Trip Report
Smith Rock and Bend Oregon
Wednesday May 23, 2012 11:05am
After grading finals all weekend, my wife and I headed five hours west to meet up with friends JK and SK in Bend and then head out to Smith Rock. We had climbed there once before, but I never felt like I got to know Smith and experience its charm as I did last week.

The Lovely DS atop Picnic Lunch Wall.
The Lovely DS atop Picnic Lunch Wall.
Credit: ImplicitD


On the drive out I wasn't sure what to expect. I remembered loose rock and strangely slick holds. But since our last trip to Smith my wife and I have developed into a pretty solid climbing team and we were eager to see what the place was all about.

Old friends ImplicitD and JK.
Old friends ImplicitD and JK.
Credit: ImplicitD

After a few beers and pizza in Bend (at highly recommended 10 Barrel Brewing Company), we left our friends and headed out to Skull Hollow Campground about seven miles from the crag. The other camping option is in the park (called the Bivi) but they donít allow fires...an easy choice if live in Idaho. We like our fires in Idaho.

Crossing the bridge to the crags.
Crossing the bridge to the crags.
Credit: ImplicitD

Credit: ImplicitD


Day 1: We started the day with a few warm ups at the famous Dihedrals area. We quickly climbed Easy Reader and Lichen It. At first the rock felt very insecure, but our training on the Basalt Crags in Boise seemed to transfer well and we both sent Lichen It in good style.

Easy Reader 5.6
Easy Reader 5.6
Credit: ImplicitD

After a brief lunch by the river, we met up with JK (from Bend) to climb the five pitch classic Wherever I May Roam (5.9 Sport). With awe inspiring views of 14 snowcapped peaks and the Deschutes River winding through farmland, Wherever I May Roam weaves its way up a steep intimidating wall. Halfway through the knobby leftward traversing third pitch I realized that I had done this climb before, only that it was in Tuolumne Meadows and went by the name Blown Away. The similarities between these two routes are uncanny. Both have airy traverses on knobs leading to crux overhang pitches. The crux fourth pitch traverses the lip of huge dihedral on a slab with cool small feet on the edge.

JK on Pitch 2 entering 5.9 crux.
JK on Pitch 2 entering 5.9 crux.
Credit: ImplicitD

JK on third pitch 5.9.
JK on third pitch 5.9.
Credit: ImplicitD

Team DJ at Pitch 3 belay.
Team DJ at Pitch 3 belay.
Credit: ImplicitD

Following Pitch 4 5.9.
Following Pitch 4 5.9.
Credit: ImplicitD

Pulling over the summit.
Pulling over the summit.
Credit: ImplicitD

Good climbing and good friends.
Good climbing and good friends.
Credit: ImplicitD

Day 2: Needing some trad, but too scared to actually fall on any gear, we settled on the Red Wall which has two classic 5.6 climbs, Moscow and Super Slab. Super Slab is a highly recommended three pitch crack. The third pitch is the money with reddish black rock and a perfect finger crack in a slabby corner.

Red Wall
Red Wall
Credit: ImplicitD

Red Wall Slack Line
Red Wall Slack Line
Credit: ImplicitD

Still not willing to fall on Trad we decided that which many have decided before us...Smith is best experienced with bolts. We finished the day with Phone Call from Satan and Purple Headed Warrior.

Phone Call from Satan 5.9
Phone Call from Satan 5.9
Credit: ImplicitD

Upper Slab on Phone Call from Satan.
Upper Slab on Phone Call from Satan.
Credit: ImplicitD

Day 3: On top of the 500-700 foot overhanging in its entirety picnic lunch wall is a beautiful slabby arete known as Voyage of the Cow Dog. After a long approach up a protected canyon, an unexposed 90 foot pitch up the backside of Picnic Lunch Wall places one at the base of the aforementioned arete, above dizzying exposure. The wall falls away beneath you as you work your way up the bolted on lead slabby arete. The crux, a 5.9 mantle, comes at the very last move where you have to commit to the standing on the very edge of the arete above 500-700 feet of air. The holds are good and the bolts are plentiful and big, but you could literally spit on passersby on the main trail 600 feet below. I was reminded, in no less than 90 feet, of being on El Cap.

Third Pitch takes arete in upper left corner.
Third Pitch takes arete in upper left corner.
Credit: ImplicitD

Horribly loose first pitch...kinda fun.
Horribly loose first pitch...kinda fun.
Credit: ImplicitD

Crux pitch right before crux.
Crux pitch right before crux.
Credit: ImplicitD

Dizzying Exposure.
Dizzying Exposure.
Credit: ImplicitD

Crazy Cow Dogs.
Crazy Cow Dogs.
Credit: ImplicitD


Day 4: I love single pitch sport climbing with friends, especially when the rock is basically pressed volcanic ash. After climbing the excellent Time to Shower we again visited the Smith Rock Group meeting up with JK and SK to climb Chalk Therapy, Chalk Wave, Butter Knife Arete, and Sunset Slab all of which were very good and somewhat obscure.

Time To Shower...literally.
Time To Shower...literally.
Credit: ImplicitD


We left Skull Hollow for Bend and a night of dancing and drinking. The Liquid Lounge in Bend provided decent, but not great, dance beats and overpriced drinks...but hey itís Bend. After climbing all day, we danced till two AM.

Day 5: After a movie we went bouldering in Bend, experiencing some of the best rock of the trip. Bend has great bouldering and I fully sapped all energy that was left. We went to dinner at Brother Jon's, another highly recommended pub.

A wonderful place.
A wonderful place.
Credit: ImplicitD

Iíve come to the conclusion that Smith Rock volcanic tuft sport climbing is full value adventure sport climbing that trad climbers can enjoy. First, since its development gained steam in the eighties, the bolts arenít that close together and you feel like you are actually leading. Secondly, the walls are big and sheer like the Valley, giving the crag a trad like feel. Lastly, Smith has tons of history. Itís hard not to feel nostalgic knowing that the greats have spent ample time there.

  Trip Report Views: 1,848
ImplicitD
About the Author
ImplicitD is a trad climber from Boise.

Comments
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eKat

Trad climber
  May 23, 2012 - 11:09am PT
YAY. . . Smith is a neat place, for sure!

TFPU!
Phil_B

Social climber
CHC, en zed
  May 23, 2012 - 12:16pm PT
Nice. I like to see trips where folks do stuff that's in my range.

Thanks for posting!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  May 23, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
I too love Smith Rocks, my original stomping grounds.

Great TR, except this:
Still not willing to fall on Trad we decided that which many have decided before us...Smith is best experienced with bolts.


I couldn't disagree more. Until you're placing gear and stretching your brain harder, you're not "really" experiencing Smith.

Thanks for the cool TR, and keep after it.

Next time take your big boy pants and place something besides quickdraws!! ;0)
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
  May 23, 2012 - 01:30pm PT
Nice TR.

my wife and I chatted you guys up at the base of super slab on red wall. we had a great week too but didn't climb nearly as much as you guys did. well done.

Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
  May 23, 2012 - 01:36pm PT
We visited Smith in 96. I tried to find all the routes you guys did in our guide (Watts, 92) and many are not mentioned. Is there a newer guide?
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  May 23, 2012 - 03:20pm PT
Yes, there is a newer guide. If you want to climb moderates, get it as many of the new routes will be there, even new routes close to the parking lot.

Very nice selection of climbs. You still have a lot of new experiences waiting for you there - the more remote Marsupials, some great well protected trad leads. There's also basalt cracks.

Time for me to journey to your home turf, Idaho.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  May 23, 2012 - 04:59pm PT
ok prof,
here's the brake down:

scenery good;
climbing companions good;
wierd rock, good.
lead shots, good,
summit pic, good.

but i gotta give you a b- on
your first trip report on
account of where are the shots
of your drunk asses in town
pimping all the locals?

what about the beers and comraderie by the mentioned camp fire?

oh fer sakes what has become?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 23, 2012 - 05:58pm PT
Looks like a great trip, thanks!
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  May 23, 2012 - 08:39pm PT
That sounds like a quite well-rounded climbing trip - friends, food, fun, and rock in good proportion.
ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
Author's Reply  May 24, 2012 - 12:32pm PT
Thanks for all the positive comments.

Splitclimber: Did you do Moscow? How was it? Anytime you wanna come out to ID, let me know. We will show you around.

Seamstress: When you comin out? Castle Rocks is as good as Smith and the rock is bullet.

Weeg: Do you recognize JK?
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  May 24, 2012 - 01:21pm PT
jk?
didn't he bong the zodiac?
ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
Author's Reply  May 24, 2012 - 11:05pm PT
He and I did our first walls together. Bailed on South Face of the Column, then did Leaning Tower, then Half Dome. He then did the nose and then Zodiac.

He and I did East Face of Middle way back...my first route over 5 pitches. Those were the days.

But we have had ours...and some to come I hope. Perhaps Cal Dome.
Apolobamba

Trad climber
Boise, ID
  May 24, 2012 - 11:06pm PT
Cheers to a another spud.
ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
Author's Reply  May 24, 2012 - 11:09pm PT
Apolobamba: You ever go out to black cliffs?

MisterE

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  May 25, 2012 - 02:00am PT
Thanks for the re-stoke! It's been years, but we're going back again this fall - girl's got all the pages book-marked...
Apolobamba

Trad climber
Boise, ID
  May 25, 2012 - 09:19am PT
ImplicitD:

Yes, we should get Skully and some of the other locals and meet out there sometime. It could be our version of Crimpergirl's HH with climbing.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  May 25, 2012 - 11:51am PT
I'll be down at Smith for the holiday weekend. It should be busy, but those of us with trad gear will have lots of options.

Moscow is not my favorite. You should do Spiderman, First Kiss, White Satin, stress yourself on Zebra Zion, get thee out to the Marsupials for some fun moderates like the Cave Route,....

How's Idaho in the late summer? I'd like to make a point of going there - maybe September?
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  Jan 25, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
Good report, mate. Found memories of Smith.
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