Tag Archives: Oregon

Climbing at French’s Dome – full ropes and everything!


Saturday, 18-July-2020


Today, the goal was to get some rock under my hands.


Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve climbed? I don’t, actually. I mean, I’d bouldered recently, but actual roped, vertical, leading? I… couldn’t tell you. I think Sarah and I did the first three pitches of Beacon at some point in the last year, maybe?

It’s bad, man. I shouldn’t let myself go that long.


Thankfully, French’s Dome is nearby. I met Bri at her place in the morning, we packed the car, and got ourselves moving. Sticking to the new theme of the year, we weren’t particularly rushed… but we did get going at a pretty reasonable time, since French’s is definitely a popular area.

The trailhead was packed. Like, seriously packed.

I’m a good driver, thank you very much, and I know how to park my car. But this… well, parking was creative today. With some spotting though, I was able to wedge myself in pretty safely, and was even able to check with the drivers of nearby cars to make sure they didn’t mind me coming in so close. With everything good, we headed in.

And got a beautiful surprise – even with a packed trailhead, very few of the routes had people on them! And all the routes that I was hoping to climb? All of them were open!

Continued birthday luck, I guess.



We pulled out our gear, and set up shop:

  • Giant’s Direct – 5.5, Sport – Fun climb, not bad at all
  • Balloon Knot – 5.9, Sport – I think we did this one? I don’t remember it being 5.9-level difficulty, but this is the only route I can find in any of the guides, and it looks exactly like what we climbed. Maybe we did a variant?
  • Tin Man / Tin Tangle – 5.8, Sport – This was really fun too, though the fact that the guidebook lists both names is a little confusing.
  • Alpha – 5.8, Sport – Fun!
  • Straw Man – 5.7, Sport – Also fun!
  • Giant’s Staircase – 5.6, Sport, 2 pitches – We summitted! This was fun and easy, and a great way to get up to the top of the dome. With snacks, of course!


It was a good day. We got more climbs in than I’d hoped for, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I’d feared. I was definitely pretty weak, and did run into some mental walls while above the bolts in a few places… but you know what? That’s fine. It’s expected, and I felt good.

That’s the fun of climbing, right? Breaking through walls, being strong, and enjoying the rock!

A long staycation on July 4th – Exploring The Garden


So my company was hit pretty hard by COVID-19, and instituted a 10% furlough program. Reduced pay, but balanced by various furlough days scattered throughout the year… primarily around holidays. July 4th was one of those, which meant that I had Thursday through Monday off from work – the 2nd through the 6th. Five full days for adventure!

My original plan was to drive out to City of Rocks in Idaho. I reserved a campsite maybe two weeks beforehand, and started planning out what to bring, and what route to take.

But… It’s a 10 hour drive, shortest route. 11, by the route I was thinking of taking. And that doesn’t include stops for gas, food, and the stretch breaks that I’d absolutely need on a trip that long. I kept trying to talk myself into it, but in the end I just talked myself out of the trip.

I canceled the reservations, and put together a new plan. A staycation, full of relaxation, organizing my new apartment, and re-aquainting myself with the Pacific Northwest…


Friday, 03-July-2020

I haven’t climbed outside in… longer than I can remember, actually. I think it was Joshua Tree? There must have been something since then… maybe a run of The Beacon, or something, but nothing that stands out.

So I went outside.


I pulled my guidebook off the shelf, and leafed through it. I opened up Mountain Project on my phone, and paged through that too. It took a while, but I finally settled in on a bouldering area called “The Garden” that claimed to be the best bouldering in Oregon… at least on Mountain Project.

The car packed, I headed out. Finally tracked down the parking, thanks to some friendly climbers I met – the trick is to say Hi to people with crash pads. Since only climbers use crash pads, it’s a pretty good guess that the random people parked on the side of the road, loading crash pads into their cars, are probably climbers.

After hiking in, I set about to exploring and climbing! And quickly learned that… well, I politely disagree that The Garden has the best bouldering in Oregon. It was… okay, but not my jam in any way. The rock was pretty, and the scenery beautiful, but the routes themselves were… not good. Maybe it was just too overgrown, or maybe the rock had worn down over time, but it just wasn’t interesting, you know?



I stayed and climbed for a while though, and even headed downhill to try and find more boulders down by the nearby river. I didn’t find any, unfortunately, but I did find some beautiful rapids, and excellent views of the river!

I’ll take that as a consolation prize. I’m glad I got out, and got my hands on some rock, even if it wasn’t quite as stellar as I was hoping for.


To quote a YouTube channel I’ve been watching, “A parade of mediocrity… is still a parade”

Hiking up to Angels Rest, Friday 11-Feb-2020


Friday, February 11th, 2020


Sarah, Ollie and I hiked up to Angel’s Rest, out in the Gorge!

That’s… that’s it.  It was a lovely hike, beautiful weather, and great views.  A good chance to get into nature and escape the city for a little bit.