11 Jul Climbing Guide – Lost Lake Boulders – Portland, OR
On my trip to Portland this past week, I was partner-less for climbing, but I also really wanted to get outside. I did some research on local bouldering and found a place called Lost Lake, which was about two hours outside the city and looked just beautiful! According to Mountain Project, it was also becoming a popular area, and so I set out, with high hopes of making new friends who had plenty of crash pads!
I eventually made it to Lost Lake, but it definitely wasn’t as easy to find or as crowded as I had expected. In fact, when I arrived, there was only one other climber in the area. He was generous enough to let me tag along though, and we were eventually joined by a few others and had a fantastic day.
Because I was a bit confused getting to the area, and due to the lack of climbers, I wanted to give a little site beta here for anyone else that might be venturing out to Lost Lake. Hopefully you’ll be better prepared than I was!
Getting There: From Portland take the 1-84E for about an hour to exit 62, where you’ll get off on Cascade Ave. From Cascade, make a right onto Mt. Adams Rd. then continue along this as it turns into Wine Country Ave./County Club Ave. From Country Club, take a left onto Barret Dr. followed by a right onto Tucker Rd. From here make a right onto Dee Hwy, and then finally a right onto Lost Lake Rd a few miles later. Follow Lost Lake Rd until it’s very end at the Lost Lake Campground. This will be noticeable due to the visitors station and entrance kiosk. Just before entering the park, there is a small paved road to the right, which is Lake Branch / NF-13. Turn right onto Lake Branch road and follow it down for a couple miles until you come to the very obvious talus field. You really can’t miss it! Along the talus field there are several pullouts and wider areas of the road where you can park.
Here is a good Google Map link of directions to Lost Lake. Be warned that you will lose service on Lost Lake Road, so it would be a good idea to print or bookmark directions ahead of time!
The road to the boulders itself is paved and as of this writing, was easily passable even with a small car. However, please drive slowly and be prepared for some pretty deep potholes that you will have to maneuver around. There also might be something like this in your path…
What to Bring: As the area is still fairly new, there’s a good chance you might be alone at Lost Lake. For this reason, I would definitely suggest going out as a group and being prepared with multiple boulder pads. The boulders are located in talus fields, meaning many of the landings are rocky and require good protection and spotting. Besides this, it would be helpful to bring along some nice, stiff chalk brushes for cleaning. Not only are there many unclimbed problems, but the rock is also porous and can quickly get slick with chalk. As a region prone to lots of precipitation, even established problems might have been overtaken by moss, so expect to do some brushing and cleaning as you go along.
Otherwise, as for a typical bouldering day, bring some solid approach shoes, hats, sunscreen, water, and snacks, as you’re going to be quite a ways out from any conveniences.
Climbing: From the road you can see both the upper and lower talus fields. The upper field consists of the Rewilding Area, The Extra Crispy boulders, and the Roadside Attraction boulders. The lower field is called the Oasis area. If you go a short way through the trees below the Oasis area, there is a third talus field called Sleepy Hollow. There are fun problems all over these areas, ranging from some nice warm ups, to some pretty challenging projects. Mountain Project seems to have a pretty updated list of all the developed problems, which you can check out here. Please also keep in mind that the locals are really working on this area, cleaning boulders and putting up new lines. So be respectful to new projects and maybe do a bit of research or asking around before nabbing somebody else’s FA.
Let me know if you have any more questions! Otherwise, I encourage everybody to get out there and enjoy this stunning new bouldering area! Happy climbing everybody.