Smith Rock is located within the heart of central Oregon resulting in a wide range of temperatures throughout the year. Many describe the area as having its own microclimate due to the variability in weather at any given moment compared to other nearby areas. While this may be true it seems the high desert nature of the area dictates what can feel like sporadic weather during the shoulder seasons. Swings in temperature from daytime highs and nighttime lows are typically significant due to the high desert climate. Pack some warm clothes if you are camping regardless of the time of year.
Fall & Spring
The best climbing temperatures come in the fall and spring as typically moderate temperatures allow for good friction without overheating or freezing, although this prime climbing windows seems to be narrowing each year. Don’t count on weather during either season to be predictable, especially in the spring. Snow and cold temperatures can thwart climbers from March into early May so don’t be surprised if you are rained out or suffering in cool temps during that trip you planned months ago.
Climbing in the summer at Smith can be brutal. There is a reason you won’t see anybody climbing the insanely popular Five Gallon Buckets during the heat of the day as the sun bakes the wall. Do your best to pack in lots of water and chase shade during the day, starting your day on the west side of the park while moving back east once the sun starts lowering. Like anywhere else, trying to clamp down on the small holds of Smith in hot temps ups the grade on most climbs.
Depending on the year, climbing at Smith can be doable but typically there will be snow on the ground for a portion of the year. It’s no surprise that climbers looking for their fix will chase the sun even on days below freezing but typically the park is quietest in the middle of winter due to cold temperatures. If you can make the temps work for you, you’ll be rewarded with a quieter-than-normal experience.