Frenchman's Coulee
Vantage, Washington

Frenchman's Coulee is a bit of a Mecca for sport climbers in Washington State particularly in early season. Frenchman's Coulee is located east of Vantage on the east bluff of the Columbia River near George and the Gorge Amphitheater. The rock is columnar basalt formed from the vast lava flows that shaped all of eastern Washington and Oregon. The area took on its current form from repeated flooding some 50,000 years ago when an ice dam that held back an ancient lake call Lake Missoula in what is now Montana would break and inundate all of the Columbia Basin with enormous volumes of water. The floods created water falls and the coulees that is now the Frenchman's Coulee and many others. At the base of many of the cliffs, large gouged out holes can still be seen where the bottom of the water falls would excavate.

The climbing ranges from east to moderate (5.5 to 5.10 generally) in the Feathers area and is generally 5.8 and above with multi pitch routes in the Sunshine Wall area. Most routes are bolted with chains at the top. Some crack climbing exists that is trad as well. It is a fun place to take new climbers and setup top ropes or for rock jocks to practice their trade. Pictures here are from practice outings we have done with our groups.

[Photos]