Getting ThereFollow approach directions on the main page (under Getting There / West Side Of Crooked River). As you descend the trail into the Lower Gorge, this will be the first cliff you will come to (just past the short boulder field section) – can’t miss it. Approach time is ~5 minutes.
Routes OverviewThis narrow but tall (as in "full" height) basalt wall hosts only a handful of published routes (11 per Watts’ guidebook + at least one more modern FA, Lonesome Crowded West 5.9) ranging in difficulty from 5.8 to 5.12b. There is even a second pitch line on this cliff that goes by its own name: Oriface (5.10b). There is a good bolt anchor atop Cretin’s Retreat about midway up the cliff.
Cretin's Retreat / a.k.a. Cretin's Revenge 5.10c
Though rated only 2-stars by Watts’ guidebook, this line seemed to be as good as the 4-star Wildfire (5.10b just upriver on a cliff by matching name) if a notch more sustained (was able to onsight Wildfire while I fell twice on this one & hung...). Look for the obvious, right-facing dihedral in the center of the face. Stem and jam the dihedral with a finger and tips crack most of the way (vanishes at the very top). Two cruxes hit hard with the first one coming in the first 30 feet and the second near the top of the route directly above the one old fixed bolt. Step left and out of the dihedral above the bolt. Step up to a stance with double bolt anchor.
Gear: Double cams from green Alien to #1 Camalot (extra finger and smaller are nice). Single #2. Optional second #2 Camalot, #3 Camalot. Light set of nuts.
The Ferret's Dead 5.9
Line starts up the crack immediately left of Cretin’s Retreat. Follow funky crack (more of a constriction that opens up in back) 25 feet to a ledge. Climb a thin crack on the right (crux?) above the ledge to the same bolted anchor and stance as Cretin’s Retreat.
Gear: Cams from blue Alien to #3 Camalot. Extras in finger and thinner cams.
Physical Abuse 5.10a
More of a tall boulder problem (with a poor landing), this is the last route (most upriver) on Perched Cat Cliff. Line climbs the nice looking splitter crack in-between two short columns separated from the main cliff. Starts with fingers, and goes up to cupped hands (with an off-fingers/thin hands crux). Not sure if stemming off the dihedral on the left is good style or not…Down-climb 4th class terrain from the top.
Gear: Single set of cams from green Alien to #3 Camalot.