The Catalyst on sight. Andy Burr Photo.
These basalt columns are on the rimrock on the West side of the river. Due to their location they receive shade almost all day and make for a great place to escape the sun.
There are a remarkable number of truly spectacular climbs here. A quick glance at the ratings of the routes in this area shows an incredible number of 4-star climbs, and everyone visiting Smith Rock owes it to him/herself to check out this area.
From the turnaround at the northern end of the parking area head East to the rim. Find a place where there are detached pillars and a rebar ladder going down a chimney. Climb down this chimney and head upriver (southeast). After crossing a large slide of small boulders you'll see the start of many pillars that are the lower gorge.
A second method of descent is my preference. This "secret entrance" once went through private property but now is owned by the park. This way also starts at the turnaround parking lot. Park and then head back up the road until you see a driveway leading to a house on the east. This house is now owned by the park. Go behind the house and through a gate. Walk along the rim for about a 100ft to find an improbable but easy 3rd class descent into the gorge.
Weather station 7.1 miles from here
59 Total Routes
['4 Stars',16],['3 Stars',32],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for West Side:
Featured Route For West Side
Last Chance 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b OR
: Smith Rock
: ... : (3) Catwalk Cliff
This amazing finger crack scares some with its sharp edges. The route goes up a wide dihedral on locking finger jams and smearing feet. The crux is trusting your feet on the small waves of basalt. Its more endurance than power. Not to be missed!!...[more] Browse More Classics in OR
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