This is a must do for any Smith climber looking to put their trad rack to use. It usually attracts a good amount of people so be prepared to see parties ahead of you or try and get on Out of Harm’s Way around the left of the base of the buttress while you wait. The climb goes in two or three pitches depending on if you link the first two together or not. This description lays out the climb in the three pitches.
Follow a low angle crack up a slab to the first set of anchors. The climbing is fun enough and easy although the volcanic tuff makes placing some of the gear a little more tricky than a smooth-sided granite or basalt. You can jam feet and hands in the crack but there is also a lot of face holds to use along the way. After the initial slab, work your way right around another low-angle mini dihedral before reaching a large ledge with bolted anchors.
The second pitch is the crux. Work through a funky dihedral before surmounting a crux bulge to a nice stance at the anchors. The bulge can be protected by placing gear above your head prior to pulling over it. Again, nice hand jams can set you up to get through the bulge but aren't required. Unlike the first pitch, the second pitch is mainly vertical. Belay at a bolted anchor.
The last pitch is the money pitch. Move right from the anchors into a solid crack that runs up to the large roof above you. Great edges and crimps along the crack end up being a lot easier than it looks from the ground. There isn't a need for any type of jamming as huge holds are everywhere. Work your way up under the roof, place a nice #3 or #4 cam, and move around the right side of the roof. Work your way up some easy ledges to a bolted anchor atop the formation. The position, great holds, and decent protection make this is a Smith classic. Bring gear of all sizes and types, both nuts and cams can be placed.
To descend, walk south (climbers right) following a trail that heads downhill and curves 180 degrees left until you reach a short gully that can be down climbed. Don’t rappel off of this route, the walk-off is easy and won't get in the way of parties below you.
Smith Rock State Park, OR
Last Updated on May 19 2019, 9:56 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.