Cascade Boulders

Cascade Boulders are a collection of boulders both large and small that dot the landscape near Cascade Locks, Oregon.  If you live in Southwest Washington or Portland, Oregon this playground for climbers is one of the closest bouldering areas to PDX.  You can leave town, be bouldering in just over 30 minutes from the city, and be back on Hawthorne drawing back an IPA with chalk dust still in your pores.  The Cascade Bouldering area consists of a dozen individual groups of boudlers scattered in talus, soft forest landings, grassy meadows and roadside areas.  The area has become popular after 2011 when a new surge of development fueled by Portlanders and climbers from Hood River created a reniscance of bouldering movement on teh rock.   This area was explored for a long time but like most Pacific Northwest rock grew over, became coated with moss, and was forgotten or unoticed.  Recent land stewardship has created a great boudlering area that offers year-round climbing possibilities.  Less rain in this part of the gorge and quick drying properties at some of the areas, especially the steep and overhanging boulders, creates a temptation for Portlanders to grab a quick cup at their local roaster, warm their hands, and head out the Columbia Gorge to boulder at Cascade Locks in winter.

Bouldering ar Cascade Locks, Oregon

Crimping down at Cascade Boulders

Type of Bouldering

Problems here range from V0- to V9 with a lot of potential for development both here and in the nearby vicinity.  It’s proximity to Bridge of the Gods and other bouldering areas near Portland makes this spot a must-visit destination for Northwesterners.  The rock is a volcanic basalt mix with great finger pockets.  you can find slabs, vertical faces and boulders ranging from a few feet to 15 feet high.  Most of the boulders are of the smaller nature but the best feature here is the great landings at a few of the areas.  Some spots have deep talus and require a few pads but a few popular spots have grass or soft forest earth under your feet where you wouldn’t even need a pad–but you probably should hav eone anyway–and it looks cool to hikers.

If you Visit

The area can be cool in winter and late fall, perfect in summer but a little hot in the talus, and ok the rest of the year.  As of 2013 a lot has been cleaned but you may want to bring some soft brushing equiptment to help with slick moss.  Make sure to be low impact and respect the land and boulders.  Use only ethical means and leave no trace ethic when climbing in this fragile talus and forest environment.  Pack out trash and be minimilastic.  This is a truly beautyful spot in a tryly beautyful setting deep in the Columbia River Gorge.

Other Information

Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area information and general Gorge information site.

Guidebook: A guidebook is in the works that is supposed to include some information on Cascade Boulders and the Northwest… 

 

 

 

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