Follow the approach described on the main page for Acker Rock to reach Sun Bowl
- a small "cirque" at the southern tip of Acker's south ridge. Approach time from trailhead (gate on FS road 950) is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once at the southern tip of Acker ( a "saddle" 50 feet above Sun Bowl
), look for a minor, low angle ramp (with a small tree at its top ~70 feet up) or ridge extending southeast from Acker's south ridge. See topo 3
for route's start.
The route traverses Acker's south ridge from its southern tip (Sun Bowl
area) to just below the Acker Rock Lookout at the summit of the formation. With a couple exceptions, the route is a face climb - given the quality of the rock in Oregon, faces are typically cleaner and more solid than cracks or chimneys. Furthermore, the route is largely a sport climb - see the list of recommended gear and don't overexert yourself carring in extra stuff. The route rating of 5.7 given by G. Orton's guidebook seems quite soft. The pitch ratings and lengths given below are MY own interpretation (I'll add Orton's ratings later for reference). Even though the route is 10 pitches long, it goes by quickly as the pitches are short and mostly bolted. All bolts encoutered on route looked new and beefy. All belay stations (except for end of P9 at the mouth of the chimney where there is a large tree
for belaying) were nicely bolted with two, new bolts each. Lastly, most of the time you are one or two rappels above the ground (rap east) making escape possible from many a belay station. These features make this route very beginner-friendly. A 5.6 leader will have fun on this one; a 5.7 leader looking for sustained climbing will be disappointed.
4th - low 5th class (5.3 guidebook), 100 feet. Follow the low angle ramp (or minor ridge protruding east from the main south ridge of Acker directly below Lunch Rock
) up towards the tree where the ramp meets the east face of the main ridge. Belay either from the tree or look a bit higher and to the left for a pair of bolts.
5.6 (5.7 guidebook), 60 feet. Climb 15 feet up the steepening face and traverse left 40 or so feet following nice bolts. You are traversing below a minor overhang. Belay from double bolts in a "shallow depression" in the face. Note that you could combine this pitch with the next one but the rope drag might be bad. View down from top of this pitch: photo
5.6, 70 feet. Climb straight up a slabby face from the belay station. Look for first bolt about 15 feet above belay. Follow 2 or 3 more bolts to the crest of the ridge. Belay from double bolts at the crest.
5.7 (this is the "4b" variation mentioned by guidebook), 120 feet. Traverse 4th class terrain 20 feet toward the base of a 30 foot high-angle ramp (3 bolts visible from belay). Move up the ramp/slab. This is probably the crux of the route and also the most fun section of climbing you'll get! Continue up about 20 more feet of easy ground above the ramp. Traverse right following the base of Lunch Rock
(~30-40 feet below top of Lunch Rock) over easy terrain (exposed class 3-4). You'll pass a small tree (optional belay bolts). Keep moving right for another 10-20 feet where a pair of shiny belay bolts awaits you.
5.6, 120 feet. This pitch is easier to lead than to follow. Continue traversing right in the direction of the large notch in the ridge. Before the notch, move UP clipping a bolt then look slightly higher up and right for two more bolts protecting the downclimb into the notch. Walk in the notch in the direction of the steep headwall
in the ridge. Move up a mossy, low angle terrain on the left side of the crest and veer sharply right a loose ramp to reach a nice ledge about 1/3rd of the way up the steep headwall
. Belay from two nice bolts. Staying right of the ridge crest might be a better variation but we did not see any bolts there and it looked harder (cleaner rock though). Beginning of P5 photo: here
5.6 (5.7 guidebook), 120 feet. From belay, climb straight up - steep but with huge holds. Clip a bolt and continue moving up. The angle quickly eases as you reach a doubly bolted belay station near two small trees.
5.0, 100 feet. Follow the ridge crest about 40 feet, then move left of the crest where terrain steepens. Look for bolts. Belay on the left side of ridge crest from double bolts (located right of the next tree on the route).
5.0, 120 feet. From belay, move up through a small notch. Follow ridge crest to the "summit" (referred to as such by G. Orton). This does not really seem to be the summit (lookout structure seems to sit higher actually) but this is where the register is. Belay from two bolts.
5.0, 100 feet. From summit, climb down the right side of the ridge (don't go too far right, just right of the bushes on summit) and into the "jungle" below (~50 feet below). Walk to the base of a dirty-looking chimney
and belay from a large tree
(slings) at its mouth.
5.4, 100 feet. Move up the chimney
(probably class 4 to 5.0). Near top, move right and up to the crest of the ridge. Walk the knife-edge ridge to its end (toward lookout structure). Belay from one of two sets of nice bolts at end of ridge.
(the awkward start of this rappel is the crux of the route IMHO) ~50 feet down on the right side of the ridge. At this point you're on class 2 ground and can store the rope (for a while....keep your harness on for descent). Walk uphill through brush toward the lookout cabin passing the pit toilet.
If you don't want/need to return to the base of the route, simply hike down the FS trail to the FS road (950) and then down to the gate where your car is (have not done this descent - from map it looks to be about 1 mile in length).
If you wish to return to the base of the route, double back to where the last rappel deposited you a few minutes earlier. Hike down the well-defined (forested and shady) gully between Acker Rock's south ridge (Peregrine Traverse on right) and Wizards Tower formation. As you exit the old-growth section of gully a few hundred feet below, traverse class 3 slabs (sandy, mossy and generally slippery - be careful!) left and make your way down to a "bowl" about 70 feet above the climbers' trail (which you used earlier to access Sun Bowl and start of route). Do a single rope rap to the ground level. This is the Waterfall Wall rated "mossy" 5.8 so rapping is a good idea for most people. You are now back on the climbers' trail about 5 minutes away from start of route. Follow trail right to start of Peregrine Traverse.
Helmets. 50 meter rope will work just fine. Quick draws (~8). One or two long slings.
We did not know what to expect on this route and hauled along a mid-sized rack....that was a wasted effort as most of the route is bolted. Here is what I'd call a conservative rack (these are the pieces we actually placed literally):
1 red Alien = 0.75 inch cam (VERY optional on pitch 1....foreget about it)
1 red Camalot = 1.5 inch cam (placed on P6)
1 yellow Camalot = 2+ inch cam (placed on mossy ramp of P5)
1 blue Camalot = 3 inch cam (placed above chimney on P10)
Route overview (pitches 1-8): topo 1
Upper pitches (pitch 10): topo 2
Route view from base (pitches 1-5): topo 3
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