BETA PHOTO: Moolack overview.
Moolack is a hidden gem of a crag tucked away smack dab in the Middle of Nowhere, Oregon. (technically the Waldo Lakes Wilderness) While its location precludes it from ever becoming highly trafficked, simply put, it has some of the best crack climbing in Oregon. Sadly much of it is covered in varying amounts of moss, lichen, and other forms of flora due to lack of traffic. Aufderheide Drive (aka FS 19) is not maintained for snow and ice through the winter (though is un-gated) and this can complicate access once the snows come. The climbing is at roughly 3000' and can be particularly incredible during inversions on cold fall days when the valleys are socked in with fog.
Virtually all of the climbing is on a single, half-mile long cliff band that faces almost due south. The eastern end is shorter (33m) and shadier while the western end is taller (63m) and sunnier. There are two gullies on either end of the cliff band that offer easier (3rd/4th class) access to the flat, forested rim above the climbs. The eastern gully is ~100m climber's right of where the approach trail meets the base of the wall and the other is about the same distance climber's left of Gold. (after the biggest talus field) The top of the cliff is lined with mature firs and madrones virtually from end to end providing climbers with ample natural anchor opportunities. It's very useful to have a 40-60' length of rope to extend masterpoints to the rim on certain climbs. The crag's bolt-free ethic has created a high concentration of bold (but rarely dangerous) routes and it's a good idea to bring brass and perhaps ballnuts on specific routes.
All of the lines are naturally protected crack climbs and have been done sans bolts. Please respect this precedent and don't drill. There are also a reasonable amount of un-done lines left at the cliff. Given the fact that it's in the wilderness, developers have been intentional in opening the cleanest lines and leaving particularly green lines alone to preserve cliffside vegetation/habitat and to limit visual impact. Similarly, some of the routes start with low-angle munge climbing that has been deliberately and minimally cleaned for the same reasons. Moolack is definitely the type of venue where you could do a second FA of a climb without realizing it. If you're wondering about the history of a specific line, feel free to PM me or ask around the Eugene climbing community. (Bill Soule, Mike South, and Lee Baker would all be good people to talk to)
Unimportant historical blather: Until the summer of 2012, there was a strong tradition that information about this venue be distributed exclusively via word of mouth. (see comments below for a glimpse of what changed) The idea was that word of mouth dissemination would help protect access to a beautiful, but lightly used area. Additionally, not having any published guidebook gave the climbs a distinctly adventurous flavor that is difficult to find at your average climbing area. I was recently allowed to overwrite the information previously up here. Despite tradition, I don't think it makes sense to take the area down altogether after it's been posted and am trying to strike a balance between giving a functional amount of information to climb at Moolack without sharing so much beta as to strip future climbers of their adventure. Please continue that spirit by not posting excessively specific gear and movement beta.
Moolack is located on the west side of the Cascades. From I-5, drive on Hwy 58 towards Oakridge. At a junction across from the Ranger Station just before Oakridge, turn off of Hwy 58 towards Westfir to get on the Auderheide Memorial Road 19 . Drive through Westfir to get on FS 19/Aufderheide Drive. (though unmaintained in the winter) If you are traveling from the east, Hwy 58 is accessible south of LaPine. From 19, turn right onto FS 1944. After crossing the bridge, take the left fork onto FSR 750 and travel east. Beware the 'speedbumps' some FS lackey installed a few years back. After turning onto FSR 750 the cliff becomes visible on the left. FSR 750 terminates in a parking lot with a sign for the Fischer Creek Trailhead.
On foot Fischer Creek Trailhead intersects with the river. Cross the log-bridge and turn immediately left to get on a climbers trail leading to the base of a talus field. Pick your way up the talus (trending more or less straight up) to an obvious trail switchbacking up through the trees above. This trail leads to the cliff base, at it's right or eastern edge.
Climbing Season For the Willamette Valley area.
Weather station 20.5 miles from here
23 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',15],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Moolack
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Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Moolack:
Featured Route For Moolack
From: Portland, OR
Jul 20, 2015
Approach from the parking lot to the base of the first climb is about 20 minutes. You can get by with a 60m but a lot of the rappels are better suited to a 70m.
Sep 14, 2016
I really liked the climbing here. Certainly not for everybody, you must like a bit more of an adventure style and not be bothered by a bit of dirtyness. I was surprised by the steepness of the crag and thought it would be a great place to build some endurance for steeper crack objectives. Amazing setting, I'll be back for sure!