The new climbing guidebook to Frenchman Coulee (Vantage) by Marlene Ford and Jim Yoder has just been released. For Vantagephiles or would-be Vantagephiles who climb at Frenchman Coulee frequently, the book is worth the $35 price. Like the previous edition, photographs identify the many routes and each route receives a brief blurb describing the route, its grade, equipment needs, and overall quality. About 660 routes are listed in the new guidebook with roughly 55 of those being new since the last edition of the guidebook was published a decade ago.
For climbers who only visit Vantage a few times a year, the old guidebook will keep you more than busy. Use a friend’s new book to pencil-in the new routes to your old book.
If you don’t own the old guidebook and only visit Vantage a few times a year, we’d suggest you save yourself the $35 hit by simply printing the The Best of Frenchman Coulee, a guidebook that selects the best climbs around Vantage that Marc Dilley produced for WenatcheeOutdoors (this is a large PDF file and will take a moment to load). For the occasional Vantage visitor, this guide has many years’ worth of routes to knock off. Graphically, it’s also the best guidebook to Vantage and a treat for the eye to behold. And it’s free. Well, almost, free. You’ll burn through some color ink printing it, so the true dirt-bag climber will con his climbing partner into printing it for him.
- Frenchman Coulee by Marlene Ford and Jim Yoder, third edition, $35.
- Published by HomePress Publishers, Eatonville, WA, 360-832-2431.
- Available locally through Leavenworth Mountain Sports. Order it by phone to avoid driving to Leavenworth, 509-548-7864.
For decades, information about climbing at Vantage was via word-of-mouth and booklets like the 7-page booklet produced by Russ Johnson and Glen Cambron in the late 1980s and the 11-page booklet by Paul Certa and Bill Robins assembled in 1990. In 1991 with the release of the first published guidebook (The Washington Desert, A Climber’s Guide by Eminger and Kittel), Vantage exploded in popularity as the unwashed masses arrived to check it out. Its popularity has grown ever since—mainly because of its location (within striking range of Seattle), its climate (sun to offset Seattle’s rain), and its sport-climbing etiquette. Well, the quality of climbing on those vertical basalt columns also has something to do with the area’s popularity.
I loved climbing vantage when i lived in Spokane 24 years ago. I remember a climb/chimney called 7 virgins and a mule i loved. My sister and i were climbing it in 1995 when i dislodged the “mule” chockstone from the top of the chimney and it exploded at the base of the climb like a bomb! Scared us to death and almost killed bith of us. Loved that place. Happy memories!