Frenchman Coulee is a beautiful canyon in central Washington State that provides climbers, campers, and hikers with stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge, as well as unique formations of towering basalt columns, including the famous “Feathers”.
Frenchman Coulee offers over 150 climbing routes of all kinds on its grand basalt walls. Climbers of all experience levels will appreciate the variety of climbs and accessibility, from short top-rope and bouldering routes next to flat-ground camping and parking, to tall multi-pitch trad routes requiring hiking and scrambling to get to, there’s something for everyone.
There are a few “must climb” sections out here, with the most prominent being “The Feathers” and “Sunshine Wall”. The former is a spine of basalt columns, some nearly 20m tall, with exposure and views on both sides leading out into the canyon. Climbers here will find several trad routes, alongside a wide variety of sport climbs, all within a short walk from camping and parking. The Sunshine wall, on the other hand, is one of the most extensively projected climbing spots in Washington. It features over 120 routes, many of which are sport, and even a few multi-pitch. While it requires a short hike to get to, climbers are rewarded with a wide, grand wall of basalt to climb to their hearts desire (just beware the summer sun!).
Spring, Summer, and Fall (but avoid the hot summer sun!).
Official camping spots (no reservation/payment necessary) are scattered throughout the area, with the majority being quite close to the Feathers. On busy weekends it may be hard to find a good spot, but since they are not clearly designated, there is almost always some space. Discover Pass required on most days for parking or camping.
Pack in water, as while there is a spigot, it is often dry or unclean.
Bonfire spots litter the area, but due to dry weather it is probably best to bring a small stove and food if you decide to camp. If not, many people choose to eat at their project!
No showers are available on site or nearby.
If you aren’t a climber, there are many miles of trails throughout the crag. Additionally, it is in close proximity to similar areas such as Grand Coulee which offer even more hiking, backpacking, and camping options.
By: Maxwell Taylor