Type: Sport, 500 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Lawson, Emde various pitches 2001 to 2004. FFA Thomas Emde October 2004
Page Views: 2,884 total · 28/month
Shared By: ferrells on Jun 12, 2010
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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Sometimes technical, sometimes powerful, this long and involved route is an exhilarating experience. The Struggle Within has great position, cool cruxes, requires power and endurance, has good protection, and has surprisingly good rock.
It is composed of four pitches. All bolt recommendations are approximate:

Pitch 1 (5.11a, 11 bolts + anchors). A mix of 5.9 to 5.10 stemming, laybacking, edging, etc. leads to a crux traverse to the left. Sequential enough that I had to downclimb out of my dead-end and go back up to do it right. Don't tire yourself out, you have a long way to go. Make sure to traverse to the left two bolts before the anchor that sits straight up. The climbing is easy by the time you can clip the last bolt, but clip it for the follower (Wish I had - sorry Jason). Belay on a cushy ledge to the left, below a sharp flake/hand crack.

Pitch 2 (5.11c, 11 bolts + anchors). The best pitch of the route. Conserve energy by climbing efficiently in the crack, and tackle a powerful roof. From here, edge and pocket your way for the other half of the route. Belay at a tight perch. Pumpy and cool as hell.

Pitch 3 (5.8, 6 bolts, 1 red or yellow camalot (hand sized) + anchors). Decent climbing and awesome position, but it's on mossy rock. The distance between bolts, combined with the moss give it a touch of seriousness, but it's not that bad.

Pitch 4 (5.11d, 11 bolts + anchors). The hardest and most incredible pitch. I preferred the second to this one, but this one is exciting for the higher level of difficulty.
Start on a crumbling, frightening arete/face, and run it out between good bolts on mostly good holds. This will put you below the roof. Pulling the roof is the hardest section, but the crux of the route is surely holding it together for the headwall. It's difficult to tell what holds are solid and what aren't, and it is a long pitch requiring thought. Some of these moves may be 5.10+ or 5.11-. A great pitch that will, in time, clean up nicely and feel like Lion Zion, only with an 11+ move in the middle.
Above the hardest climbing, the angle kicks back. The final run to the anchor is easy climbing, but kind of freaky. At one point, you don't have a solid hold for either of your hands or feet, and are about twenty feet run-out. I think you could get a hand sized cam in up there, but I didn't have one with me.

A good comparison is Gulag Archipelago, one of the best multi-pitch routes at Smith, but this route has better position, harder cruxes, and is significantly more sustained. Its black eye is imperfect rock - but with good bolts, that just makes it more exciting, right? A great adventure sport route.


On the Smith Summit spire of the Northeast Face of the Smith Rock formation. Hike to Phoenix Buttress, and turn back towards Asterisk Pass for perhaps a hundred feet. Beyond the big gully, you'll find a cluster of bolted routes where this one starts.
Start on the flakes and sidepulls (left hand route), and go left at every opportunity.
You'll need two 60's to get down the fourth pitch. It's physical to pull the ropes from the final pitch, and very tricky getting them down from the 2nd rappel. Be careful where your rope runs while you are rappelling on this pitch, and be prepared to lead back up. Once at the top of the 2nd pitch, we did one more 55 meter rappel to the ground. Obviously, leave sufficient time to descend - the potential to epic on the descent is there.
Because you are rapping straight down the route, it is possible to bail at any time.


Bolts and bolted anchors. 15 or so draws with some long slings for anchors. Bring two 60's to rap off.
You could bring a red and yellow camalot to protect the start of the 5.8 pitch and the end of the 11d pitch, but you probably won't kill yourself if you don't.


Bend, OR
CritConrad   Bend, OR
I'll chime in with a few thoughts on this route after doing it today. I feel like we underestimated how long it was going to take. the pitches are relatively long and the climbing is sustained making every pitch take just a little longer.

I felt that the 4th pitch (11d) was a little sandbagged and could possibly get 12a. a hard roof move then i kept whipping off above there cause hands and feet kept breaking. This one still has a good bit of choss.

We decided to do one more pitch to reach the summit and although the guidebook makes it sound like simple 5.5 or 5.6 with little pro, this was by far the most adventurous part of the route. Loads of loose rock, super sketchy with semi-challenging route finding. It also had one bolt right where you DONT need one. pulling the ropes from the summit went fine, we thought it would be a mess.

Holy crap that second pitch is fun! Jan 25, 2015
Paul Hahler  
Last pitch is awesome if you are looking for some true on-sight climbing. No chalks and a lot of tiny and bigger stuff that comes off. The rock quality scared us away from the last 5.5/5.6 section that leads to the true summit. Sep 20, 2015
Portland, OR
ChiHarris   Portland, OR
I did the route about 3 or 4 years ago, albeit not clean, and it was fun in the Smith adventure sense. Some notes:

Pitch one and two are clean. Pitch three is a little dirty, but it's easy and short. Pitch four would be a fun pitch IF it cleaned up (I'm not sure if it will ever see enough traffic). I was pulling bread-loafs off that pitch in multiple areas. The falls are clean on pitch four, so don't be afraid to try for a hold but my advice is to only grab and step on the rock welded into the face. Any hold that looks like a jug or big hold will most likely explode in your hand.

The optional fifth pitch that takes you to the top of the spire feels like 5.6 X. Everything is crumbling the whole way up and it is terrifying. There is one shiny bolt half way up that pitch with no gear placements in between. Expect 50+ft run outs on crumbling rock. At the top of the spire one of the two anchor bolts was 'wiggly', but it was all we had to rap from. This pitch offers a very rare and unique view of the park.

Pulling the rope on pitch four can prove difficult. Our rope became stuck and we had to prusik up the 100 foot pitch to fix the rope. Feb 20, 2016