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Rattlesnake Rock Climbing 

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Location: 42.6515, -122.8856 View Map  Incorrect?
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Submitted By: Scott Becker on Sep 29, 2009


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BETA PHOTO: Location of trail from main road.


Rattlesnake is a secluded sport crag near Medford that provides the highest volume of single pitch climbs in Southwest Oregon. And while it’s no destination crag, Rattlesnake is a great training ground for local climbers and is worth a visit if you’re in the area. There are over 100 climbs at Rattlesnake that range in difficulty from 5.8 to 5.13a with most of the climbs falling in the range of 5.10+ to mid-5.11. The vast majority of the climbs are bolted sport climbs with even most of the crack climbs “sporting” a few bolts.

The rock at Rattlesnake is a variety of welded tuff that ranges in quality from “solid” to “abysmal” (a.k.a.: "Rattlechoss"), even over the course of a single climb. The cliffs are on a series of buttresses that range in height from about 40 to 100 feet. The bottom portion of the longer climbs may feature a band of heavily fractured (read: chossy) rock. That said, once you tiptoe though the loosest of the rock, the climbs are generally very solid.

Rattlesnake is on BLM land but the Boise-Cascade timber company owns some of the surrounding area so follow posted regulations, and as always, leave no trace. There are no outhouses or water out at the crag. If you must sit while you jettison your morning coffee, make a pit stop in Shady Cove or Trail.

Climbing is best during spring and fall, but possible all year. Wintertime can be great as long as a significant snow pack has not formed, which is unusual. Summer can be uncomfortably hot but shade can almost always be found.

A guide to Rattlesnake is in Greg Orton’s "Rock Climbing Western Oregon: Vol. 3, The Rogue". It includes great topos, route descriptions, directions to the crag, FA info, and lots of other good stuff.

Getting There 

Getting to Rattlesnake can be tricky if you haven’t been there a few times. Orton’s guide contains detailed directions but it’s possible to get lost even with these directions. I’ve even heard stories of people having to make two or three trips before they even find the crag.

  • From I-5 exit 30, head toward Crater Lake on Highway 62 (Crater Lake Hwy.) Pass through Shady Cove after about 20 miles.
  • About three miles past Shady Cove at Trail turn left on Highway 227 (Trail-Tiller Hwy) toward Canyonville. Drive for about three miles. Keep an eye on the milepost markers on the left (south) side of the road.
  • Just before MP 50, turn left on W. Fork Trail Creek Rd. Just after the turn you will cross a bridge over a creek.
  • After the NEXT bridge, turn left onto a dirt road (I believe the directions in the book only mention one bridge, there are two).
  • The first fork in the road comes about a ¼ mile after turning onto the dirt road. Take the left fork. The road should switch back sharply to the left after making this turn.
  • At the next fork, go right. When approaching this fork, the right looks more straight, while the left drops down hill. The road should bend to the right after making the turn.
  • The next time the road splits, you have the option of making a 90 degree turn to the right or staying straight. GO STRAIGHT (a lot of people seem to go astray here).
  • After a while the road will make a sharp bend to the left and you will pass a large quarry (a place where locals like to shoot their guns). After the quarry the road will start to head uphill, flatten out, then head uphill again. There is a pullout on the left where the road fattens out and bends to the right. The approach trail is on the right. Total distance on the dirt road is about four miles. A short, uphill hike on the approach trail gets you to the crag.

Some more hints and notes on getting to Rattlesnake:
Keep in mind that the above directions are from memory. For best results, use these directions in conjunction with the directions in the guide.
All of the turns on the dirt road are of a “veering” nature. If you every find yourself contemplating a sharp turn in either direction, don’t do it.
The road is pretty well maintained and is easily passable by low clearance 2WD vehicles unless there is an unusual amount of snow or mud. Turnoffs that are particularly rough or vegetated are not mentioned in the above directions.

Climbing Season

For the Southwest Oregon area.

Weather station 13.9 miles from here

36 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',25],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Rattlesnake

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Rattlesnake:
Split Decision   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 70'   Jane's Buttress
Arabesque    5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 60'   The Cathedral
The Groove   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   The Cathedral
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Rattlesnake

Featured Route For Rattlesnake
Rock Climbing Photo: The Scorpion arete.

The Scorpion 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  Oregon : Southwest Oregon : ... : Dominator Wall
Mega! Climbs the arete at the lowest point of the Dominator Wall. Bouldery crux comes at about 1/3 height. Then climb to a ledge shared with "Dead Souls". After that it's go-time with a pumpy overhanging knife-edge arete and another crux move at the second to last bolt. Again... MEGA!...[more]   Browse More Classics in Oregon

Photos of Rattlesnake Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: One of the rock formations from a distance.
One of the rock formations from a distance.
Rock Climbing Photo: View of Mt. McLaughlin from the crag.
View of Mt. McLaughlin from the crag.
Rock Climbing Photo: Been climbing here for 11 years and this is only t...
Been climbing here for 11 years and this is only t...
Rock Climbing Photo: The crags of Rattlesnake poking up out of the surr...
The crags of Rattlesnake poking up out of the surr...

Comments on Rattlesnake Add Comment
Show which comments
By Benjamin Quinones
Aug 6, 2012
The guide book seems to say that the trail is at the quarry off the road. This is not the case :/ follow the last directions on this page to get there.
By Mateo San Pedro
From: OR
Sep 9, 2015
The dirt road has a random ass wooden sign with a heart painted on it at the turn. That is all.
By Sam Bedell
From: Bend, OR
Feb 12, 2017
Some things that will help you find this place the first time...
-the pullout is quite a ways past the quarry (half mile?) where it is flat for a while, don't stop at any of the earlier short flat sections
-the approach trail is well traveled, if its an animal track or you are unsure if the trail continues then its the wrong one
-the trail doesn't actually go up hill that much, it stays at about the same elevation on rolling terrain until you see the cliffs (about 10 min to the first routes)

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