|Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Vantage is one of Washington's great winter crags. The columnar basalt creates a great balance of sport and trad routes. The sport routes stick to the faces and range from 5.5 - 5.12+ and the cracks are found in between the columns and are of similar grades. All of the faces are out in the open and will get sun at some point in the day.
Head East on I-90 from Seattle. Follow this over the columbia river past Vantage, WA. After a big hill take the second exit. At the bottom of the exit ramp take a left. Follow this road under the highway and take the first left. This will wind you down a canyon and you will see vantage on the left after about 10 minutes.
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|Photos of Vantage (Frenchman Coulee) Slideshow
Sunshine Wall, as you first see it when coming out...
Zig Zag wall
When there's a concert at the Gorge, the collectiv...
Partied out concert goers!
Vantage, not sure what route
Looking over sunshine wall
Climbing a typical stemming route @ Frenchman's Co...
View from Sunshine Wall
Sunset at Frenchman's Coulee
A typical sport arete at Frenchman's Coulee
BETA PHOTO: The approach trail. Stay right toward the cliff ed...
Hanging on Sunshine wall
|Comments on Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Feb 4, 2006
There is free camping available at Vantage, limited to the area on the south side of the Feathers. If you are climbing for the day or camping, please note that you are required to display one of the yellow Fish and Wildlife Deparment stickers on your vehicle. There is a fairly substanstial ticket if you are caught without one. You can pick up the stickers many places in Seattle, and Fred Meyer in Ellensburg sells them as well.
|By Bryson Slothower|
Jun 3, 2007
Avoid the Coulee on Spring concert weekends if you like sleeping.
|By Joey Wolfe|
Aug 15, 2007
What is the story behind the name Frenchman Coulee?
Aug 24, 2007
I used to live out there near the coulee and on a topo you can see that the area is called the frenchman hills. Maybe thats why they transferred the name. The canyon is a result of the big flood of glacier park way back when (discovery channel has an engaging history about it if you have time on a rainy day to sit on the couch). Who knows what its like to camp behind the feathers these days? It was getting pretty trashed last time I was there.
Oct 11, 2007
|By John Calder|
From: Spokane, WA
Oct 23, 2007
Frenchman Coulee is actually the large coulee you can see from the camping area. Sunshine wall is in Echo Basin.
|By Scott W|
From: Roy, UT
Apr 24, 2008
This area is also known as Exit 143.
From: Olympia, WA
May 12, 2009
Camping is only allowed on the south side of the feathers (the area with the bulletin board and the trailhead for the hike into Echo Basin).
There are currently NO TOILETS. The old sani-cans were getting hammered by concert-goers. The company that cleaned them kept finding syringes, rocks, etc. in the toilets, and decided it wasn't worth it. Can't blame 'em. Anyway, the Frenchmen's Coulee Climbing Coalition is currently raising money for a permanent toilet structure that is badly needed. They need the money and the go-ahead from WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
So do your part: bring wag-bags or your own shitter system, or drive into George or back to Vantage and use their toilets. Do not dig catholes! The place gets too much use to take this type of waste. This could quickly turn into the sesspool that Indian Creek is trying to deal with. Let's not let that happen.
Feb 28, 2011
Any word on the toilet situation?
Mar 19, 2012
A porta-potty was placed in the parking lot a week ago but it was still locked when I left. You need to buy a Discover Pass to camp overnight or park for the day. The pass is $11.50 per day or $30 for a year. You can pick them in George, WA or Vantage, WA, both of which are less than 10 miles from the coulee. Addresses below:
George Washington Petroleum
300 N WASHINGTON WAY
GEORGE, WA 98824
551 MAIN STREET
VANTAGE, WA 98950
You can also purchase passes online or by phone:
|By Mark Roberts|
From: Vancouver, BC
Apr 11, 2012
Some things I wish I knew the first time I went:
There's some awesome climbing here, but also a lot of chossy crap. IMHO the guidebook (the free one too) is far too liberal with stars on the minor crags, there's a ton of garbage crags/routes I tried when exploring.
I found the guidebook was inaccurate for more than half of the climbs I got on in the Coulee. Nothing major, but just don't expect gospel. Five bolts instead of six, three chain anchors instead of a single bolt, that sort of thing.
The guidebook suggests that at Fugs and a few other areas you should beware of loose rock, which is misleading because there's loose rock everywhere. Bring a helmet, wear it when climbing and hanging out underneath climbers. I accidentally pulled a piece of rock off Party In Your Pants, which is probably one of the most climbed gear routes there. That being said, the upper routes were much better. I was often surprised at the poor quality and stability of the rock in the lower routes.
I went on Easter Weekend and the place was a gong show. Ropes everywhere along Sunshine Wall. If you want to get on the classics I'd recommend planning your trip in the middle of the week or a quiet weekend, because when you can get on these routes they're definitely worth the trip but if you can't then your plan B has a good chance of being pretty bad.
I found the entablature routes quite cryptic and sequency. From below everything looks like a hold, but few are. This lead to a lot of slapping around. This isn't a criticism but just know that this is true if you're planning on ticking a lot of the lower routes on your trip, I found I'd get pumped out constantly slapping every sloper searching for a hold. This is probably less of an issue if you climb later in the year than I did, when things will start getting chalked up more.
Bring toilet paper. Bring a small bag, or pick one up at the gas station. Take a roll every time you visit the chemical toilets and leave it there until you get to your last. If more people did this it'd make one element of the awful toilets managable.
If you're camping, there's tons of room and it's pretty nice, just make sure to bring large water jugs. You can refill them every couple of days at the Wanapum State Park just South of Vantage, and you can use their $.50/minute showers too to wash off your gunk.
There's a g Taco Stand at George. Cheap and bona fide. Make it happen. Oh, and there's nothing else in George.
Jun 9, 2012
The Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) is raising money for a permanent toilet facility at Vantage. We have reached an agreement with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife that they will support this project if climbers can fund it, and we believe it is long overdue.
This project is a joint effort of the WCC, the American Alpine Club, and the Mountaineers and, as of June 2012, we have raised $10,000 toward an estimated $50,000 project cost (we only started raising money in April with a formal fund raising kickoff in May).
We can do this!
The Washington Climbers Coalition update is here: www.washingtonclimbers.org
The American Alpine Club has information here:
Jan 16, 2013
What's vantage like right now? Can you get out there with 2wd?
Feb 11, 2013
Yeah you can get in with a 2wd.not sure when you would need 4wd unless there is a ton of snow which. Is pretty rare. It's basically paved roads to dirt parking spots