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Helm's Deep

5.9, Sport, 85 ft (26 m),  Avg: 2.7 from 156 votes
FA: Jon Stewart, Mark Deffenbaugh, Kevin Rauch
Washington > Southwest Cascades > Ozone > (2) Middle Earth
Access Issue: Extremely Sensitive Access - Please Read Details


Pretty sustained, somewhat pumpy and not terribly technical, this route is a good way to get the blood flowing and get warmed up for the rest of your day.

The classic way to start this route is to simply step out over the gap from the comfortable belay ledge to the wall and start climbing, but if you screw it up you'll fall on the horrible impaling tree stump six feet down. If that seems too sketchy you can always start to the left and traverse to the first bolt.

If I had to pick out a crux I'd say it's between the second and third bolts, but frankly it's all pretty similar. Good rail-pulls the whole way up and a very slight overhang make for a solid, sustained route.


Look for a line of bolts above a gap between the wall and the rock promontory--that's Helm's Deep.



Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

There are more bolts and an anchor higher up, not marked.
[Hide Photo] There are more bolts and an anchor higher up, not marked.
Helm's Deep
[Hide Photo] Helm's Deep
Helms Deep
[Hide Photo] Helms Deep

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Eric Schnepel
[Hide Comment] Solid warm-up. Purple and gold BDs fit perfectly in a couple horizontal slots between the 4th and 5th bolt. The gold is almost unnecessary however, as it is placed within 1 or 2 moves of a bolt. Wouldn't be terrible to lead this without gear if you are solid at the grade. Feb 4, 2011
Colin Parker
Idyllwild, CA
[Hide Comment] I felt this route goes comfortably with just the BD .5 in the obvious horizontal b/w bolts 4 and 5. In addition, you can start the route from the ground below the step across. There are a few sidepull flakes that help you get started and then you can traverse left to the first bolt. As for the crux, there's a bouldery move near the 2nd bolt that is the greatest challenge for most people, especially those with limited reach. Apr 22, 2012
[Hide Comment] Great route description. Never have placed gear on it either but if the grade is near your limit then it might be worthwhile.

Chad May 13, 2014
Micah Klesick
Kalamazoo, MI
[Hide Comment] FYI, the FA has added a bolt to the runout between bolts 4-5 where gear would have been placed. Again, this bolt was added by the FA. Jun 28, 2014
Topher Dabrowski
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] A nice ring jam works well through the crux.
Take note that you are belaying from a narrow pedestal and not on the ground level. Apr 14, 2015
Mitch Jacky
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] I am amazed that I haven't fallen off the ledge into the crack or down the hill. It's only a matter of time before someone does...

That being said, this is a phenomenal climb though it is a bit heady for a 5.9. Lots of rests and good movement make for an enjoyable route. Dec 13, 2015
Jason George
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] Added some steel carabiners at the anchor so people can lower directly on them. Please use your own to TR. Jul 11, 2018
Emma Baldwin
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] Did this the other day with no extra gear, didn't feel necessary at all. I found the most difficult part for me to be between the first and second bolts (my shortness likely being an issue) where I had to use a finger crack I wasn't counting on. Super nice ledge at the top. Nov 22, 2020