Acker Rock is a ridge-like formation that towers 3000 feet above the South Umpqua and Buckeye Creek valleys in Oregon's southern Cascades. The formation looks unimpressive when viewed from the east (standard access trail) - a forested hill with a few "boulders" protruding above the trees along its southern ridge. Seeing it as a worthy rock climbing objective requires an unosbtructed view from either the south or the west sides. From the south or south west (if one is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it through the trees during the drive in), Acker's south ridge (home to its longest route, the Peregrine Traverse) looks steep and somewhat imposing. Acker's west and southwest sides are composed of a series of high-angle slabs separated by some ledge systems. Acker's summit is home to the historic Acker Rock Lookout (available for rent from June 23rd through October according to G. Orton's guidebook), accessible from the north via a trail. Acker rock is a large coarse texture shallow intrusive dacitic plug according to Greg Orton's guide. In other words, the faces offer nice and solid rock (though less popular routes are no doubt covered in thick lichen) while cracks can be loose and dirty. According to G. Orton, there are 16 established routes on the formation ranging in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.11b. The most popular and the longest is the 10-pitch Peregrine Traverse (5.7). SEASONAL CLOSURES: Acker Rock is subject to closure due to falcon nesting from January 1st through July. The closure pertains NOT only to climbing but to hiking and all other activities within a protected zone that surrounds the formation. Check with the FS ranger station and/or Greg Orton's website for updates and current information: Greg Orton's Acker Rock Page PLEASE RESPECT THE CLOSURES!
The formation is about 1.5 hours driving time from both Medford and Roseburg, OR. Take I5 to exit 99 (exit 101 works as well). Drive the county road east to the small town of Tiller, OR. In Tiller (just before a bridge which is just before the Tiller Ranger Station) turn left onto county road 46. Follow this road (which becomes FS road 28) for about 18 miles to a signed Buckeye Creek Road (FS road 29). Turn right onto road 29 and follow it for about 6 miles (signs point to Acker Rock Lookout). At about 6 miles, look for a signed junction with FS road 2838 (sign indicates Acker Rock Lookout). Turn left onto 2838 and follow it to spur road 950 (signs again point towards Acker Rock Lookout). Turn left onto 950 and park at the gate approx. 300 yards from the junction (park your car off the road). From the trailhead, hike up the FS road past the gate for approximately 0.5 miles. You will pass an open area with nice views of the (unimpressive) east side of Acker. Shortly after re-entering "old" growth, look for yellow surveyor's tape (on left) marking the point where the climbers' trail begins (semi-obvious). If accessing the climbs on the formations east or south east sides, follow the somewhat faint climbers' trail for 0.5 miles - the trail often vanishes but the surveyor's tape markings (present in 10/04) should keep you on track. The goal is to head uphill and southwest toward the base of Acker then south following the foot of the formation. The first steep wall you pass is Observation Point. Shortly thereafter you arrive in an open area overlooking the Sunbowl 50 feet below - a large ledge at the southern foot of Acker. Peregrine Traverse starts here and there are numerous shorter (1-3 pitch) routes as well. If you just want to hike up to the lookout, continue on the FS road for another 0.5 miles. Then follow the trail where the road ends. This will bring you to the Acker Rock Lookout at the formation's summit (this is based on a map and not first hand info. --- if you've done this hike, let me know and I'll correct any "mistakes" here).
The North West Forest Pass is (I believe) required to park at the trailhead ($5/day or $30/year). No self issue box available. Also, see SEASONAL CLOSURES information above. Dogs are allowed in the area - please pack out their solids.
SEASONAL CLOSURES: Acker Rock is subject to closure due to falcon nesting from January 1st through July. The closure pertains NOT only to climbing but to hiking and all other activities within a protected zone that surrounds the formation. Check with the FS ranger station and/or Greg Orton's website for updates and current information: Greg Orton's Acker Rock Page. Outside the nesting closure season, Acker can be climed at any time the access roads become clear of snow. Note that the standard trailhead is located at an elevation of approx. 3000 feet above sea level.
Boulder Creek FS Campground offers car camping in the area - contact Tiller Ranger District for location and details. Also, camping at large is MOST likely allowed with the usuall wilderness restrictions.
With its up-to-date closures information, route updates, and a bulletin board, Greg Orton's Climbing SW Oregon Page is an excellent resource for SW Oregon climbs in general. Also, Tiller Ranger District Office (Tiller, OR) of the Umqua National Forest can provide first-hand information on road and trail conditions as well as nesting closures. Their number is: 541-825-3201.
Greg Orton's guidebook is an outstanding resource for cragging in southwest Oregon. Given that it's a first edition, it does have a few minor mistakes. Many of those have corrections on the author's website (see links above). Unfortunately the book is currently out of print (rumor has it that second edition is in the works) - copies can still be found online or at local climb shops. Note that Greg Orton's guide is the ONLY book that describes Acker Rock climbs. Both Jeff Thomas' and Nick Dodge's Oregon climbs guidebooks (both WAY out of print) do NOT make any mention of Acker Rock. Update on the 2nd edition of G. Orton's guidebook (taken from the message board on Greg Orton's Climbing SW Oregon Page ) - looks like another "must-have" for Oregon climbers: Re: New Guide Book From: greg Date: 28 Jun 2004 Time: 11:35:53 -0700 Comments We're working on an update to the original guide with corrections and updates to all areas. Plus additional areas ie Jim Anlin's guide to Menagerie, a chapter Hills Creek spires, and a chapter to Kissing Rock on the coast. Stay tune, expected to come out sometime this winter. But, at the monment I'm deep in Guatemala. greg Book preview here: preview.