Is Smith rock too busy and polished these days?


Original Post
Alanmurray · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

I've always wanted to visit Smith from the UK and finally hope to plan a trip end september early october. I don't really want to go and be disappointed if I have to stand in line for routes or face too much polish on the easy classics. Can someone give me an honest view before I commit?? I would look to do some easy classics with my wife to 5.10 and some 5:10 to easy 5:13 myself. Have I missed the golden era? I am happy to avoid weekends

AliciaC · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Although Smith can get crowded at times, I have never had any issues waiting in lines for climbs, even the classics like Monkey Face and Voyage of a Cowdog. I love Smith Rock, it's one of my favorite climbing spots (and I've been to quite a few places around the US). I'm only a moderate level climber so I can't really speak to climbs above 10s though

Nate Ball · · Portland, OR · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 8,046

People have been climbing the classics here for 30 years. It's not limestone, so it doesn't "polish" as you might expect. There are tens of hundreds of routes spread over many areas with many different aspects, so if you don't want to stand in line you don't have to. Weekdays are, of course, significantly lower traffic, so get on the super-classics then. Otherwise, just keep an open-mind, be ready to walk a little further, climb in some of the less concentrated areas, and be ready to make new friends on the weekends.

JohnSol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 0

Was at Smith for the first time this spring. Some impressions: community is awesome. With the bivy being set up as it is, everyone is friendly. This carries out on to the climbs. So many climbs and areas, no needed to wait, just walk a bit more. There are greasy holds, not really polished, so temperature makes a big difference. Do it! It is super fun there.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87

Smith Rock is a huge place. With thousands of climbs to choose from, there is no reason to ever wait in line If you are willing to walk 10-20 minutes extra, the traffic will thin out quite a bit, and if you walk 30+ minutes you might be the only person in an area.

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 5

That's a great time of year to go and you won't be disappointed.

There are literally thousands of routes to choose from, and if you're away from Morning Glory, Monkey Face, and the Dihedrals, your route will probably be empty even on a weekend. Weekdays are still pleasant and calm.

climberish · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

If things are crowded on the weekends go check out the Lower Gorge... I think its some of the best climbing at Smith. Sport, trad, and mixed.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,040

Easy 13? I want easy 13!
Do you trad climb? It opens the possibilities for those few days when the lines, and there can be lines, are there.
The last couple of trips to Smith i have found myself living in the lower gorge. Excellent basalt splitters. And Trout Creek, and hour north, is amazingly good.
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/trout-creek/106505473
The simple answer is the rock is fine. Worry more about missing holds than polish. And however long you spend there, it won't be enough!

Alanmurray · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Many thanks for all your replies
It will be Sports routes I am interested in. I have heard about the under grading and run outs. I will be bringing a stick clip and don't mind a bit run. Can the scary ones be avoided? How do the grades/runouts compare to Red River?

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 5
Alanmurray wrote:Many thanks for all your replies It will be Sports routes I am interested in. I have heard about the under grading and run outs. I will be bringing a stick clip and don't mind a bit run. Can the scary ones be avoided? How do the grades/runouts compare to Red River?
Hard to compare, the climbing is very different in style. Smith tends to be crimpy and technical, rather than overhung and pumpy like the Red. I find the grading at Smith much more difficult than at the Red. Most climbs are safe, but the bolts are definitely farther apart than at the Red and it can get a bit heady. For example, some .10s (Gumby/Morning Sky and BBQ the Pope among them) are well-known for hard climbing before the first bolt, and Heinous Cling has huge (but safe!) fall potential 2 bolts before the anchor. The guide book is excellent. Use your stick clip liberally and you'll be fine.
Andrew Child · · Santa Clara · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 625

In my experience there are very few issues with lines and dangerous run outs on harder routes (mid .11 on). Expect 8-15 ft spacing between bolts with generally safe falls.

Some of the more moderate routes such as BBQ the pope have nerve racking fall potential, but there are plenty of great routes that are perfectly safe.

Eric K · · Washington · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 0

It's a terrible choss pile never worth visiting,

In reality it's probably the most user friendly crag in the country and the classics are anything but polished. The extra traffic has really affected the 10- routes and easier but there is always something to climb if your willing to walk an extra 10 minutes. Don't expect to climb at the morning glory wall unless you get there first thing, are climbing 5.11 and up or are ok waiting hours. Smith is probably my favorite crag in the country and the 5.13s will kick your ass in the best way possible!

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 0

The one time I was there it was in December and the people I was with had their car broken into. I found it to be best in the cold.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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