Elevation: 2,670 ft
GPS: 44.369, -121.131 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 200,905 total · 1,127/month
Shared By: Karsten Duncan on Jan 29, 2006
Admins: Kevin MP, Nate Ball, Micah Klesick
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Nesting Closures Details

Description

The Lower Gorge is Smith's best "secret." In a park known for its sport lines lies an impeccable collection of cracks. The lower gorge contains more four star cracks than bolts. The majority of the climbs range from easy 5.10 into the .12's.

Even on Smith's busiest days there are usually only a handful of crack connoisseurs in this serene area. The Gorge is composed of a series of striking vertical basalt columns located on both sides of the crooked river. The rock is generally of superb quality with sometimes sharp edges and good friction.

Although the most classic crack lines were done long ago there are still a few new mixed lines going up as well as 2nd pitches going to the top of the formation.

Getting There

There are several popular ways to descend into the crack mecca depending on which side of the river you want to climb. As spring turns into summer the river goes down allowing for adventurous boulder hoppers to ford the river and get quick access to both the east and west sides of the river.

West Columns approaches:
From the turnaround at the northern end of the parking area head East to the rim. Find a place where there are detached pillars and a rebar ladder going down a chimney. Climb down this chimney and head upriver (southeast). After crossing a large slide of small boulders you'll see the start of many pillars that are the lower gorge.

A second method of descent is my preference. This way also starts at the turnaround parking lot. Park and then head back up the road until you see a driveway leading to a house on the east. This house is now owned by the park. Go behind the house and through a gate. Walk along the rim for about a 100ft to find an improbable but easy 3rd class descent into the gorge.

The initial section down-climbing into the Gorge has been the site of 3 very serious or fatal accidents.  The difficulty of the moves are similar to 3rd class terrain, but a fall WILL result in significant trauma.  Pay attention to your footing and any clothing or pack that can catch on the rocks.  Snow and mud can also make this approach treacherous. 

East Columns descent:
Descend the main trail toward the river. Cross the bridge and follow a nice trail next to the river to the right. Make sure to stay near the river as alternate trails head to other areas of the park. Pass the student wall, a series of shorter columns, until you arrive a the longer columns of the lower gorge.

170 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Lower Gorge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 95
Patent Leather Pump
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 206
Cruel Sister
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 153
Gruff
Trad
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 86
Quasar
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 151
Bad Finger
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 112
Blood Clot
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 97
Wildfire
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 57
Hand Job
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 78
Rim Job
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 84
Cornercopia
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 44
Morning Star
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 71
Last Chance
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 162
Pure Palm
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 58
On The Road
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
 55
Crack-A-No-Go
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Patent Leather Pump W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff
 95
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Cruel Sister W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff
 206
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Gruff W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall
 153
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Quasar W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff
 86
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad
Bad Finger W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall
 151
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Blood Clot W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff
 112
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Wildfire W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall
 97
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Hand Job E Side > (3) Hand Job Wall
 57
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Rim Job W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall
 78
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Cornercopia W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall
 84
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Morning Star W Side > (4) Star Wall
 44
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Last Chance W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff
 71
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Pure Palm W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall
 162
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
On The Road W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall
 58
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Crack-A-No-Go W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff
 55
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13 Trad
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