so bring a rack. And bring a helmet - folks ain't kidding about the choss! And don't snub the locals when you are out there, a hello would at least be nice....
Paul

Edit to Add: Peter, I was hoping you would take my picture last Saturday when I was climbing the dirty chimney! Jun 25, 2007
Finally checked it out. Disappointing.... Let's do the math, from Portland:

20 minutes to the ozone (with better rock, and lots more moderates than A51)

2 hrs, 20 minutes to A51

2 hrs, 40 minutes to Smith.

Why folks from Portland would go there is beyond me, I won't be back...

Kevin Jul 11, 2007
elmo mecsko
Lyle, Washington
elmo mecsko   Lyle, Washington
It always blows me away to hear climbers rant about an area when they have nothing positive to say. It would be nice for people to really climb at an area a few times before making statements like "this place sucks" and "Why folks from Portland would go there is beyond me". Where would our sport be if not for the hard working folks who take the time to find new areas and put up new routes; show some respect to those who strive to make our sport better. If you do not like something about an area find a respectful way to post your concern.

As far as Area 51 is concerned, it is not my favorite crag, but it would be well worth the drive just to hike thru a very unique and beautiful ecosystem, as well as a good opportunity to meet some new climbers... plus there are some excellent routes that are well worth climbing. I have been climbing there for 7 years now and still find enjoyable routes that challenge me.

Thanks for letting me Rant! (and thanks for all the new routes over the last few years everyone!) Jan 28, 2008
Area 51 Rocks! There are some sweet climbs here as well as some mungy ones. But because there are so many, you can be picky. The Mothership Wall is great hard sport climbing. There are many other hard clean lines. Well worth a few visits. Enjoy the solitude! Aug 21, 2009
I look forward to warmer and dryer weather so we can get out to Area 51. If you like having a fantastic and fun climbing crag to yourself (on a weekday) and you are a fan of wilderness crags NOT filled with music and crowds then get out to Area 51. The place is fun. Sure, wear a helmet, you should be wearing one anyways, but the more the climbing community climbs a new place, the safer it will be. If you are a solid 10 and 11 climber this crag is great. Not very many easy/moderates but that's ok. Even a selection of great 12's. The crag is NOT 2 hours and 20 minutes away. From SE Portland to crag takes 1 hour and 15 Minutes. Soooo worth it. Bring a brush and help out. You'll have fun. Apr 20, 2015
"From SE Portland to crag takes 1 hour and 15 Minutes."

Unless you are going by helicopter this is absolutely untrue. It takes a little over an hour to get to Government Camp from inner Portland. From Government Camp it takes about an hour get to Area 51.

Chad Apr 20, 2015
Micah Klesick
Kalamazoo, MI
Micah Klesick   Kalamazoo, MI  
New guidebook released that features Area 51.
rakkup.com/guidebooks/mt-ho… Aug 31, 2016
T Banch
Portland, OR
T Banch   Portland, OR
Not the best climbing anywhere but for sure worth checking out, especially if it's hot down in Portland.

As others have said, bring a helmet for your belayer, lots of little rocks come down on even what seemed to be the most popular climbs.

Big thanks to dmPete for submitting most of the routes with photos! Would be really tough to figure out what's what without them. Jul 17, 2018