Trip Report    

Crag Rock climb, Smith Rock

Iconic feature of Oregon

  • Sat, Oct 9, 2021 — Sun, Oct 10, 2021
  • Smith Rock
  • Climbing
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail very good. Get there before 8 for parking.

  • 0900: Leave parking lot
  • 0930: Start climb
  • 1330: Top out
  • 1600: Back on ground

Other climbers: Julia Syi, Mari Simpson, Ilana Newman

This climb had been on my list for a few years, and our friends Kari and Amrit had done this climb the previous year. After taking the AAI Aid and Big Wall course, was the perfect climb to test our new skills.

We camped at Skull Hollow, about 12 mins away from the park, to try to be the first team on the route on the next day. Thankfully this is not the alpine and we didn't have to start in the dark.

There was a slight freeze overnight, and we were slower to start than we planned, but after a 'short' approach, we found ourselves at the base of the route. We were soon joined by a team of three, one of which had done the route before. We roped up for the scramble and 5.6 pitch and headed off. Radios were mandatory here to communicate with the leader, although it could be avoided by belaying at the notch.



Julia took the first two pitches, placing a single bolt before the traverse right off the deck and ending at the ledge before the bolt ladder. This made the pitch around 100 ft, and the rope drag could get dicey. Nonetheless the climbing wasn't the worst at 5.6 and the views coming over the notch were a treat.


The other side

I took the second pitch, which was a 20-bolt ladder that trended rightwards near the top. The bolts are spaced closely enough that I (5'8") didn't need to top step and only needed to clip every 4th bolt (This was a mistake, I should have clipped all the bolts on the traversing part). Getting into the mouth itself required a weird mantle move though. Following this pitch was more difficult than leading, which required some lower-outs to avoid swinging. If you've done any bolt-ladder practice beforehand this pitch is very easy to lead.


Me on bolts


Looking down the mouth. 


Ilana coming up

Julia was courageous enough to take the Panic Point pitch. Looking down out the mouth, the exposure was very, very spicy. It look a bit of fear managing, but this pitch is very short (albeit pumpy and greasier than a Big Mac) and soon after we found ourselves at the top.


Julia stepping out as everyone looks on


Stepping over the nose onto the forehead

Shortly after two other climbers joined us from Monkey Space (5.11b). It seems that the only way to climb this hard is without a helmet or shirt. We spent some time eating and taking in the views.



We debated whether to rap from the 'summit' anchors with two 70m ropes, or from the nose boulder. In the end we were better off safe than sorry, and we rapped to the nose and fixed a rope so we could uncrowd the ledge.

The free hanging rap was exhilarating, to put it lightly. It feels like you are descending an imaginary elevator while it twirls you around. Definitely the highlight of the climb.




...and spinning

We made it down in time for some snacks and drinks before heading to Bend for dinner. Wild Rose is probably the best Thai I've ever had. Bend itself is worth a trip just for the food.


Rith Smock

The next day we cooled off with some sport climbing at Morning Glory wall before the 6 hour drive back to Seattle.


PC: Krystal Suvada

All in all, an amazing weekend.

PC: Julia Syi, Mari Simpson, Ilana Newman