Smith Rock Trip Report
Aimee, Tim, Steph, and I went rock climbing at Smith Rock on Memorial Day Weekend 2002 (May 25-26). On Sunday, Aimee and I met up with Julie and Dave.
FeedbackBy Preston Hunt, 25 May 2002

Links: Preston's pictures. Tim's pictures (TBD).

The weather and crowds

The weather forecast was iffy, and crowds are always a factor on holiday weekends, but we decided to go for it anyway. The parking lot was packed when we pulled in, but it turned out to be mostly day hikers and very few climbers. And although ominous rain clouds loomed nearby the entire weekend, we only got sprinkled on a bit at the very end of Sunday.

Both days, we ended up quitting climbing (due to hunger and fatigue) with considerable daylight left. This may be a new best known method for Smith in the long days of summer arrive after lunch and climb in the afternoon/early evening when everybody else is tired and gone!

The climbs

How Low Can You Go (5.6) I warmed up on this easy climb, and then Aimee found it so easy on top rope that she decided to lead it too, her first lead ever! (She redpointed it no problem.)

Float Like a Butterfly (5.10b TR) We both on sighted this excellent climb amidst a bunch of newbie climbers, one of which literally threw his rope right down on tope of us!

Unknown (5.10a/b) Steph led this problem near Ring of Fire, and Tim and I toproped it no problem (I readily confess that it would have been a scary lead!).

Dancer (5.7) Aimee upped the difficulty and did her second lead (on-sight), after which I cleaned and we all headed over to...

Heresy (5.11b/c) Tim led this super pumpy, gym-like climb with considerable effort; Steph tried on TR but couldn't get the last move; and I cleaned at the end and made it to the top with a couple of takes (Steph snapped a great set of rapid-fire photos of my moving through the crux.)

Ginger Snap (5.8) to Ginger Slab continuation (5.5 trad) It was already pretty crowded by the time we got there, with people backing up for climbs, so a nice group let me top rope on their rope up Ginger Snap (5.8) to a set of anchors so that we could continue up Ginger Slab pitch 2 to the top and do the 60m glory rappel down Crossfire (5.12a/b). The second pitch of Ginger Slab needs some seriously big gear my rack of nuts went completely unused, I would have killed for a set of hexes, and my only placements were a #2 and a #3 Camalot. Which is to say that I was pretty run out on the lead, but at least it was 5.5!

Moscow (5.6 II trad) After a brief lunch in which we were entertained as an enormously overweight woman struggled up a climb for half-an-hour and then proclaimed (after about 20 takes), "Cool, I can climb 5.10!", Aimee and I roped up for Moscow. This is "old school" 5.6, meaning it seems much harder than that. I lead all four pitches of this climb, with Aimee doing an excellent job cleaning. I was a little worried that my rack of nuts and four cams wouldn't cut it, but it turned out to be just fine. Some extra big cams (Camalot #3 or #3.5) at the end of the third pitch would have been nice, but I ended up placing my largest one and then just sliding it up with me as I climbed the easy crack. Walking down off the back side past hikers gawking at us with all of our trad gear hanging from us made me feel hard core.

Easy Rider (5.6) Aimee's third lead and second on-sight. I cleaned the route just as it started to rain slightly. I scampered up the route as fast as possible, but the rock stayed surprisingly climbable. The rain stopped after a few minutes, and Dave and then Julie both top roped the climb like rock stars. (This whole time, I enjoyed watching a man and woman set up a ridiculous anchor system halfway up Ginger Snap, rather than just belaying from the ground?! I didn't ask.)

The food and camping

Saturday night, we ate at the brewpub near Redmond Fred Meyer, and then retired to Grasslands for camping. It was a really noisy night at Grasslands. Lots of revelers and noise makers, including a German guy who shouted out, "I love Grasslands der are no rules and ist ok to make as much noise as you want", followed immediately by a stern reprimand from some random camper, "Can you please be quiet we're trying to sleep over here!" :-) The preternatural howling of the coyotes also kept me up until I put in earplugs. Tim and Steph slept in the Durango, while Aimee and I pitched a tent for fear of rainfall (it didn't rain as it turned out).

Sunday night, we tried to head back to the brew pub, but it was closed! We ended up eating at the "Cookhouse" right off of Hwy 97, one of those places where the posted hours are "10am closing" and you throw peanut shells on the floor. We all ordered the exact same thing (chicken sandwich) and all was well until Aimee had to retreat to the car due to delayed onset food poisoning. Some cream cheese she ate during lunch is her prime suspect.

We camped at Grasslands again (discovered a shortcut from Hwy 97 so that you don't have to drive all the way back to Terrebonne). It was thankfully much quieter and less crowded than the previous night. Aimee and I slept under the stars on a tarp, Julie and Dave pitched their monstrous tent. I immediately fell into a deep slumber, and dozed right through Aimee's throwing up all night. I awoke in the morning to the sound of a hundred cows mooing like there was no tomorrow; apparently somebody's dog didn't like the cows hanging around and was herding them up and moving them out. Pretty hilarious.

Julie and Dave headed down to Bend for lunch with a friend. Aimee was still feeling pretty sick, so we headed straight back to Portland. We probably could have squeezed in a third day of climbing, but the weather wasn't looking that great and I was feeling pretty tired after two hard days of climbing anyway, so I was content to head back.

blog comments powered by Disqus