Pinto Rock/Bowling Alley

A 400-foot, 3-4 pitch Grade I, 5.4 rock climb east of Pole Patch Road south of Randle.


The Bowling Alley route on Pinto Rock is called the “regular” route in Beckey’s Cascade Alpine Guide. The base of the climb is a short hike from the parking area. It is located on the west side of the peak, just beyond the South Face.  The route ascends a network of gullys up the southern flank. The proper starting gully can be identified as the one with an evergreen tree growing right up against its base, which serves as the anchor point for the first pitch. 

Historically the route was traditionally protected by slinging chickenheads and protrusions, and it may still be climbed this way. In recent years bolts and anchor chains have been installed, so the route may be climbed sport fashion. The most difficult moves on the route’s 3-4 pitches is 5.4. There are abundant hand and foot holds but care must be taken to test them all, as some may be loose. Rockfall on the route is an ever-present hazard, hence the name.


To descend, cross Pinto Rock’s flat summit a few hundred yards to the north until you come to a small stand of trees. Near these trees a rappel station with chains has been installed. The base of Pinto Rock can be reached from here with one double-rope rappel 40 feet down and then north descending a steep slope to a sand trail. Care must be taken when rappelling to ensure the ropes do not become entangled in chickenheads and protrusions on the East Face.  If you rappel following the fall line, the angle of the ropes may cross a bulge on the East Face which can catch and hold the rope. Alter your line of descent to keep the rappel ropes beneath the protruding bulge on the East Face to keep them from getting caught.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Rock Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 400 ft
  • 5,123 ft
  • USGS French Butte
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