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Climbing in the Rain


Original Post
Teddy B · · Portland, OR · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 65

Hello, I live in Portland and am getting sick of being forced to go to indoor gyms instead of local crags due to weather. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions when it comes to climbing in the rain. Also, does anyone know of dry crags near portland, I can lead easy elevens on sport. 

J-- · · Southern California · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 55

Use a dry rope, forget the chalk bag, and only attempt routes that are at a much, much lower grade than what you would typically be into.  I compare it to canyoneering. (may need a thin wet suit?)

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 502

Stick to bolt protected routes and get your steep on. Roofs are your friend. Be careful not to get hypothermia

Nut Tool · · Portland, OR · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

I'll drive to Central Oregon with you most weekends... I'll gladly follow these "easy 11s" you speak of.

wisam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 60

If it’s cold and raining I use a small 8 oz stainless Kleen kanteen water bottle with about 2 oz of boiling water clipped to the back of my harness to warm my hands. Have a 32 oz thermos to refresh the hot water in the small bottle. Bonus is that it dries you’re hands too. I don’t fill the small bottle all the way as it is too hot to hold but about 2 oz is about right. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

Road trip south. 

trailridge · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 20

There are a few routes in Indian creek that stay dry while it is raining like the cave route and annunaki

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Haha! A couple years ago we had a really wet spring in Denver. I was going stir crazy and decided to go climbing outside even though it was wet and misty. Within five minutes of getting out of the car my partner and I were just soaked. But we kept climbing for hours and just joked, "this is like climbing in the PNW!"

Things that really helps:

Having a psyched partner with a sense of humor. Dealing with a whiny partner in the rain is just no fun.


Adjustable cuffs on the sleeves, pulled tight against your wrist, is really nice to limit the amount of water that will run down your arms. Maybe wear sweat bands on your wrist (never tried this)?

Wear a baseball cap for both climbing and belaying, so you can look up somewhat without rain drops falling into your eyes.

Go for edgy routes instead of slopy/smeary routes for obvious reasons. However, if you can get a TR on a smeary route, it may be interesting to test the limit of friction. If you focus on staying below the hold and pull down instead of pull out, you’ll be surprised on what you can hold on to even when everything is wet.

Finally, having some dry stuff in the car waiting for you (socks, shoes, shirt, etc) will make the whole experience less miserable. Maybe even enjoyable... nah. Just go to Smith.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
trailridge wrote:

There are a few routes in Indian creek that stay dry while it is raining like the cave route and annunaki

What does this have to do with the OP asking about dry routes near Portland OR?

Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 55

Move out of that shithole to a place with better weather and climbing.


Or take up skiing. 

Colonel Mustard · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Sep 2005 · Points: 1,186
Marc801 C wrote:

What does this have to do with the OP asking about dry routes near Portland OR?

I thought it followed the “do roof routes” advice.

Climbing in the rain is character building. Not that I do much.

There, that was off topic.

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 10,548

Back before I moved to the US I lived in the UK - my partner and I used to plan two routes in North Wales for the weekend; one for dry weather and a wet weather alternate. We invariably climbed the wet weather route - typically they were classic chimney and gully climbs, or climbs on Lliwedd in socks:

Ryan Bowen · · Bend, Or · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 85

Smith is cold as hell, but dry. That's what I would do.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

thermos with hot food (tomato bisque is perfect) & waterproof belay gloves.  

Michael T. · · Bothell, WA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 196

You can always go aid up steep trad routes, if it's steep enough you might not get rained on! Or find a junk cliff and try your hand at some drytooling. If neither of those are your jam, you can give back by scrubbing up a route or two!

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 502

The weather is never too crappy to practice self rescue

B Owens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 60
wisam wrote:

If it’s cold and raining I use a small 8 oz stainless Kleen kanteen water bottle with about 2 oz of boiling water clipped to the back of my harness to warm my hands. Have a 32 oz thermos to refresh the hot water in the small bottle. Bonus is that it dries you’re hands too. I don’t fill the small bottle all the way as it is too hot to hold but about 2 oz is about right. 

What about just using handwarmers?  One in the chalk bag is excellent (if it's not raining). 

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0
Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 1,673
ViperScale . wrote:

That's absurd. It runs on electricity, so if it gets wet, he could get electrocuted. Use a propane-powered one instead. This one puts out 41,000 BTU's:

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

Go to the eastern side of the Cascades or don't live in Portland if the weather/rain bothers you.  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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