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edaskren

[TR] Kahlotus, Washington - 8/6/2012

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Trip: Kahlotus, Washington -

 

Date: 8/6/2012

 

Trip Report:

TR – Kahlotus Devil’s Canyon

 

If it hadn’t been for beta from Kevin Pogue we might never have found the 1 of 2 pitches just outside of Kahlotus, Washington that he bolted nearly 20 years ago and hasn’t (by his own admission) been back to for about 15 years.

My awesome buddy and I got there early, parked along the road and made our way up. The site is approximately 1.5 to 2 miles north of Lower Monumental Dam on the West side of the road – alternately called State Route 263 or Devils Canyon Rd. We parked where the talus field comes right down to the road and climbed strait up the chunky basalt rubble, probably a 20 minute approach taking your time ‘cause one fall is gonna screw you up! At the top we landed on a “rails to trails” area that gave us a great place to dump our gear and set up.

The 1 bolted route we found is located straight up from the scree (look for a couple of VW Bus size boulders in the scree as you’re going up). It’s right off the railroad bed and the first bolt is about 12 feet up but pretty accessible if you don’t mind getting dirty – lots of ledge-y, bushy grass to wipe your face through before you get to clip.

I think Pogue rated this pitch a 5.9, there’s plenty of challenging moves, a little overhung in a couple spots – pretty fun. We each lead climbed it. We left the top rope up and began running up different routes either side of the bolts. There was a great slope-y, blank area that neither of us could send and we tried to failure – awesome pump action! Careful on these rocks though – on my way up the last time to grab the gear and rappel down I dislodge a piece of basalt about the size of a kitchen trash can. It did some good bouncing before it stopped. Good thing my partner belaying me was smart, back and to the side a ways – he would have been hurt bad.

After a couple of beers we explored the rest of the wall. Couldn’t find the additional route that was supposed to be there although we did find the bolted cable that ran us up to the top of the wall through a cut in the basalt. We took rope with us to rappel back down (which required me going back up twice to rethread it through the rusted out, moss covered chains that kept grabbing it when I tried to pull it through at the bottom – ended up rappelling on a single bolt, yikes!)

Lots of potential here for further routes to be developed – or maybe just some top ropes placed!? Really dirty overall, watch out for loose rock, doesn’t look like it’s been touched for years. The basalt is small-columnar and looks like it got squished from on top or thrust up into something from underneath.

2012-08-06_10_01_26.jpg2012-08-06_10_01_56.jpg2012-08-06_10_01_06.jpg2012-08-06_10_02_05.jpg

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That stuff is just a few dozen miles from my home in the Tri-Cities. Been by it a Brazillion times (how much is a Brazillion...??), and it always looked like crap. Choss deathtrap. But good on ya for getting out and giving her a go, mate!

 

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Yeh - on the hunk a chunk I pulled down - when it went I got a shoe full of dirt. I was just glad neither if us got hurt. It'd be a fun project place. Lots of opportunity and really accessible from the road. We don't live too far from it either, had a half day and figured to give it a go.

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Nice report - glad you guys had a good time. Good to hear the access cable is still in place. The route you didn't find is farther up the railroad grade (to the north) about 200-300 ft. Yes the rock is "chossy" (dealing with "choss" is just another test of climbing skills IMHO) but that area has great potential if someone is willing to put some time in with a crowbar. I've been there about a dozen times - quit going when they closed the road over Lower Monumental Dam due to the paranoia surrounding 9/11. Apparently it's open now during certain times, so I may have to make another visit.

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Hehe, nice to see someone exploring over there. I found one of those routes on a day trip from Whitman many years ago. Kind of fun to poke around anyways.

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Hey man - thanks for the extra beta on the other climb we couldn't find. Thought we looked enough but must not have. Will check it out again.

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