July 21st, SB and I drove 16 miles east of Prineville
to this unique 350' pillar protruding out of the dense
forest. Ah, Steins Pillar, a sight that provoked Layton
Kor to drive all the way from Colorado for the second
ascent. The NE face is the original line which was
rated a lll-5.7 A3, is now more a 5.9 A2, due to the
addition of more fixed gear and a couple newer bolts/hangers.
The first pitch is a 5.5x chimney/offwidth for roughly
50'ft. to a nice belay stance in the mouth of a small cave.
The second pitch traverses left for about 70'ft. and
goes at 5.9 A1 (this used to go at loose A3).
This brings you to the top of what's called the "low
The third pitch follws a thin seam on small wires, into
a few moves of nailing sawed-off angles into old bolt
holes; at this point, I first encountered what I refered
to as "Ace Hardware Specials". These little gems were
square-head lag bolts(like you would buy at Ace), that
the heads had been bent over to form an eye on the end;
they then proceeded to sink these into old bolt holes,
with the old bolt sleeves in place. Needless to say,
it was a bit concerning how much they flexed, when you
moved up onto them. The third pitch is around 90'ft. of 5.8 A2, onto what is called the "High Black Knob"
What an incredible setting you have from here!
The fourth pitch SB encountered 60'ft. of 5.8 A2, with
a little more nailing sawed-offs into holes and into a
little "Fred Beckey 5.8" and onto a small black ramp. From here you're just towering over this farmers
house and spred, who owns all the land below the pillar.
The fifth and final pitch climbs slightly overhanging
5.9 with old fixed pins as pro, into some of the most
heady A1 (there is such a thing!). Above the fixed pins,
5 in a row of the "Ace" (you don't want to fall on one of
these!)onto stacked pins that flexed more than the
lags and back onto the "Ace" specials to a good belay/rappel
station 10'ft. below the summit. From the top, you have an
incredible view of the Ochoco Mountains and a few other
smaller formations near by. With 2 60m ropes you can rap
150'ft. to the top of the third pitch and then 1 more rap
of 180'ft. to the ground. This is a far superior climb to
the "Monkeys Face", by any route! It is a larger pillar, in
a much more impressive setting!