Wednesday was our last full day in Bend, so we took advantage of some beautiful weather and headed north for Smith Rocks. This time, we left early in the morning, with the intention of getting in as many routes as possible on our last day to climb. The park was much less crowded, and we managed to get on some fantastic, classic routes. Definitely check out all the cool pics in the gallery.
We started out the morning on Cinnamon Slab, a section of the Dihedrals. We had a very popular 2-pitch climb to our left, but nobody seemed interested in our fun, super-easy warm-ups.
We climbed Easy Reader (5.6), Right Slab Crack (5.6), and Lichen It (5.8) in the morning. While we were working on Lichen It, a fellow named Menno wandered up. His partner had enough climbing the day before, and he saw our group of three and wondered if anybody would be interested in partnering with him. We explained that, as Bruce is a newer climber, we couldn’t really break up the group, but offered him a climb on our TR. He graciously cleaned the route for us, and ended up climbing with our group for the rest of the day.
After our warm up, we wandered back over to Morning Glory Wall, and, miraculously, the most popular climb in the park was open! We tied a rope on Mark and tossed him up 5 Gallon Buckets (5.8).
This put us in line for the rest of the moderate routes on Morning Glory. After we all took a fun trip up the gi-normous pockets, pods and huecos on 5-Gallon, we got to enjoy them again when we climbed up the route 6 feet to the right, The Outsiders (5.9).
Mark’s parents came up to Smith Rock for a bit in the afternoon, and they enjoyed watching us climb up the hugely pocketed wall. Mark’s mom hiked up to the base of the wall and quizzed us on the climbing process, safety gear, and our techniques. She seemed satisfied that we weren’t going to die any time soon, and enjoyed watching everybody climbing.
At the end of the day, Menno offered to lead Light On The Path (5.10a). We got the first bolt stick-clipped, and he worked on that direct start for a good few minutes before figuring out a path. It was tricky. After all of that work, and the climbing all day, he was pretty tuckered out when the pockets ran out and the crimping started. He took a few good lead falls, and then lowered and decided to call it a day.
Mark pulled the tricky start with a high, possibly gratuitous, heal-hook and monkey’d up the bottom of the climb. He finished out leading thin top section in good style, leaving Bruce and I with the assurance that the climb wasn’t too hard. Bruce had a heck of a time with the start, but we got him on the route. He climbed to failure in the buckets and then lowered down. I took a few tries to figure out the bottom, myself, and then happily cruised the rest of the climb, stopping frequently to shake out my hands and arms. It was a great climb to end the day on, with huge pockets, mono pockets, pebble pinching, crimpy ledges, and even a soft-ball sized rock glued into the volcanic rock of the wall, which you can sit on to clean the anchors!
We hiked out in the growing dark, happy with a day VERY well spent.