2015, 2017

Climbing at SMITH ROCK

Category: Oregon

Rock Type: Welded Tuff & Basalt
Elev: ~3000 ft
Picturesque Smith Rock. The cliffs in the photo are volcanic welded tuff.
Lower Gorge, which has some climbs on columnar basalt.

Smith Rock is Oregon's premier rock climbing destination, and one of the best sport-climbing meccas in the country. The main cliffs are made of welded tuff, and the surrounding bands by columnar basalt. I've only climbed at Smith Rock a few times: a couple of quick weekend trips early on in my climbing career and twice for a day when passing by. This page features some "short reports" from some of the climbs I’ve done at Smith Rock, which includes Monkey Face (one of the best-known features at Smith) and Zion (THE multipitch route at Smith). Most of the following trip reports do not give a wide photo selection like other trip reports on my website.

CLIMBS (Alphabetical order):
(trip reports for ones with photo) ROUTE/LINK DIFFICULTY AREA YEAR CLIMBED

5 Gallon Buckets 5.8, 1p, sport
Morning Glory Wall Apr 2006

Headless Horseman 5.10d, 1p, sport The Fourth Horseman Sept 2017

Karate Crack 5.10a, 1p, trad Morning Glory Wall May 2006,
Sept 2017

Lost in Space 5.10b/c, 4p, sport Northeast Face Sept 2017

Master Loony 5.11a, 1p, trad Lower Gorge Sept 2015

Moonshine Dihedral 5.9, 1p, trad The Dihedrals Sept 2017
Pioneer Route, Monkey Face 5.7 A0, 3p, 250' Monkey Face Apr 2006,
May 2006
Zion 5.10b, 4p, 350', trad
Morning Glory Wall Sept 2015

Route: PIONEER ROUTE (5.7 A0, 3 pitches, 250')  Monkey Face
Trip Report #: 1821

Monkey Face formation. The Pioneer Route is the easiest way up – it involves a bit of easy gear climbing to the notch, and then a bolt ladder to the "mouth" on the left side, and then comes out onto the handhold-ridden face from there.
First time climbing Monkey Face:
Date: April 16, 2006 
Partners: Jason, Trevor, Erika
Brief trip report: In April, 3 friends and I packed into a small truck and drove the 8 hours down to Smith Rock in Oregon to escape the rain of BC. We spent 4 days climbing there. I cannot remember all that we climbed, but on our second day there, we climbed Monkey Face, which is a giant tower of rock. We climbed the easiest route up, which begins with a pitch of 5.6 gear, then a pitch of aid climbing (there were about 25 closely-spaced bolts up a sheer wall that we clipped quickdraws into and pulled on since we did not own ascenders and other aid gear), and then the route finishes with a super-airy bolted 5.7 pitch that involves stepping out of a cave to face a 200 foot drop to the ground.

 Second time climbing Monkey Face:
Date: May 20, 2006 
Partners: Jason, Trevor, Joleen
Brief trip report: When I returned to Smith Rock in May, we again climbed Monkey Face, and this time I led the second two pitches, since the first time I had led only the first pitch. The weather was a bit warmer for us on the May climb (in April it had snowed while we were climbing!) but we got stuck behind a slow group of 6 that took a couple of hours to aid up the second pitch. But we spent the time exchanging climbing stories, so it wasn't so bad.
Below are some photos from the climb.

Below are some photos from the climb.

Photo descriptions:
1. Looking down while leading the bolt ladder.
2. In the cave at the top of the bolt ladder before the final pitch.
3. The hanging double rope rappel.

Route: ZION  (5.10b, 4 pitches, 350', trad)  Morning Glory Wall
Trip Report #: 208

Zion pretty much ascends a crack system at the sun-shade line.

This photo (taken a couple of years after climbing Zion) shows the route better than the photo above. Flat lighting due to haze from forest fires.

Date: Sept 13, 2015 
Partner: John Plotz
Brief trip report: This is THE multipitch route at Smith. So, naturally, when I met up with my friend John for a day at Smith (I was driving home from Red Rocks), this route was top on my list. (Thanks John for climbing it for a 6th time!).

Below are some photos from the climb.

Photo descriptions:
1. John leading off Pitch 1 (~5.7). We took a mostly 5.7 line up juggy buckets. The athletic unprotected first move was the crux of the route for us (seemed a bit harder than 5.7).
2. Pitch 2 (10b). I led this pitch. This pitch is the crux of the climb and pretty sustained. I found the gear to be a bit tricky since the crack opened up in the back and I was used to granite and sandstone cracks at the time, but this was a good bit of climbing.
3. John leading off Pitch 3 (5.9).
4. Pitch 4 (5.9). Juggy flake climbing. 
This was my favorite pitch on the route. 
5-8. Slackliners. These guys impress me. 

Other routes I've done at Smith Rock....even fewer photos for these climbs.....

Route: 5 GALLON BUCKETS  (5.8, 1 pitch, 60', sport)Morning Glory Wall
Date: April 15, 2006
Partners: Jason, Trevor, Erika

Jason belaying me on 5 Gallon Buckets.
Route: KARATE CRACK  (5.10a, 1 pitch, 60', trad)The Dihedrals
Dates: May 22, 2006 / Sept 17, 2017
Partners: Jason, Trevor, Joleen / Todd Anderson
First photo: Me on Karate Crack in 2006. One of my first crack climbs. 
Second photo: Karate Crack, Sept 2017. The climbers are on Cinnamon Slab.
Route: MASTER LOONEY  (5.11a, 1 pitch, 80', trad), Lower Gorge
Date: Sept 13, 2015
Partner: John Plotz

Looking up Master Looney. The roof is hard!
Route: HEADLESS HORSEMAN  (5.10d, 1 pitch, 80', sport), The Fourth Horseman
Date: Sept 17, 2017
Partner: Todd Anderson

Looking down while climbing Headless Horseman. Just follow the chalk!
Route: MOONSHINE DIHEDRAL  (5.9, 1 pitch, 90', trad)The Dihedrals
Date: Sept 17, 2017
Partner: Todd Anderson
Moonshine Dihedral.
Route: LOST IN SPACE  (5.10b/c, 4 pitches, 400', sport)Northeast Face
Date: Sept 17, 2017
Partner: Todd Anderson
Todd starting up Pitch 3 (the best pitch) of Lost in Space.