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Bowling Alley (aka Regular Route)

5.4, Sport, 430 ft (130 m), 4 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 2.7 from 14 votes
FA: Brenden Sullivan, Jim Yoder, ground-up
Washington > South-W & Tacoma > Southwest Cascades > Pinto Rock > S Face
Access Issue: Access to Pinto Rock is OPEN!!! Mmmm cobbles... Details


From the pull out, follow the trail up to the lowest toe of the formation. Then, take a left and skirt around the rock about 75ft until you arrive in a narrow gully. Due to rock fall, try not to belay or leave packs directly in the mouth of the gully.

P1: 5.2 - Climb up the gully to the first bolt about 25 feet up. Continue up another 20ft to the next bolt and bare right up the gully to a belay in a saddle overlooking the east face. This is a 40m pitch. 4 or 5 bolts and slings to chain anchors.

P2: 5.6 - Sling a nice cantaloupe off the belay and climb directly up the vertical groove over large watermelons , traverse camel hump back onto "Regular Route". 11 bolts to chains under a large bench.

P3: 5.4 - Climb up to a bolt and cut left across the groovy ledge and up a knobby ramp. Sling a few rocks and clip 3 bolts to chain anchors in basalt band.

P4: 5.6 - The summit pitch. Climb through the band of basalt to a chimney, sling a cobble after second bolt then leftward up a low angle chute to the summit. 5 clips. Don't forget to sign the summit register!

Descent: From the summit, rappel off the North end of the East face from an anchor set up near a tree. Make two rappels with a 60m rope or make one double-rope rappel to the ground.

NOTE: Chains are for belay and emergency exit only. Rappelling these routes can be dangerous! Be highly aware of swing potential and possibly taking your hands off the rope and climbing a bit to anchors, auto-block recommended. Most rappels are total rope-stretchers so TIE KNOTS or meet your doom!


Quickdraws and alpine draws - 12 total

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

This is the rappell route. By far the easiest way down.
[Hide Photo] This is the rappell route. By far the easiest way down.
Topping out, fantastic views and position
[Hide Photo] Topping out, fantastic views and position
The Bowling Alley Direct topo
[Hide Photo] The Bowling Alley Direct topo
Standing at base of Bowling Alley looking up. Route starts in earnest  after a short scramble up and to the right.
[Hide Photo] Standing at base of Bowling Alley looking up. Route starts in earnest after a short scramble up and to the right.
Looking back after starting third pitch.
[Hide Photo] Looking back after starting third pitch.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Wow. You've bolted the Bowling Alley route? That used to be a great beginner rope lead(no pro besides slings needed), and now you've turned it into just another sport climb. Too bad. Sep 6, 2015
[Hide Comment] I went with a more experienced friend and did this as my first multi-pitch route. We chose it because it was easy, and we wanted to focus on the skills new to multi-pitch climbing rather than the climbing itself.

It turned out to have fantastic intermediate views of Mt.Adams and a little bit of St.Helen. It's called bowling alley for a reason, so be ware of falling rocks. We were careful and didn't knock loose anything much larger than a pea, but that certainly isn't a given with how much loose rock there is on this route.

The view at the top was gorgeous. I recommend bringing your mountaineering or hiking shoes for after the rappel down, as it is an untamed mountain side. The rappel itself is fun, and I appreciate the presence of a third anchor, which made gear management easy. It's best done as a double-rope rappel. Aug 6, 2016
Joe Crook
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] Concerning the first pitch - once you clip the first bolt you will be directly under a large rock gendarme - you do NOT go right from here, the next bolt is up another 20 feet or so to your slight-LEFT. After this bolt the gully widens and flattens out. The whole route on this first pitch is mildly gully-ish and bears slightly right towards Gutterball but at no point do you bear hard right like the beta makes it sound. Jul 23, 2018
Brenden Sullivan
Puyallup, WA
[Hide Comment] Okay so the beta for pitch 1 has been updated, didn't realize how detailed it needed to be... Aug 3, 2018
Nathan Williams
Woodinville, WA
[Hide Comment] Great as a first multi-pitch lead. Climbs a couple of gullies which can be full of loose rock, so watch your step in places and wear a helmet. While it is an easy route, it can be a bit run out in places, so bring a handful of single and double length slings to practice adding a bit of protection yourself to taste on a few of the plentiful opportunities to sling boulders. Last pitch is shared with "Cobbles 101".

Bring hiking shoes to slip on at the top before you hike over to the exit rappel on the North East side (currently marked by some blue tat in the top of a small tree). Extra bolts near the rappel chains for your personal anchor are much appreciated to help get into position and rig everything safely. After rappelling down to the wide ramp below, continue walking/rappelling North down the ramp along the wall to find another set of chains on the wall under a bit of overhang at the very end of your rope. Continue by rappelling from these chains down the first pitch of "Clast from the Past" to the trail below then hike out on the trail around to West side of the rock (end of a 70m rope hits the trail, may require a small bit of easy down climbing on a 60m rope). This is a rope stretcher so tie stopper knots. Jul 12, 2020
El Mono
[Hide Comment] First pitch is the worst pitch, crumbly spooky crap (albeit easy, 5.2ish climbing) - lots of "spreading the weight" across all 4 points of hands/feet so nothing explodes out of the wall

Worth it for pitch 2, solid/fun chimney-kind-of climbing

Wear helmets and don't take low grade for granted. Pull down, not out. You don't want to take a blown rock on the dome out here, rescue is far away. Worth it for the position and the sights. Aug 19, 2020