Lower Gorge Rock Climbing
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|Shared By:||Karsten Duncan on Jan 29, 2006|
|Admins:||Kevin MP, Nate Ball, Micah Klesick|
The old bridge was built nearly 50 years ago and reconstructed about 30 years ago. The new bridge will measure 8 feet wide, about 2 feet wider than the current bridge, and better accommodate visitors and first responders during the park’s frequent rescue operations. There will be no temporary bridge, and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department discourages wading across the river due to sensitive habitat and safety concerns.
Trails that will stay open include:
Rim Rock Trail
North Point loop
Climbing areas accessible during construction include:
North Point area (accessible from the Homestead and North Point loop trails)
Rope-de-Dope boulder (accessible from the Rope-de-Dope trail and Canyon Trail)
The Lower Gorge (Climber Access routes)
There are many seasonal raptor closures with varying dates and specific boundaries. These generally effect The Monument, Kiss of the Lepers, Picnic Lunch Wall and/or Smith Rock group, and possibly elsewhere. These usually run from February to the beginning of August, but each closure is usually shorter than this, and is dependent on the birds' behavior. Check this site for details: smithrock.com/seasonal-clos…
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.
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.
Classic Climbing Routes at Lower Gorge
Days w Precip