Had a great session of bouldering near Mount Hood recently. Although I am, by no means the first to boulder at these spots, I have met some climbers who have sporadically traveled to these areas but most have left them forgotten and overgrown a bit in the past few years. I have been fortunate enough to have ben actively developing a bunch of newish places this summer and in the past few years, the Mt Hood region. Like the Columbia Gorge, Hood is littered with some pretty cool bouldering areas; if you explore enough, you find some pretty amazing stuff. Jess tried the mega classic Bugatti, a traverse into a 4-star arete that makes focused slaps to a sweet topout.
I think everyones been to Bulo Point and the Meadow if you’ve spent any amount of time bouldering outside Portland. Although most of the rock here makes you feel like you used your hands as a pin cushion, it’s a pretty beautiful spot in a high desert setting. There are some pretty good problems and a lot of highballs. Sure the rock is a bit crumbly in spots but it lets you get away from it all and enjoy a quiet, typically deserted bouldering area, something you almost never find 90 minutes from a major city. Unfortunately, I think a lot of climbers view Bulo as a pretty mediocre spot. Luckily, many really quality spots exist near Hood and most are a lot easier to get to than Bulo.
A Taste of Leavenworth near Hood
I know it’s volcanic rock but this stuff looks and feels like Leavenworth granite. Not being a geologist–and if anyone reading this is please school me on rock geekery–I’m amazed at how much rock near Hood can resemble granitic rock. It’s really weird but I sure as hell am not complaining about having something like this a little over an hour from Portland. This little gem has about 5 established lines across it from V1 to V7 with a hard standing project up a super thin vertical seam.
Next we got on the Wall, a perfect vertical wall of amazing stone sitting at the edge of the forest. This unique and narrow fin of stone is one of the best boulders I’ve climbed all year and the outlying boulders near it are just as fun. Some of the boulders in this area (The Cirque) are as tall as 45 feet! I’ll be posting some pictures of those soon when I get some more climbers with a lot of pads with me; but as you can see in the photo of the wall, some of the landings are pretty perfect.
Our dog even got in on some of the action. One thing I want to note is the bees have been terrible this summer at some of the spots. I got stung 5 times in one session two weeks ago and twice this past outing.
The last photo in this group is a really nice V5 that starts way crouched in a cave, then tunnels out to a crimpy face that eases up high above. Who knows, with problems like these at multiple different areas surrounding Hood, maybe we wont have to make trips to Bend, the “Bettermilks” , the Mesa and even the “Worth” as much if these areas get more popular? I know It’s halted some of my trips afar this year and the weather has been great this summer. I hope to get out a lot before the rainy season and winter.