Weekend Bouldering - Lost Lake and Carver / by Ray Phung

Eric hitting the right arete on Triangle Face, V7 at Carver

A couple of weekends ago, I made it out to climb at a couple of local bouldering spots in preparation for a trip up to Squamish.  You never want to go on a climbing trip with "gym hands," so I had to get out and grab some real rocks.  I ended up visiting a classic local Portland spot and another newly developed/developing area.  I have been trying desperately to finish out the remaining frames on three rolls of film from the Enchantments too, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.  

On Saturday, I met my buddy Eric out at Carver (in Carver, Oregon).  This is a local Portland crag located on the property of the Stone Cliff Inn, who on this day was celebrating their 10-year anniversary.  The crag itself is a band of cliff face, home to a few sport and trad lines with large boulders strewn along the cliff base among the densely packed forest.  Carver is notorious for its constant regeneration of moss, super low starts in the dirt/mud, millions of contrived variations on the same boulder, and slugs the size of your fist waiting for you to step on them before you get on a climb.  Oh, and did I mention Twilight?  Several key scenes of the first movie were filmed among the boulders here, so there is a constant influx of Twilight fans who like to geek out while you are climbing.  

A lot of people like to hate on Carver, but honestly I really enjoy it.  It's beautiful, lush, and gets all-day shade.  And despite the tweens frolicking in the woods and professing their love for Robert Pattinson, there are a number of solid, hard, and fun problems here that keeps me coming back.  Here are a few more pictures I snapped of Eric climbing:

The next day, Jenn, Mary, and Scott piled into my car and we set out to explore a new area - the Lost Lake Boulders.  Lost Lake itself is southwest of Hood River, Oregon, and houses a large campground.  A few miles past the lake itself is a large talus field with several good size boulders.  After taking several wrong turns, it took us a little over two hours to get there.  Several local Portland climbers have been putting in a ton of work to develop this area over the last few months, which includes brushing/cleaning problems, building up landings, and cutting clear trails.  They have also been photographing and documenting the climbs (check out the page on Mountain Project).

The Rewilding Area of Lost Lake Boulders, looking up to the cliff side in the woods.

Mary working out the moves on Get Lost, V4 at Lost Lake Boulders

As for the climbing, the rock here is an andesitic basalt (some kind of volcanic shit), which is fairly grippy and solid for the most part.  Most of the boulders have a nice layer of dried lichen and moss on it, so it requires quite a bit of cleaning (bring a stiff, but NOT metal, brush).  Since the boulders are mostly in talus, landings are rocky so also be sure to bring several pads with you.  There is a lot of climbing here.  We spent an entire afternoon here, and really just explored one area.  While we were climbing, we met Royce, lead route setter at the Circuit and one of the guys who has been doing some intensive cleaning, and he showed us couple of other boulders at the end of the day.  Lost Lake Boulders also seems like there is a lot of potential to establish new problems and get some first ascents.  After some lichen removal and some more climber traffic, a lot of the problems there will get even better.  I think it was totally worth the drive down there and I definitely plan on going back.  

Cameras and film were the same from the Enchantments.  6x6 photos were taken on my Hasselblad 500c with either Fuji Pro 400H (people shots) or Velvia 50 (landscape/nature).  35mm photos were with Nikon FM2 with Fuji NPS 160 shot at 400.