Larch Mountain Bouldering

Larch Mountian Bouldering area is in Washington, not Oregon.  It’s easy for climbers from Portland to confuse that because there is a Larch in Oregon on the other side fo the Columbia River but bouldering there is not as good as what you will find on Larch Mt in Washington, just outside Vancouver.  larch bouldersThis area is a fresh new spot for Portland’s growing bouldering scene. Climbers have visited here two decades but a recent surge of development has gone on in the last two years.  What kind of boulders can you find here.  Large ones, small ones, and a little inbetween. The area is strewn across Larch and several individual areas exist for bouldering.  The three popular sites are easy to find and can be accessed from tha main summit road but other areas lie hidden in the forest.  Problems here range from V0- to V8 and the rock quality is great due to the area teatering on the cusp of the alpine zone.

If you boulder here make sure to respect road closures.  The road to the lower area is an open public road but easments with logging exist near the main area and the site is sometimes closed and guarded.  If a sign is in place, obey it because I ran into an armed security person who, although let me climb and said to enjoy the rock, turned my hands whiter than when I dip in chalk: he had a large semi-automatic weapon, knife, and that ‘Guns and Amo’ poster-boy look.  You can alternatly approach the main area from walking up the road left of the Leavenworth boulder and doublebacking at the summit and heading east.  This is a good alternate approach that does not break rules.  What I found from the landowners rep is that they are only concerned aabout vandals messing withthe logging equiptment.  If they are not logging the road should be open and there should be no problem.  If it is closed, walk in.  I also want to point out that this spot is a high target shooting destination in fall and you should wear orange or dye your crash pad a bright color.

Larch Bouldering and the Areas

The first spot climbers go to on the mountain is the Leavenworth and Black Forest boulders located right off of L-1500 when you approach the bouldering area.  This area has some very quick-access climbing.  A handful of good-quality boulders are located both above and below the road.  The Leavenworth Boulder has a nice V7 on the center/right that is a must-do or must-attempt problem.  The problems just left f this are great warmups and go at V1, V2 and V3/V4 respectively.

If you are looking for some highballs, the boulders just below the road will be your best bet.  Some very nice rock is located here with some good highballing.  If you drive up to where the gate is up L1500 and double back up to the Wild West area on Larch you will come to two outcrops with bouldering first then the main Wild West area.  The Winchester problem is worth checking out as is the Cannonfire problem.  A lot of good problems are nestled on the west side of the outcrop but for shorter problems with great movement check out the east side of the bluff.

Posted in Pacific Northwest Bouldering Blog.

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