Smith Rock - various rope soloDate:
I've been to smith once before, but most of that time I spent just trying to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures, this time - despite the mid winter moon, the weather was really comfy for the most part, and I was able to climb a handful of cool routes.
I would have rather gone with some friends but as it was, I went alone and rope soloed. After some time on basalt cracks of northern point and student wall, I rope solo free climbed Spiderman - a 5.7 3 pitch crack climb with a few bulges and areas of tricky terrain that humbled me a bit and had my knees shaking with adrenaline after pulling the upper crux.
I've wanted to climb the Monkey Face since I saw it my last time down. The Pioneer route seemed like the choice option. A four star, four pitch - 5.7 aid/trad/sport route. It was awesome, especially the jugs above panic point -- where after the comfort of a cozy little cave, you have to step out over hundreds of feet of exposure and climb vertical rock with holds that are difficult to see - (but really big).
Pioneer route on the left
A couple days later I came back and climbed the much longer West Face aid route. I was intimidated of aiding the first pitch finger crack, but it protected solidly with medium nuts, especially the #4, I only plugged a cam once. I had never jumared successfully before, but the system that I used (found online) worked really well -- One ascender, one aider, a grigri and a pulley -- though I didn't bring a haul line, so the weight of my pack tied to the line below made jugging a little more difficult than if it was unweighted. I'm really glad I brought a fifi hook and wore approach shoes, would'a been a sufferfest without em. I topped out in a beautiful red sunset then rapped down in the dark after nine hours on the route. I really liked this route and would do it again but i'd want to haul up some beer and spend a night in the huge cave.
West face route on leftside of the Monkey
overhanging terrain on pitch 2
My last day I climbed a few sport routes - five gallon buckets and outsiders -- a 5.9 just to the right. The "Huecos" were unreal. Bunny face was fun but getting to the first bolt was a little scary.
Hueco on outsiders -- five gallon buckets was jugging from hueco to hueco the whole way.
I'm kind of glad I still haven't fallen with the silent partner, cause that would be scary -- but it would probably help my climber-head to take a couple whippers in a safe setting to gain confidence in the system.
Bend/Smith is such a cool area, I hope to return soon, not only is the climbing great, but the people of the area are awesome -- seeming generally a bit differant than the western washingtonions who I'm accustomed to. Maybe its just me, or maybe the sunshine, but more likely it's the fresherness of the Deschutes beer.