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Smith Rock

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Smith Rock  


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Location: 44.3657, -121.143 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Peter Franzen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Peter Franzen on Jan 22, 2006
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Description 

Smith Rock is Oregonís premier rock climbing destination, and one of the best sport climbing areas in the United States. This world-renowned sport climbing mecca has more than once been at the focal point of the climbing world. Extensive development took place in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s by locals and international climbers alike, who put up scores of classic climbs on the tuff and basalt cliffs; development continues to this day with new moderates and cutting-edge routes going up each year. Ranging from classic beginner routes to hardcore testpieces on a wide variety of rock, there is truly something here for everyone. Although best known for its sport climbing traditional climbers can find plenty to be excited about here as well.

Located in the high desert in central Oregon, Smith Rock State Parkís cliffs and hillsides take a commanding presence over the surrounding terrain. The main cliffs are made of volcanic welded tuff, and surrounding bands of columnar basalt lie above the winding Crooked River.

Smith Rock is a perfect weekend getaway for residents of the Portland area as well as a worthy destination for anybody exploring the Westís climbing. The prominent walls overlooking the Crooked River are home to many of Smith Rockís most famous routes, but for those seeking some solitude and adventure there is plenty to be found on the back side or among the basalt columns in the Upper and Lower gorge. Monkey Face, perhaps the parkís most recognizable feature, sits proudly on the back side of Smith Rock with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and the arid landscape below.

It takes years to become familiar with all of the areas at Smith, and there is enough climbing here to allow even the locals to find new favorites every season. There are over 1,500 routes at Smith but it's easy to get stuck in a cycle where you only climb the same 50 classics each season; a little exploring here to the less-traveled areas goes a long way.

Approaches are generally short and straightforward from the main parking lot, and a well-maintained system of trails provides easy access to all of the parkís areas. Please donít stray from the established trails; the visual and environmental impact of people scrambling up the hillsides can be enormous.

There is water available at the parking lot and a drinking fountain at the bridge, although they both get turned off during the cold months. I've heard that the water from the sinks in the bathrooms isn't potable so bring your own to be on the safe side if the fountains are shut off.

Restrooms are available in the main parking lot, at the bridge, and the Phoenix Composting Toilet is conveniently located within sprinting distance of the popular walls on the front side of the park. Please respect those around you, keep your pets under control, and pack out everything that you bring in.

Getting There 

Smith Rock State Park is located in the town of Terrebonne, Oregon. Take Smith Rock Drive East off of Hwy. 97 in Terrebonne, then take a left on 17th Street, a right on Wilcox Ave, and finally a left on Crooked River Drive to the main parking lot. It's pretty easy to find, but here's a map just in case.

Driving time to Smith Rock State Park is approximately 6-7 hours from Seattle, 2.5-3 hours from Portland, and around 30 minutes from Bend. The closest airport is 10 miles away in Redmond, OR.

Weather 

Current weather conditions at Smith Rock

Due to its location in Oregon's high desert the weather at Smith is typically dry and sunny. Generally there are very few days of the year where climbing is out of the question at Smith; soaking rain is rare, although the heat can be oppressive during the summer.

The best times to climb at Smith are the Spring and Fall. Summers are hot and it's not uncommon for the thermometer to soar above 100F in the sun, and in winter there are plenty of near to sub-freezing dry days for your hardcore redpoint attempts.

Standard desert rules apply to camping too: it gets surprisingly cold at night so be sure to pack that down jacket.

Camping & Fees 

There is a $5.00/car fee to use Smith Rock that can be paid for at the kiosk in the main parking lot. For $30.00 you can buy a season pass at Redpoint Climber's Supply in town.

There are two options for camping at Smith. For a fee ($5/person/night) you can camp at the Smith Bivy area which is adjacent to the park-- look for the sign just before the main parking lot. There are bathrooms, water, and a cooking area; no fires are allowed. Be aware this is tent camping only - you cannot sleep in your vehicles.

The second option is the "Grasslands" campground (officially known as Skull Hollow). To get there take either Wilcox Avenue or Smith Rock Way East until you reach Lone Pine Road-- take a left. After a few miles of cow pastures look for a sign on the left for Skull Hollow (Here's a Google Maps link with directions from the park). If you hit Hwy. 26 you've gone too far. Skull Hollow is a free BLM camping area with basic port-a-potties and camp fires are allowed. There is no water available here so stock up beforehand. It's first-come first-served and can fill up on busy weekends.

[UPDATE] Skull Hollow will no longer be a free campground as of May 15, 2009. This is ostensibly due to the less desirable characters that stay for long periods of time at the campground (no, I'm not talking about trad climbers!); there have been increasing amounts of gear theft as of late, and the popularity of the site is beginning to take a toll on the facilities. There will be a $5 per night charge, and a 14-day limit for all campers.

A Brief Note About The Routes 

Smith is a sport climber's paradise in many ways, but there are some key factors that must be kept in mind for a fun trip.

First-timers will undoubtedly notice something strange about the first bolt on many of the routes: it is often 15 feet off the ground, and there will likely be some committing moves leading up to it. This goes for routes of almost any grade, from the 5.8 trade routes to the 5.13 and .14 projects. Many of these routes begin on hillsides as well which makes a pre-clip tumble a very, very bad idea.

Barbecue The Pope is a perfect example of a 5.10c that has some unprotected committing moves down low.

Do not hesitate to bring a stick-clip down into the park with you, and prepare to be somewhat humble about the climbing. People do occasionally take some ugly falls before the first bolt has been clipped on popular routes, which can easily be avoided by pre-clipping the 'draw.

You don't often see routes here with bolts every 5 ft. as you might at other areas, and while it may be intimidating at first you'll learn to love it as you spend more time here. If it's your first time at Smith it wouldn't be a bad idea to start off slowly and try a handful of routes a grade or 3 below what you're used to climbing, just to make sure you're comfortable.

Guidebooks 

The Smith Bible (aka Rock Climbing Smith Rock State Park) by Allan Watts is the best book out for Smith and one of the finest guidebooks anywhere. It is the second edition of Watts' Smith guide, and it contains an incredible amount of history, photos, topos, and beta.

The more compact Smith Rock Select is a great short list of the mega-classics here. Great pictures, clear topos, and good descriptions make for easy routefinding, but it's pretty brief in scope and is by no means comprehensive. If you're just passing through Smith for a weekend you could easily get by on this book alone.

Both books are listed in the Books For This Area link on this page.

Food & Supplies 

The town of Terrebonne has a decent gocery store, gas stations, and even a decent espresso stand (around the back of Thriftway). Not to be missed is the climber-owned Terrebonne Depot for food, wine, beer, and cocktails; it's hard to beat a buffalo cheeseburger and a beer here after a day in the park.

Redmond is a 10 minute drive away and has a few decent breakfast places as well as some other hotels, fast food, grocery stores, and dinner options. The increasingly cosmopolitan city of Bend has a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and brewpubs that cater to everyone from the country club crowd to the local hippies.

Redpoint Climber's Supply is a great shop to pick up all your climbing and camping needs in Terrebonne. In addition to climbing gear they now offer coffee and espresso drinks, along with beer, cider, mead and kombucha, by the glass, or filling growlers. They have a small sitting area so people who are traveling can sit on a couch, or at a table, use the free WiFi, and grab a drink.

Climbing Season



Weather station 6.9 miles from here

649 Total Routes

['4 Stars',92],['3 Stars',294],['2 Stars',205],['1 Star',55],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',43],['5.7',51],['5.8',53],['5.9',59],['5.10',186],['5.11',130],['5.12',83],['5.13',36],['>=5.14',5],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',2],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Smith Rock:
Spiderman   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 180'   Spiderman Buttress
Pioneer Route   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b C0     Trad, Sport, Aid, 3 pitches, 250'   Monkey Face
5 Gallon Buckets   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Morning Glory Wall
Voyage of the Cowdog   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 3 pitches, 260'   Shipwreck Wall
Wherever I May Roam   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 5 pitches, 400'   Smith Rock Group : Northwest Face
Moonshine Dihedral   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 90'   The Dihedrals
Cruel Sister   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   West Side : Catwalk Cliff
Zebra/ Zion   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   Morning Glory Wall
Nine Gallon Buckets   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 2 pitches, 90'   Morning Glory Wall
Pure Palm   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 80'   West Side : Wildfire Wall
Vomit Launch   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Cocaine Gully
Toxic   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Aggro Gully
Monkey Space   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 2 pitches, 100'   Monkey Face
Spank the Monkey   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Monkey Face
Dreamin'   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   The Christian Brothers
Heinous Cling   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   The Dihedrals
Chain Reaction   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   The Dihedrals
Rude Boys   5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   The Christian Brothers
To Bolt Or Not To Be   5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 135'   The Dihedrals
Scarface   5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   The Christian Brothers
Browse More Classics in Smith Rock

Featured Route For Smith Rock
:)

Gruff 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  OR : Smith Rock : ... : Wildfire Wall
Good warm up crack climb.Start with a traverse from the right or a direct start into a shallow dihedral with a thin hands and finger crack to a bolted anchor....[more]   Browse More Classics in OR

Photos of Smith Rock Slideshow Add Photo
The classic "first view of Smith Rock" shot.  Summer 2003.
The classic "first view of Smith Rock" shot. Summ...
After days of smokey fires, the rain came and cleared things up. A great view from the Monkeys mouth.
After days of smokey fires, the rain came and clea...
May 2005
May 2005
sunset at smith
sunset at smith
Santa on the Monkey Highline
Santa on the Monkey Highline
It may "never rain at Smith". but it does occasionally snow there...The bodies on the bridge are the AMGA (guides in training)
It may "never rain at Smith". but it does occasion...
Topping out on Snibble Tower's 4-star 5.9 pitch.  300 feet of 4th class choss remain to the walk off.  Shadows of Snibble Tower (left) and Smith Rock Summits (right) visible below.
Topping out on Snibble Tower's 4-star 5.9 pitch. ...
oh... thats why its called the monkey face...
oh... thats why its called the monkey face...
Ship rock reflected in the Crooked River
Ship rock reflected in the Crooked River
sunset at Smith
sunset at Smith
Smith Rock on a beautiful October afternoon.
Smith Rock on a beautiful October afternoon.
Sunset at Smith
Sunset at Smith
The river, amazing setting.  Summer 2003.
The river, amazing setting. Summer 2003.
the nice view from the crags...
the nice view from the crags...
Looking at the Christian Brothers from down the river.
Looking at the Christian Brothers from down the ri...
Smith Rock State Park and Crooked River. View from approach. 3/2009 <br /> <br />Photo: Corey Gargano
Smith Rock State Park and Crooked River. View from...
Wild creature at the Base of The monument area
Wild creature at the Base of The monument area
King swing, Smith Rock, OR.
King swing, Smith Rock, OR.
View from the Marsupials
View from the Marsupials
Smith Rock Group
Smith Rock Group
Another of the river, 2003.
Another of the river, 2003.
East face of the Monkey with Mt. Jefferson to the west.
East face of the Monkey with Mt. Jefferson to the ...
Smith Rock and the Crooked River from Koala Rock's Round River route
BETA PHOTO: Smith Rock and the Crooked River from Koala Rock's...
...
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Show All 62 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Smith Rock Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 11, 2014
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
Nov 29, 2006
It seems to me like a lot of folks are posting routes that they haven't acutally done (or maybe a few folks are doing it a lot). Perhaps that is standard practice, but it seems a bit dubious to me. If all users are interested in is a regurgitation of the guidebook, why not just get the guidebook? It seems like the real value in a site like this is that you can get first-hand beta from someone who has actually done the route. Even though the distinguished Mr. Watts has done almost all of the routes he described, his descriptions are at least 14 years old, so again, this site can provide the benifit of up-to-date beta.

Maybe I'm off-base. But if you haven't done a route you are posting, at least mention that information in the description, or better, wait for someone who has done it to add the route.
By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Jan 12, 2007
I agree. Please only post on routes you have actually done, or at least let the reader know you have not actually done it. I got screwed on a crack with "consistently tight hands" once. I got there with nothing larger than a #2 camalot. The route would not protect with anything but 2 #3 camalots as I found out on a return trip. A lot of swearing ensued and I could not send the route. Funny thing is the handjam off the ground was the only tight one on the entire route.
By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From: Phoenix, AZ
Apr 14, 2008
4/13/08:

Apparently the temperature is low enough at night that they have shut off the water fountain at the bridge again. Lots of people were running out of water this weekend, so be sure to fill up at the parking lot before heading down.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jun 15, 2008
Just got back from three days here. What a blast! This might be the birthplace of sport climbing in the U.S. but it is no place for folks that can't boulder 10-20 feet up to get the first bolt (unless you have a big stick clip). You generally will not find bolts every 6-7 feet either so think of it as old school sport. Only did one trad route due to limited time but look forward to a return visit as there are some great looking corners and we did not even get to the lower gorge.
By Wolfgang Braun
From: Beavercreek, Oregon
Oct 14, 2008
Temps are getting down in the 20's at night. Be sure to bring many warm clothes. Also, the water in the canyon is shut-off for winter, so you will need to fill at the bathroom, or bring your own water.
By SKI
From: Portlandia, OR
Jul 10, 2010
Camped under the stars on Smith Rock road and left my REI Kilo Plus sleeping bag AND a Patagonia down Parka on the side of the road. No idea how it happened. Has anyone picked this up? 7754275565. Help!

7/10/10

Man I'm a moron
By CTYankee
Aug 4, 2011
Parking fee has increased. I think it is $5 per day now. If you plan to stay a week or visit ofetn, buyt the annual pass. I like to get a two year pass and do it with another party - even more of a discount for the second 2 year pass.
By Smith Rock Cabins
Feb 23, 2012
Lodging:

Check out these Sweet Cabins located only 15 min from Smith Rock at Crooked River Ranch. This is definitely a great option for a unique place to stay and relax after a hard days climb.

crookedriverranchcabins.com
Crooked River Ranch Cabins
Crooked River Ranch Cabins
By JJNS
Feb 13, 2013
I'm planning a trip for 4/4 thru 4/18 of this year. I was just wondering if anyone had any comments on the weather/temps that time of year.
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Feb 16, 2013
April can be awesome. It can also be rainy if you get unlucky, spring being a wet time of year around here. With two weeks, you'll almost certainly get at least four or more good days.
By Tito Krull
May 22, 2013
Why is "just do it" 5.14B not posted on here its one of the first 14b's in the country, lol
By Clayton Knudson
From: El Portal, CA
Aug 2, 2013
Going to be around August 5th and 6th in smith rock
. Anybody who wants to can contact me to climb those days. I climb comfortably in the mid tens on trad leads, willing to try a bit harder or climb sport too. Thanks!

Clay
By Chris D
From: the couch
Sep 22, 2013
A few thoughts after my first visit to Smith Rock; a full week of easy and moderate climbing sport and trad.

1. Despite what people say about the plentiful trad routes here, the place really is the domain of hard sport climbers. There are a few fun easy trad routes, but this is not a "destination crag" for easy and moderate trad single/multi-pitch. The basalt rimrock we'd hoped would yield a lot of fun short easy and moderate crack climbs looked like it hadn't been visited since 1980. Sand and cobwebs all over everything. Lots of manky fixed gear.

2. Bring a stick clip. We were told various things about why the first bolts are so high here, and the only thing that made any sense was that the authors of the routes assumed you were coming with a stick clip, so they didn't bother spending the time or money on what would normally be the first bolt of an average sport route. The idea of "spicing up" a route that was previewed on rappel, dialed on toprope, then rap bolted (what some people claimed was the reason behind the high first bolts) is the dumbest thing I think I ever heard. It's sport climbing. If you don't have a stick clip, dig around in the nooks and crannies around a project and you might find one you could borrow.

3. The place is really beautiful, and the park clearly knows what side it's bread is buttered on; the climbing community is really catered to here, which is actually a double-edged sword. Highlining seems to be all the rage at Smith, and the park apparently lets people set up highlines and leave them set up. This results in an unsightly jumble of highlines almost everywhere you look up. In one place, there were actually two long-ish highlines that crossed each other. For a tourist who just wants to enjoy the natural beauty of the place, I would think that this would be an unpleasant distraction. I suppose this has been exhaustively reviewed by park policy makers.

4. You'll read and hear people griping about the long hikes to the climbs. The only way someone could find it reasonable to complain about the approaches here is if the longest approach they'd ever done was from their car to the gym wall. The approaches here are short, pleasant, and scenic. The longer approaches are still short, and the steeper trails have actual staircases on then that often go right to the climbs.
By Ryan Palo
From: Bend, oregon
Sep 25, 2013
I figure I should address the high first bolt issue:

A good deal of the first bolts were not that high when the routes were first bolted. Most of the slopes leading the base were in fact angled and over time they have eroded to flat areas. This has caused a few places to gain 5-6 FEET. A good example is the start of Darkness at Noon. I've seen it erode at least 2 feet, making it hard to reach the starting holds. Stones were actually buried below and have once more eroded.

What happens is the folks who have the wherewithal to do something about it are used to it or carry stick clips. Or adding a bolt would do little in terms of protecting a ground fall. What would need to happen is the replacing of the bottom 3 bolts, something that just inst going to happen. So either sack up or ask someone at the base for their stick clip.
By Jordan Collins
From: South Lake Tahoe
Oct 3, 2013
Hey guys just wondering how it is to find partners around smith rock if coming up here alone from early november until early december?? busy times?? kinda slow? or what, climbing gyms to find partners? Thanks.
By Brian Scoggins
From: Eugene, OR
Oct 15, 2013
I know its an FS campground, does anybody know if the Skull Hollow gate is open, what with the govt. shutdown and all? If no, are there are any less populated campgrounds (I'm willing to drive more, if it means low possibility of loud parties, but the option to cook with a dutch oven)? Obviously PM with details, if the point is to keep it quiet.
By Geoff-cyclewolf
Oct 15, 2013
I lost a wonderful men's black mountain hardwear jacket at Smith the weekend before last. If you have found it, please send me an email at geoffreysbrennan at google mail

Thanks,
Geoff
By masalachai
Oct 28, 2013
free online guide:

books.google.com/books?hl=en&l...
By John Groh
Jun 3, 2014
How crowded does this place get and how easy is it to meet people in the campground to climb with? I'm doing a solo road trip and will be passing through in mid-to-late July - is it optimistic to think I could meet up with people to swap belays without arranging stuff ahead of time?
By Mike Rowley
From: Boise, Idaho
Jun 25, 2014
It would be no problem at all to find people to climb with. Its gonna be really hot in July, but you can climb in the shade and find decent temps. The Bivy is a great place to find partners.
By John Groh
Jul 11, 2014
Cool, thanks Mike! Good to know.