No denying that Smith Rock is a very special place. Whether you’re there to get spanked by its stiff routes or hang on some softer classics, you’re in for a real treat. All climbers must go to Smith Rock to be humbled. As you walk through the canyon, you hear the echoing of grunts and screams from full grown men and women as they fall to their last piece. Shades of yellow, brown, red, orange and pink paint the rock walls. In early October, the sun can still leave you heat stroked and desperate for a tree, but you won’t find shade unless you retreat to the trail. Smith is truly a magical place for climbers.
My husband and I have been to Smith countless times. Each trip has led us to different quests and different routes. The most memorable of trips was the day we climbed a very popular, but nonetheless classic route, Spiderman Buttress. I don’t care what the too-cool-for-5.7’s climbers say, this route is fan-freakin-tastic!
To get there, you have to climb over Asterisk Pass onto the back side of Smith. This side is great because on a clear day you can see Three Sisters, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Jefferson among many other peaks. If you’re lucky there won’t be twelve groups of climbers waiting at the bottom. The belay area is practically a four star hotel, so you can relax and enjoy the dry sauna. I know, I know, you’re still hung up on the fact that it’s rated so low. You’ll forget about all of that once you’re on the second pitch because you’ll have a shit eating grin on your face from all the fun you’re having. The first pitch is probably the most difficult but nothing you can’t handle. The second pitch has everything! Exposure, smooth moves and a roof! Roofs are so fun! This one is particularily awesome, so don’t be scurrred! The last pitch is an easy jaunt up and tada! Have a seat and watch the climbers on Monkey Face as they slowly and painfully move up their 5.14C.
Here’s the thing, don’t be a party pooper. Chasing grades is all fine and well, but if you get caught up in your own ego’s master plan of achieving epicness, you’ll miss out on a huge part of climbing. There’s a time and place to dominate a route and “tick” off all of those 5.12’s so you can tell your bros at the gym how yolked you are. Just don’t forget, climbing is about having fun too. Besides, you can do the softer grades and say “I soloed that barefoot.”