An Adventurer’s Guide to Oregon: Bouldering

September 4, 2012 (Updated September 19, 2012)

If you are familiar with rock climbing – one of the fastest growing sports in America – then you are most likely aware that Oregon has been an international hot spot for various  types of climbing for over 30 years.  As a mountaineer, you may look at the Cascade Range as a great challenge.  As a sport climber, Smith Rock most likely holds an almost reverent appeal;  but as a boulderer (someone who participates in a specific style of climbing that uses no ropes and generally  involves shorter boulders instead of tall cliffs), Oregon has not grown the reputation that it has with other forms of climbing.  Yet some relatively unknown Oregon bouldering spots have the potential to alter that impression.

Carver Woods
The most readily available bouldering spot for Portlanders, this area is privately owned and a $5 pass must be purchased from Portland Rock Gym or the Circuit Bouldering Gym to climb there.  Like many other Oregon climbing spots, it can get very mossy, so bring a brush.  The spot’s newest claim to fame is that it was used to film part of the Twilight series. Check out the Carver Bouldering Guide by Jared Bernert and Spencer Williams.

Smith Rock State Park
With boulders the size of small homes, don’t skip over these great climbs that line both sides of the Crooked River as you make your way around Smith Rock State Park. For more information, check out Rock Climbing Smith Rock State Park by Alan Watts.

Larch Mountain
A relatively quiet location, where new routes are still being established.  The view from the top is beautiful, and paired with a beautiful hike is an easy location to make a day trip.

For more information about bouldering in Oregon, check out

About The

Connor O'Brien
Connor O’Brien is a Portland- based, second-generation photographer specializing in Adventure Sports, Outdoor Lifestyle and Assignment & Editorial Photography. Having lived in places as far reaching as Australia and as close to home as Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin and Minnesota, he has used the varying landscape and the people as inspiration in his photographs. Moving to Oregon many moons ago, Connor has been fortunate enough to experience some of the unspoiled beauties of the west with his camera in hand. Beginning his career as a freelance writer and photographer in Oregon, he continues to visually describe the landscape he visits throughout his work. Whether it be capturing new ascents on remote crags or following trails down lost canyons, his love and passion for the outdoors has led his photographic development to where it is today.