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Areas in (z) Lower Gorge

East Side 54 / 9 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 63
West Side 68 / 24 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 91

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 Collums 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 "secret entrance" once went through private property but now is owned by the park. 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.

East side 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 colums of the lower gorge.

154 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at (z) Lower Gorge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Cruel Sister
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Gruff
Trad
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Quasar
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Bad Finger
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Blood Clot
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wildfire
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Rim Job
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cornercopia
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Morning Star
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Last Chance
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Prometheus
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Pure Palm
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
On The Road
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Cry of the Poor
Trad
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
White Trash
Sport
Cruel Sister W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Gruff W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Quasar W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad
Bad Finger W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Blood Clot W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Wildfire W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Rim Job W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Cornercopia W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Morning Star W Side > (4) Star Wall 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Last Chance W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Prometheus W Side > (3) Catwalk Cliff 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Pure Palm W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
On The Road W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Cry of the Poor W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
White Trash W Side > (2) Wildfire Wall 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in (z) Lower Gorge »

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Photos

Wylie
Flagstaff, AZ
Wylie   Flagstaff, AZ
Beware the horde of flying rats (pigeons) that sit above Wildfire and Windfall wall constantly dropping bombs. After my partner and I were crapped on about 6 times I began daydreaming about shotguns and arsenic birdseed. I. Hate. Pigeons... Sep 23, 2011
Joel Sprenger
Terrebonne, OR
Joel Sprenger   Terrebonne, OR
Also, a camera was found in the lower gorge on 10-28-07 near the Hand Job wall. Send me a email at climbonrock@aol.com if it is yours. Nov 17, 2007
Joel Sprenger
Terrebonne, OR
Joel Sprenger   Terrebonne, OR
Does anyone know about the routes on the Shakespeare wall not listed in the Watts guide? Specifically the bolted route on the left side of the wall, the top was hard Nov 17, 2007
Peter Franzen
Phoenix, AZ
Peter Franzen   Phoenix, AZ  
Also worth mentioning is that the West Side of the gorge is almost always in the shade due to its orientation. For climbers seeking a respite from the scorching heat of the main area this is a great place to cool off. Oct 1, 2006

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