Thursday, 16 June 2016

Climbing at Smith Rocks

Our last morning in Jacksonville, we headed back to Woodrat, hoping to get in a short flight or two before heading north. It was a bit cloudy and, on the drive out, we wondered if it would be flyable. I always hate the uncertainty. It makes me nervous. It is ok? Isn't it? I like it clear cut. Either conditions are good and it's good time and day to fly or it isn't. As we got closer, the clouds quickly got darker and it started to rain. Decision making was suddenly easy! 

In addition to rain, there was a bit of snow as we crossed over a high pass on the way Bend, Oregon. Knowing that we'd be driving right by Smith Rocks State Park the next day, we stopped in at the REI store and purchased a guidebook to see what there might be in the range of our skill level. Smith Rocks is well known in climbing circles for several very difficult routes. 

Seeing it now, I have no idea why we have never been here before. It is a gorgeous location! 

The climbing was really good but very busy even mid-week. Luckily we got there early and managed to get in the first few climbs without waiting for other people to finish a route or other people waiting for us to finish a route. 

We would definitely come back here again. If too busy for climbing, hiking or trail running would also be fantastic.
Such a beautiful place!

Getting gear ready.
Just one bridge to get across to the side with all the climbing.
Andrew rappelling at top right of photo. We were some of only a few who were wearing helmets (which I never quite understand!).
Walking along the river to the next climbs.

They've done some really good trail maintenance to prevent erosion where it's the busiest.
Looking down from the first pitch of a climb. Three routes on the go and people waiting.