Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

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applesaucebake
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Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by applesaucebake » September 26th, 2019, 5:09 pm

I got the chance to do a St Helens Summit 3 weeks ago with no real expectation of the route (via Monitor Ridge trail to the Crater rim). I figured it would be similar to just a steep long slog (like South Sister) for 4 miles then back.

I was wrong. About two miles was straight up scrambling. I would say definitely in the class 3 range. No real exposure off cliffs/ridgelines but if you fell you would seriously either break some bones or most definitely lose some skin from the pumice rock.

I have never done anything like that before. We fasthiked/trail ran the first 2 miles until we got out of the treeline and into the boulder fields. It was really fun scaling up car sized boulders, finding your own path and using all fours and gaining 2500 feet over a short distance.

I didn't find the hike/scramble hard at all. I actually prefered the scrambling over the very last section of just steep gravel where it sucks the whole time and you just sink in when taking steps forward. I enjoyed this hike much more than South Sister.

Are there any similar climbs or hikes near the Portland area? I know theres alot of stuff in The Gorge and Mt Hood National forest I havent touched, but also in the Tilamook/Elk-Kings area.

I just want some scrambling where the consequence isn't falling thousands of feet to your death, but definitely still something that requires mental strength and to be in the zone while doing it.

I am primarily a trail runner, and going fasthiking, and slower for scrambling was alot of fun and I want to do routes that incorporate all three.

applesaucebake
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by applesaucebake » September 26th, 2019, 5:10 pm

This is definitely something I want to keep doing. St Helens was so much fun. Just want to keep doing similar routes so I can get comfortable doing them before getting into the real sketchy stuff.

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Bosterson
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by Bosterson » September 26th, 2019, 5:26 pm

Monitor Ridge is not class 3, unless you were off route. (I would call it a trail with intermittent rock hopping that requires hands.) I'm struggling to think of any legit scramble routes in the Gorge that are actually on trail (Munra being closed), but the best trailed scramble practice I can think of within dayhike driving distance is the Whittier Ridge in the Mt Margaret backcountry. Most scrambling happens off trail or on untrailed mountains though, you might just have to go exploring!
Will hike off trail for fun.

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adamschneider
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by adamschneider » September 26th, 2019, 5:39 pm

But even Munra Point and Whittier Ridge aren't really "scrambles," they're just hikes with some sketchy sections. If you want to scramble near Portland, you'll have to go off-trail into poison-oak territory in the Gorge or something. (The Gorge is good for scrambling because there's a fair amount of solid basalt out there. Mt. Hood is mostly rotten crap.)

If you don't care about reaching a destination and just want to have fun on chunky rock, go to Horsethief Butte.

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Bosterson
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by Bosterson » September 26th, 2019, 6:10 pm

adamschneider wrote:
September 26th, 2019, 5:39 pm
But even Munra Point and Whittier Ridge aren't really "scrambles," they're just hikes with some sketchy sections.
There is legit scrambling on Whittier if you keep to the ridge. It's interspersed with hiking (most of it would be hiking), but would be good "practice" for an inexperienced person who wants to transition from trail running to actual scrambling in the future.

Now is the time for Whittier (well, a month ago was the time, when huckleberries were ripe), so get after it before the snows come.

PS Adam: I have done a "fair amount" of scrambling in the nether regions of the Gorge - please tell me where you found this "solid" basalt... :lol:
Will hike off trail for fun.

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adamschneider
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by adamschneider » September 26th, 2019, 8:56 pm

Bosterson wrote:
September 26th, 2019, 6:10 pm
PS Adam: I have done a "fair amount" of scrambling in the nether regions of the Gorge - please tell me where you found this "solid" basalt... :lol:
The Labyrinth has some nice scrambles, Memaloose Pinnacles can be fun, and I mentioned Horsethief Butte. OK, so maybe I should have said "the EASTERN Gorge"? Less rain means less weathering.

pcg
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by pcg » September 27th, 2019, 7:39 am

Much closer to home, you can always play around Rocky Butte. Most of it is stiffer than Class 3, but if you wander around the base of the cliffs, there’s some scrambling to be had. Watch out for needles and broken glass...

McCarter
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by McCarter » September 27th, 2019, 9:09 am

There is plenty of good scrambling in the Olympics. Staircase Ranger Station area has plenty to explore and that is about a 3 hour drive, similar to accessing Whittier Ridge. Checking out some of the peaks and ridgelines there would also help provide some more context for what constitutes class 3 scrambling.

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retired jerry
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by retired jerry » September 27th, 2019, 9:16 am

that's what I was going to say, Rocky Butte

the man made walls at the top are short pitches. Maybe 5.0?

to the north there are cliffs that are again, probably class 5. Lots of class 3/4 routes

leiavoia
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Re: Where can I get up to Class 3 scrambling trails near Portland?

Post by leiavoia » September 28th, 2019, 12:58 pm

If you liked summiting St Helens, consider the entire Loowit loop trail. You get your share of long straightaways in addition to boulder fields, deep casms, slippery washouts, steep climbs, and high windy passes.

The Elk-King loop has some scrambly stuff too (mostly going up Elk and then down the saddle).

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