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The Commandho Pillar

This sustained and direct line is an excellent choice for those wanting to explore the Goose Egg a little more.  The rock is sound and the climbing is steep, varied, and enjoyable.

For gear, take a few nuts, TCU's, and cams up to 3 inches.  Take 10 quick draws and long slings.  If descending off the top of the 6th pitch, take two ropes, if continuing to the summit, one 60 meter rope is sufficient.

Photo  Stoney Richards leading the 6th pitch.

How to get there  Follow Highway 12 west from Yakima.  Turn left (south) on the lower Tieton Road, between milepost 168 and 167.  After 2.0 miles, there is a natural spring and pullout on the right.  Look for a small fenced area.  Don't park here!  Continue .1 mile and park in the larger pullout on the left.  Walk back to the spring and follow a climber's trail up through the trees to the base of the cliff.  Locate Ride the Lightning.  The Commandho Pillar starts about 200 feet to the right (east) and 200 feet lower, at the lowest point of that section of wall.  It is possible to bypass pitch one and pitch two by using 3rd class ledges to the left of the route.

Pitch 1  Climb the short and bouldery crux past 4 bolts to an anchor below a large ledge.

Pitch 2  From the ledge, make a few moves past two bolts to easier ground.  Follow bolts up and left to another ledge and two bolt anchor. 

Pitch 3  Climb the obvious crack just right of the anchor.  When the crack thins, clip a bolt over a small lip then move up and right to a belay stance with two bolts.

Pitch 4  Follow thin face climbing past several bolts, then traverse right to a bolt belay next to the small tree.

Pitch 5  The next pitch is long and somewhat involved.  Don't worry the rock is more solid than it looks!  Climb up and left from the belay into a left facing corner.  At the roof, make an exposed move right around the corner then up to a small ledge.  Make a thin move up and left (gear and bolt) then follow bolts and occasional gear placements up then back right to a three bolt belay stance.

Pitch 6  Move straight up from the belay and climb a thin finger crack through an overlap directly above the belay.  Continue up the crack then move right and up to a bolt then back left slightly and up aiming for the half-chimney at the top of a left facing corner (if in doubt, stay to the right).  Climb through this then up the easy right facing corner, past a rappel anchor, to the tree on top of the pillar.

Pitch 7  Climb a dirty groove to the large bowl above.  Scramble several hundred feet of 3rd class climbing to the summit.

Descent   Most people will find in sufficient to rappel the route after the 6th pitch.  Make 3 double rope rappels to the top of pitch 2.  From here it is best to scramble off to the west.  If continuing to the top, locate and climb to the large fir tree atop Ride the LightningTraverse to your left about 300 feet and look down for a rock cairn marked with an orange flag.  At this location, walk down to the cliff edge and the first of seven rappel stations.  Rappelling can be done with one 200 foot rope.  Instead of rappelling, one could continue traversing leftward above rock cairn, another 500 yards, to a forth class gully.  If descending via the gully, some climbers may wish to make a single rope rappel about halfway down at a large fir tree.  Descending the gully and walking back to base will take approximately 45 minutes.

First Ascent  Joe Puryear and Stoney Richards, March 17, 2002.

Goose Egg Mountain
The Commandho Pillar
III 5.11b

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