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Long scramble route?

EM Scinsicauda

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Hey all -- mentoring a 12 yo boy, and have taken him out to small local crag a couple times. He has no outdoors background. I'd like to give him a sense of adventure by going up a long (several hundred feet?), scrambly/slabby, solid face. Really, 4th class or 5.0 would be just fine. Any suggestions, preferably south washington or north oregon? Thanks - EMS

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Just got back from Goat Rocks and you should note that it has a well earned reputation for choss. There is little sound rock there with the possible exception of the horns and I would not recommend taking kids there. Lots of easy class 2 with good views in a beautiful area.

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A great place for young climbers is the Round River route on Koala Rock in the Marsupial Crags at Smith Rock. Three pitches of 5.4, good protection, though, as Alan watts' guide says, a bit runout for a first time leader, fine otherwise.


Also, if he's only been to a small crag a couple of times, more cragging on 1 or 2 pitch routes to develop more confidence,balance, strength, and some real technique, etc., wouldn't hurt a thing before jumping right into big exposure. Remember that even for fairly experienced climbers, exposure can greatly increase the psychological rating even for low 5th class. Broughton's Bluff, Carver, French's Dome, Bulo Point,and Horse Thief Butte offer plenty of variety and challenge at low el, to keep kids from being bored, and have lots to teach. Then on to Round River, Mt. Erie, (I know, it's a ways away, but a great practice area), Mt. Si, Tumwater Canyon and Castle Rock, Kloochman Rock, etc. Adventure climbing in the Columbia Gorge, such as Rooster Rock, Crown Point, or a trip down to The Menagerie are another good option.


Yvon Chouinard says that all climbers are the product of their first two or three climbs; if those are good experiences, a positive pattern is set. If not, the young climber can have difficulties. T.M. Herbert, one of the great Yosemite climbers of the late 60's and on through the 70's, spent several years putting in dozens, perhaps hundreds, of low to mid- 5th class routes all over the West, developing a finely honed sense of routefinding and solid, versatile technique that later stood him in good stead on demanding first ascents on the big stuff later. Nothing like building a good foundation, and by the way, a lot safer for you, too, to have a little more experienced partner once you're four-five hundred feet off the deck.

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