outdoor organization oregon

outdoor organization oregonAlmost every­one who loves the out­doors as an adult spent time out­side as a kid. If we don’t get kids out­side, and away from their com­put­er screens and phones, all of the out­doors will suf­fer in the future. Here are five local orga­ni­za­tions that get kids out­side in nature and that need and deserve your support.

Friends of Out­door School
For thou­sands of kids in Ore­gon, a week of Out­door School is a life-chang­ing rit­u­al: learn about ecol­o­gy for a week while stay­ing at camp on the coast or in the Cas­cades dur­ing their for­ma­tive mid­dle-school years. When Out­door School bud­get cuts made Out­door School a priv­i­lege for kids from well-off school dis­tricts, Friends of Out­door School stepped in to fight for fund­ing to send every kid to Out­door School. Fund­ing for Out­door School passed by an over­whelm­ing land­slide in 2016, and they’re con­tin­u­ing the work.

The Stu­dent Con­ser­va­tion Association
A nation­al orga­ni­za­tion, the Stu­dent Con­ser­va­tion Asso­ci­a­tion is to out­door careers what Out­door School is to lov­ing nature. By plac­ing high school stu­dents, gap years, col­lege stu­dents and recent grad­u­ates in out­door intern­ships and jobs—from build­ing trails to col­lect­ing data on wildlife and teach­ing young kids—that often lead to out­door jobs and careers.

Colum­bia Slough Water­shed Council
Most North­west­ern­ers live in cities, and we need to get kids out­side where they live. The Colum­bia Slough Water­shed Coun­cil helps peo­ple redis­cov­er one of Portland’s most forgotten—and sur­pris­ing­ly wildlife-rich—waterways, via canoe­ing, hik­ing in parks and urban wildlife refuges, and catch­ing bugs and oth­er crit­ters. They’re a great exam­ple of many oth­er orga­ni­za­tions that help kids find nature around them every day.

The African Amer­i­can Out­door Association
In the Pacif­ic North­west, access to nature has unfor­tu­nate­ly been found to be lim­it­ed by income and racial dis­par­i­ties. Get­ting to the moun­tains or the rivers requires trans­porta­tion out of the city, time off from jobs, and some­one who knows the outdoors—all of which are eas­i­er when you have finan­cial secu­ri­ty. The African Amer­i­can Out­door Asso­ci­a­tion tries to break this cycle, pro­vid­ing fam­i­ly out­ings for Portland’s African Amer­i­can community.

Port­land Audubon Society
Housed on the edge of For­est Park, the Port­land Audubon Soci­ety is prob­a­bly best known for either the Wildlife Care Cen­ter, where they reha­bil­i­tate injured wild ani­mals, or advo­ca­cy on behalf of wildlife habi­tat. But they also run edu­ca­tion pro­grams that take kids out­side in urban areas, bring nature into class­rooms, train teach­ers, and teach adults about the nat­ur­al world.

I’m sit­ting on my porch on the first day of spring. Gar­den flow­ers are already bloom­ing. Leaf-out is begin­ning in the wilds. Light is stretch­ing more into the evening. But to real­ly appre­ci­ate the explo­sion of nature that’s hap­pen­ing, watch for these signs that spring is real­ly here and sum­mer is on the way.

©istockphoto/VladimirKoganReturn of the Osprey (ear­ly April)
The Camel­lias in my yard bloom ear­ly, but spring isn’t real­ly here until the Osprey shows up. The West­’s pre­mier fish-eat­ing rap­tor, they cruise in from their win­ter­ing grounds in South Amer­i­ca right around April Fools Day. Osprey are beau­ti­ful birds with a loud, pierc­ing call, and they’re not shy around peo­ple, so it’s obvi­ous when they return. You’ll see them soar­ing above rivers and lakes, and build­ing big nests on trees, phone poles, riv­er chan­nel mark­ers and any­thing else with a good van­tage point near water.

©istockphoto/PDidsayabutraThe Gorge Explodes in Col­or (April-May)
The Colum­bia Gorge is one of the worlds’ most unique land­forms and it also hosts one some of the best wild­flower explo­sions in the world. The bloom—which includes sev­er­al species that occur nowhere else in the world—happens in phas­es and moves east to west. The first half of May is usu­al­ly the peak. Hikes com­bine a work­out, spec­tac­u­lar vis­tas and catch­ing our breath while fig­ur­ing out the dif­fer­ence between Colum­bia desert pars­ley and Slen­der-fruit­ed desert pars­ley. Clas­sic hikes are Dog Moun­tain, Cather­ine Creek, and Tom McCall Preserve.

©istockphoto/Sam CampThe John Day Riv­er (May-June)
The plea­sures of a desert riv­er are many. The John Day, Oregon’s longest free-flow­ing riv­er, com­bines vir­tu­al­ly all of them into one trip: cur­rents that whisk you along, camps that com­bine great riv­er-watch­ing with hikes to vis­tas above the riv­er, tall cliffs and deep canyons, soli­tude and rap­tors and bighorn sheep. And this year, with a decent snow­pack, the riv­er will actu­al­ly have water in it. Ser­vice Creek to Clarno Bridge and Clarno Bridge to Cot­ton­wood are the clas­sic runs. The low­er run includes Clarno Rapid, the most dif­fi­cult rapid on the low­er John Day, but it can be portaged. Be pre­pared to get a per­mit online and pack out human waste.

©istockphoto/ AndyworksLife in the Heron Now (April-June)
Ever since it got plopped onto the label of one of Portland’s first craft breweries—Bridgeport’s Blue Heron Ale—the gan­g­ly, croaky, pho­to­genic Great Blue Heron has been both the city’s unof­fi­cial and offi­cial bird (it also appears on the city seal). Herons nest in mas­sive rook­eries around the city. The most famous rook­ery is on the north end of Ross Island, vis­i­ble via a short pad­dle from down­town. Herons also nest at the tech cam­pus­es on 185th, the apt­ly named Heron Lakes Golf Course and at Jack­son Bot­tom Wet­lands. Cohab­i­ta­tions of herons and egrets can also be vis­it­ed by canoe on the north shore of Bybee Lake in North Port­land, and at Reed Island near Washou­gal, WA. Watch­ing adults sit­ting on nests and bring­ing food to the hun­gry hordes of cack­ling young is a Port­land tradition.

©istockphoto/FRANKHILDEBRANDUrban High Fliers (April – July)
The return of Pere­grine Fal­cons to Port­land is a heart­warm­ing sto­ry about wildlife in the City. And not just return­ing: shack­ing up, rais­ing kids and thriv­ing in the urban envi­ron­ment. After rebound­ing from the effects of DDT, Pere­grine Fal­cons began nest­ing on the Fre­mont Bridge in 1994. They have set up oth­er nests on bridges, sky­scrap­ers, and cliffs in the area. Like humans, birds find that rais­ing kids in the city comes with a set of chal­lenges: traf­fic, expo­sure to pol­lu­tion and inter­ac­tions with every­thing from news heli­copters to young that stum­ble into big events at Water­front Park while they’re learn­ing to fly. Port­land Audubon Society’s Pere­grine Watch has helped pro­tect nests and young from haz­ards or urban life. In addi­tion to the Pere­grine, a pair of bald eagles has been rais­ing kids on a nest in the Ross Island lagoon. Pad­dlers should stay 50 feet back from the nest until the mid­dle of July.

©istockphoto/PaulTessierWacky War­blers (May-June)
War­blers are among the most col­or­ful and intrigu­ing birds that pass through dur­ing migra­tion. They’re also a chal­lenge for out­door lovers to learn and iden­ti­fy, but the rewards are worth it. They tend to flit about in the tops of trees, and there are enough of them that it can be hard to tell a Wilson’s war­bler from a Her­mit War­bler until you learn them—but at least they’re col­or­ful and dra­mat­ic-look­ing. Nerd up on these bright and flighty fowl with Port­land Audubon Soci­ety’s class­es and soon you’ll be a full-fledged twitcher.

©istockphoto/Frank LeungWhen the Var­ied Go Away (May-June)
In the Willamette Val­ley low­lands and on the coast, most morn­ings you’ll hear a dra­mat­ic high flut­ing sound that sounds more like it belongs on the moors of Scot­land than the rain­forests of the Pacif­ic North­west. It’s a Var­ied Thrush, a cousin of the Robin, first described to mod­ern sci­ence by Lewis and Clark. When they leave the Val­ley it’s a sign that spring is about to turn into full-blown sum­mer. Where do they go? Up. Var­ied Thrush­es are ver­ti­cal migrants: they leave the low­lands for the fir and hem­lock forests of the high cas­cades, arriv­ing there soon before the snow melts off the hik­ing trails. It’s a sure sign that you’ll soon be head­ed for the high coun­try too.

The West Wind Blows (June)
When the west wind starts to blow through up the Colum­bia from the coast to the Gorge, it’s a sign that you’re in for full-on sum­mer. The result of greater warmth in east­ern Ore­gon than in Port­land cre­ates the flow of air through the Gorge, cre­at­ing the nuclear-force winds that wind­surfers, kite­board­ers, and rough-water sea kayak­ers love. The same thing hap­pens on the Low­er Colum­bia fur­ther west as the Willamette Val­ley heats up: air flows from Asto­ria and the Coast up to the Colum­bia to Port­land. This is great news for the wind­surfers at Jones Beach west of Rainier. It’s bad news if you’re com­plet­ing one of the Northwest’s pre­mier pad­dle jour­neys: the Low­er Colum­bia Water Trail from Port­land to the sea. That’s a trip for May before the west wind stops your progress downriver.


In the Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge, there are trails that are hard­er than sev­er­al notable near­by moun­tains. And while these trails will kick you hard in the glutes, they’ll also make you feel like a queen or king of the moun­tains. The best part of tack­ling these trails? Besides out­ra­geous­ly fine views and a deep sense of sat­is­fac­tion, you get most of them to your­self. Make sure you car­ry the 10 essen­tials and take a bud­dy. Just con­sid­er mak­ing that bud­dy a human. Steep with plen­ty of expo­sure, these trails beg for dogs to be left at home or at the very least, always on a short leash. Here are 10 of our favorite Gorge hikes on the Ore­gon side of the Colum­bia River.

Mt Defi­ance
It starts easy with pret­ty creek and waterfalls—and quick­ly becomes a big, bad, steep butt-kick­er, eas­i­ly one of the hard­est hikes in the Gorge. Some say it’s hard­er than hik­ing to the sum­mit of Mt. Hood. At 11.3 miles round trip, out and back, with an ele­va­tion gain of 4,935 feet, it’s at least ide­al train­ing for the 11,250 ft. peak. Though it’s fair­ly straight­for­ward, get a map to nav­i­gate this one.

Trail­head: Take I‑84 from Port­land to exit 55 (Star­va­tion Creek State Park rest area).

North Lake
Inter­mit­tent­ly loose scree over hard dirt, with sev­er­al sec­tions of “death ledges,” the route to North Lake fol­lows the Wyeth Trail, march­ing from an old roadbed straight up to the Gorge’s rooftop. It cov­ers 3,800 feet in the first four miles before tem­porar­i­ly lev­el­ing out and then pro­ceed­ing up again. The total gain is 4,220 feet over 11.4 out-and-back miles through lush old growth. Go left at the Gor­ton Creek junc­tion on the Wyeth Trail #411. Switch­back after switch­back with a few long tra­vers­es inter­spersed, you’ll final­ly reach the junc­tion with the Wyeth-Green Point Ridge Trail. The trail descends a series of talus slopes before drop­ping into an old growth for­est. You’ll pass across a wet­land area and then up over Lind­sey Creek. Two tie-spur trails lead back from the North Lake Trail to the Wyeth Trail. Keep left and descend 500 feet before regain­ing the ele­va­tion as you approach North Lake.

Trail­head: East on I‑84, take Exit #55/Starvation Creek State Park and Rest Area (east­bound exit only).

Green Point Ridge
You’ll feel like you’re on a relent­less switch­back­ing stair­case as you ascend 3,840 feet in the first four miles of this 15-mile out and back trail. Pass North Lake where #411 (Wyeth Trail) joins #423 and take the trail south to ascend to the top of Green Point Ridge. Enjoy the view and reclaim your lungs before head­ing back down #418 for 2.8 miles to where it rejoins #411 for the last four miles. The trail is 15 miles with a total gain of 4,400 feet.

Trail­head: Take I‑84 to Exit #51/Wyeth to the camp­ground. Fol­low trail­head signs to the far back of the camp­ground to the park­ing lot.

Nesmith Point Trail
Turn around as you ascend this lung buster and you’ll see that you’re nev­er far from tow­er­ing views of the gorge—another rea­son why this trail should be called steep and steep­er. Start at the Elowah Falls trail­head, con­tin­ue with an easy pace past the junc­tion of the old Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge Trail #400 and fol­low the signs south to Nesmith Point on the Trail #428. From there, you’ll knock off almost 3,000 feet in 2.5 miles. Con­tin­ue on for anoth­er mile and a half to the junc­tion with Trail #425. After this junc­tion, you’re a short, lit­er­al crawl to the top of Nesmith Point and out­ra­geous views across the top of the Gorge’s rooftop. You’ll feel like a loaded bus in neu­tral with no brakes as you head back down a trail that gains 3,706 feet over 5.1 miles (10.2 round trip).

Trail­head: Take I‑84, exit #35/Ainsworth State Park.

Ruck­el Ridge Trail
This is the penul­ti­mate out­door Park­our chal­lenge: at times you’ll bear down on a near 35 per­cent grade, which includes root lad­ders, a nar­row, ele­vat­ed, moss-encrust­ed basalt spine called “The Cat­walk” that begs for sit­ting and scoot­ing on, with lots of expo­sure above Ruck­el Creek. After hit­ting the Ben­son Plateau, take Ruck­el Creek Trail (#405) down (6.5 miles). You’ll wend through a steep but gor­geous Doug Fir rain­for­est bor­dered by neon green rock walls and boul­der fields. The ridge trail scales 3,700 feet in 3.8 miles.

Trail­head: Begins at Eagle Creek Camp­ground, near exit 41 from I‑84, east of Portland.

Bell Creek Loop Trail
This lol­ly­pop loop starts at the Oneon­ta Trail­head, con­nect­ing with Gorge Trail #400 and final­ly Trail #424. Once on it, con­tin­ue past the junc­tion with Horse­tail Falls Trail (#438 at 0.8 miles in). Pass Triple Falls and cross sev­er­al side drainages before final­ly reach­ing the bridge over Oneon­ta Creek. Pass anoth­er bridge before leav­ing and turn north­east onto the Horse­tail Creek Trail (#425), and across the Oneon­ta Creek ford. After that, the grinder real­ly starts: switch­ing back about 20 times in 2.3 miles before mel­low­ing a bit and reach­ing the junc­tion with Bell Creek Trail (#459). Take #459 and cross the foot­bridge over Bell Creek and cruise (for about 1.4 miles) beneath a canopy of Doug fir canopy and along wet­lands anoth­er 1.4 miles to the junc­tion of Oneon­ta Trail (#424) again, bypass­ing a few oth­er junc­tions. This trail ascends 3,300 feet and clicks off a total of 14.5 miles.

Trail­head: From the west, trav­el east on I‑84 to Exit #28/Bridal Veil. Dri­ve east on the His­toric High­way for 5.1 miles to a small park­ing lot on the left/north side of the road, just before the Oneon­ta Gorge.

Tan­ner Ridge, Dublin Lake
It takes a map (look for the Tan­ner Butte trail­head) to find the trail­head. But once you fig­ure it out you’re on your way up, cov­er­ing 3,700 feet in 6.8 miles. At the Tan­ner Ridge/Butte Trail­head, fol­low Trail #401 for about 2.2 miles and up 1,500 feet to the junc­tion with the Wau­na Point Trail #401D. Go west right and con­tin­ue to Tan­ner Ridge. In about 2 miles you’ll arrive at a junc­tion with Trail #448, which descends back down toward Tan­ner Creek. Use it to com­plete a loop. Add the lake to your hike by con­tin­u­ing on to Trail #401 and the junc­tion for the beau­ti­ful lit­tle Dublin Lake, Trail #401B to add 4.2 miles to this hike.

Trail­head: East on I‑84, take Exit #40/Bonneville Dam.

Indi­an Point Loop
Basi­cal­ly, this trail fol­lows Gor­ton Creek Trail out and comes back on the Her­man Creek Trail (#406). Start up the Her­man Creek Trail; in a third of a mile con­nect to the Her­man Bridge Trail. Avoid spurs and stay on the main trail. In 1.2 miles, the trail reach­es Her­man Camp and the junc­tion with the Gorge Trail #400, which tracks north, while Gor­ton Creek Trail #408 tracks east and the Her­man Creek Trail tracks south­east on an old log­ging road. You want Gor­ton Creek Trail. It steadi­ly gains ele­va­tion, cross­ing a few small sea­son­al streams on a few switch­backs. At mile 3.8, you’ll meet the Ridge Cut­off Trail (#437). A short trail leads to the rock spire where you can take in views of Mounts St. Helens and Adams, Wind Moun­tain and Dog Moun­tain. After a breather, head back to the #437 and fol­low it 0.6 miles to the Nick Eaton Trail (#447). Descend north on the Nick Eaton Trail about 1/2 mile a view­point and con­tin­ue down the same trail to the junc­tion with the Her­man Creek Trail (#406). The loop is 8.3 miles total with 2,800 feet of ele­va­tion gain.

Trail­head: East on I‑84 to Exit #44/Cascade Locks. Fol­low signs to Her­man Creek Campground.

Mult­nom­ah Falls – Franklin Ridge Loop
Eas­i­ly the tamest of the bunch, it’s still a chal­lenge, espe­cial­ly because you’ll have to nav­i­gate crowds of peo­ple at the start at Mult­nom­ah Falls. Head up to the high­est view­point at Mult­nom­ah Falls and con­tin­ue on up to its feed­er, Mult­nom­ah Creek. Turn east at the Franklin Ridge junc­tion, and fol­low it up to the junc­tion with Oneon­ta Gorge. Descend to Oneon­ta Gorge and fol­low the creek past Triple Falls to the junc­tion with Gorge Trail #400, before head­ing back to Mult­nom­ah Falls. You won’t see many hori­zon views but you’ll have gained 2,660 over the 12-mile loop.

Trail­head: Mult­nom­ah Falls exit 28 to His­toric Colum­bia High­way 30 East to Mult­nom­ah Falls Lodge.

Danner Stumptown Collection

This video proves once and for all that Dan­ner under­stands the soul of Port­land men; and they should — they’ve been help­ing to shape it since 1932. When Charles Dan­ner opened up for busi­ness in the throes of the Great Depres­sion he took a major risk. He believed that qual­i­ty crafts­man­ship trumped all else. So he made rugged, endur­ing boots for the orig­i­nal log­gers of Stump­town. This brand video, like Dan­ner itself, cap­tures the orig­i­nal mas­culin­i­ty of the PNW log­ger with a mod­ern edge. The grit blends with art to cre­ate a free-spir­it­ed romp upon play­ground earth. 

The Good Life Pacif­ic North­west Series is a video doc­u­men­tary that chron­i­cles four of the best ski moun­tains in the North­ern Cas­cades dur­ing a ten-day road trip. Watch as Liam Doran and the pro­duc­tion crew at ONTHESNOW set out to dis­cov­er the throw­back resorts that have devel­oped a cadre of pow­der hounds while attract­ing min­i­mal fan­fare com­pared to inter­na­tion­al­ly-renowned resorts in Utah, Col­orado, and California.

Their jour­ney begins at Mt. Hood Mead­ows in Ore­gon, and then heads north to Crys­tal Moun­tain, Stevens Pass, and Mt. Bak­er in Wash­ing­ton. Each of these four episodes show­case a dif­fer­ent moun­tain, and along the way we meet the local skiers who pro­vide us with an insid­er look at the world-class, but only region­al­ly known, ter­rain. Join us for the next four days as we share one of these videos a day to help define the ski­ing in this often-over­looked region.

In Part 1, Pow­der at Mt. Hood Mead­ows, local ski patroller Jeff Fer­ra­gi shows us the nat­ur­al ter­rain park that is Mt. Hood Mead­ows, which is known as hav­ing the widest range of ter­rain of the hand­ful of resorts on Mt. Hood. While pop­u­lar among Port­landers, the 2,777-foot ver­ti­cal drop and over 2,150 ski­able acres makes it a moun­tain that can keep its secrets.

Watch the whole series!

Part 1: Pow­der at Mt. Hood Meadows

Part 2: Deep Pow­der at Crys­tal Mountain

Part 3: Deep­est Day of the Year at Stevens Pass

Part 4: Zach Grif­fin Tears Up Mt. Bak­er Ski Area

While The Clym­b’s cyclocross team has com­pet­ed in 7 races so far this sea­son, the Cross Cru­sade series has been their pri­ma­ry focus. The first race in the series took place this past Sun­day at Alpen­rose Dairy in Port­land. Our own Ian (below) placed 10th in the sin­gle­speed category.

We’d like to thank Castel­li for such amaz­ing kits. You can pur­chase them here.

Have you ever imag­ined a world where your bike can live safe and sound while you par­take in your dai­ly rou­tines? Here in Port­land, Ore­gon, we dream about that a lot. And although Port­land is tout­ed as one of the best cities for bicy­clists in the Unit­ed States, we have nev­er seen any­thing like this. Take a vir­tu­al tour through a mechan­i­cal vil­lage for bikes. Where robots swoop your bikes away and put them to rest. Then, when you are ready to ride again, The steel moans and churns, the doors pop open, and your trusty steed is once again by your side. Nobody said dreams can’t come true.

Mem­bers of the Port­land chap­ter of She Jumps

Clymb employ­ees Lau­ra Grieser and Britt Her­man­s­ki are on a mis­sion to get local women out­doors. In Feb­ru­ary 2011, they found­ed the Port­land chap­ter of She­Jumps, an orga­ni­za­tion with a mis­sion to increase female par­tic­i­pa­tion in out­door activ­i­ties. In just over a year, through avalanche safe­ty train­ing, relay races, ski and climb­ing trips, and fundrais­ing, they’ve encour­aged the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in dozens of out­door activ­i­ties and made Port­land one of the largest of the nation­al orga­ni­za­tion’s 25 chapters.

Now, they’ve teamed up with Big City Moun­taineers to ensure that under-resourced youth can have their own back­coun­try expe­ri­ences. On June 8th, the Port­land ‘jumpers’ will sum­mit Mt. Shas­ta as a part of BCM’s Sum­mit for Some­one pro­gram. They’ll climb Shas­ta’s 14,179 feet via the “West Face,” a scenic yet unpop­u­lar route. As they expe­ri­ence the alpine beau­ty and push their lim­its, they’ll also raise funds to pro­vide youths with men­tor­ing wilder­ness expeditions.

Each of the ‘jumpers’ has pledged to raise $2,500 to ben­e­fit the 300+ under-resourced youth that Big City Moun­taineers serves. With less than 10 days to go, the Port­land She­Jumps team is doing all they can to reach their fundrais­ing goal. If you’re inter­est­ed in donat­ing to the She­Jumps team, you can do so here. Make sure to check back when they return as Clymb employ­ees Lau­ra, Britt, Keel­ie and Jen­ny share sto­ries and pho­tos of their experience.

Lau­ra and Britt on Mt. Hood
The Clymb HQ’s in house traf­fic jam

After cool­ing its wheels in the num­ber two spot last year, our home­town of Port­land, Ore­gon has once again topped Bicy­cling Mag­a­zine’s list of the Best Cycling Cities.  Port­land’s many bike lanes and routes, excit­ing cycling events, and sup­port­ive local busi­ness­es make it easy to main­tain a rich bike culture.

Not that we real­ly need an excuse to ped­al to work, but with this past Fri­day being Bike to Work Day, The Clymb stepped up to the chal­lenge by doing the two-wheel com­mute and we even fit in an after­noon team ride.

“Last one back to the office buys lunch.”

Even though we could­n’t be more proud of Port­land, we know that all over the coun­try our mem­bers are help­ing to sup­port their own local bike cul­tures. Thanks to every­one who sub­mit­ted pho­tos in our Bike To Work pho­to con­test. All entrants will receive a $5 cred­it to The Clymb for par­tic­i­pat­ing and our win­ner, Sean Fad­den, earned $20.