Elevation: 185 ft
GPS: 44.36434, -121.12783
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 35,928 total · 171/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Mar 1, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Kevin MP, Nate Ball, Micah Klesick
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Nesting Closures Details

Description

The Upper Gorge consists of basalt column climbing further upstream from the Lower Gorge's east walls. Unlike the Lower Gorge, however, the columns are generally sealed and therefore there is less crack climbing between them; hence most of the routes are bolted. This also results in more difficult climbing and the Upper Gorge really shines in the mid-5.11 to 5.13 range. The climbing is often cryptic and requires an unusual skill set that involves the ability to use body position, friction, and creativity rather than raw power or power endurance. And while the climbing is excellent, there are a number of factors that warrant special care when visiting this area:

1. Aspect. This crag is south-facing and it gets hot. The nuanced, friction-dependent climbing requires the correct conditions for success.

2. Vegetation. The riparian area between the base of the walls and the Crooked River is very narrow and often completely choked with reeds, vines, poison ivy, stinging nettles, and tamarisk. This requires a lot of work from committed climbers to keep in check and even then you must use care not to inadvertently walk through something painful. On the flip side, the "good" plants, including grasses, sagebrush, and a few beautiful old-growth juniper trees, need to be protected. Please avoid damaging these plants by breaking branches, crushing grasses, or uprooting them. If you bring a dog, make sure he/she doesn't dig or damage the good vegetation.

3. Human waste. Again, because of the narrow corridor there is not a lot of real estate. A Wag Bag should be considered an ABSOLUTE MUST if visiting the Upper Gorge. If you forget one, invest in the 15 minute hike out to the rim and dispose of your waste there by burying it off trail and not near the rim itself.

4. Noise and crag behavior. The property boundaries are somewhat of a mystery and while some of the Upper Gorge is on public land, other sections are private property. For access reasons - as well as to preserve the unique ambiance of this secluded and undomesticated crag - it is essential that you keep a low profile, keep noise to a minimum, and be on your best behavior. Avoid leaving equipment in plain view long-term including fixed draws, fixed lines, and gear caches.

If you decide to make the journey out to this crag you will likely find a beautiful place that has been cherished by several generations of Smith Rock climbers. Hopefully you will do your part to respect, preserve, and enjoy this unique crag so that it may be experienced as it has been for generations to come.

Getting There

There are several approaches, the easiest (in terms of route finding) and lowest impact of which can be found on the Mountain Project map for the area. To learn about other viable options, get to know some of the people who frequent the area.

49 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Upper Gorge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 19
Naxis
Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 4
Colorsplash
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 4
Black Nails
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 27
E-Type Jag
Sport
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c
 5
Virtual Beach
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 8
Pink Primitive
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 6
Animation
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 11
Natural Art
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
 4
Bushwhacker
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 5
Tomb of Love
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 5
Hieroglyphics
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 11
Up Country
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 7
Celibate Wives
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 9
Unique Monique
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 8
Chillin’ in the Penzo
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Naxis
 19
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Colorsplash
 4
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Black Nails
 4
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
E-Type Jag
 27
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Virtual Beach
 5
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c Sport
Pink Primitive
 8
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Animation
 6
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Natural Art
 11
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Bushwhacker
 4
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13 Sport
Tomb of Love
 5
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Hieroglyphics
 5
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Up Country
 11
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Celibate Wives
 7
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Unique Monique
 9
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Chillin’ in the Penzo
 8
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Upper Gorge »

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