Exit 38
Summer, 1999

The climbing areas by the railroad trestle at Exit 38 are my "home court" of climbing. With the long summer days and short approach, Exit 38 is great for getting a few climbs in after work, and when the weather cooperates I try to get out there once or twice a week until the sun starts setting before 8:00. Not being an advanced climber, the trestle area is just right for me, offering many climbs in the 5.5-5.10a range. Now and then I can follow harder routes, but that's pretty much my leading limit these days. For full information on the area, Bryan Burdo's "North Bend Sport Climbs: Exit 38" covers most of the climbs, but there are a few new additions that haven't made it into any guides yet.

One new route has sprouted up just to the right (as you face the rock) of "Mom, There's Pink in My Burger" on Write-Off Rock. It's another short route (4 bolts and chains), and you can climb it on the left, or straight up over the three small overhangs. I've done it a couple of times, and am guessing it's somewhere around 5.6, but I'd like to hear other opinions. It's a fun route, and it's not often that you get to pull roofs on this easy of a climb.

The two other new routes that I'm aware of are located just before walking out onto the newly rebuilt Hall Creek trestle. The one on the left (as you face the rock) has three bolts and then chains. Getting to the third bolt doesn't feel much hard than 5.4 or 5.5, but the final moves to getting your hands on top of the anchor block are quite a bit harder - maybe 5.9? Fortunately, with the position of the anchor chains it's quite possible to get them both clipped and do the final moves on a top rope. It's steep enough at the top that you can't get hurt falling, so it's a safe place for climbers to try some moves that may usually be beyond them.

The third new route is just a few feet to the right of the previous climb. It starts out pulling over an undercut face, then up an easy slab section. From the top of the slab, the route steepens again, and there's some ambiguity as to where the route goes. I think it's supposed to go right of the anchor bolts, using some fun laybacks and good foot holds. However, there's a dirty, grotty gully that goes up on the left side of the anchor block, and I've seen people grovel their way up there as well - certainly less aesthetic! I'm going to guess that this route goes at about 5.8, but I wouldn't recommend it to a beginning 5.8 leader, at least not as an on sight. After top roping once or twice, the sequences become clear, but if you know nothing about the route, it could be a bit of a scary lead. One option on this climb is to stay well to the right of the actual climb line on the dirty, but blocky, rock. The climbing here is fairly easy, and might let you set a top rope if the direct (and I think actual) route feels shaky to you.


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