> Central Oregon
Trout Creek is Oregon's premier destination for pure crack climbs. The climbing is physical, the rock is rough, and the approach is long if you're not used to hiking. The bulk of the climbing is vertical cracks in corners and stem-boxes on large basalt columns coming in at the 5.10-5.12 range with an increasingly large smattering of really high quality 5.13s. There are also a handful of lower angle crack climbs on the North side of the crag that come in at 5.7-5.11. The main wall faces west and this fact dictates when it is best to climb there. It is possible to climb at Trout year round if you climb in the sun/shade accordingly, but the crag closes every January 15th for Golden Eagle nesting. There is a published guidebook. It used to be free, but is now published through Rakkup and can be purchased in digital form for $4.99 at this Link
. It is an excellent resource and comes highly recommended, especially if you're interested in ethics, history, and thoughts behind grades.
The position of the crag is spectacular and contributes to Trout's special vibe. It's possible to climb there without tape, but it sure feels nice to have something between your skin and the rock. In terms of gear, lots of people have complained about how many cams you need, but my experience is that you can get by with a double rack if you have a couple choice supplements for specific routes. Extra hand and finger sized pieces are definitely a good idea. In terms of new route potential, there are still a couple lines that haven't been done, but they're mostly thin and difficult.
Additionally, one of Trout's most outstanding characteristics is the sense of welcome, stewardship, and community that the people who climb there bring to it. Evidence of this can be found in the steel carabiners on the chains of the vast majority of the classic routes. These are meant for simplifying the top-rope cleaning process and were contributed by the generosity of others. Please respect that by leaving them in place, but feel free to clip directly to them when TRing. Additionally, there is a community bucket currently located under a boulder in the vicinity of the bench-like columns beneath Gold Rush. It usually contains a first aid kit and various odds and ends. You'll find another bucket next to it with wagbags in it. Feel free to take one should the need arise, but otherwise, please leave them in place for those actually in need.
It's worth noting that Trout's Main Wall requires exposed boulder-hopping to enjoy fully. People and/or dogs not comfortable walking and 3rd/4th classing in exposed situations probably won't enjoy visiting. Lastly, FA information is based on the guidebook but a degree of uncertainty exists for some of the moderates given the low-profile nature of the original Trout Creek climbers.
Possibly the most important thing to know about climbing at Trout is it's central access issue: golden eagles. There is a nest at the south end of the Main Wall and there are another three nests at the Cool Wall. The overhanging, broken columns adjacent to the nest (the columns that are bent over) are closed to climbing and the entire area is closed to all access. (hiking and climbing) from January 15th through August 31st. While no climbers have violated the closures by actually tying in when the crag is closed, the BLM has encountered climbers who hiked up to check the place out during the closure. It can't be stressed enough that you should not be hiking above the river during the closure period!
From the city of Madras: drive 97 North past Safeway and out of town. Turn left of NE Cora Drive. It'll turn into NE Clark Drive which you'll follow into the town of Gateway, OR. Cross the train tracks and take a right following signs to Trout Creek Recreational Area. From the day-use area at the up-stream end of the campground, follow the trail/road up stream for about 10 minutes. There are currently two trails up to the crag. One leaves the river right after the road jogs around a small berm (right after you pass a bench on your right) and switchbacks up to the Northern End. To get to the other, older trail, follow the road past the first trail for another 5 minutes, cross a small cattle guard (the second you will have encountered if you include the very first one you cross after leaving the parking lot), and look for a trail heading up and left during a long straightaway.