Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

Gulag Archipelago

5.11+, Sport, 380 ft, 4 pitches,  Avg: 3.5 from 70 votes
FA: Jeff Frizzel, Jim Ablao
Oregon > Central Oregon > Smith Rock > (u) Red Wall


1st pitch crux comes low(11a). 2nd pitch (11c/d) enjoyable moves on nice rock stays with you to the ledge. 3rd pitch waterstreak has 10d move at bulge. The 4th(9) climbs big holds to the top. Scramble into left gully to rap from pitch 4 or descend misery Ridge.
Over-all a fun climb on good rock with great position.


NE face of Red Wall. uphill left of Helter Skelter, downhill left of Super Slab
Descent: Continue up and use misery Ridge trail-OR-From top, Scramble down gully left to sneak the 3rd pitch anchor to begin rappels.
1. Rap to base of water streak anchor(pitch 2)
2. Rap to ground using 2 ROPES.


See: for downloadable topo

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Starting up P1
[Hide Photo] Starting up P1
Coming up p2.
[Hide Photo] Coming up p2.
First pitch of Gulag Archipeligo.  <br>
Josh on Route.  Nora on Belay
[Hide Photo] First pitch of Gulag Archipeligo. Josh on Route. Nora on Belay
Leesa on the top of Gulag Archipelago (p4)
[Hide Photo] Leesa on the top of Gulag Archipelago (p4)
Topping out on p4
[Hide Photo] Topping out on p4

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jeff Siefman
Portland Oregon
[Hide Comment] Super fun route! Perhaps some of the most fun to be had! Watch the choss on pitch 4! Aug 13, 2009
[Hide Comment] Amazing route. 11b, 11c, 11b, .9. Well bolted, great rock on the first three pitches, beautiful views, and fun moves. One of my favorite days at Smith so far. Nov 8, 2009
[Hide Comment] Is this the correct name for the route? I thought it was Archipelago, and would ignore the spelling above, but I think you are the guy that did the FA. Mar 7, 2010
Jim Ablao
[Hide Comment] Yes Ferells, thanks for the spell-check. Glad you enjoyed the route. Cheers Jul 14, 2010
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
[Hide Comment] Great route! Second pitch is probably one of the top three pitches at the grade on the tuff... (IMO) super good rock quality. Third and fourth are easily linked and probably should be. Additionally, they're not nearly as high-quality as the first two and only worth doing if you're set on getting your merit badge for doing the whole thing. Also, I've rapped this with one 70m rope. You have to do a short, mellow down-climb to the ground in the amphitheater right of Super Slab, but it's not too bad. Apr 13, 2011
  5.11b PG13
[Hide Comment] I thought this was one of the best routes I've been on at Smith! Just after the crux bulge on the 3rd pitch, there are some loose flakes. I would second the recommendation to link the 3rd and 4th pitches, but there would be some ledge fall potential from the crumbly stuff on the last pitch if you whipped. I thought the 3rd pitch, although easier, was absolutely brilliant and not to be missed. Apr 22, 2013
Matt Farrell
Bend, Oregon
[Hide Comment] Between the 1st and 2nd bolts on the 4th pitch theres a pretty decent sized loose block. Its about 3 feet right of the bolt line and looks like a good foot. I wanted to trundle it, but it was definitely too busy at the park. Be careful climbing past it... Apr 22, 2015
Andrew Child
Corvallis, Or
[Hide Comment] Amazing route. Its possible to skip the crux bulge on the third pitch by traversing right onto easier (5.8) terrain and skipping the next bolt (obviously this creates a decent runout). Sep 7, 2016