The Northern Point is a short cliff band that hosts a number of easier trad lines and a few sport lines. The routes are all very short, 30-40 feet, with a good number that allow for a top rope to be setup from above. The shorter lines and top roping ability can lead to the area being a beginner climber haven. Nonetheless, it still has a few worthy climbs and does offer up an area for beginner trad leaders to place gear on rock that is more solid than the the typical tuff found in the park.
The area is broken up by larger boulders that need to be maneuvered to seek out different climbs, but the result are distinct mini-areas surrounded by larger boulders and views of the Monument Area. All around, a pretty nice to place to hang out while climbing, especially on hot days when the area offers a nice shady respite from the heat.
Many of the climbs have bolted anchors, but some do not. It's also worth nothing that bolted anchors are not accompanied by chains or rap rings (on the climbs we've done). You'll need to bring biners to wrap off of or grab your gear at the top of the cliff.
The Northern Point is located beyond the turn-around loop of the last parking lot area, northeast of restrooms and visitors yurt. Follow the obvious trail and signs pointing to the Homestead Trail. At a marked Y in the trail stay right (straight) until the trail ends and you are standing on the top of the cliff. Trend right (east) until you find a short scramble of rock heading down to the base of the cliff. The descent is pretty easy but probably not great for a bunch of kids looking to climb for the first time.
The longer but safer way to the base of the cliffs lends itself to almost all trail hiking. At the previously mentioned marked Y in the Homestead Trail, go left and follow a few switchbacks that will take you down closer to the Crooked River. As you make your way down there are different options for cutting back up and to the hiker's right back towards the Northern Point climbs. The cliff isn't easy to see and if you end up too low, you'll have to sniff your way back up to the cliff following trails.
The short scramble down into the Northern Point from the rim
Local wildlife at The Northern Point
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Smith Rock State Park, OR
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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.