Tag Archives: Frenchman Coulee

A weekend trip to Vantage!

A weekend trip to Vantage!

Trip to Vantage

This trip happened a while ago, and I honestly never really have the mental energy to write it up particularly well.  But I did write out this quick summary, so please forgive the plot holes, lack of details, and general tomfoolery and poor quality writing below.


Friday night:

  • Drive out, via Panda Express and DQ!
  • Takes longer than expected, but we still find a pretty solid campsite for ourselves.
  • Sleep sleep



  • Cold morning… like, super cold. Too cold to climb, so breakfast and then wander a bit. Recon, right?
  • Lotsa people leave… boo, weenies.
  • Back to camp from Recon, then have some lunch and head back to the Sunshine Wall to climb
  • Climb some super fun routes, mostly just adventure climbing up random interesting looking bits
  • Ollie doesn’t like the slot canyon… but she gets over it, or rather, through it. Get it? Through it?
  • Finish off with a tough 5.9… I think it was called “Vantage Point” that I can’t actually finish, because fuck the last move. It’s scary. I cheat past it though, to get an amazing final panorama of the whole valley at sunset.
  • Back to camp, make an excellent dinner of chili cheese dogs (and a mouse for Ollie, though we didn’t let her keep it long enough to actually eat), and sleep!


  • Wake up, it’s much nicer today, so we head back to the same area and do some more routes!
  • Actually… they’re super full, because there’s a ton of people. So we end up doing a lot of the same routes, and some of the other ones that we saw people on the day before. They’re fun, and not as popular… but they’re not as long, and not exactly what Sarah wanted to climb, which is a bummer.
  • Note, high entertainment value from the group of new climbers next to us.
  • Sarah drew while Ben made lunch of Mac and Cheese in the wind.
  • Pack up, and head back home!


22, 23 & 24 April, 2016 – Climbing in Vantage again!

22, 23 & 24 April, 2016 – Climbing in Vantage again!
Thursday through Sunday, 21 – 24-April-2016
So, I’d talked with some of the interns at work about climbing.  They were curious – they’d been in the gym a time or three, but hadn’t ever gotten a chance to climb outside.  Well!  That?  That we just couldn’t allow.  My NUHOC leader exploded from it’s hiding place, and I planned out a trip for us all.  
To Smith, originally… but then Smith was rained out.  So instead of driving South, we drove North – to Vantage, where Sarah, Dave and I had climbed a few weekends earlier…
Since I’ve got Friday off, thanks to the whole 9/80 work schedule, I take Thursday evening slowly.  Sarah’s starting her Wilderness First Responder class this weekend, so I take the time to relax with her, and hang out with Ollie.
Sarah heads to WFR, I climb at the gym early morning for a bit of a preparation workout, before taking some more time to relax and chill with Ollie before heading out to Hood River.  Get some stuff done around the house.  It’s chill and nice.  Meet up with Dave ~6:00, and hit the road to… Vantage!  Drive late into the evening, find a parking spot that doesn’t rip the bottom out of my car, and sleep!  Note: we forgot Dave’s tent… so he sleeps out under the stars while Ollie and I crash in my ultralight tent.
Climb time!  Meet up with Interns A and B, AKA Jon and Sam (A and B change, depending on who’s farthest away.  Yes, we’re annoying).  We climb!  Tons of routes… don’t know all their names, but I do know… meh.  Who cares, honestly?  We have fun!  A quick synopsis is as follows:
Pre-Lunch, 4 climbs.
Sport line up the arete, face variant of arete, move anchor for 5.10b face, save gear for army guy.
Rest & lunch
Post-lunch, 2 routes, one twice.
Route near chimney, overhang, overhang again
Post-lunch rest… then two more routes!
Same route that I saved gear on, Jon’s first lead on a slab!
Basically, we took it easy… and I still got a solid 9 climbs in.  The rest didn’t re-do as many, but we still totaled out at… ohh, 30+ routes.  Short routes, but still.  Go us.
Ohh, and also.  Before we get to the photo gallery… there’s one thing that should be mentioned.  Sarah was in class this weekend – not able to come with us.  This marked the second weekend that we were apart… since we started dating almost 8 months ago.  So… it was special.  As a keepsake, Sarah gave me a little figurine of Rarity, from My Little Pony… she got it ages ago, and it’s near and dear to her heart.  She asked that I take pictures of it with me on the trip, so… I’m not one to refuse a request like that.
So that’s why there’s a cute little pony in my pictures.
Dinner for the night is canned Chili… which is kind of sad, but it’s what happens when four guys go camping together.  We’re not creative.
Then we chop up some firewood with my awesome battleaxe (see pictures of it in the firelight), and just relax and hang out!
One quick adventure does occur that evening; Dave gets to play First Responder when we hear a small creature (a child) screaming bloody murder.  Turns out she tripped over a tent-line, and only scraped up her knee.  But still – by the time we learn that fact we’re already over there, so help is offered and medical kits and presented.  None are used or accepted… but people are grateful none-the-less.  Dave feels good for being able to offer, and I feel good for dragging us over to make sure everything’s okay.
Then?  Sleeeeeeep…. with so much dust stuffed into the tent that I feel like I’m eating a desert.  Seriously.  It was WINDY  that day… and my tent is designed against rain and snow.  Not a full-power dust storm.  So… I eat dirt, and sleep.
Up early, and start the drive back.  Ollie does well, and we find ourselves in Hood River not too late.  A good weekend.

25, 26 & 27-March; adventurous in Seattle! (Climbing at Vantage)


Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 25-March through 27-March, 2016


We went to Seattle!


A friend of Sarah and I, Dave, lives part time in Seattle.  Seattle is a place that I haven’t been before, but that Sarah thinks is wicked cool (to visit, a little large to live in we think).  If it’s a place, and there’s a reason to go, and it’s only 3 hours driving away…


What I’m getting at, is we went to Seattle!

But this is about the climbing that we did around there.  Because I am me, and climbing is what I do.  So we drove 3+ hours North to Seattle, and drove 2.5 hours east to a place called Vantage, to climb at an area called Frenchman Coulee.

Yeah, that equates to “5+ hours of driving, to get somewhere ~3 hours from my house”.  Hush.  It was worth it.


Frenchman Coulee is in the Washington desert, on the side of a beautiful canyon.  We stuck to the main climbing area for our adventures here… not that the others looked bad, but just that The Feathers (the main section) was literally up the side of a tiny hill from the parking lot.  It’s hard to convince yourself to explore, when there’s climbing less than five minutes from you.

And the climbing five minutes from us was good.  It was really good.  Very bouldery and very reminiscent of gym climbing, with good hold spaces interestingly far apart.  I did a few trad lines up some really interesting dihedrals and crack systems, but we mostly rocked sport lines up the bolted faces.  I did get to save a cam for a group climbing next to us, which was a nice little bonus, but most of the climbs were pretty straightforward.


In total, we climbed two days and did maybe two dozen routes each.  Simple, elegant, and fun… even if the driving was a little excessive 🙂