Type: Sport, 450 ft, 5 pitches, Grade II
FA: Ryan Lawson - 2002
Page Views: 21,327 total · 140/month
Shared By: JohnK on Aug 24, 2006
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Kiss of the Lepers Buttress Closed Feb-Aug Details


The First Kiss is a creatively constructed, fully bolted multi-pitch route tucked off in the northern most reaches of the park. The route has five pitches but, by linking the first two pitches, it can be done in four (but not recommended). All anchor stations have two bolts. Be aware that due to the locations of the anchor stations communication can be challenging - especially if there is a breeze blowing and/or if you've linked the first two pitches - and rope drag can be a problem on much of the route.

The first pitch (5.7) follows a generous collection of bolts up in a fairly straight line past a single high step crux to a fairly comfortable, semi-hanging belay station.

Pitch two (5.6) continues up an interesting blocky face and on a short arete to an excellent wide belay balcony with a sweet view of the north face of Monkey Face and the Cascade mountains to the west.

Note: if you chose to link pitches one and two be sure to attempt to use standard length runners at appropriate bolts to minimize rope drag. However, if you link these pitches, no matter how skillfully you might long runner and/or skip bolts you will experience some rope drag.

Pitch three heads horizontally north slightly down for about 40 feet along a ramp and then turns modestly up left another 40 feet to a fun crux move (5.5) just before the belay station. Plan on substantial rope drag on this nearly horizontal and rounded traverse pitch.

Pitch four (5.5) traverses up and left into and then up and out of a mossy bowl via a short and fun blocky arete. A short traverse left after the arete leads to a belay station atop a small bolder at the base of an orange-colored, pothole filled wall.

Pitch five (5.7) heads straight up the wall passing a short left-facing book and then continuing up another fun wall to the finishing anchors. There are two sets of anchor bolts at the top of the climb - the upper set are recommended.

It is recommended that you do not attempt to rappel this wandering route. Instead, walk off (you did remember to bring your approach shoes with you, didn't you?) by a short scramble above the final anchors to the top of the formation and then carefully down-climbing from the exposed top to a notch. Follow the faint climbers trail that leads to the hikers trail coming down from the mesa. The other option is to pack all of your gear and climb the route "alpine style". Then hike / scramble up to the trail system on the top of the mesa.


Once you reach the base of the Kiss of the Lepers Buttress via the hiking trail from the base of Monkey Face continue for about 50 feet and exit the hiking trail onto a short climbers trail to the obvious left-facing dihedral. Look for bolts ascending the west-facing wall.


Quickdraws plus a number of standard length runners. To link the first two pitches (not recommended) have at least 15 draws/runners if you plan to clip every bolt.
Fort Collins, CO
RudolftheRED   Fort Collins, CO
One of the funnest first climbs for the aspiring multi-pitch climber. Super protected, solid bolts, nothing questionable. Because the route gradually goes WAY left from the start, rappelling down this route is impossible. HOWEVER, if your bring 2 ropes, it is possible to rappel down The Climb in 3-4 awesome rappels. There are solid belay/rappel anchors for The Climb that you can use at the end of each rope length. One of the rappels goes over a lip and is a full on over hanging rappel. The final rappel takes you down through an fully enclosed, pitch black water chimney. This spits you out about 20 feet above the ground right into a pain in the ass juniper tree.
In my opinion, the descent is just as fun as the climb, making this one of my favorite easier routes. Aug 24, 2007
You can also exit from the top of pitch 4. Rappel from the top with a 70 meter rope. Walk towards the Monkey and Misery Ridge on the wide ledge. Ten feet of scramblins gets you off the ledge and onto the hillside. Tack over to the turn on the Misery Ridge Trail (you will intersect with the old trail). This exit has less exposure and gets you fairly close to the top.

The exit off the top of pitch 2 is more ugly and should be avoided. May 3, 2010
Nate Ball
Portland, OR
Nate Ball   Portland, OR  
You can also bail from the anchors of Pitch 3 with two 60m ropes. Hence the presence of rap rings. You will see the bolt line of some crazy-hard route below and to the left. Beware of loose rock on your way down... you'll probably want to move up the hill if you're waiting for your partner to come down. Me and a couple buddies had to do this when it started getting dark... one of us could talk the talk more than they could rock the rock.

This is a fantastic route on which to learn multi-pitch belay setups and transfers. The climbing is pretty fun, the views pretty stellar, without a whole lot of exposure. Pitch 1 is pretty straightforward stemming, knob pulling, and ramping. Pitch 2 is pretty sweet, meanders a little, and is much like the first. Pitch 3 can be a pain in the ass, as it only "climbs" maybe 20 feet, and traverses about 70. Practice your rope signals, because if there is any wind, you won't be able to hear each other at all. Pitch 4 is pretty short, with scary fall potential early on, but the climbing is easy. Pitch 5... this is what you came for. It's the longest, the most technical, and the most exposed. Top out, enjoy the view, then switch into your approach shoes, because the walk off is a little precarious.

As the name suggests, this is a great "date" route as well. ;-) Dec 20, 2010
Heather Bates
Heather Bates  
This is a great route! The exposure is amazing on the last few pitches. Very alpine like feel with the convience of clipping bolts. The views are amazing the entire way up, enjoy the climb!! Jun 2, 2011
This is a great route for learning multi pitch sport climbing. This was my first long(ish) multi pitch climb with my wife, There was zero wind as we hiked in (Misery Ridge is quicker, but sucks...) but by the 3rd pitch we couldn't hear each other at all. I have a pretty loud and carrying voice, but she couldn't hear me once I rounded the corner on the traverse and I never heard her once I was at the anchors ready to belay her. Rope signals were the only thing that worked, but it was a challenge for us. I read the reviews and the guide books, but I truly would recommend practicing and going over rope signals before you start this route. Pitch 1 was fine, 2 was better, 3 was ok (kind of neat with the rounded traverse), pitch 4 was my wife's favorite and the amphitheater feel was neat, but pitch 5 was my favorite and felt a little more exposed. We used a 70m rope and rappelled the 5th pitch for an easy and shorter walk off of the 4th pitch. The 70m was JUST enough rope to get us to the base of 5 with both ends knotted for safety. DO NOT RAP P5 with <70m. This route was a lot of fun! Sep 3, 2013
Updating on what ytterbium said below, at the top of the final pitch there is still a JANKY flake teetering over the edge. If it's television-sized, it's definitely a widescreen. Also, bring walkie-talkies. Oct 21, 2013
Andrew Scherer
  5.7 PG13
Andrew Scherer  
  5.7 PG13
Loose and large boulder near the top of the 5th pitch! Sep 1, 2014
Link up 1st and 2nd pitch to save some time , great easy multi-pich route! Sep 17, 2014
Awesome route. It was our first time doing a muliti-pitch without a guide and we loved the exposure and the easy grade. The down scramble from the top was a little sketchy though with a lot of loose rock. It'd be nice if someone could post some beta pics... we're not even sure we did it the right way! Sep 18, 2014

Climbed this is a pissing rain storm, very entertaining, exposed to the elements. Great views of the monkey. Fun, easy climb for those entering into multi-pitch sport. Dec 13, 2014
Wife I and did this as our first-ever multi-pitch route. Definitely beginner friendly on the way up...the way down, not as much. We got caught by nightfall at end of 5th pitch and had a heck of a time finding the way back to Misery Ridge trail (supposedly it's a bit more straightforward in daylight, but even with headlamps, we nearly spent the night up there). Definitely leave plenty of time for the climb and either go with someone familiar with the way down, or get good instructions (or xerox a topo map ahead of time). The 5 pitches took us about 3 hours - which was longer than I thought they would.

Boulder update: Still a massive boulder looming just above rappel anchors of 5th pitch (the widescreen tv size comparison from earlier post is appropriate). March 14, 2015. Mar 18, 2015
Portland, OR
marmots   Portland, OR
I climbed this on 3/21 in a party of three. We found the key to the walk off was following small cairns immediately left and up from the further back of the two sets of bolts at the top of pitch 5. The cairns lead you slightly down and left of crest for 15 feet then traverse across 3rd class ledges for 100ft before heading back up and right, regaining the "summit" ridge. Here you find an obvious way trail back to the main switchback you see below. If you scramble to the top (3rd class), you can see the entire thing. Mar 24, 2015
First trip up this route: 08/07/15
Thanks for all the work of putting up a fun route.
Bolts are in good condition at all the anchors, but a few protection bolts are a bit loose. We tried to tighten a few, but some may be beyond the point of return. This route would be good for glueins, especially Pitch 2 on that softer rock. Failing that, perhaps bigger mechanical bolts would buy some time (some current bolts looked to be 3/8").

Walk off at top was easy. head left mostly and down a little, then quick ten foot scramble over the ridge towards monkey face and the Misery Ridge trail. With this option it can be climbed with one 60 meter rope easily and no raps.

bring about 4-6 slings for the traverse especially, but handy on other pitches too.

Last set of anchors has a serious death block perched next to it. easily avoided though. Aug 10, 2015
KayJ   Oregon
the "death block" was removed this month by the Park Service! Climbed it today again and it is all good! lots of new cairns placed to identify the walk off. Oct 1, 2015
Daniel Bookless
Portland, OR
Daniel Bookless   Portland, OR
Good multipitch for beginners. Took my wife on this yesterday as her second multi. It was really enjoyable and laid back. Each pitch has something interesting to throw at yeah. The third pitch "bolted sidewalk" is a bit run out, in that the follower(or leader) could potentially take a nasty pendulum. So even if your leading every pitch, make sure your follower is competent. The final pitch begins with a 20 meter face climb thats classic smith rock, very reminiscent of 5 gallon buckets only less steep and with more exposure. Jan 21, 2016
dydayley   camas,wa
I am going to take my sons up first kiss and heard that there is a way to rap down "the climb." I was hoping to do this, if no one is on it as a cool adventure rap with my boys. I cannot seem to find anything about it going or not, but a guy told me he had done it before. Any input would be great. Feb 16, 2016
dydayley, yes, rappelling down The Climb is a common exit for First Kiss. You have good odds of The Climb being open. With that said, I'll never bother with the rappel again. It's slow and there's always the potential for rockfall or stuck ropes. Especially with kids I just wouldn't bother with this. A single rappel (two 60m ropes or reportedly one 70m rope) will get you to the base of the Hello Kitty cliff and a simple walk-off to climber's right. If you've come from Misery Ridge, this has the added benefit of not having to schlep all your gear down and up the trail (i.e. stash your extra gear at the top).

Also, keep an eye on the bird closure for this wall.

Chad Feb 16, 2016
Nick Drake
Newcastle, WA
Nick Drake   Newcastle, WA
Fun route, great intro to multi pitch.

We used two 60cm slings while linking P1&2, drag wasn't terrible.

At the end of the last pitch you come to a ledge and jog left. There is a bolt here and then also one on the left side of the ledge before you climb up to the anchor. Even on 60cm alpine draws you're going to create a lot of rope drag if you clip both of them. Consider using a 120 on the first bolt if you need a directional for your follower, or don't clip that one if they're solid at the grade. Sep 9, 2016
Steven Higdon
Rhododendron, OR
Steven Higdon   Rhododendron, OR
Really fun climb for my first solely sharp end multipitch. We ended up doing the second half after the sun went down which made it more exciting, for sure. It looks like it's been upgraded in the newest version of the guidebook, which I think is accurate if you're climbing it at night.

I'm not sure if it's as a result of a handful of routes coming together near the top, but it seemed like the route was either run out pretty solid at the end, or the intent is to use double-length slings whenever possible. Super fun though. FYI, use the anchors set back from the top of P5 rather than the rap anchors on the ledge at the top of P5. Save your back and an awkward top down belay.

I recommend a night ascent of it if you're already familiar with the descent trail.

5.7+ (day)
5.8- (night) Sep 26, 2016
Jared H.
Eugene, OR
Jared H.   Eugene, OR
Still a few large loose rocks below and above the top lip of P5. Tread lightly. Oct 16, 2017
Darrin Stein
Vancouver, WA
Darrin Stein   Vancouver, WA
This is just a stellar 5.7 to climb and if you read most of the comments, you will see why. Beta on topping out and hiking out if you only bring one rope. You will climb up and get to a bolt, then see another bolt to the left about 3-4 feet away. I have no idea what that is for. We went straight up, past the first set of anchors (didn't clip) to the 'top' second set. When topping out, be mindful of the loose rock that is all over Smith, so you aren't raining pebbles down on lower parties. Just pay attention and place your hand and feet on solid rock and you shouldn't have any issues. There are some loose golf ball to rather large size blocks of rock on top... again... just pay attention. Once you top out, walk back from the 'top' anchors about 15 feet to a flat area to change clothes/shoes and pack up. Now, look at the JohnK and Big Wave Dave standing photo: From where they are standing you can see Monkey Face and the Misery Ridge Trail (not in the photo.. when you are there). In the picture you can see the climbers trail right at the bush along the ridge. This trail takes you to Misery. To get to the bush, we went straight back and up from the 'top' anchors, did a little very careful, slow and steady scrambling and then down to the climbers trail, then to Misery... hang a left and hike it back out to the park entrance. Or, hang a right and take the long hike along the river back around Phoenix. Hope this helps and ENJOY!! Nov 13, 2017
James A  
I'm heading out to Smith Rock this weekend for the first time and realized that I've got a 50m rope. Is that doable with that length? I'm not planning to rappel and won't be combining the first 2 pitches. Thanks! Nov 17, 2017
HenryDietrich Dietrich   Eugene, OR
I left a brand spanking new alpine draw on the second pitch anchors. If someone wants some stellar karma I would love to get it back. Also rad climb Nov 27, 2017
Nate Ball
Portland, OR
Nate Ball   Portland, OR  
"On pitch 5 there is one crux mantle move without any good holds, be ready to smear and pray. Beware at the top of pitch 5, a nearby bolt line finishes at the same anchor and clipping into the other line before you finish will cause disgusting rope drag, even with alpine draws extended out." - Cameron Bennett Jan 27, 2018
Ezra Boden
Hillsboro, OR
Ezra Boden   Hillsboro, OR
Fun lead for beginners or people looking for an adventurous climb. Lots of loose stuff at most of the belay ledges and mid climb. Feb 11, 2018
Kevin MP
Redmond, OR
Kevin MP   Redmond, OR
Just to remind people, this route is closed as of February 10 for prairie falcon nesting along with several other areas in the park for the various raptors that call Smith home. More info found here: smithrock.com/seasonal-clos… Please respect seasonal closures to allow these amazing birds to thrive and to ensure climbing access in the future. Feb 13, 2018
Portland, OR
J B   Portland, OR
Climbed on Monday. 2nd bolt from the end of the 3rd pitch, had a nut that was completely loose. I hand tightened it, and moved along. No tools with us. Aug 9, 2018