French Kiss is a fairly new route in the Kiss of the Lepers area that is a two-pitch climb that will meet up with the top of the second pitch of First Kiss but offer up a bit more challenging climbing. The climb can be found left of the start of First Kiss by walking just past a small tree at the base of the area and looking up for bolts.
While this is a two pitch climb we only finished the first pitch plus a few bolts on the second pitch. We had to bail after a hold blew on our way to the second bolt of the second pitch and taking a whipper that resulted in a few stitches. That said, obviously this route is still new and needs to clean up a bit. The rock is covered in lichen and has small pebbles littered on small ledges, be careful what you pull on.
Start up by moving straight up through the first few bolts. You'll encounter a thin and more balance based crux within these first bolts before the route ends up moving up to the right at a 45 degree angle between bolts on a lower angled rock. While the climbing in this section isn't hard, the holds don't inspire confidence due to the dirty rock and the pendulum nature of a fall on low angled rock that would result if you did fall. Don't fall, it wouldn't be fun. The route ends up meandering straight up and a bit left before finding anchors that tucked out of site above a ledge.
It's possible to lower to the base of the climb from the first anchors (we had a 70m so not sure about a 60m). Careful lowering or rappelling. All parties should be wearing a helmet on this route due to the loose nature of the rock. While rappelling there were small to medium chunks of rocks that loosened up/fell. Needless to say this was not one of our favorite climbs.
Smith Rock State Park, OR
Last Updated on Sep 22 2019, 5:56 pm PDT
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Given Black Diamond’s reputation for strong and durable hard goods, we decided to give their 9.9mm rope a try as our go to gym rope. The rope is priced right and works great out of the box but early signs of wear in the gym make it hard to give it the nod as a preferred gym rope.