Type: Trad, 600 ft, 5 pitches, Grade II
FA: Thomas Emde, Jim Ablao, August 6, 2004
Page Views: 3,654 total · 44/month
Shared By: Max Tepfer on Mar 5, 2012
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

11 Opinions

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Another newer multipitch line on the NE face of the Smith Rock Group, Freedom has excellent climbing for the majority of the route and is a totally worthwhile adventure. P1 was forgettable, but every pitch after that featured stellar climbing on comparably good stone.

While the rock quality isn't as good as the well-travelled single pitch classics, it's quite good, especially when compared with the routes around it. The position and movement are exceptional.

P1: 10a, 20m. Scramble 20' up to the first bolt and blast off making the occasional techy move on licheny, slightly loose rock. 6 bolts.

P2: 5.11, 25m. Delicate opening moves give way to excellent incut jugs and crimps up a gradually steepening corner. One hard move at the finish brings you to an anchor around to the right. Fun movement (reminiscent of Panic Attack) on better rock. 10 bolts.

P3: 5.11, 35m. Scramble up to the base of the headwall, clip the first bolt, and commit to steep moves on good holds. The angle rolls over pretty quickly, but the moves stay on you as you climb up the slabby, splitter seam. Step right to the anchor. 8 bolts and gear.

P4: 5.12, 25m. Walk over to the right side of the arete and clip the first bolt. Be self-aware moving to the second bolt, as the first bolt isn't going to do much to keep you from landing on the belay ledge if you blow it moving to, or clipping the next. The moves wouldn't be too bad to reverse if you realized you weren't going to make it, but are by no means trivial. After that it's classic thin slab climbing up the right side of the arete with amazing exposure and position. This would be a tough onsight without chalked holds. 6 bolts.
This pitch can be avoided by climbing the bolt line immediately above the belay at 5.11.

P5: 5.11, 30m. Another delicate traverse right gains a left leaning crack system. Slabby moves take you to a roof crux and sustained, leaning fingers for 20'. Good holds lead right to a line of bolts up a spectacular headwall with awesome climbing on good rock. 7 bolts and gear.

P6: 5.5, 15m. Optional. We didn't do it, but it looked pretty mellow, if a little loose. I don't think there's a rap anchor, but the topo indicates a bolt. As of 3/3/2012, there was a manky fixed line running to something up there.

All pitches can be rapped with a 70m Rope. (except the summit pitch) I'm sure somebody could make it work with a 60 and some trickery, but you should really bring a 70 to rap.
You could also bring shoes and walk off the backside. (15 minutes summit-Asterisk Pass)


100' climber's left of Season's Change.


Single rack to #2, Stoppers, 10 Quickdraws.


Jon Rhoderick
Redmond, OR
Jon Rhoderick   Redmond, OR
Fantastic route, with the best rock of the Smith Rock Group I've climbed on:
The second pitch is a high quality flake crack feature that gets pretty steep
The third had probably the hardest moves, right off a hollow block onto an overhang
We did the Good Ol Days Variation, go up the flake crack farther than what the guidebook says and look for 2 bolts heading right, trying not to be too sad about leaving that awesome feature as you eye it from the belay
I brought doubles of finger size pieces for the gear section on the last pitch and was satisfied with that choice, BD 1 and 2 are useful as well. The bolted section has lots of cryptic moves with plenty of rests as well.
The 5.5 pitch is worth doing as you can put shoes on and walk down instead of rapping, it has 1 pro bolt and a 1 bolt anchor. Jun 12, 2013
Dave McRae
Bend, OR
Dave McRae   Bend, OR
The manky fixed line on pitch six has been removed.

A huge slackline anchor has been added to the summit. Mar 15, 2015
Ryan Palo
Bend, oregon
Ryan Palo   Bend, oregon
Great route. We linked p1+2 and p4+5. Forgo the anchor of pitch 4 if you dont want terrible rope drag. I climbed the crux pitch mostly on the face. Thought it was pretty desperate that way. Id suggest staying on the arete. Rack: doubles in metolius 1,2,3. Single 0, maybe 4&5. Walk off is fast and easy. Jul 19, 2015
Josh Janes    
"Fantastic Route?" "...The best rock...?" Four stars? Seriously folks? I might expect that from locals who have never climbed outside of Smith Rock, but from well-traveled climbers such as Mr. Palo, such a quality rating is unfathomable. Mr. Tepfer writes “…the rock quality… [is] quite good, especially when compared with the routes around it.” I break out into a cold sweat to think what those routes might be like! Now granted, I’ve only climbed somewhere in the vicinity of 60 desert towers, and I certainly haven’t climbed much at Smith, so I might not have the requisite local experience to truly appreciate the “quality” of the stone on this route, but allow me to indulge myself by writing an alternate description in order to capture the essence of the route as experienced by a visiting lightweight. I've heard it said that writing about your trauma is a good way to work through it!

P1 (10, 80’): Begin just left of a massive crack/chimney system at a nice pine tree and scramble 20’ up to the first bolt. Spaced bolts on the remainder of the pitch will keep falls under 40' but do little to prevent striking a ledge or slab which is a distinct possibility given the low-density of the rock. Belay on a comfortable ledge.

P2 (11c, 90’): Easily clip the first bolt well to the right of the belay then inexplicably move back left again and perform difficult moves on hollow, small holds directly above your belayer. Breathe a sigh of relief (climber and belayer alike) once the second bolt is clipped and continue up into a steeper, left-leaning obtuse dihedral which is much more well-protected. Step right on larger hollow holds to a belay around the corner on a spacious ledge.

P3 (11c, 100’): Climb up a horribly rotten pillar (unprotected without trad gear and even with trad gear possibly still unprotected). From the top of the pillar stand on a shifting block and reach up to clip the first bolt. Pull onto the concave wall behind the pillar using holds the size and consistency of loaves of bread, doing a few committing, sporty and fun moves (you're kinda happy that the pillar you just climbed is so rotten because if you blow the second clip you'll most certainly tag it). Soon you will, thankfully, gain a bolt protected seam. Follow this a ways to an overlap formed by two blocks - one the size of a microwave and the other the size of a toaster. These blocks are horrifying: Pulling on them is mandatory and they are ready to go. The thought that the FA’ists didn’t trundle them is mind-boggling, and were my dog and pack not parked at the base of the route I would have done the deed then and there. These blocks would pull directly into your lap, or, at best, miss chopping your rope and miss your belayer who is directly in the line of fire, and miss any other hapless souls on the route or trail below you. Once above these, continue up the gear-protected seam, place a high piece, and traverse hard right 15’ to a spectacular belay ledge at the base of an exposed, sharp arete.

P4 Option 1 (12b, 80’): Get established on the face right of the arete by using, or more sensibly avoiding, two teetering “cheater” blocks sitting on the ledge. Initially use the arete, then move away from it, then return back near the top. This pitch is delightfully solid, albeit sharp!

P4 Option 2 (11a, 90’): Traverse back left 15’ from the belay and clip a bolt with a long sling then commit to liebacking and stemming a steep open book that is loaded with amazing, thin flakes and jugs. Scary holds but well-bolted and steep enough to be safe. High on the pitch, break out right at a 5-piece bolt (departing from the line of glue-ins that continues up) and move up and right using a wonderful pocket to arrive at the same comfortable belay as for Option 1.

P5 (11a/b, 100’): Step right into a chossy “crack” formed by a giant nest of loose blocks. “Protect” this mess as you thrutch up it (crux) - large nuts (take that however you wish) seemed quite useful here. After 20-30’ of unnerving progress, a move up onto the face to the right leads to more solid, bolt protected climbing. Unfortunately, for some arbitrary reason, the first of these bolts is unclippable until you’ve committed, but thankfully (!) someone has marked the worst of the loose holds with an “x” so at least you know when you do the mandatory pull on it what might happen. I had pro at my feet here: two equalized cams on either side of a small, moving chockstone that would hopefully wedge it in place in the event of a fall. Fun climbing up the more solid face leads to a belay, but consider linking into the final pitch.

P6 (5, 40’): Continue above the belay to a bolt, then trend hard left onto a stepped ramp which leads to the summit - a pretty awesome place to be. A bit of static line and a single bolt at the topout will allow you to easily reverse this pitch back to the previous anchor and rap the route.

I’m giving this route one star which translates to “OK” as I can’t really understand some of the bolt location choices and lack of due diligence with regards to cleaning by the FA’ists. If this route cleaned up (the worst of which could be accomplished on rappel with minimal effort) and a couple bolts were moved, I could see upgrading it to two ("Good"), or even three ("Great") stars. Much of the movement and almost all of the position of the climb is excellent.

Full disclosure: Though I onsighted the route it was via the easier variation. I TR’d the harder variation while on rappel. Meanwhile, two other climbers nearby attempting to climb Lost in Space got off route and accidentally climbed the second pitch of Season’s Change - the leader taking a massive whipper after ripping off several hundred pounds of loose rock. I watched the whole thing and am still amazed that both climbers survived! Curiously, the Watts guidebook calls Season’s Change a three-star route and that pitch in particular is described as “nice” and “solid”. Hmmm… Sep 21, 2016
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
I went up and cleaned the most suspect of the blocks on pitches 3 and 5. There's still a hollow-ish block on pitch 3 (Josh's microwave) that I couldn't get to budge despite some heavy-handed persuading with a pry-bar. It might have gone if I'd also had a hammer. Regardless, it seems pretty well attached for what we're asking of it. Maybe we can try again after another decade of freeze-thaw.

The fixed line is back on the summit and is maintained by SAR. Please leave it in place. Apr 13, 2017
Really good route. Probably the best multipitch I've done at Smith Rock. One word of caution though, clipping the first bolt on the crux pitch is quite heady as you are risking a ledge fall if you botch it. Same goes for the second bolt. Be careful. Other than that though, every pitch other than the first is memorable and fun! Get on it!

p.s. p2 & p3 could probably be lead with gear if you bring micronuts... Aug 24, 2017