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Rocky Butte

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Rocky Butte  


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Location: 45.5476, -122.5642 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 39,917
Administrators: Peter Franzen, Nate Ball, Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Peter Franzen on Jan 22, 2006  with updates from Marielle Breneman
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Thanks a lot to the Mazamas and the AF!

Description 

Rocky Butte is perhaps Portlandís most accessible crag. Rocky Butte is located in Northeast Portland near I-205. Although noisy, somewhat overgrown, and often dirty it is a worthy crag for the happy-hour crowd or a quick weekend afternoon. It tends to be pretty damp during the rainy season but is quite climbable during the rest of the year.

There are reports of lots of broken glass here, including on some of the climbing holds. Pack some out if possible, and use care for your hands and feet!

Getting There 

To reach the climbing area take I-84 East from downtown to the 82nd St. exit. Drive North on 82nd to Freemont Street, and take a right. Freemont will turn into 91st Street and will lead to Rocky Butte Rd, which loops around the top of the butte. Park at the gravel pullout across the street from the large church domes. The cliffs lie just beyond the trees to the East. Pick your favorite tree and rappel down.

Climbing Season



Weather station 4.1 miles from here

32 Total Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',15],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',2],['5.8',7],['5.9',6],['5.10',11],['5.11',5],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rocky Butte:
Flakey Old Man   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Video Bluff
Glenns route   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 35'   Silver Bullet Bluf
Ace   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Video Bluff
Jack of Heart   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Silver Bullet Bluf
Emotional Rescue   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Warrior Wall
Bikini   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   Video Bluff
Mind Games   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 80'   Wizard Wall
White Rabbit   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad   Breakfast Cracks
Blackberry Jam   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad   Breakfast Cracks
Stranger Than Friction   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Video Bluff
Fandango   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Silver Bullet Bluf
Birds of Paradise   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 70'   Breakfast Cracks
Edge of Might   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 35'   Video Bluff
Browse More Classics in Rocky Butte

Featured Route For Rocky Butte
Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b  OR : Portland & The Gorge : ... : Breakfast Cracks
A beautiful climb on the west side of the Breakfast Cracks wall. Start on a low-angle ramp and gain the finger crack with lots of pin scars. Follow the right-leaning crack until a bulge needs to be negotiated. Once above the bulge, there are some exceptional underclings, sidepulls and jugs that are very out of character for basalt. Make a leap of faith and continue going straight up the face making use of these ergonomic holds until reaching the anchor. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in OR

Comments on Rocky Butte Add Comment
Show which comments
By Caleb Phillips
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 20, 2007
The Butte is dirty and the rock isn't perfect, but, if you live in Portland and want to catch a climb after work, or ride your bike to the crag, this is your only choice. If you give it a chance, you can fall in love with the dirty appeal of the 'Butte.
By cerickson
From: Portland, OR
Sep 30, 2009
My buddies and I committed to cleaning up the Butte everytime we climbed there. Bring a plastic bag and don't leave til it's full. If everyone does it ... it makes a difference.
By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From: Phoenix, AZ
Feb 2, 2010
There seems to be a lot of dry tooling going on out at the 'Butte. Some of the faces are scarred pretty badly.
By Eric Jensen
Jun 23, 2011
Rocky Butte, was a quarry before it was used as target practice by the Military Academy that used to occupy the Domes. It's possible that some of the scars are from dry tooling, but more likely, you're seeing the bullet scars.
By another Chad
Feb 8, 2012
Unfortunately, a lot of older, established climbs at Rocky Butte are sporting new-ish drytooling scars. Sixteen years ago, they weren't there.


Chad
By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From: Phoenix, AZ
Feb 9, 2012
Yeah, the scars are definitely from dry-tooling. It's pretty easy to tell the difference between axe/crampon scars and bullet scars.

And wow-- that statement sure says something about this place, doesn't it!
By Bryan Hall
From: Bend, Oregon
May 30, 2012
I've got to admit, yes it's easy to find and access, but no, it's just not worth it. So much noise from the highway forces you to yell to your climber when they are only 40 feet away!
By Nate Ball
Administrator
From: Taipei, TW
Aug 8, 2014
I really have to agree with Bryan on this. My gripe isn't about the trash, it's not about the noise, but about the dirtiness and lack of accessibility.

Most routes must be rapped down to. Not a big deal, as long as there are accessible trees or anchors to rap from, which there often aren't.

Most popular cliffs don't have easy walks to the top. You rap in, you climb out, or you do that gnarly 4th-class scramble.

Most routes have a layer of dirt/cobwebs/glass on them. Many routes are polished as well.

There may be fantastic climbs interspersed among the debris - the Breakfast Cracks climbs are especially rad - but it's just not worth it. Now if someone were to set new top anchors...