Broughton Bluff is located ~15 minutes driving time from downtown Portland at the western mouth of the (Columbia River Gorge) and is – by all accounts – a suburban cragging area. The Bluff consists of 13 principle “walls”, 3 of which are on private property and therefore off limits (remainder are on Oregon State Parks land). These are scattered around a protruding land mass that juts westward out of the Columbia River Gorge. The walls are relatively short with none exceeding 200 feet in height. Despite this setback, multi-pitch climbs (some even graded at “III” per Olson’s guidebook) can be found here (though arguably, most multi-pitch lines consist of mini-pitches). The rock here is “basalt” and somewhat reminiscent in quality and texture to the one found in Smith’s Crooked River Gorge (here). The Bluff likely has the second best rock quality in the Columbia River Gorge (right after Beacon Rock). The difficulty of lines here ranges from low 5th class (5.4 Prometheus) to 5.13c (Frightnight) with quality lines (3/3 stars per Olson’s guidebook) starting at 5.8.
The Hike: Hike the path toward the woody hillside (with a billboard warning you of poison oak). Hike up the nicely switchbacked trail through the woodsy hillside. As the trail gets closer to the base of the cliffs (~200 feet below?), you’ll come to the first junction. See individual wall pages (“route pages”) for where to go.
Roughly speaking, heading left (steep uphill) will take you to the North Wall (Gandalf’s Grip etc..) and left side of Hanging Gardens Wall (Sickle etc…); staying on the nice, gentle main trail (right fork) will take you to the right side of Hanging Gardens Wall (Loose Block Overhang etc…), The Red Wall (Classic Crack etc…), and others.
Here’s the state park map showing other nearby Oregon State Parks: >here.
Red TapeNo fees are required at this Oregon State Parks-operated locale! Official state parks website has a page for Lewis And Clark Recreational Site: here. Park closes after dusk however!
CampingNo camping is allowed at the park itself. Closest legal camping options are at:
Ainsworth State Park.
More general information about area camping can be found here.
Information from peakbagger4’s Rooster Rock page.
When To Climb And Conditions Information
You can’t really get information on climbing related issues at Broughton anywhere. For weather, look up conditions for Troutdale, Oregon. Also check Oregon State Parks website for general area information. Watch out for poison oak!
External LinksBroughton Bluff page on mountainproject.com site.
Guidebooks Summary(1) Portland Rock Climbs: A Climber’s Guide To Northwest Oregon” by Tim Olson (ISBN 0963566024). The Guidebook to Broughton. Good descriptions and excellent wall topos. Statistics quoted here have been compiled based on this book.
(2) A Climber’s Guide To Oregon by Nicholas Dodge (ISBN 0911518339). This book is out of print and only lists a handful of lines at Broughton.
Routes OverviewThere are a total of 143 published routes at the Bluff. Difficulty ranges from 5.4 (Prometheus) to 5.13c (Frightnight). The guidebook rates quality on a 3-star system. Easiest 3-star routes are 5.8 (or 5.7 A2 nail up).
More to come soon...