Type: Trad, 700 ft, 8 pitches, Grade II
FA: July 2018 Topher Dabrowski & Stark Ligon
Page Views: 1,271 total · 38/month
Shared By: Topher Dabrowski on Apr 17, 2016
Admins: Nate Ball, Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

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In 1901 Frank Smith, a steamboat captain, and his party made the first ascent of Beacon Rock via the northwest face on what is now commonly known as the Spike Route. This route is named in his honor.

The Steamboat Captain's Dream is a link up of a few existing pitches from a couple of different routes together with newly opened pitches. The line stays true with the character of the opening pitches and offers more varied and superb climbing on the way to the true summit of Beacon Rock.

While most of Beacon Rock is closed to climbing annually from February until early July, the NW section of the rock remains open year round. This route is a great option for those looking for a multi-pitch adventure earlier in the season. The 5.10 nature of the route will keep you reaching into your bag of trad tricks and will ask for a wide variety of climbing skill as the route offers everything from low angle slab to slightly steeper terrain and thin crack to wide flakes.

Pitch 1 5.10B, 28m - ascend large ledges and good holds to a wider left leaning crack. The first gear is about 20' up in this crack but the climbing is straight forward to this point. Continue up as the route zig zags its way up the wall following a discontinuous crack system eventually reaching a stance with a piton. Look carefully for offset nuts and small to medium cam placements on the way up to the pin. After clipping the pin and backing it up with a good 1" cam (aka purple 0.5 C4) in the slot just beside it, launch into the route's crux by moving up past another pin and then exiting left around a buttress. Once you turn the corner, look for good features and a few more gear placements which take you up a slab to the bolted anchor. Due to the nature of the rock on this pitch some of the gear placements are not obvious but there definitely available to the skilled trad climber.

Pitch 2 5.10D 32m - head up a weakness on the right of the anchors passing a small tree on its left side. Continue up the discontinuous crack finding good stances between reachy moves on good holds. Clip a bolt and step left on to a slab, working across the slab below a small roof towards another bolt. Climb up towards a small tree passing it on the right side and then on to the final crux head wall. The head wall has bolts, a pin and can take a couple of nuts if required. Plenty of gear can be found on this pitch. A set of offset nuts will be very useful on this pitch, especially the #7/gold size.

Move the belay about 25' up above the trees and to a comfortable ledge with anchors.

Pitch 3 5.10C 25m - continue up the short 15' right facing corner just right of the belay anchor and the short cracks above. Weave through a series of ledges and traverse left into a stance behind a large tree, a larger cam can be placed here. Lay back the big flake past 2 bolts and then traverse right across the face to find the next anchors just above.

Pitch 4 5.10A 18m - climb the low angle left leaning crack passing a piton mid way. Clipping the last bolt of Stone Soup's bolt ladder at the exit is fair game if needed. Find a belay station on the face to the left after you exit on to the comfy ledge. The micro-cams are useful on this pitch.

Pitch 5 5.6 20m - make a step up a 6' corner and follow the low angle ledges passing 2 bolts to an anchor below a steep arete and behind a tree.

Pitch 6 5.10D 28m - head strait up the arete following a line of bolts to a small roof. Step right, through the roof and continue up the ridge past a short crack to a set of anchors above a small ledge on the face.

Pitch 7 5.9 30m - from the belay move right and up a crack and corner system. Continue following the discontinuous crack and corner passing a few bolts and a piton until the terrain eases and the final belay can be found at a comfortable stance. Be careful as some of the blocks are loose.  

Pitch 8 3rd & 4th class 30m - climb a couple of steps and follow the easy terrain along the ridge crest for 100' to reach the Beacon Rock trail

*The first two pitches of this route are originally known as Smoke Signals and were climbed in 1999 by J.Opdyke & A.Leiner 


If you complete the route then walk down the Beacon Rock hiking trail back to your car, shoes or flip flops recommended. Otherwise rappel from any pitch with a 70m rope.


Literally the easiest multi-pitch approach you'll ever do.

From the west end of the main Beacon parking area, walk towards the wall and then take the path leading into the woods adjacent to the water spigot. It's about 15 yards to the base of the wall, start down in the ditch.


0.1 thru #3 Black Diamond Camalot Sizes
Doubles in 0.3, 0.4 & 0.5
Small & Medium Nuts, BD 4-8
Offset Nut Set with an extra #7
12 x 60cm Runners
6 QDs
Chris Winter
Portland, OR
Chris Winter   Portland, OR
Great line guys! Well done - this rig is primo. Sep 29, 2018
Doug Hutchinson
Seattle, WA
Doug Hutchinson   Seattle, WA
Super fun route. Well equipped and described. Starts a few dozen feet from the car and ends 20 feet below the summit. All pitches are good and P2 is one of the better pitches at Beacon. Nice work. Oct 2, 2018
Daniel Bookless
Portland, OR
Daniel Bookless   Portland, OR
Wait! you haven't climbed this line!?!?!? Yes, you reading this comment. What the eff you waiting for, go get it cowgirl.
Instant classic!
Exactly what the Portland Area was missing!
5.10 climbing up 700 feet of rock! Oct 3, 2018