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Best cracks for learning at Smith Rock?


Original Post
jfailing · · Portland, OR · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 10

Hey all - I'm curious to know what the best area to teach crack climbing technique at Smith Rock would be.

Ideally looking for easy/moderate jam-cracks where it's hard to cheat by using face holds and what not.

I'm quite aware there are tons of classic cracks in the lower/upper gorge that would be good for this, but I'm not familiar enough with those areas to know where to look.

Was thinking Chouinard's crack would be a good place to start that isn't in the gorge. Are there good cracks up on Staender Ridge as well?

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

Not a local but I'd hit those upper gorge cracks, lots of good ones and you can hang TRs on harder ones.  Cruel Sister, Gruff, etc.

Ryan Palo · · Bend, oregon · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 595

Head on over to the Student Wall. You can set up TRs and do some mock leading. If you're somewhat proficient, the Wildfire wall has a couple easy routes. Upper Gorge is a great place to get your shit pushed in. Would avoid until you're dialed. 

jfailing · · Portland, OR · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 10

Thanks for the beta all - I'll have to check out the Student Wall for sure. And eventually Royal Columns! Stoked to get these students up to speed on how to crack climb.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

Trout Creek. No cheating, just splitters.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Muscrat wrote:

Trout Creek. No cheating, just splitters.

And where at Trout are these easy splitters?

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

I would drive to trout (from Smith) just to do Goldrush. 

Mr. Squiggles is a good 10, and JRR too. I think there are some 9's to the right, never been over to them but a partner has, and liked them. I glommed onto the "few face holds" part of the OP. Much of lower gorge is crack protected using crack and face. Not so in trout.

Shakespeare in lower gorge is the place for easy-peasey, but how many lines are we hanging, for how long? 

This off the top of my head. 

Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,625

Just remember that Trout is still closed through at least 5/15 for Golden Eagle nesting before you sandbag a bunch of college students on JR and Squiggles.  Also, it would be inappropriate to occupy those routes with a big group on a weekend. (or really any time)

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Max Tepfer wrote:

Also, it would be inappropriate to occupy those routes with a big group on a weekend. (or really any time)

This should be repeated 100 times. Large groups monopolizing crags are an issue.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610
JCM wrote:

This should be repeated 100 times. Large groups monopolizing crags are an issue.

+1!

This goes for the gorge, too. Really.

dave custer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 790

Lion's Jaw; I'm not a big fan of large groups monopolizing routes, but I don't see folks on this excellent route much so maybe you wouldn't be inconveniencing the sport climbing masses.

Chouinard's Crack/1st Half Pitch of Peking; a great climb to make sure that beginners stick to sport climbing for the rest of their climbing careers; this climb does get traffic & rightly so.

Northern Point; maybe no one there; maybe elbow your way to a crack climb among the teaming masses of programmed climbers...

Frank F · · Bend, OR · Joined May 2010 · Points: 0

There are moderate cracks out east along Staender Ridge.  The rock is a little more friable than on the routes Dave C recommended but the routes are much less crowded.  Look at Adit Rock and Independence Tower.  There are routes there in the 5.6-5.8 range that will be open even on a busy weekend.

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 5

I'd suggest the east side of the lower gorge. There are lower angle columns available ~5.8

jfailing · · Portland, OR · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 10

Thanks for the beta all - we ended up going to Adit Rock on day one, where we practiced on Munchkin Land, Parking Lot Crack, and Instant Replay. These seemed pretty good for teaching jamming technique, and I had a blast leading all of the climbs to boot (never been up there before).

The next day, we hit Chouinard's Crack, which was empty before we got there and after we left (can't say the same for Moscow though...). The students were able to hit a lap or two on Chouinard's by jamming straight-in, so I consider it a success!

Will have to hit up the Student Wall next time to test out those cracks.

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 5

Get on Lion's Jaw. It's a 5.6

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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