Pretty Postcard, Smith Rock
Back in Jackson, Wyoming in July, I met a couple of guys at the laundromat who were living out of a VW van, hitting all the classic climbing spots from Kentucky to Alaska. They had just come down off the Grand Teton and were heading to Vedauwoo, Wyoming, one of my favorite places. We kept in touch and last week, the three of us met up again at Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon for six days of climbing at this famous crag.
Smith Rock is made up of volcanic tuff, an usually well-cemented type of volcanic ash that makes for fantastic climbing. Smith Rock is famous among rock climbers as the birthplace of modern sport climbing, where climbers follow bolted routes up challenging rock faces. Smith boasts some of the hardest sport routes in the world, including the first 5.14 climb ever completed in the US. I’m a good, competent climber, but no expert so I stuck to the moderate routes but Dan and Thomas have been pushing their climbing limits all summer and I had a great time watching them work some killer lines.
Hiking along the Crooked River to the Morning Glory Wall
The Morning Glory Wall. The large pockets are called Huecos.
Huecos & Multipitch
Multi-pitch Men. They’ll keep going up from here.
Danimal Leading on the Morning Glory Wall. The white marks are chalk around the holds used to ascend this route.
Climbing Partners: Dan & Thomas
Crag Dogs hiding out from the Sun
T-Dawg climbing barefoot
Yours truly on the same route
Stretch! Thomas on a burly 11.d route
Thomas belaying Dan.
Crag Men. Thomas and Dan met on Mountainproject.com and have been traveling in a VW van all summer, hitting all the famous climbing crags in North America. I so enjoyed basking in the trust between these two.
Highliner. He is wearing a safety leash. You can just barely see it clipped to the highline behind his heels. I watched him cross back and forth twice and he never fell.
BB’s highline. She’s balancing on the top rail of the fence. I think Danimal’s impressed.
In my element.
Rain incoming over Grey Butte
Thomas and BB descending Misery Ridge
Smith Rock D.O.G.
Eagle Watching. There are two golden eagle nests in the cliff wall under the spire on the left.
My Smith Rock Office. Write in the morning, climb in the afternoon!
Stay tuned for an adventure up the Monkey Face! This climb was one of the highlights of my life!!!
Monkey Men on Monkey Face. You best believe I didn’t sit this one out…
Check out Thomas’ blog about traveling in his van: Travelin in Bertha. The bearded one was honorably discharged from the Army in April after 7 years of service, including two tours in the Middle East and he’s now living the dream on the road.
The Army Man turned Mountain Man. He’s not going to shave or cut his hair for a year. 7 months to go…
Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
Love Smith Rock! Great pics!
I think I was holding my breath as I looked at all the pictures. Amazing!
Incredible! Something I’ll never do, but I’m still inspired by your pictures and story.
WOW!!! Have fun and be safe out there
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Awesome scenery, beautiful place for a climb!!!
Planning a trip to Smith Rock next month. What happened to your photos?
Planning a hike here next month. What happened to your pictures?