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Royal Columns

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Main Face 
Orange Sunshine area 

Royal Columns Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 2,000'
Location: 46.72509, -120.80937 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 39,518
Administrators: Scott Coldiron, Nate Ball, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: andyf on Feb 20, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: Royal Columns in afternoon sun.

  • Temporary Closure (From April 28, 2017) MORE INFO >>>
  • Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    With more than 70 routes and some great entry-level cracks, the Royal Columns is the historic heart of Tieton River climbing. It's still the most popular crag in the area.

    About every five years or so someone touts the Columns as a "new" area. There's a lot of history here. Washington pioneers Tom and Meade Hargis cut their teeth at the Columns in the 1960s. In the 1970s, a talented group of Yakima climbers including Paul Boving, Matt & Jamie Christensen, Matt Kerns, and Kjell Swedin explored the crag before leaving their mark at Leavenworth, Index, and beyond. And, contrary to its reputation as a "trad" area, sport routes were being established at the Columns (and elsewhere in the Tieton) in the 1980s, before the first bolts were ever drilled at Little Si, Exit 38, or Frenchman Coulee.

    The rock at the Columns is well-featured with horizontal edges, making for some fun footwork along the cracks and fun crimping on the face routes. The rock is generally quite solid, although there's a fair bit of loose stuff on the slopes above the cliff. Keep an eye out for rock fall when people are above the cliff, particularly if (or rather, when) an instructional group shows up.

    In summer, the crag is shaded and cool in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. Be alert for rattlesnakes on the approach hike and along the cliff base. If you run into a snake, please leave it in peace.

    Getting There 

    The Columns are directly across the Tieton River from the Oak Creek Wildlife Area headquarters, about 3 miles west of where Highway 12 splits off from Highway 410. Park either on the broad shoulder along the river, or in the huge Wildlife Area lot across the highway. If parking in the lot, you'll need a Washington Discover Pass or you'll risk a ticket. This is the same pass you need to park at Frenchman Coulee or Little Si.

    Cross the Tieton River on a nice footbridge, then follow the signs and cut to the right through a gated fence to pick up the Tieton Nature Trail. In a few hundred yards, the trail to the crag branches left and heads up the hillside. Please use this trail both getting to and leaving the crag. The trail reaches the crag around the area of Orange Sunshine.

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 10.9 miles from here

    50 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',20],['2 Stars',23],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Royal Columns

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Royal Columns:
    Western Front   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Orange Sunshine area
    Double Trouble   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Main Face
    Bridger   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 80'   Main Face
    Unknown 5.7   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Main Face
    Level Head   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   Main Face
    The Cutting Edge   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Sunshine area
    Little Known Wonder   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Main Face
    Mush Maker   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Main Face
    X-Factor   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Sunshine area
    Developing Arms   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Sunshine area
    Inca Roads   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Main Face
    Thriller Pillar   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 70'   Orange Sunshine area
    Jam Exam   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Orange Sunshine area
    Stress Management   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Orange Sunshine area
    Orange Sunshine   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Sunshine area
    Paul Maul   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Orange Sunshine area
    Solar King   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   Orange Sunshine area
    The Price of Complacency   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Orange Sunshine area
    Imperial Master   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 90'   Main Face
    Morning After   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Sunshine area
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Royal Columns

    Featured Route For Royal Columns
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Price of Complacency:  Followed the overhangin...

    The Price of Complacency 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  Washington : Tieton River : ... : Orange Sunshine area
    This once was one of the better 60-foot sport routes of its grade in Washington, before the pillar it ascended toppled over on April 28, 2017. It climbed an overhanging arete through a combination of left hand arete pulling and right hand edge cranking. The story behind the route's name is recounted in Jim Nelson's Selected Climbs of the Cascades, Vol. II....[more]   Browse More Classics in Washington

    Photos of Royal Columns Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Leaving the Royal Columns after a great day at Tie...
    Leaving the Royal Columns after a great day at Tie...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Royal Columns
    BETA PHOTO: Royal Columns
    Rock Climbing Photo: Royal Columns
    BETA PHOTO: Royal Columns
    Rock Climbing Photo: Royal Columns with approach bridge
    BETA PHOTO: Royal Columns with approach bridge

    Comments on Royal Columns Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By andyf
    From: Tacoma, WA
    Jul 2, 2007
    The division between the Main Face and the Orange Sunshine area is where you scramble over (or around) a nose of rock. You can see it in the photo where the cliff is divided into a shaded side (Main Face) and a sunny side (Orange Sunshine area). In terms of routes, the Rap Route would be the last route in the Orange Sunshine area, and Slacker the first route on the Main Face.
    By Tess Wendel
    From: Seattle, WA
    May 30, 2017
    Royal Columns has been re-opened as of Friday May 26th

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