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danhelmstadter

[TR] Smith Rock - various rope solo 1/30/2012

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Trip: Smith Rock - various rope solo

 

Date: 1/30/2012

 

Trip Report:

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.

 

Spiderman

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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

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rap down

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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

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overhanging terrain on pitch 2

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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.

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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.

 

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Nice job on your climbs!

 

The Monkey's west face 5.8 corner also is a good choice for soloing (as is the beer though probably not at the same time). The mouth is reasonably comfy and provided good shelter from a light rain. My Dinner entertainment included watching a group high-line over to the mouth followed by an amazing sunset. Personally I opted for chocolate and cognac.

 

Have you tried the soloist too? I've only used the soloist and have heard the silent partner has a smoother action. I don't do enough rope soloing to switch but was curious if you had experience with both.

 

The Smith Rock vibe is hard to beat. See you out there!

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Thanks, I'm stoked to come back!

 

I haven't used a soloist -- I've heard they work great, and are lighter and less expensive than the silent partner but I've also heard that they don't catch upsidedown falls.

 

Those slackline pictures are awesome, I was thinking how easy (anchorwise) and fun it would be to set one up in that location. Is the girl in the last picture falling or is she shimming accross the line?

Edited by danhelmstadter

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Thanks for the feedback. I had heard the same regarding falls and always use a chest harness. I've never used it to lead through any big roofs but would probably think twice before doing it. That said, I've lead quite a bit on it and find it works well. I just used it today at Stellar Falls on the ice (TR). First time used for ice climbing and I was concerned about the rope icing up. I backed up with figure eights regularly but the device worked well throughout (rope never iced up though either)

 

About the pic. that's a dude but yeah, he's taking a header. They all did. I have a couple pics of them pinwheeling off the line. It was fun to watch.

 

 

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Word of caution on that; the one complaint about the SP that turns up repeatedly is it not working well in cold weather.

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There have been numerous reports over the past decade on Supertopo.com, RockClimbing.com, and others regarding the SP failing and / or working sub-optimally under cold conditions on dry ropes.

 

Not for use in cold weather or with icy ropes. The internal clutch can malfunction in near or below freezing temperatures and fail to cinch the barrel tied with the clove hitch.

From: http://www.summitpost.org/outdoor-gear/no-name/266 and seen elsewhere.

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Well, there you have the essence of lead roped soloing - stevetimetravlr hasn't had any problems, others say they have - it's up to anyone who rope solos to sort out and dial in their own system and to make their own judgment calls around what does or doesn't work for them. I've made my choices, stevetimetravlr has made his, you'll have to make your own given you'll be the only one on the end of your rope...

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You gotta agree about the rats though. I've seen the piles of rat crap in the west cave. It's like Hantaville or something :shock:

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