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[TR] Smith Rock - Abraxas/Tombstone 9/29/2010

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Trip: Smith Rock - Abraxas/Tombstone


Date: 9/29/2010


Trip Report:

A bit of beta for those of you enjoy a good crack pitch in a somewhat strange location.....


Watt's new guide describes the Tombstone (5.10D) pitch on the Monument " Over hanging hand crack on perfect rock rivals the most spectacular pitches on Monkey Face." I can confirm that this pitch is fantastic, the best crack I've done at Smith and as fun as any of the other "big" classic cracks you can think of in the PNW. Unfortunately The Tombstone pitch starts 350 feet off the ground is and guarded by 5.12 terrain and lose rock.




The Monument. The Tombstone pitch is straight above the pine tree in the foreground of this picture. It climbs on the smooth looking section as the wall changes from tan to red.

Technically the Tombstone is pitch 5 of Abraxas (5.12R) Our plan was to climb all of Abraxas to get at the Tombstone pitch. No luck there, we did the first two pitches, bailed, hiked to the summit and rapped in from the summit to climb the Tombstone. I was expecting lose rock, but Abraxas is stright-up disgusting. Every hold was either covered in sand, or would break off and have to be thrown off. There was a large group of climbers on the routes at the base of the wall and no amount of warning or yelling would get them to move or put a helmet on. I asked nicely several times but was told "were fine, we'll dodge them." Yikes!


Side note. If anyone has climbed all of Abraxas I'd love to talk to you. Please PM me or post. Is there any possibility of this route cleaning up to be a good climb?


So we onsite free soloed the North Ridge of the Monument at 5.1 to gain the summit. (Kidding aside it actually a fun jaunt to the summit with really nice views, there is about 20 feet of scrambling in a chimney that is more like 4th class, the rest is just scree gully climbing) From the summit the rap anchors are on the far West side of the formation behind a block. When rapping down you will want to move skiers right. Note the rock here is lose, trundling down rocks onto the beer drinking La Pine locals at the base of the wall is a real possibility. One 70M rope will get you from the summit to the anchors on top of the Tombstone. 60M will leave you short, or you'll need two ropes to go from the summit to top of the Tombstone.


Rapping from new anchors on top of the Tombstone to the start of this pitch requires two ropes (about 150-170 feet for the Tombstone pitch) The pitch is steep enough that we placed a few cams to keep us close to the wall while we rapped.


Sorry no pics of the actual route, check out Watt's guide for a good picture. The pitch itself is rad. More like Indian Creek stye jamming than Smith tuff. The crux is low on .75 and #1 jams. About mid-way through there is a roof/bulge thing to go over. This would be hard if it weren't for the perfect #2 and #3 hands. Higher up a few horizontal cracks allow complete rest. If you have small hands the #3 sizes sections might feel hard for you. For comparison sake, think of Gold Rush at Trout but steeper and longer with a lot air under your boots.


To get off the Tombstone, we climbed a lose chimney system (5.6) up and left from the top of the Tombstone. Easy but not much gear and horrible rock.


Lot of work for one pitch of climbing, but really fun to be hanging out in nice position away from all the crowds. Such a fun pitch we spent most of the day sitting up there running TR laps till our skin was ruined.


DId anyone see the sunset last Sunday at Smith? Amazing!







Hiking around near the summit.






TR lap near the top of of the Tombstone pitch. The rock at the very end of the pitch is kinda junk. Rest of the pitch is very clean.






Gear Notes:

Lots of hand sized gear. Triples #3s and #2s. 2x #1s and 1x .75 for the start. No small gear needed.


Approach Notes:

Hike up gully left of the Monument. Short 4th class chimney to summit block. Rap anchors are on the West side of the summit block.

Edited by eldiente

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Nice! My buddy Dave and I went in there last week to go fire this route but there was a large group cragging on the huecos at the base. We opted to go climb somewhere else so as not to rain down rock on there parade. We went and climbed a "3 star" climb on big ben which turned out to be crappy choss. If the watt's guide gave that climb three stars we could only laughably imagine what the pitches described as deplorable would have been like. Good on you for getting on it from the top. That pitch looks stellar. It is too bad that most of the rock in that area is sketchy.

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I have done the whole 'braxas, Its a crappy free/aid route that haunted my childhood, so I stubbornly went forward. The T-stone crack is cool!

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Some unknown assholes from Portland where up there about two years ago dropping thousand pound blocks off it in the middle of a Saturday in some lame attempt to clean that thing up. You can see them at the base. They got caught and got a good talking too. I wonder if they are the same people that added the bolts to the second pitch. For some reason this route has been seeing alot of attention latley? Some friends went to climb it yesterday and found you or someone else already on it. Its your average Smith rubble pile untill pitch 5, it will never really clean up. Unless you've got balls like Thomas then considerable amounts of aid will be used to reach P5.

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