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We climbed by the road cut, you can see a couple of the routes from the road, We climb one that was down by the water, there were two more routes to the left of it that I could see but you need a boat, or you have to travarse(ps) along the waterline for a ways. Well I guess we will have to just get on them and find out. I was just hoping to find out where there all at. The one climb we did had a pitch right above it , and a nice crack climb to the right of that with chains on top, will try that next time. Thanks for the info.

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Exploring by boat is really fun there, and some of the cleanest looking stuff is best accessed that way. A number of years ago we did a nice 5.10ish crack on an island facing the road (but not visible from it) that started with an undercling (it had been done before, scarfed a #3 friend and there was an anchor on top) and put up a nice 5.11a face and crack route to the left of it. We also did a couple routes on the formation on the left as you head up the Northup Canyon road. You can pull in a little road that gives access to the spot in between the two big formations. Interesting potential on the big south facing wall of the northerly crag, but the things we did were on the north facing wall of the southerly crag, that kind of dirty dangle from the jam and clean the moss and dirt climbing that Erik had so much fun on in the Icicle. The boat stuff was much nicer.


In poking around we did find some existing routes on a face that starts right out of the water, on a formation that is almost connected to the land nw of the roadcut rock (you might be able to walk to it in low water conditions). I recognized it from an old sidebar published in Climbing years ago, by David Whitelaw I think (try pm'ing him). Looked like clean 5.8 to 5.10 slabby routes with old 1/4" bolts. Also, driving towards Electric City from Steamboat rock, look off to your left and you'll see a big tombstone formation. We checked it out and it promised some nice climbing. Two old bolts on top suggested possible toprope history, but the face needed some scrubbing and had no protection. Might be different now, that was years ago.


The fuzziness and incomplete character of the guide inhibits super productive climbing, but the potential for exploratory adventure is superb. thumbs_up.gif

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Xray said:

Other than Marty Bland's guide, I doubt that there is a lot more info available.


Not much printed info yet, other than the Bland guide. Article in an older Climbing mag by David Whitelaw gave beta on 30 or so routes, many of which were his FAs and boat-accessible only. Soon (6-12 months?), there will be a more comprehensive guide for the Banks Lake area, where most of the routes are walk-ups, some are rap-downs, and some are boat-only.


Xray said:

The guy that put up a lot of those routes refused to give up the beta to anyone, including the original names.


Nonsense, X, you falsely extrapolated from the crap printed in Bland's guide. "The guy that put up a lot of those routes" is a very fair and honorable person: he declined to give the route info to merely Bland. I would have done the same thing, especially after Bland took the FA on a red-tagged* Banks Lk project climb of "that guy" and his son, and Bland also had the audacity to write the name of the "his creation" in Sharpie marker at the base of the route. Marty has shown himself in the past to be a little short on tact, as evidenced not only by this and other behaviors, but also the bullshit he wrote in his guide about Larry Peterman in the Minnehaha section, and Rick LaBelle in the Banks Lake section.


For the perceptive, the info is there for the asking. Do a search on Banks Lake on this website and see what you come up with. Banks has a lot of routes, although I don't think it'll ever become a Frenchman Coulee, thankfully, due mostly to location. You'll have a chance when the new guide does come out, but meanwhile, use the Bland guide, and better yet, explore, look around, and you'll find lots of good moderate to harder stuff, both bolted and trad. If that's not good enough, email me and I'll be glad to hook you up with Rick if you're sincere.


Paul, I don't get there often enough to remember the names of routes or remember good beta, sorry. Some of my fav climbs are on the west and lake side of Highway Rock (it's not called "Roadside Rock," as in the Bland guide). Almost all the climbs on the west side of Highway Rock are accessible by hiking around--several great, mostly trad routes start right at the waterline. On a couple of the starts over there, I wondered if I was going to get wet. You can also rap in from the top. If exploring some of those newer lines out there on the west side, it's at least 2 or 3 raps to the waterline. Beware of poison ivy, rattlesnakes, and loose rock.


Off White, I wrote the above before reading your post. Now that I see your beta, thanks. Some of Whitelaw's routes are indeed to the NW of Highway Rock, although there has not been much action there, that I know of, since Whitelaw--mainly because that area requires a boat most of the time. Most of the development has been on Highway Rock (southeast, south, and west sides), in Northrup Canyon, and a few other routes in a smattering of places on the north end of the lake.


On the broad, west side of Highway Rock, there are several faces, with many routes starting near or even somewhat above the waterline. Best way to get there from the parking turnout is to walk around the south side, where you'll also see several good routes.


In Northrup Canyon, after you pull in on the road near the picnic table and trailer ramp, the rock on the left (west) is Gibraltar Rock, and the rock on the right (east) is Picnic Table Rock. Good routes on both: harder ones on Gib, more moderate ones (with several new lines) on Picnic Table Rock.


--Steve Reynolds bigdrink.gif


* For those that don't know, a "red-tagged" project is a route someone is working on for a First Ascent. Red (or often now other colors) webbing tied at the first or second bolt (for a bolted route) indicates a project climb. If you would like a crack at the FA of some project you see somebody working, custom and tact dictates you first ask the person working on the project, especially if that person put the vision, work and bucks into originally establishing that bolted (or crack/trad), cleaned line.


And, while it may be condoned in some climbing areas, particularly in France, writing the name of your route in Sharpie marker at the base is NOT acceptable at Banks or anywhere else in the Northwest.

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  • 2 months later...

There is no climbing at Banks Lake. The rock is too unstable. Anyone who says there is, has been smoking sagebrush with a twist of carp. There is no waterskiing or snorkeling or cliff jumping there either. And the water comes out of the Columbia so it is murky and warm, so the fishing sucks. Oh, and the locals play banjos and make you squeal like a pig. It's all true. Don't go there.

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