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Areas in Hells Gate

East Side 8 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Upper West Side 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
West Side 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Elevation: 791 ft
GPS: 46.343, -117.038 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,768 total · 319/month
Shared By: Keegan Schmidt on Jan 8, 2018
Admins: Mike Engle
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Description [Suggest Change]

Located 5 miles south of Lewiston, Idaho near Hells Gate State Park. Climbs are on beautiful columns of canyon-filling Pomona flows of Columbia River Basalt overlooking the Snake River. Rock quality varies, but the best routes are solid and fun. Most routes are in the 1/4 - 1/3 rope length range. The walls are facing almost due south, making ideal 3-season climbing (late September to early June), in the relatively balmy climate of the Lewiston-Clarkston valley. Summers are hot (most days are near or over 100 degrees). Almost all routes are trad routes with top-anchors and occasional bolts on the route. None of the routes can be reasonably accessed from above to set up top ropes without leading from the ground. This is because the slopes above the cliffs are steep and loose. The usual cautions apply here: loose rock, rattlesnakes, and poison ivy.

Hey, this is Hells Gate, right? So there are a couple of things that happen here that don’t happen at other crags:

The Snake River floods most springs, meaning that the base of climbs are under a few inches to a foot or so of water in full-flood. All routes are accessible below 80,000 cfs measured on the Anatone gage (waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/…). At 90,000 cfs, the base of many climbs on the east side are flooded. At 100,000 cfs, the eastern side of the west side floods. Note that most photos that follow were taken on a day when gauge was reading 110,000 cfs. Only upper west side is completely flood-proof.

We have a spider season that generally runs from mid-July to mid-September. Climbing is still possible during this time, but you’re gonna get coated in spider webs. Bring brooms and brushes to sweep them out. Almost all of the spiders you’ll run into are big and ugly, but harmless, orb spiders. The rest of the year you'll see neither hair nor thread of these eight-eyed fiends.

Getting There [Suggest Change]

Drive 5.3 miles on Snake River Avenue-Tammany Creek Road from Lewiston (1.3 miles past the entrance to Hells Gate State park) to the Corps of Engineers parking lot for Hells Gate Habitat Management Unit. Parking is free and there are bathrooms. Hike 1.5 miles on trails in the management unit down to the river, then east(upstream) on the river trail. Grassy slopes give way to cliffs and spectacular basalt columns basking in sunshine… well, ok, most of the time.

17 Total Climbs

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