Smith Rock

Woo it is HOT down here! My oh my I was not ready for the heat of the high desert to once again drain all the energy from my soul. But if I am to suffer this is a good place to do it. Smith Rock is a state park outside of Bend, OR and is known for its great sport climbing. Sport climbing is where you clip quickdraws to bolts already drilled into the wall. It is probably the most popular form of outdoor climbing, followed by bouldering, and then trad (traditional) climbing. But that is just my opinion (JJ and I are more trad climbers). We were ready to get on some fun sport climbs, and we did, but I was pleasantly  surprised by how good the trad climbing was! The stone was splitter (meaning really nice cracks split the face and make it great to climb and place gear into) and had really fun movement. It was a blast. The only drawback: The heat. In the sun it feels about a million degrees. Yes, an exageration, but also not. I have spent scorching days in the heat of Moab and Vegas but have never been as hot as I was while climbing today. The sweat ran down into my eyes, mingling with sunscreen and burning until my own tears mixed with sweat and it looked like I was crying all over the place. It ran down my arms and soaked my hands making it next to impossible to stay on the rock. I was dipping my hands into my chalk bag over and over just trying to get a second of dry friction to move up the wall. It was great climbing marred only by the fact that the sun made it next to impossible to climb. I would gladly come back early in the morning, late at night, or in a few months when the high desert sun has been tempered by the cool winter months.

Area around Bend, OR


JJ’s “Ready to take on the crag” face. Rather intense, I know.
Hiking to Smith Rock.
Better picture of Smith Rock proper.
Poor quality but we found some little otter friends!

To get some relief from the heat we headed to a local watering hole called Steelhead Falls. This beautiful waterfall cascades into the river below and millenia of raging water have carved deep paths in the riverbed that make it deep enough to do some cliff jumping. Which, of course, I did and holy crap it was COLD! I don’t think I will ever write another post in which both “hot” and “cold” are in all caps. It’s cool to be in a place that provides such extremes. I am a fan of a slightly more moderate climate but you do what you can when you’re on the road. Anyways, the water was the coldest I have been in. It was so refreshing. Colder than the streams we jump into in New Hampshire. It was amazing.

Steelhead Falls

JJ naturally was immediately on the lookout for fish and struck up a conversation with a local about what the fishing scene is like here. Apparently pretty good so I’m sure we will be back on the river at some point. Since the climbing has surprised us with its quality I think we will spend another day here before continuing on our journey south. Woo!

(I’m also hoping to get a little Youtube page or something since I have some fun videos but WordPress won’t let me post them without paying extra.)

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