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Trout Creek

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Cool Wall, The 
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Trout Creek Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 2,101'
Location: 44.802, -121.1086 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Max Tepfer on Aug 2, 2009
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Tommy Caldwell working on the project immediately ...

Seasonal Raptor Closure starts Jan 15 each year; No top access - private land MORE INFO >>>


Trout Creek is Oregon's premier destination for pure crack climbs. The climbing is physical, the rock is rough, and the approach is long if you're not used to hiking. The bulk of the climbing is vertical cracks in corners and stem-boxes on enormous basalt columns coming in at the 5.10-5.12 range. There are also a handful of lower angle crack climbs on the North side of the crag that come in at 5.7-5.10. The main wall faces west and this fact dictates when it is best to climb there. It is possible to climb at Trout year round if you climb in the sun/shade accordingly. There is a published guidebook. It used to be free, but is now published through Rakkup and can be purchased in digital form for $4.99 at this Link. It is an excellent resource and comes highly recommended, especially if you're interested in ethics, history, and thoughts behind grades. It was recently updated.

The position of the crag is spectacular and contributes to Trout's special vibe. It's possible to climb there without tape, but it sure feels nice to have something between your skin and the rock. In terms of gear, lots of people have complained about how many cams you need, but my experience is that you can get by with a double rack if you have a couple choice supplements for specific routes. Extra hand and finger sized pieces are definitely a good idea. There are still a couple lines that haven't been done, but they're mostly thin and difficult.

Additionally, one of Trout's most outstanding characteristics is the sense of welcome, stewardship, and community that the people who climb there bring to it. Evidence of this can be found in the steel carabiners that the chains on the vast majority of the classic routes are equipped with. These are meant for simplifying the top-rope-cleaning process and were contributed by the generosity of others. Please respect that by leaving them in place. Additionally, there is a community bucket currently located under a boulder in the vicinity of the bench-like columns beneath Gold Rush. It usually contains a guidebook, a first aid kit, and various odds and ends. This bucket, like all the other human artifacts 90% of Trout's visitors use during their stay, (bolts, hangers, chains, carabiners, etc...) are there thanks to the generosity of others.

It's worth noting that Trout's Main Wall requires exposed boulder-hopping to enjoy fully. People and/or dogs not comfortable walking and 3rd/4th classing in exposed situations probably won't enjoy visiting. Lastly, FA information is based on the guidebook but is a sticky subject due to the area's development history. For the whole story, check out the guidebook.

Possibly the most important thing to know about climbing at Trout is it's central access issue: golden eagles. There is a nest at the south end of the Main Wall and there are another three nests at the Cool Wall. The overhanging, broken columns adjacent to the nest (the columns that are bent over) are closed to climbing and the entire area is closed to all access. (hiking and climbing) from January 15th through August 31st. While no climbers have violated the closures by actually tying in when the crag is closed, the BLM has encountered climbers who hiked up to check the place out during the closure. It can't be stressed enough that you should not be hiking above the river during the closure period!

Getting There 

From the city of Madras: drive 97 North past Safeway and out of town. Turn left of NE Cora Drive. It'll turn into NE Clark Drive which you'll follow into the town of Gateway, OR. Cross the train tracks and take a right following signs to Trout Creek Recreational Area. From the day-use area at the up-stream end of the campground, follow the trail/road up stream for about 10 minutes. There are currently two trails up to the crag. One leaves the river right after the road jogs around a small berm (right after you pass a bench on your right) and switchbacks up to the Northern End. To get to the other, older trail, follow the road past the first trail for another 5 minutes, cross a small cattle guard (the second you will have encountered if you include the very first one you cross after leaving the parking lot), and look for a trail heading up and left during a long straightaway.

Climbing Season

Weather station 9.6 miles from here

102 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',41],['3 Stars',56],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Trout Creek

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Trout Creek:
Usual Suspects   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 75'   The Northern End
U3   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 100'   The Main Wall
Gold Rush   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 70'   The Main Wall
Lively Up Yourself   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   The Northern End
Talkin' It Clean   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   The Northern End
Sleepy Hallow   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   The Northern End
JR Token   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 65'   The Main Wall
Rodeo Crack   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 70'   The Northern End
Wondertwins   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   The Main Wall
Mr. Squiggles   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   The Main Wall
Suzuki   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   The Main Wall
The Space Between   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   The Main Wall
Redside   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 70'   The Main Wall
U4   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   The Main Wall
Fingerlings   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   The Main Wall
Dame El Oro   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   The Main Wall
Gateway   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 80'   The Main Wall
Monster   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch   The Main Wall
Alchemy   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 90'   The Main Wall
Winter Sustenance   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   The Main Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Trout Creek

Featured Route For Trout Creek
Rock Climbing Photo: June on Redside!

Redside 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b  Oregon : Central Oregon : ... : The Main Wall
Dig deep as the difficult tips start to this climb is only the first crux. Difficult to place gear if laybacking this part. Where your techniques transition will dictate the location of subsequent cruxes. Getting your first knee is a relief that doesn't seem to come soon enough. Transitioning from stacking to armbarring is tricky. This climb will work you through every size and manner of big jams. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Oregon

Photos of Trout Creek Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Trout Creek
Trout Creek
Rock Climbing Photo: The main wall Photo by Thad Arnold.
BETA PHOTO: The main wall Photo by Thad Arnold.
Rock Climbing Photo: Main Wall
Main Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Wicked basalt columns along the base.  Don't dare ...
Wicked basalt columns along the base. Don't dare ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Cody on the first ascent of Reservation Blues 5.12...
Cody on the first ascent of Reservation Blues 5.12...
Rock Climbing Photo: Side of Trout
Side of Trout
Rock Climbing Photo: Second ascent of Dame el Oro. One of those "t...
Second ascent of Dame el Oro. One of those "t...
Rock Climbing Photo: So cold this morning.
So cold this morning.
Rock Climbing Photo: Regarding (Jefferson...)
Regarding (Jefferson...)
Rock Climbing Photo: First ascent of Geologic Time. Jeff W. and Pat M. ...
First ascent of Geologic Time. Jeff W. and Pat M. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Deschutes River below.
The Deschutes River below.
Rock Climbing Photo: fun perspective with big and little people.
fun perspective with big and little people.
Rock Climbing Photo: Trout Creek Ranch
Trout Creek Ranch
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow over Trout Creek
Rainbow over Trout Creek
Rock Climbing Photo: Basalt.
Rock Climbing Photo: 'At damn sun's hot.
'At damn sun's hot.
Rock Climbing Photo: Leaving Trout Creek.   Photo: Corey Gargano
Leaving Trout Creek. Photo: Corey Gargano
Rock Climbing Photo: Sad, sad day.
Sad, sad day.

Comments on Trout Creek Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 15, 2017
By Peter Franzen
General Admin
From: Phoenix, AZ
Oct 13, 2009
This is an amazing area, and I want to thank all of the people who have worked on its development.

I was really struck by the rock here-- I came expecting the usual slick-as-ice basalt that we're used to in the Northwest, but I was surprised to see that it has an incredible texture that is reminiscent of the tuff at Smith Rock. Among other things, that tends to make the climbing a bit sportier than some other purely trad areas that you might visit; because of the abrasive texture there's a chance that you might actually stick that desperate deadpoint to a far-away fingerjam.
By ShibbyShane
Oct 14, 2009
Does passive pro work well here or do you have to rely mostly on cams? Not everyone has three or more cams of one size...
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Oct 19, 2009
Passive pro does work well in many places, but there are certain routes where you do actually need triples or quadruples of a given size in order to place gear every ten feet.
"You'll be able to climb with a "regular" rack on many of the routes. If you climb solid 5.10 and have a double set of cams and stoppers you should be fine on some of the most popular climbs like Wonder Twins, U2, The Guillotine, Sleepy Hallow, Gods Must Be Angry, Two Step, Usual Suspects, Talkin' it Clean (and the routes close by), The Long March, Rock Around the Block, Mr Squiggles, Lively Up Yourself...and many others. So don't let the lack of gear talk you out of heading up there.

Jr Token, Gold Rush, Fingerlings, Alchemy and many of the finger cracks (typically) require more than doubles." -Jeffw (a pretty knowledgeable guy) on the subject of gear requirements at Trout.
By ShibbyShane
Nov 2, 2009
Sounds good. Thanks Max.
By AndyKemedy
From: Black Hawk, SD
Mar 17, 2013
Does the golden eagle closure include the campground?
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Mar 17, 2013
The closure does not include the campground. The river road and campground are unaffected by the closure. If you do hike the river road, do not leave it and head up the trails to cliff. The closure only affects the climber's trails and crag. There should be signs after a couple hundred feet of trail.
By Catherine Conner
From: Phoenix, AZ
Sep 14, 2013
Gosh I want to go here so bad, it's been on the bucket list for at least 5 years. Someday I tell ya!
By Lan Dogan
From: Seattle, WA
May 19, 2015
FYI, looks like closures are listed on this BLM page:

for 2015 open as of May 15
By Chris Sepic
From: Bend, OR
Aug 1, 2015
In case anyone is curious, Forrest Kaye and I recently timed the approach trails. With full packs, the long (south) trail takes 30 minutes from the start of the north trail to the Gold Rush staging area. The shorter, steeper north trail takes 20 minutes from its start to the northern end.
By Chris Kisio
From: Beaverton
Feb 29, 2016
Does anyone have a link that is not broken for the Trout Creek guidebook or anything I can use please and thank you. Planning a trip May 19 and havent been able to get this link to the guidebook to work.
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Mar 1, 2016
Hey Chris,
I'm not sure what's wrong. I just tried clicking the link and it took me straight to Rakkup's TC page. Alternatively you could try googling it. For clarity, I'm talking about the link to Rakkup in the description. I'm pretty sure that the link that Luke posted is no longer current. (Jeff took the book off of Lulu after he switched to Rakkup's platform)
By Rob Price
From: Seattle, WA
Mar 15, 2016
Hi Chris,
I notice the 'Guidebooks' link says (3) guidebooks but there's nothing on the page when I click. You can get the rakkup guide at or just install the app for iPhone/iPad or Android and find Trout Creek in the 'Store' tab. Have a great trip! TC is amazing.
By Micah Klesick
From: Vancouver, WA
Mar 15, 2016
I added the Rakkup Guide to the Guidebooks link, since it is now the only guide. You'll need to buy and download it from Rakkup.
By Mitch Alexander
From: SLO, CA
Aug 12, 2016
After missing the further trail and mobbing straight up the hill, if it is your first time I would recommend taking the closer trail and boulder hopping to the main wall. Also, main wall is in shade until about 2pm, with the north end staying in the shade much longer, we left around 5 and it was still fine. Rodeo Crack in particular had a cool breeze running through it and felt very nice to sit by.
By kendallt
From: Tahoe
Sep 17, 2016
What's the camping and day use fee situation here? Is the campground free BLM camping or paid? Is there any primitive camping that's free, or overnight parking?
By 20 kN
Sep 18, 2016
How long does the approach take? Parts of the guide make it sound rather long and others make it sound short.
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Sep 18, 2016
There isn't any free camping or overnight parking. It's a paid BLM campground without water and with bathrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings.

The timing of the approach is subjective. It usually takes me about 30 minutes up the North Trail, but if you're carrying a lot of gear and don't like walking uphill, and go the long way, it wouldn't be unreasonable to take an hour. An additional factor is how good you are at talus hopping and where you choose to start climbing/which trail you take. If you hike up on the North but are going to warm up by Gold Rush and are slow crossing the base, that can add time.
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
May 15, 2017
Word came in from the BLM today that Trout Creek is now partially open for the season. The south (original) approach trail is closed as is all climbing and hiking south (climber's right) of the Gold Rush area. (Gold Rush is open, Alchemy, Pan Handlin', and Midas Touch are closed) In short the vast majority of climbing is good to go and we should only walk up there via the steeper trail that climbs directly to the northern end.

The BLM also confirmed today that the eagles have two nestlings. It can't be emphasized enough how critical it is that we obey the closure and stay out of the closed area. If the young birds successfully fledge this season then it's a huge win for everyone in that it demonstrates that climbers and eagles can coexist with this amount of buffer. (not something that's been well established to date-many other golden closures are more restrictive in buffer size)

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