Mount Hull - Lower SW Face (Oroville) Rock Climbing
|GPS:||48.879, -119.409 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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Note; the old easy access from the orchard just below the lower cliffs is no longer open. This makes accessing the public lands very long and difficult, but since a few adventurous souls still occasionally make the long hike in from the Whistler canyon Trailhead these descriptions of climbs on public lands remain posted.
The SW face of Mt Hull, along the east side of the northern Okanogan Valley, is a huge open area with many distinct cliffs and potential for thousands of routes.
Most of these cliffs are on public lands (BLM and Forest Service), yet all the access is via private lands (except for the public Whistler Canyon trailhead and the county gravel pit to the north). There are several possible access points - the shorter more direct ones are by permission of landowner, on an individual basis only. Currently the only recommended public access is from the north from Whistler Canyon Trailhead (turn right off of trail #100 after about 3/4 mile and head through the South Canyon for about a mile), or from the County Gravel pit about a 1/2 south of Whistler Canyon Trailhead.
These cliffs are dry and open (extensively burned in the early part of the century), and range in elevation from 1300 to 2600'. There is abundant wildlife in the area, but watch out for rattle snakes from mid April to mid October!
Currently there are about 100 routes (mostly sport, some mixed, and a few trad), on fine quality gneiss, ranging from 5.2 to 5.11+, between 50' and 2 pitches long. Generally the bolting ethic calls for using gear when available and safe, but there are some exceptions... The route grading (especially in the lower grades) tends to follow old school standards, rather than newer and softer trends. There is also an abundance of loose rock around the existing routes so helmets are advisable.
* Note to all climbers even though this is a somewhat remote area and off the beaten path, please do your best to minimize your impact and presence; pack it in-pack it out, and leave no trace. Potential route developers, please respect local etiquette and don't place bolts next to possible gear placements. Ideally make any bolts or top anchors camouflaged, use stainless steel hardware as much as possible, and don't mix your metals. Any comments and input on existing or new routes is much appreciated.
* Note - a key to route descriptions;
NAME; grade and quality (* - good, ** - very good, *** - great, **** - world class classic); (length); type of pro. used - G = natural/gear, F = fixed (b - bolt, p - piton, fn - fixed nut), M = mixed; TR = toprope, R = runout/dangerous, PG = scary/risky; Description; FA (first ascent date), GU = ground up ascent, TR = top rope ascent.
The established areas include (listed from the south to north);
The Far East - Remote wall east of Big Butte with great rock and perhaps the best route at Hull ("Lost World").
Big Butte - A wide variety of easy to moderate routes, sport, mixed and trad.
Lower Wall - A short pleasant crag with a few great routes on uniquely featured rock.
Bonsai Crag - Easy access, short and a bit crumbly but steep and fun.
West Wall - Moderate sport and mixed climbing, in a great location
The Nose - Easy to moderate climbing, sport, mixed and trad, with a short approach.
Hidden Valley - Isolated with great rock and mostly hard sport climbs
Flying Pig Wall - Easy climbs next to Turtle Island. A good shaded beginner crag.
Turtle Island - Beautiful location mostly moderate climbs, sport, mixed and trad.
Tortuga - The west end of Turtle Island.
Far Tortuga - Oldest routes on Hull (pre-fire development)
Located about 12 miles North of Tonasket on Hwy 97.
Currently, the only public access is from the north - from Whistler Canyon Trailhead, turning right off of trail #100 after about 3/4 mile and heading through the South Canyon for about a mile to the north end of the SW face ("Far Tortuga"), or from the County Gravel pit about a mile south of Whistler Canyon Trailhead, which reduces the approach by about two miles (it's public property but not officially an access-point/trail-head), so use at your own risk (there's a gate into the gravel pit which may get locked on you...).
Days w Precip