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joshr

Descending First Kiss @ Smith Rock

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I'm looking for some beta on the descent from First Kiss down at Smith Rock. Throughout the Internet it's been labeled as anywhere from a hike to a Class IV scramble off the top.

 

Anyone have personal experience with the route? I'm trying to determine if it's okay to take a novice who isn't very comfortable scrambling in sketchy areas.

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Pretty easy descent. I think there are two ways to go. If you decend right off the summit (skiers right) it's an easy scramble down, class 3 at most as I remember. A bit loose but no big deal, no big exposure. You'll have a rope so you could always belay a freaked novice down.

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It's closed. Falcon closure till June or July.

 

I plan on calling the park before the trip to see about closures, but do you have something specific to 2013 closures? Everything online so far that I've been able to find has been about 2012 closures.

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The only way I know off is convoluted. Look for rock cairns, some are only two stones high. When you are at the top with your back facing the cliff/climb, veer left(30-40 ft) over the small rise and then down-climb 3rd class right down into an amphitheater, follow it around to the far side(70-100 ft) staying fairly level/contour and there is a cleft of junky rock one can climb up(3-4 moves, 15 ft up). You can see the cleft from where you down-climb into the amphitheater. From there veer right and follow the easiest way up to a notch(pass, saddle) and then you will be able to see the switchback trail going down by Monkey Face. There is another way where one can climb up again and stay near the top of the ridge, rather than descending some 100 vertical feet to the trail.

 

But the other poster is right, I heard there are Eagles nesting this year. Call the Park.

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First Kiss is usually closed for Prairie Falcons, not eagles. Interesting bird, but far from threatened or endangered. There are tons of them around. #1 bird taken by falconers because they are so numerous.

 

I'm still not sure why they close the cliff for them, but please respect the closure. The bird people have a much stronger lobby than climbers do.

 

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I did that route a few years ago and remember it was just a little loose scramble to get back to the main trail and it was no big deal.

 

I was down there two weeks ago and saw people climbing the route (my partners were aid climbing and wandering around aimlessly seemed a lot more interesting). This looks like the 2013 closures http://smithrock.com/b2evolution/media/blogs/routes/geagle-closure-2013.pdf but shows the First Kiss area outside of the closure area.

 

Go for (as long as it is indeed open) and have fun.

 

 

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