Exploring the rock climbing of Hood River – Horsethief Butte

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Exploring the rock climbing of Hood River – Horsethief Butte

Various points during the week between 06-July & 10-July

Day 1

I love climbing.

Yeah, I know. Huge surprise. Hush.

But now that I’m in a new town, I’ve got to explore the area! I had an entire new landscape to adventure in – I’d never been to the Pacific Northwest, much less climbed all the fun stuff it had to offer. And the Columbia River Gorge is beautiful – with huge soaring cliffs every few miles.

I needed to climb some of those cliffs.

So I looked up routes on Mountain Project, and found the closest solid crag that I could – a place called Horsethief Butte, about a 20min drive from my new house. So, even though it was right around sunset, I hopped in the car and headed toward the butte.

And… I’d left too late – by the time I got there, it was too dark to really think about climbing. So instead, I pulled my headlamp out of my pack and headed in to do a quick recon run of the area.

First thing: The view of Mt. Hood is amazing from Horsethief – It’s a solitary peark, so it stands out beautifully from the rest of the landscape. And since I’m on the Northern side, there’s still snow on the peak, which makes it just that much more picturesque.

But, since there wasn’t any climbing to be had, I didn’t stay too long. Just a quick exploration in prep for the next day…

Day 2

This time, I left the house almost as soon as I got home from work. Just left enough time to have a quick snack and grab my climbing gear.

And this time, I hiked in with a crash pad on my back… Which normally doesn’t really make much of a difference. But the Columbia River Gorge is windy. And a crash pad is, at it’s heart, a large piece of foam. Which acts like a sail.

Basically, I just mean that the hike in was kind of more interesting than I expected.

As far as climbing goes? It was fun – there’s a ton of climbing to be done at Horsethief; the problems ranged from easily done to “wait… what?” levels of difficulty. I enjoyed it; I don’t know the sames of any of the routes, so I couldn’t comment on difficulty or anything. But I enjoyed it, and that’s what matters.

Even got home in time that dinner wasn’t even too late.

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