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Steeple, The 

Coethedral Rock Climbing 

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Location: 45.07738, -122.09937 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: adam winslow on Aug 21, 2010
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [4 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: The Witch from below.


This amazing knobby rock, with over 3,000 feet of often easy routes and occasionally multi-pitch bolted climbs and interesting pinnacles, make this a face and knob climbers paradise. Highly recommended, unique and nearly unlike anything in Oregon. (it is very likely that this will turn out to be some of the best winter water ice climbing in the state as well).

Routes from climber's left to right:

Coe-Priestly 5.10+
Bewitched Direct
Bewitched 5.9
Bewitched (upskirt variation) 5.9
Excalibur 5.10a/b
Trench Warfare 5.10-
Lava Flow 5.7
Grey Ghost 5.7
The Gingerbread Shortcut 5.5
Salathe Highway 5.6 R
Gothic Rocks 5.8/5.9
The Dragons Spine 5.10
Gratitude 5.8
Ujahn's Delight 5.7
Coecoenut Bridge 5.5
Better Than Sex 5.7
Rad, Plaid and Glad 5.9
Runaway Weasel 5.7-5.9

Getting There 

From Portland, take I-205 to highway 224 towards Estacada. Go 22 miles past Estacada's only traffic signal, past mile marker 45 and make a right turn just BEFORE the road crosses a green bridge. From this turn, parking for the crag is just over 10 miles. After turning, you will immediately pass two turn-offs for Indian Henry state park; camping on the left and hiker parking on the right. Go past milepost 2.5 where you will see a beaver pond. From here you are about a mile, as the crow flies, from the cliff. By car, you still have another 7.5 miles to go. The paved road will turn to gravel, stay right at all forks in the road staying on the better/more obvious road. This will keep you following National Highway development road #4620 (also called The Sandstone road) until it turns into road # 4622. After 10 miles you will see a "road closed" sign on the right. Park and hike down the closed forest road until you come to a slash-pile and a view of the crag to the north. Hike into the woods towards the crag following the crest until the trail turns left and downhill continuing to the base.


The current guidebook can be found at Climbmax Mountaineering 928 NE 28th Ave, Portland, Or 97232.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.2 miles from here

10 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Coethedral

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Coethedral:
The Salathe Highway   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   Main Area
Lava Flow   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 2 pitches, 275'   Main Area
The Dragons Spine    5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 2 pitches, 350'   Main Area
Excalibur   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 175'   Main Area
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Coethedral

Featured Route For Coethedral
Rock Climbing Photo: Ben Priestly leading the 2nd ascent of Brother Mik...

Brother Mike 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  Oregon : Mt. Hood : ... : The Steeple
Scott Peterson (Plaidman) did this route ground up. Sometimes Plaidman was solo, sometimes getting Rhonda or Rick to belay. Rick and Scott came back and freed it afterwards with Ricky snagging the leads on the cruxes and cruising them. Route is well bolted as the bolts are sturdy 1/2 x 5-1/2 Stainless steel and not runout. but pro is recommended for the first 60 feet which is a cruiser 5.7. A single 60 meter is all you need to rappel off. The rock is solid, sort of an andesitic cross between Sm...[more]   Browse More Classics in Oregon

Photos of Coethedral Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Coethedral Formation
BETA PHOTO: Coethedral Formation
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on The Witch
Climbers on The Witch
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the rap from the top of "The Dra...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the rap from the top of "The Dra...
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview map. Google will show the 4620 road. Alte...
BETA PHOTO: Overview map. Google will show the 4620 road. Alte...
Rock Climbing Photo: Routes on main formation as of the end of the 2010...
BETA PHOTO: Routes on main formation as of the end of the 2010...
Rock Climbing Photo: Coecoenut Bridge
Coecoenut Bridge
Rock Climbing Photo: The Witch's head looking from the Dragon Spine.
The Witch's head looking from the Dragon Spine.
Rock Climbing Photo: On the second ascent of Salathe Highway
On the second ascent of Salathe Highway

Comments on Coethedral Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 26, 2016
By androo.daveass
From: Portland
Aug 22, 2010
How far is the drive from Portland? Would it be breaking confidentiality to give me a range so that I can decide if it's close enough for me to check it out?
By Ryan Kelly
From: work.
Aug 23, 2010
So either put up a page in the routes database explaining where the area is and the routes, or keep it off the radar. But don't play this game of "Hey, check out my super secret mega awesome fun time area. Wanna go? Yeah? No. First you gotta go to the store and buy stuff". If you don't believe in Mountain Project, in having an open source where we can go and learn about new areas, that's fine. The discussion about Guidebooks vs. Online has been done a thousand times, no need to revisit. But pick a side.

Thousands and thousands of first ascentionists have come before these guys/gals, not asking for anything other than people respect the area they've developed and have fun climbing it. Hell, many sport FA-ists have spent a ton a money bolting areas they've completely left off the radar. And guidebook authors put in countless hours to make pennies back. If you're helping to build a part of the climbing community with monetary compensation in mind, perhaps you're in the wrong business.
By alpine glower
From: Soon to be Sweet Home, OR
Aug 23, 2010
Amen Mr Kelly! This whole idea is just plain wrong!
By adam winslow
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Aug 23, 2010
The guides are free.
By alpine glower
From: Soon to be Sweet Home, OR
Aug 24, 2010
If the guides are free then fair enough. But the posting should be deleted as a whole if no directions will be included.
By Ryan Kelly
From: work.
Aug 24, 2010
It has nothing to do with supporting or not supporting the shop, it's the way in which it was done. Is there heavy competition with another climbing shop in the area? If not, then what's the issue, climbers usually go to climbing shops when in the area.

Adam could have easily just said 'There's a local shop in the area that has printed out guides, just stop by and they'd be happy to give you one' and none of this would have been an issue. Who would print out a hodgepodge of online writeups when you can pick up a nice compact printed guide for free? Climbers would have happily stopped by, grabbed a guide, chat with locals while having the last sips of coffee and maybe some food, waiting to use the bathroom. That's pretty standard fare for everyone, isn't it? But no, it had to have this secrecy stuff, with partial information. Read the guide description again, does this really imply that the guide was free? No, not at all. And it's not even the money that's the issue, it's the secrecy. Don't start with the 'hater' shit on us hempy, it was done in poor form. I don't think anyone here isn't happy to see a new area come off the radar. I don't think anyone here doesn't appreciate the work the FAs did. I don't think anyone here has anything against Climb Max. 'Secret' areas are always a hot topic, and that's exactly how it was originally presented here.
By androo.daveass
From: Portland
Sep 28, 2010
There seems to be some confusion about the rock type here. It is not sandstone, but an Igneous Breccia. Most of the clasts are Scoria.
By Nate Ball
From: Portland, OR
Oct 18, 2010
Took a group of 12 out here today with Jacob Holmstead. Met a pair of dudes who had climbed with Bill and put up a new route. Climbed their route - Bewitched direct, .10a (I would guess). We did some aggressive cleaning on a few of the more moderate routes (Coecoenut Bridge, Better Than Sex, the .9 to the right of BTS, Dragon Spine 1st pitch, and Ujahn's)... which included moss-tearing, boulder-trundling, dirt-sweeping, and nubbin-popping. Can't say we were quite as productive in building up the belay area or the trail, which could use some work. Really excited about the potential of the area. REALLY want to top out next time I'm here!

PS - To clarify directions: take a RIGHT on OR-224 past mile marker 45, NOT over the green bridge. You will immediately pass Indian Henry campground on the left. Continue up the road, staying right at all junctions, for about 10 miles, until you come to the road closed sign. From here the previously posted directions are good.
By adam winslow
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Nov 17, 2010
Directions fixed
By Billcoe
Dec 7, 2010
Psyched that you folks all loved it Nate. It's an incredible spot with some fun but sick knobaliciousness happening. As it's located high at the 3300 foot level, it really comes into its own in the heat of the summer when Smith Rock is cooking and too hot to do anything but sip umbrella drinks in the shade by the Eagle Crest Resort golf courses or swimming pools.

For everyone else, as said above although there is currently over 3000 vertical feet of enjoyable bolted climbing on the main weathered knobby silicified tuff-breccia formation: there's lots more to be had, and IF anyone wants to show up and an lay some more pipe and do the hard work have at it. If you don't like bolts don't head out here as every thing but the Salethe Highway route is 100% bolts. There are hundreds of new routes waiting out here to be done in the vicinity. HUNDREDS! . Currently, ALL of the routes can be rappelled with a single 60M rope. No need to haul an extra rope no matter how high off the deck you get. This is a standard it would be nice to keep.

There are some lonely Fixe stainless sport anchor rap stations that don't have bolts to them off to the right (see photo, anchors marked with XX). These are "want ta be routes". If you find an anchor set and get in the mood, please jump in, bolt and finish the line. I uploaded a picture showing those anchors I put in. I was planning on doing them but ripped up rotator cuffs on both shoulders led to running out of mental juice. (Also, I like climbing cracks and there are none within miles of this spot:-) They need to get done, so Git her dun!!! We were using 1/2" x 6-1/2 or 7" long stainless steel wedge anchors, I have some left over if you need some to do a new route feel free to contact me and I'll make you a deal.

When Ben Priestly (who found the place and turned me onto it -thanks again Ben!) and I first saw it we thought that the main formation looked like a classic Gothic European Cathedral so that was our name for it. There are 2 large spires in the front (Dragon's Spine and The Old Witch) which give the place a total classic gothic cathedral look. As there are "Cathedrals" in about every state, 3 or 4 in Yosemite, my local brobhams soon morphed the name into Coethredral due to the fixation I had on the place. LOL.

The general rule of thumb that Ben wanted and is now tradition is that if anyone thinks an existing route needs bolts, discuss it with the others currently climbing out there and put them in. BAMM:-)! Just do it. Although in other places the tradition is that the FA party gets consulted, Ben had wisely suggested that the more appropriate group to consult for this location is whomever the active/current folks hanging and climbing out here are. I agree and think it's a better tradition than trying to find the FA and asking permission. Given the more remote nature of the area more bolts are better than less, and some of the early routes we did just need more bolts anyway. Given that perfect clipping stances of last year can become tomorrows no place to rest stance in 2 seconds or less, it is even more critical to pull the trigger on a new bolt (so to speak LOL) fast. Just make sure that whomever the current locals or fanatic fans are, they get asked before you drill. Don't make it a big deal if someone else pulls the trigger without asking you your opinion and if they put in an extra bolt you don't like, simply don't clip it.

We didn't want there to be arguments over stupid crap like that out here, and our most fervent wish and hope is that tradition can continue. If we would all treat others the way we all want to be treated life will be sweet for everyone.

New route potential is everywhere. On the main cliff and all these other cliffs and pinnacles you'll see all over just by stepping out of your car and spinning your head around 360 degrees.

Here's a pic below of the end of "The Nave", the area above the main cliff. It stretches around the corner out of sight. Currently as I type this there are NO routes at all and there could easily be 40-60 totally fu*ing rad bolted routes about 40-60' tall in the range from 5.6 - 5.13+.:

All these Oregon climbers are just sleeping on this unbelievable spot and it's only 60 miles from town! If any Colorado climbers saw this place....Sh*t, if someone like Bobby D (Bob D'Antonio) even caught a glimpse of this area in his rear view mirror he would shit on his car seat while reaching for his rotohammer in total shock at the new route potential. If he had the rotohammer and the bolts he'd have 200 routes in here before he went back to town at the end of the day. There's new route potential everywhere and although the lower ends of the grades would start at less than 5.4 which any old guy could haul his fat ass and man-boobs up, there's some crazy 5.15 overhangs that would even give Sharma a woodie if he saw them. With everything in between too. Waiting.

The Steeple, for instance, has only 1 (easy) route up the back side and the potential to have many many more, much longer @ 250'-400' to the summit (and better) routes than Frenches Dome.

Check out the a glimpse of the top of the Steeple (@ 200' of the lower part is not visible), viewed from the front in this pic below. Remember: what you are looking at is only the very top of a 400' high line and is still VIRGIN.

Is that not sick? (good way sick, not vomiting pea soup sick)

Thanks for getting the info up for folks to go hit it Adam, did I tell you that YOU RULE!!!!? If the mods could fix it back the way you had it before they screwed it up so people can add info under the individual routes it would be appreciated. It's probably an ice climbers dream in winter. Even in winter when the road is snowed in the hike/ski in directly up Sandstone creek from the 1500 foot level near Indian Henry to the base is only @ 1 mile (via topo-I haven't done it), and as the Clackamas River Highway elevation is only @ 1500' the road is generally open. It would be a short ski, snowshoe or snowmobile ride up the 4620 road to get some ice climbing laps in.

Tim Olsen will be getting this location into his next Portland Rock Climbs books which will be out shortly, and he should have a bunch of other interesting new places to climb as well that few of us have heard about. Tim will have this place all laid out in his book so go buy "Portland Rock Climbs" 1 (and later book 2) when they get out and support the local boyz. My wife use to shake her head and laugh at my fixation on this place. I'm over it now and the place is yours to climb and add some routes. Maybe when I get old I'll be back for some more fun bolt clippin' in an amazingly beautiful spot with some grandkids in tow.

LINK to Tim's web site for the guidebook.

(insert Jesse Jackson voice here: KEEP STOKE ALIVE!)

Take care all!
By BighornAdams Adams
Jul 24, 2011
Just went out there this weekend. This place has some of the most surreal and adventurous sport climbing I've ever seen. Absolutely incredible.

Watch out for loose rock though. It's everywhere up there, and easily the most dangerous part of climbing here.

Mad props to Bill Coe.
By Plaidman
From: Portland, Oregon
May 31, 2012
Good times at Coethedral last weekend. New routes are being worked on. Climbing is being done. Mike my partner and I got on "Better Than Sex", "Rad,Plaid,and Glad", and "Coecoenut Bridge". Knobs have been tested and found to be in good shape.

The snow has melted all the way to the parking lot to Coethedral and their is no snow on the cliff bands above the climbs. The rock was dry and it is ready for another fun summer season.

I camped right in the parking lot and had the place all to myself from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. The solitude was nice. Glad Mike showed up to do some climbing though.

We will be out next Sunday playing and their are a few others that are planning on getting on some of the harder routes. It mostly bolted knobular fun climbing. So many more routes can go up there.
By Josh Lyons
From: welches OR
Aug 16, 2012
was wondering if anyone had info on the guide now that climbax unfortunately shutdown. I think we are going this weekend and would like a little more info. Thanks
By Billcoe
Aug 22, 2012
Josh, it is in the new Northwest Rock guidebook. (along with a bunch of other new areas and routes). It can be bought here: and the description of what's in it is here:

Have fun!
By Daniel A Miller
From: Portland, OR
May 3, 2013
I went out here on Saturday, May 4th. The forest service road 4620/4622 is covered in several feet of snow so we had to walk the rest of the way (snow starts about 2 miles from the "parking lot"). Needless to say the route finding in the snow is more difficult than the descritpion would make it sound. However, after a few snowy ordeals we did make it to the crag. It's pretty nice sport climbing for being in the middle of nowhere. But, it is extremely dirty, my partner and I both were hit by rocks we kicked off routes, (bring a helmet!). And while belaying you will be covered in dirt and moss. I think as these routes see more traffic this will turn into a great climbing area. Right now it's a decent climbing area with a great adventure to get there.

We summitted the witch, via excalibur and the Salathe highway, the exposure is incredible. You have nothing around you on all sides and all you can see is trees and hills for miles and miles, its strikingly beautiful and frightening all at the same time.

Excalibur which is an extremely long sport route is very well protected and pretty fun. The 5.10a grade is accurate, I think if the route were shorter it might only be 5.9 but the stamina required to do this thing clean certainly adds to the difficulty. The Salathe highway, is no more than 5.7 and I think the X given to it by the guidebook is unwarranted. You do have to be comfortbale slinging chickenheads however.

Thank you to BillCoe who helped me find the area and his development of the area is a truly heroic effort. The bolts and anchors are all solid and thoughtfully placed. Additionally, having a seat in those green chairs in the cave next to the crag was a welcome rest after the hike in.

I have no doubt I will visit the place again at some point during the summer. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good day of backcountry climbing fun, which should be everyone.

Thanks Bill!
By chris pdx
Aug 22, 2016
Climbed here yesterday. What a cool spot.

Minor update to the directions. There are no longer any "road closed" signs or gates at the parking spot for this area. There are 2 pull outs that are in the 10 mile range after leaving hwy 224. You want the second one.

We climbed better than sex and ujahns delight. Both were solid as far as stability of the holds etc, but they were both dirty due to lack of use. They were nice and fun easy routes.

The anchor at the top of better than sex needs work. The right bolt moves side to side, and the left hanger spins on the bolt, but the bolt seems solid. There is a single 1/2" bolt/hanger above the anchor that can be used to back it up.

I hope to make it back a time or two to try the rest of the routes before the summer is over.
By das1405
From: Portland
Sep 26, 2016
Wow. Epic climbing spot. Read all the beta before heading out though. Directions in guide book are spot on. the pull off is almost exactly 5 miles past where the gravel road starts. the road was in pretty good shape but we had to stop and move small to medium size rocks to keep moving. At the pulloff look for the berm. a farily well worn trail is the most obvious sign since the gate and road clsed sign are no longer there. The hike in is a very steep slog and and def could use some work. There is bright orange marking tape on several of the trees to keep you on trail (thanks to whoever did that, big help) Once there, routes where easy to find and the bolting was great. the fact that there are lots of them really help you feel secure in such a remote area.
The right anchor bolt for Excalibur (P2 belay at base of Salathe highway) was spinning and there was a significant amount of play in the bolt. Seemed like all the loading during the rap was on this bolt which could explain it. Someone should take a wrench out with them and tighten it at least. there was a good back up bolt so i wasn't too concerned. The pitch one belay had loose right anchor as well but the bolt still felt solid.

I am in awe of the people that spent the time getting this place developed. Thank you so much! Someone needs to put a route to the top of this place!

Beware loose rock was coming down basically the whole time we climbed. nothing major but wear a helmet if you are at the bottom and seriously consider leaving dogs at home (unless you can get them to wear a helmet) because they could easily get taken out by some rock fall from 300'. Also even though the climbs are fairly low grade this is not a place for beginners, do some multi-pitches and raps elsewhere to get skill set up before heading out to this remote location. I recommend camping. this spot is too far away and too awesome to only spend a few hours there.

probably wont make it out again this season but looking forward to next summer!

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