Pete's Pile OR Portland, USA
Climbs 15 – Rocktype Basalt – Altitude 524m a.s.l – Faces SW
In Britain this would be a 5***** crag as it is composed of delectable basalt rock, the views of Mount Hood next door above the tree line are sensational. Here, however, the Americans are so spoilt for choice it classes as esoterica. We are talking routes of 50m-70m up beautiful Basalt columns. These rise from a very steep forrested hillside which provides belayers with a spot of shade. The bottom of the crag has, however, exceptional dust as you will have never quite seen before - like half the world emptied their hoover bags there! Local climbers have done everyone a favour by leaving a permanent tarp behind to keep kit dust free, and to be fair it does not lift up. The crag is now included with colour topos in the Oregon Falcon Guide and a few other guides.
A very steep 5-10 minute walk in from State Road 35, I found the path difficult to locate, but once found it's very well hiked and the crag has its own little sign. Parts of the crag are restricted, but these are obvious being convered in lichen, moss and plants, there are signs there as well. The standard routes are very clean however. Easily identifiable from the road especially if driving North. It's about 15 miles south of Hood River (nr Dalles, I-84) on State road 35. The National Forrest info centre will help give you info on its whereabouts. It's perhaps a 100m or so north (towards Hood River town) of Sherwood Campground.The gorge is fairly narrow here. On the east side of the road will see a pull in, which was once a tarmaced arc of the road off of the main road, though it is now overgrown, here a bit of searching about will reveal a dusty path which becomes more pronounced as you hike steeply up it leftwards towards the crag. When you set off hiking Pete's Pile should be north of you (climber's left). If it is south of you you are probably on the well signed and maintained national forrest trail with its girdia warnings etc, this does not lead to Pete's Pile! If the path does not quickly become extremely steep you have gone wrong. Still, it's hikeable in flip-flops mind!
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