Smith Rock Climbing Guidebook

Go to web preview to see the sectors and routes included in this guidebook.

Smith Rock Select
Wolverine Publishing
By Jonathan Thesenga. Photographs by Ben Moon.

Smith Rock is where it all began — the birthplace of American sport climbing. The soaring orange walls of this Oregon State Park have some of the best and most celebrated climbs in the country, and a wealth of terrain, both sport and trad, that will challenge climbers of all levels of ability. Discover it for yourself with this select guide to 300 of the best routes. Smith Rock has well over a thousand routes and counting--and that's the problem. Many of these routes are total piles that should never have been climbed in the first place. The last thing you want to do is waste your time or get yourself freaked out on some jingus pitch. Enter Smith Rock Select. This digital guidebook is a guide to the sweetest pitches at Smith, with color photos, turn-by-turn directions to every climb, and updated detailed route descriptions.

Digital + print bundle pricing includes $6.00 for shipping.

All purchases include 1 year of free updates. Updates will be available for an additional charge after that, depending on the extent of the updates. Rentals include updates during the term of the rental.

Go to web preview to see the sectors and routes included in this guidebook.


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Smith Rock Climbing Beta

Getting There
When to Visit
Weather Forecast & Cam
Parking
Dogs
Where to Stay
Calories
Gear
Rest Day Options

Getting There

Erupting from the high desert of Central Oregon, the volcanic tuff cliffs of Smith Rock are about three hours southeast of the Rose City, Portland, 25 minutes from the onetime logging town and now Californicated boutique city of Bend, 10 minutes from the traffic-light congestion hell of Redmond, and three minutes (average speed 35.2 mph without stopping for the train) from the uber-chic farming community of Terrebonne.
The closest airport is a tiny municipal set-up in Redmond; there are several daily puddle-jumper flights from Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and Salt Lake City. There are four car rental agencies at the airport. If you can’t afford a car rental or your driving record is so jacked no one will rent even a donkey to you, call us and we’ll drive you out to the crag for $750—one way, plus gas.
Getting to Smith Rock is ridiculously simple: If you get lost, just look for the giant walls off to the north—that’s Smith. At the single flashing yellow light in Terrebonne turn east onto Smith Rock Way. From the turn it’s three miles to the park. Cross the train tracks, and at the bottom of the hill turn left onto NE 1st Street, which will eventually turn into Wilcox Ave. After a couple of miles take a left at Crooked River Drive where there’s a State Park sign pointing you towards Smith Rock. For climbing at Smith Rock proper, park at the main area, but if you’re going to the Northern Point or west side of the Lower Gorge continue driving to the end of the road to park.

When to visit

You can climb at Smith year-round (and most people do) but the summer months are brutally hot (we're talking 90-plus degrees by 10 a.m.) requiring you to chase the shade the entire day (which isn’t difficult thanks to the east-west aspect of the park’s climbing) but it does limit what you can climb. If you have been dreaming of sending Chain Reaction, don’t show up in August—when that sucker (as well as 90-percent of the frontside climbing) bakes in the sun longer than the Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Team. The primo climbing season for ticking hard routes at Smith is short, typically late fall through early spring. The winter weather can be fickle, sometimes dipping into the sub-30s during the day with snow, sleet, and other jingus forms of frozen precipitation. However, some of the best days at Smith can be had mid-winter when it’s 45 degrees and the sun warms the stone to perfect redpoint temps. Rain is rarely a factor as the Cascade Range to the west blocks most of the heavy rain that Oregon is infamous for.

Weather Forecast & Cam

Find more about Weather in Terrebonne, OR
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What's the weather at Smith look like right now?
Live Webcam for Smith Rock climbing conditions from smithrock.com

Parking

That funky yellow box at the main parking area? Yeah, that’s where you pay the $5 to park your vehicle at Smith. Don’t for a second think about skating on paying the fee; you’re guaranteed to come back from your super-sick sendfest in the Dihedrals to find a lovely parking violation ticket on your windshield. You can also pay $30 for a 12-month pass or $50 for a 24-month pass. The math whizzes out there will be able to figure out that if you plan on visiting Smith more then six times throughout a 12-month period, it makes sense to throw down the $30 for the pass.


Dogs

Technically your dog is allowed at Smith Rock—you just have to keep it on a leash at all times or face a stout $94 ticket. Here’s the catch, though: Your dog must always be under your “physical control,” meaning you can’t tie it up while you climb. Yes, that’s right. You have to physically hold onto your dog’s leash even while you belay. And the leash can be no longer than six feet. Seriously! People have been ticketed for having their dog tied up to their pack that’s two-feet away or having too long of a leash.

Where to Stay

There are two camping options. First there is the walk-in campground at the park, which costs $5 a night, per person (that price includes your daily parking fee). Located 50 yards before the main parking area and overlooking the entire crag, the campground is super convenient and ultra scenic. You can get jacked up on coffee while watching the sunrise hit the walls and then, a few hours later, kick back with some beers as you admire the sunset. Fires and RVs are not allowed and you can’t sleep in the back of your truck or van, but there are nice bathrooms and showers. It’s a self-pay set-up, but don’t try and skip out on kicking down the cash because the campground host and park employees are vigilant on enforcing the fee and patrol the area multiple times each day.

The second camping choice is Skull Hollow Campground, or as it is more commonly known, “The Grasslands,” located 7.9 miles from Smith. The camping here is only $5 per campsite, making it a serious consideration if you plan on being at Smith for a while. Water is not available, but fires are allowed and there are a couple of pit toilets. Other services are minimal so please take your trash with you. To get there, get back on the main road (Wilcox Ave.) heading east, and at the first main junction continue heading east on Lone Pine Road. Soon after the junction you’ll cross the Crooked River, and the road will angle north. Take a left at the Gray Butte Trailhead turnoff and almost immediately you’ll see the campground sign on your left. If roughing it ain’t your gig, there are numerous hotels and motels in Redmond and Bend, ranging from $200-a-night executive suites to by-the-hour fleabag dives.

Calories

There are countless chain restaurants, pseudo-chic eateries, pub-and-grubs, pretentious wine and martini bars, coffee houses, burger-and-fry holes, and taco shacks throughout Terrebonne, Redmond, and Bend, but for post-climbing food there is only one place to go: the climber owned and operated Terrebonne Depot (541-548-5030), just west of the train tracks at 400 NW Smith Rock Way on your way into the park. Housed in the old train station (thus the name), Terrebonne Depot has the full run of quality food and drink at reasonable prices.
For quick-hit groceries and a taste of the local central Oregon farmer vibe, be sure to visit Ferguson’s Mini-Mart and Gas Station on Highway 97 in Terrebonne. For a more complete grocery selection head north 100 yards to Thriftway or rally into Redmond where there’s a giant Fred Meyer as well as Safeway and Grocery Outlet, among other options.

Gear

Between Fergusons and Thriftway, right on the corner to Smith, is Redpoint Climbers Supply (800-923-6207). They have the full quiver of gear you’ll need from chalk to draws to shoes. Rockhard (541-548-4786), just a quarter mile from the parking lot on NE Crooked River Drive, also sells climbing gear and is famous for its huckleberry ice cream. In Bend, check out Mountain Supply (541-388-0688) at 834 NW Colorado Avenue, which also has an equipment rental service. If you need a guide for a day, weekend, week, or more, you can arrange one through Smith Rock Climbing Guides (541-788-6225) or Chockstone Climbing Guides (541-318-7170).

Rest Day Options

If the weather does turn nasty at Smith, you can venture into Bend and get your pump on at Inclimb Gym (www.inclimb.com, 541-388-6764). Inclimb is a great facility with mostly bouldering but some top roping and leading is possible. For $12 per person you can boulder until your forearms burst. Call the crew over there any time after noon and they’ll give you directions to the gym.
If you just gotta scratch that bouldering itch, there’s some great local bouldering around Bend, Sisters, and Prineville. For directions and beta, stop off at Redpoint in Terrebonne or Inclimb in Bend.

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