Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Larch Mountain Bouldering Washington

Silverstar Arete V3 Larch Bouldering North Slope
The bouldering up at larch mountain washington began in earnest around fall 2010 when myself and three other people were shown the potential boulders by a friend and asked if we thought that there was anything to the bouldering there. I have been searching for bouldering in the greater portland area for about 15 years now and what I saw that day got me supper excited. When spring came in 2011 I hit it hard and started putting up problems along with some other people. I will not be mentioning names unless I have there permission to do so. The small groupe did a lot of hard work and developed most of the rock that first year. If your looking for fa's then there is more waiting for you up there for sure.
Full drive to Larch
Larch Mountain Bouldering is 28.5 miles from the east Portland area.  The driving time is approximately 52 minutes to the lower parking area.  As of late 2013 no high clearance vehicles are required to reach the bouldering area.  Access to the bouldering at the very top of Larch Mountain is now hike in only.  Ther four wheel drive road that used to access the top has been gated and closed as of the Spring of 2014.  I consider the gating to be a benefit as it will limit the target practicing in the aea.
Camas driving details
Driving detail
Driving detail
Driving detail
Driving detail
Larch location overview
Lower boulders trail detail
The above image shows the trails to the Leavenworth Boulder and to the Eiger Boulder.  They are above and below the road respectively and can be reached from the same parking area.  Within a short five to ten minute hike all the rest of the bouldering at Larch can be accessed from this parking area.
Upper boulders detail
The bright pink dots in this image represent the locations of just some of the boulders in the upper bouldering areas of Larch Mountain.  The following overview map is also available with more detail in Northwest Oregon Rock.  This book is available on Amazon as well as at REI locations in Portland.  

In the near future a highly detailed guidebook will be available.  This book will be specific to the bouldering areas within a close proximity of Portland.
Eiger Boulder

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bridalveil Creek. Back with friends.

As the weekend came near a couple of friends and I wanted to hit a hike. One of the suggestions was Bridalveil creek and because it fit the time frame well we headed up. At this time it had been 7 years since I first went in and 5 years since I last saw things. I was very excited to see what things looked like after all this time so this made things exciting for me. My friends had never been in the canyon before. When we got to the first falls you can see it from far above.
Bridalveil Falls from above
At this point we were following a well traveled trail which was not there at all last time I was in hear. We followed it to a very steep down hill with a small black cord to help I guess but it was much to small to be of any use so we just made our way down. Once on the creek my friends found a log to walk and get a better view of the falls while I went up stream.
I noticed there was a lot of water in the creek this time and I could not get as close as I had in the past for a picture but I got some nice views of the falls anyway. Setting my tripod up in the middle of the creek was best.
Bridalveil Falls Upper
Bridalveil Creek
Upper Bridalveil Falls
After some time admiring the falls we decided to head down the creek bed to the next falls if we could get there. The creek runs over solid basalt in nice wide terraces as it goes down stream.
Upper Bridalveil Creek
A couple hundred feet down stream we came to a spot were the whole creek went into a shoot. I had never seen this before. While this was great it did stop us from going any further down the creek.
The shoot
Leaving the creek bed we headed up the steep hill to get around the shoot and on the way up there was a nice log to walk.
From a small overlook we could see the top of the next falls and the creek below.
Bridalveil Creek
At this point we decided to head back to the car and drive to the bottom of the creek on the old highway and head up stream from there to the lower falls. The trail was so much better than before and the trilliums were in full bloom.
Looking up Bridalveil Creek
There was a nice little trail heading up the creek now with almost no brush in the way at all. This made it a quick trip into the lower falls. Last time I was up hear it was a bushwack the whole way.
Middle Bridalveil Falls
Notice how much mist there was coming from the falls. So much water coming down the creek this time around. We when above and below for both views and took in the whole scene.
My friends enjoying the creek and the falls
I still love this drainage and all its interesting drops and runs. Until next time keep exploring.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bridalveil Creek. The next Generation

A few weeks ago I noticed I had the morning free and decided to take my daughter hiking with me. She is very young and so I wanted to take her somewhere cool with a short trail she could enjoy. Also there was the weather thing coming in but I don't worry about that to much. It is only rain after all. I decided on Bridalveil falls and so we headed out. Our first stop was at Multnomah Falls for a quick picture with the hole in the bridge but the mist was to much so I left there and headed to the main goal.
Multnomah Falls
On the way to Bridalveil a quick stop at Wahkeena falls for a pic our two was needed so I jumped out and snapped a few shots. There was not a lot of people so this was my motivation.
Wahkeena Falls
Wahkeena Creek
There was a nice patch of snow there as well which was a different thing to see.
After this we made it quick to Bridalveil and headed down the trail at my daughter's pace. It made for a very relaxing hike and we had a lot of fun in the process.
Grace on the bridge
Yes that is a backpack and it has things in it because she wanted to do things right. I am prowed. On this hike I tried to think of different views of the falls then most are used to seeing.
Bridalveil Creek
Bridalveil Falls
This last shot is incredible in the fall on a rainy day. After a little time spent hear we headed back down the trail and then on north not going back across the bridge. This is were the creek gets interesting.
Bridalveil Creek
Bridalveil Creek
Bridalveil Creek trapped log.
Some of my favorite views are from down hear. The bridge comes into play as well from down hear to, and it is always nice to leave the trail even if only for a little while.
Bridalveil Creek
Time was going by so we headed back to the trail and Grace wanted a picture on the bridge.
Bridalveil Creek with Grace
One last new look at the falls then up the trail toward the car.
Bridalveil Creek
Grace said it was time for a break because thats what you do so we took one for a moment and then off we went.
I am always amazed by some thing every time I get out and this time it was seeing the first Trillium of the season. It was the only one we could find anywhere at the time which made it super cool.
Just as we got into the car the rain started painting the windshield. I guess that means good by to the creek for now but it was a short goodbye as I soon took my friends to the falls above for a great day.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bridalveil Creek. Back to middle falls.

When my brother came to town I told him about Bridalveil creek and he wanted to go. It was February 2009 and by the time we got started from town time was short so we just headed into the middle falls. The main difference I noticed on this trip was that there was kind of a faint path to follow that stayed on the creek. It was not a trail for sure but just a little easier to get through then before. When we got to the falls the water was up. Great conditions for photographs.
Middle Bridalveil Falls
Middle Bridalveil Falls
After some time below we had to go up top for a view from above.
Middle Bridalveil Falls from above
As we made our way back down to the creek the sun was going down and I got the shot of the day as the pink form the clouds reflected of the water in the creek.
Sunset on Bridalveil creek
We bashed our way out quickly and got back to the car just as complete darkness took its hold. Six years would go by before I went back but this time I would bring new friends and family.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bridalveil Creek. News of more waterfalls.

After my first two trips into Bridalveil creek I heard that there were more waterfalls in the creek to find. This of course meant I had to go back and find these falls to see what I was missing. For this trip we parked on the columbia river highway just past the bridge over Bridalveil creek and headed into the woods and down to the creek. The plan was to just walk up the creek and see what we ran into on the way. Getting in the water was not an option because it was February of 2009 and very cold out.
Looking down at Bridalveil Creek from the bridge.
Vine Maple, Salmon berry, and Devil's club was the norm.
As we went up creek we found some openings hear and there but for the most part the brush was thick and the going slow. We noted that the forest up high looked better and decided to take that way back if we found the falls. A little while later we came to see a nice fall coming from a side creek down into the main creek. It looked like a very nice ice climb if conditions came in.
Side falls into Bridalveil Creek.
Just a couple minutes later I could hear the sound of a much bigger water fall and started to get excited about what we might see. Because of the way the creek makes a last minute turn you can not see the falls until it is right on top of you. I think I was most impressed with how close this got you to the falls.
Middle Bridalveil Creek Falls
My father at Middle Bridalveil Creek Falls
Middle Bridalveil Creek Falls
Note the cable in the background. I think this is left over from the logging days of old. As I stood out on a rock in the middle of the creek I looked for other photography options around me. There were some great shots to be had. Also note the snow in the pictures.
Middle Bridalveil Creek
Middle Bridalveil Creek
Middle Bridalveil Creek
Color contrast
We noticed a small bench that the cable was coming off of and decided to try and get up on it. A short but steep scree got us up to the bench and a different view of the falls all together. This is what makes this falls special for sure.
View of the falls from the bench.
After a few moments up on the bench we headed back toward the car by going up slope into the trees to get out of the brush. Once we got up the slope it was a quick trip back to the car. The sun was going down so I took the old highway home and was rewarded with sunset from crown point to end the day. There is more to this story so check back for the next segment.
Looking north east from crown point
Looking west from crown point.