Broughtan Bluff Rock Climbing

History of Broughtan Bluff

Broughtan Bluff Rock Climbing area is named after lieutenant William Broughtan who was involved with the George Vancouver expedition of Columbia River in a vessel called the Chatham.  They were the first Europeans to explore this part of the Columbia River Gorge.  In the early 20s Girl Scouts named the cliff at Broughtan Bluff in honor of this expedition and this man–and because there was no name for the place and Broughtan Bluff sounded better than that large rock.

Rock Climbing at Broughtan Bluff

The climbing at Broughtan is great.  High quality basalt yields great crack climbing, faces, and steep rock.  There are several dozen climbs here and most are classic Columbia Gorge style climbs, meaning they have some bolt protection but mostly trad in gritty basalt.  The area is mostly clean with the exception of lesser-traveled routes.  The area is popular on weekends but climbers usually flock to nearby Ozone Climbing Area on the Washington side of the Columbia near Portland.

You can climb here year round but summer is always best.  This area is shaded and cool on most summer days.  The rock does dry enough to climb after rain in winter.  The steeper faces can be dry even in light mists that are common on this end of the Columbia.  This is a good area to climb at when Beacon Rock Climbing Area is off limits due to falcon closures.

A helmet is recommended here and backup for anchors.  It’s best not to lower through shuts as this can wear through the rings prematurely; this is the nearest climbing area to Portland so rock climbs gets a lot of use.  There is a nearby stream to take a dip in on warmer summer days although it is a ghetto-fabulous swimming hole so wear your wife-beater and sport your best tramp stamp.

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