Tag Archives: Rock Climbing 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!

12-Feb – First trip to Smith, 2017


First trip to Smith, 2017

Saturday, 12-Feb-2017


The nice thing about Oregon is how varied the climate can be, based on where in the State you are. Sarah and I took advantage of this in the best way possible today, by being completely crazy and doing a day trip down to Smith Rock.

That’s right. Smith. Two and a half hour drive each way… if the weather and traffic hold easy. Longer, if there’s snow or ice or something.

The plan was pretty simple: leave mid-morning, to give the rock a few hours to warm up in the sun, climb a few good routes to remind us what real rock is like, and then drive back home. Simple, and easy.

And honestly… it went pretty easy. The late morning was a nice change from our usual hectic mornings. The drive down was clean, without much ice or snow on the passes around Mt. Hood. Smith was more crowded than we’d expected, but that didn’t really affect us too much… the only real issue with the crowds was that Ollie was a bit more barky than normal. The drive home was long… especially due to the ice and one incident with Ollie, but it wasn’t the worst thing Sarah and I have dealt with, so we were still pretty good.

So, details, right?

Climbing was simple and easy – we didn’t push ourselves too hard, and really only stuck to fun and short routes, with easy approaches. We stayed in the dihedrals, starting out on the ever-popular 5 gallon buckets (5.8, Sport). Then we climbed around a little, did a Trad line called Cinnamon Slab (5.6, Trad) (Sarah did it twice, since she loved it so much), and I did a super easy sport line called Easy Reader (5.6, Sport).

Like I said, simple and easy, but still really pleasant. Sun on our arms, gear on our harnesses, and rock in our hands. Amazing, and a whole winter with only shovels and snow for hand holds.