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French's Dome
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Giant's Staircase 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

   
Type:  Sport, 2 pitches, 60'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: 
Page Views: 3,611
Submitted By: Peter Franzen on Jun 21, 2006

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Derrick belaying the second pitch route that moves...

Description 

This is the easiest route at French's and provides a nice route to the top of the dome.

There are two starts to this route-- the first (listed as #1 in the Portland Rock Climbs book) starts at the far downhill side of the dome and climbs up a ramp/ledge sytem to an anchor. There's a fine variation that starts just uphill (climber's left) of this and goes up 4 or 5 bolts to the same anchor. This is listed as #4 in the book (it also says there's no pro, which is incorrect).

There are 2 options for the second pitch. One can traverse way around to the right before going up past a manky anchor to the summit (60m rope required), or go straight up and right through some steeper 5.10 climbing. Moving around and right is recommended.

To descend from the top walk to the uphill side of the dome (nearest the parking lot) to an ancor and do a free rappel down (50m rope is ok).

Location 

The bottom-most route at French's. Walk down the trail to the bottom of the rock and look for the bolts up the slabby jumbled face.

Protection 

Quickdraws


Photos of Giant's Staircase Slideshow Add Photo
up the first pitch.
up the first pitch.
Sarah leading Giant's Staircase, 5.6. Wet & muddy down low at 2pm on this early June '08 afternoon. Mossy & wet blocky ledges leading to dry, and more fun technical climbing. I was told by a guy at the crag that where Sarah is now in this photo goes a bit more than just 5.6, and you could have traversed right a little lower to keep it easier? Not sure, but we both enjoyed the top of this climb's first pitch a lot.
BETA PHOTO: Sarah leading Giant's Staircase, 5.6. Wet & muddy ...
 Top of the first pitch. fun and easy.
Top of the first pitch. fun and easy.
Aaron starting on the second pitch
Aaron starting on the second pitch

Comments on Giant's Staircase Add Comment
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By jeb013
From: Portland
Apr 14, 2014

A few bolts have been added to this climb. There is now an anchor bolted directly above the first pitch (alternate) start. I assume this is for toprope so everything runs cleaner (Caution: no rap rings on this anchor, so be prepared). There is also a new anchor bolted at the end of the 2nd pitch where the old manky anchor was, and 2 or 3 bolts added to the 3rd pitch (mostly 4th class anyways).
By Adra
From: Portland, OR
Aug 21, 2014

This is a fun, easy way to the top of the formation. Stunning view of Mt. Hood while climbing and at the top. You could easily do this in two pitches and just by pass the second set of anchors. Due to rope drag it would be better to do the climb in two pitches, although you could probably do it in one.

The anchor set up at the top is a little odd. Two rusty hangers very far apart from each other (about 2.5 feet). If you bring a longer cordelette you should be fine. I had a 6m cordelette and was able to build a decent two point anchor. If you had anything shorter it would be tricky.

In response to jeb013's comment, there are not rap rings at the first belay but if you solo (easy territory) to the left about 15 feet there is a rap station with fairly new-looking rap rings.