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Good places for toproping and bouldering in Oregon or Washington early April

Original Post
Jim Ow · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

Hey guys new to the forum, but I am planning a climbing trip with my son early April. I used to climb a lot in the Boulder CO area, also trips to Smith Rocks, Shawagunksn San Diego area etc. I haven't seriously climbed in many years. We moved to Bellingham about 5 years ago. My son has turned into a gymrat. He wants to do a climbing trip. I have a full rack and have replaced my soft gear, but am uncomfortable leading routes I think he would have fun on (probably easy 5.9 to easy 5.11). I am looking for a few good areas to toprope and boulder, with some leading in the Washington and Oregon area. I figure we will have to go the the east side which is fine by me. If you could reccomend good places for this it would be great. I'm thinking possible sites of Minnehaha, Tieton River, maybe Smith Rocks. Would be fun to hit a couple, maybe 3 sites. We love exploring. Good places to camp are always a plus.

Tyler Jasz · · Seattle, WA · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0
Leavenworth bouldering is somewhat of a big thing and would probably be "in" that time of year.
James Wolff · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 215

I'd skip Minnehaha - check out Vantage (Frenchman Coulee) and Smith. Those would be good options for the weather that time of year. As said above, Leavenworth is also a great bouldering spot, but could be hit or miss for TR in April.

Jim Ow · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

Thanks for the info. I will keep researching.

M Mobes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 910

How old is the kid? Seems like a good opportunity to teach him to put the rope up for you if he is so into climbing.

Jim Ow · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0
M Mobes wrote: How old is the kid? Seems like a good opportunity to teach him to put the rope up for you if he is so into climbing.

He is 16 and in the Gym he probably climbs pretty solid v6. He is getting pretty good, but he doesn't have a great head for hieghts. It is a very different environment than when I was climbing my hardest. I had never climbed in a gym until I moved to Bellingham. I will see if he wants to try some easy leads and take it from there, but I really want to make sure we have fun climbing for him.


Oh and my wife bought Smoots guide yesterday. I will print up Dilley's guide to Vantage as well.
M Mobes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 910

Rope gun age!

Trevor Taylor · · Seattle · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 120

The climbing is bad at Mt. Erie but you could get him on some real rock before the trip. For the most part anchors are not too hard to get to at power line wall. Then you could evaluate whether you want him to be your rope gun or go bouldering.

Jim Ow · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0
Trevor Taylor wrote: The climbing is bad at Mt. Erie but you could get him on some real rock before the trip. For the most part anchors are not too hard to get to at power line wall. Then you could evaluate whether you want him to be your rope gun or go bouldering.

I have been up to Erie a couple of times, but it was very difficult for me to figure it out. Its kind of mazelike and totally overgrown.

Trevor Taylor · · Seattle · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 120
Jim Ow wrote:

I have been up to Erie a couple of times, but it was very difficult for me to figure it out. Its kind of mazelike and totally overgrown.

On a nice western washington weekend I would follow the directions for powerline wall (this wall actually sees human traffic) and then look for anyone that looks like climbers and ask if you can follow them to powerline wall (It is hard to find). They also sell a guidebook at the general store which I think could help navigation (its really out of date tho). Mountain project doesn't work very well there cause the climbs make no sense and it is easy to get on something that ends kinda far from where it starts.

EDIT: Apparently it is not out of date
PNW Choss · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2019 · Points: 0

Smith's not a great top rope destination. Rope a dope block has easy tr access but only like 6 climbs. If he boulders v6 it will take all of an hr to finish them and be bored. That being said if you can get him on the sharp end it's a great spot for learning to lead moderate sport climbs. A v6 climber should have no issue putting a rope up on well bolted 9s and 10s

Carson McDonald · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 10 days ago · Points: 0

Vantage/Frenchman Coulee has a good number of routes in the grades you are looking for. Nothing overly tall, but its a great spot to get some lead exposure. No boulders to speak of. All the climbing is Basalt columns/cracks or some good face climbing on that blocky (entableture?) basalt. Weather is great in early April, but I would advise trying to climb during the week if possible. Even on the weekend there are some overlooked areas with quality climbs, but the popular Sunshine Wall area gets flogged on Saturdays and Sundays early season. There is a new book out for Frenchman Coulee as well.
Downside is camping, which can be kind of a zoo in a very primitive environment.
Good luck!

dpgleason · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0

If you are in Bellingham, consider putting Okanogan County on your list of places to visit in April.  McLoughlin Canyon is primo around then, with heaps of boulders, TRs, trad and sport.  Email me if you are coming out this way, more then happy to show you around. 

Trevor Taylor · · Seattle · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 120

Why would there be locals only boulder in tieton no one would ever even drive out there?

Drederek · · Olympia, WA · Joined Mar 2004 · Points: 315

Why would someone put up a climb in the Tieton called Motherfucking 206'ers?

Trevor Taylor · · Seattle · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 120

I’m just pointing out that it’s inflated self importance to think you have such a special boulder that you don’t post it to mountain project but you post about it. If you actually wanted to keep it hidden you wouldn’t mention it. But I shouldn’t have started this discussion in this good spirited dads thread. My bad.

Kyle Elliott · · Picnic Point, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1,533
Trevor Taylor wrote: I’m just pointing out that it’s inflated self importance to think you have such a special boulder that you don’t post it to mountain project but you post about it. If you actually wanted to keep it hidden you wouldn’t mention it. But I shouldn’t have started this discussion in this good spirited dads thread. My bad.

Ever heard of Equinox? Lol it was "locals only" for many years but yet people wouldn't shut TF up about it.

Kyle Elliott · · Picnic Point, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1,533
Trevor Taylor wrote:

They also sell a guidebook at the general store which I think could help navigation (its really out of date tho). Mountain project doesn't work very well there cause the climbs make no sense and it is easy to get on something that ends kinda far from where it starts.

Out of date? It was updated less than a year ago. And rakkup updates all the time. 

Travis M · · Olympia, WA · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0
Trevor Taylor wrote: Why would there be locals only boulder in tieton no one would ever even drive out there?

I spent 4/5 weekends in Tieton this last fall. Greatly prefer it over any of the Snoqualmie crags or Vantage when considering things within a 2.5 radius of home.


But yeah, the whole area doesn't see enough traffic to need to keep shit like that secret. If anything it would benefit from more traffic. Not like there are hoards of Yakimaniac climbers flocking to Tieton in the way Leavenworth gets clogged with folks from great Seattle.

OP, I would consider Erie, if only because of the setting. There are a couple decent boulder spots but if you can find the walls, many of them have TR access (not just Powerline). Being up over the water, driving over Deception Pass, good food nearby, all make for a quality day out even if the climbing isn't world class.
Trevor Taylor · · Seattle · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 120
Kyle Elliott wrote:

Out of date? It was updated less than a year ago. And rakkup updates all the time. 

The book that seems most popular at the crag, seemed more confusing/missing climbs so I was assuming it was out of date. I have yet to meet someone who thought the book was easy to navigate. 

Trevor Taylor · · Seattle · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 120
Travis M wrote:

I spent 4/5 weekends in Tieton this last fall. Greatly prefer it over any of the Snoqualmie crags or Vantage when considering things within a 2.5 radius of home.


But yeah, the whole area doesn't see enough traffic to need to keep shit like that secret. If anything it would benefit from more traffic. Not like there are hoards of Yakimaniac climbers flocking to Tieton in the way Leavenworth gets clogged with folks from great Seattle.

OP, I would consider Erie, if only because of the setting. There are a couple decent boulder spots but if you can find the walls, many of them have TR access (not just Powerline). Being up over the water, driving over Deception Pass, good food nearby, all make for a quality day out even if the climbing isn't world class.

I agree lava point has some of the best climbs in Washington but collectively tieton could use more traffic.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Pacific Northwest
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