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Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)

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Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)  

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Location: 47.025, -119.9686 View Map  Incorrect?
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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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.

Getting There 

Head East on I-90 from Seattle. Follow this over the Columbia River past Vantage, WA. Go up the hill and take exit 143 (the second exit after the river). At the bottom of the exit ramp take a left. Follow this road under the highway and take the first left. Go down the canyon 1.4 miles. You will see parking on the left.

Climbing Season

Weather station 13.3 miles from here

337 Total Routes

['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',98],['2 Stars',178],['1 Star',49],['Bomb',3]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Vantage (Frenchman Coulee):
The Chossmaster   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 2 pitches, 90'   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Seven Virgins and a Mule   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Vantage Point   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Party in Your Pants   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Sunshine Wall : Near End of Sunshine Wall (...
Ride 'em Cowboy   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Sunshine Wall : Near End of Sunshine Wall (...
Air Guitar   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Sunshine Buttress   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 75'   Sunshine Wall : Coyote Wall
George and Martha   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Sex Party   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Middle East Wall
Boschido   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Satan's Wagon   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport   The Feathers : The North Side
Human Sacrifice   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Middle East Wall
Sinsemilla   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Bob's Your Uncle   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Stems and Seeds   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Desert Dessert   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Middle East Wall
Jihad   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 85'   Middle East Wall
Crossing the Delaware With Your Pants Down   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 160'   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Red M&Ms   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch   Sunshine Wall : King Pins
Stemmin' Ms   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 60'   M & M Wall
Browse More Classics in Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)

Featured Route For Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
red M&M's area. George and Martha, Red M&M's, Cros...

Crossing the Delaware With Your Pants Down 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a  WA : Vantage (Frenchman Coulee) : ... : King Pins
Thin, but positive moves lead up 7 bolts to a layback. Chain anchor at the top. Bring a blue or yellow sized TCU for the top part unless you want to run it out as the bolts stop a good ways below the anchor....[more]   Browse More Classics in WA

Photos of Vantage (Frenchman Coulee) Slideshow Add Photo
Zig Zag wall
Zig Zag wall
Climbing a typical stemming route @ Frenchman's Co...
Climbing a typical stemming route @ Frenchman's Co...
View from Sunshine Wall
View from Sunshine Wall
Looking over sunshine wall
Looking over sunshine wall
The approach trail. Stay right toward the cliff ed...
BETA PHOTO: The approach trail. Stay right toward the cliff ed...
A typical sport arete at Frenchman's Coulee
A typical sport arete at Frenchman's Coulee
Hanging on Sunshine wall
Hanging on Sunshine wall
Partied out concert goers!
Partied out concert goers!
Vantage, not sure what route
Vantage, not sure what route
Looking back at the campground, South side of the ...
Looking back at the campground, South side of the ...
Sand choked!
Sand choked!
Sunshine Wall, as you first see it when coming out...
Sunshine Wall, as you first see it when coming out...
When there's a concert at the Gorge, the collectiv...
When there's a concert at the Gorge, the collectiv...
view of the columbia river valley from the camp ar...
view of the columbia river valley from the camp ar...
Sunset at Frenchman's Coulee
Sunset at Frenchman's Coulee
Frenchman Coulee from the head
Frenchman Coulee from the head

Comments on Vantage (Frenchman Coulee) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 13, 2013
By ScottH
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?
By mcarizona
From: Flag
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.
By kimmo
Oct 11, 2007
ok then
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: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 24, 2008
This area is also known as Exit 143.
By BenCooper
May 12, 2009
Camping Update:
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.
By JimL
Feb 28, 2011
Any word on the toilet situation?
By Michael Davidson
From: San Diego, CA
Apr 22, 2011
Info about the Toilets
By CHopwood
From: Boise, ID
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
GEORGE, WA 98824

Havilah Inc

You can also purchase passes online or by phone:

fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wa/license... or
By Colin Parker
From: Idyllwild, CA
Apr 9, 2012
Great free guide here:


Kudos to Marc Dilley for this effort!
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.
By MattPerkins
From: Seattle, Washington
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: washingtonclimbers.org

The American Alpine Club has information here:
By dylanfllr
Jan 16, 2013
What's vantage like right now? Can you get out there with 2wd?
By shotgunnelson
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
By James Sledd
From: Bozeman, Montana
Nov 13, 2013
Vantage is a great fall through spring crag. I learned to climb here, and it's a great place to come on a sunny fall or spring day (especially if that day isn't Saturday or Sunday). The sport routes are for the most part very generously bolted! It's got lots of pros but a few substantial cons:

The good:
1. The weather. I've often driven over the pass in pouring rain, and arrived at Vantage to find only light overcast and some wind. I've climbed here in shirtsleeves in January.
2. The camping. It's a gorgeous spot, it's free, and it's a short walk to the crags.
3. Variety. There are lots of sport routes at a whole range of grades, and many classic trad routes in the cracks between the pillars. There are some outstanding routes out here, and I think it really shines in the 5.10 grade for both trad and sport.

The bad:
1. The weather. It's hotter than Satan's armpit in the height of summer. Back before the permanent toilet, I saw the Honeybucket blown over more than once, releasing a nice fragrance.
2. The camping. It's swamped with concertgoers and rednecks on spring and summer weekends.
3. The rock can be fragile and the cracks a little weird. Not a place to take whippers on gear.
4. The crowds. Many routes suffer death by toprope. You will see every kind of poor climbing decision possible here, and some new ones are invented every spring. Avoidable accidents are all too common.

So come and enjoy Vantage, but please take care of it. It gets a lot of love.
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