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.
Getting ThereThe Drive:
Take exit 18 off I84 (one exit east of Troutdale, OR). Follow directions for Lewis And Clark State Recreational Area, specifically head south (turn left off the ramp if coming from Portland) on the road that shadows the Sandy River. The road goes under a railroad overpass and makes a sharp left turn. The state park parking area (gated) is on the left. Total distance from I84 is under 0.25 miles.
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:
No 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!
No 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
When To Climb And Conditions Information
Whenever it’s not raining! Crag can be in good condition year round. Some routes tend to stay wet for longer following periods of rain (Hanging Gardens
is a good example); while some others reportedly
are climbable even during
rain due to overhangs above (Classic Crack
). You can try calling the state parks offices at 1-800-551-6949.
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
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.
There 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...