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Rio's Smaug Face Problem 

Hueco: V3-4 Font: 6A+

Type:  Boulder, 13'
Original:  Hueco: V3-4 Font: 6A+ [details]
FA: Rio Rose?
Page Views: 464
Submitted By: Christian Prellwitz on May 21, 2015

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Snagging the lip of 'Rio's Smaug Face Problem'. Su...


This climb flies a bit under the radar because it's not in the guidebook, but it's deserving of more attention.

Start sitting with two obvious low edges and small feet. Make a hard move to gain a good edge and then continue upward via incuts and sidepulls to a delicate top out. Though the rock is somewhat fragile/hollow feeling, this is a really good climb with great flow to the moves.

The landing is a little spooky due to the possibility that you might fall down into a gap between the boulders and end up at the bottom of the start of 'Hobbit Hole'. Given that, it's a good idea to be fairly solid at the grade before climbing this or to have a few pads and spotters.


This climb can be found on top of the boulder that 'Jaws' is on. It climbs an obvious face that is on the same boulder as 'Hobbit Hole'.


A couple of pads and perhaps a spotter as the possibility of falling into the hole is kind of spooky.

Photos of Rio's Smaug Face Problem Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting position
Starting position
Rock Climbing Photo: Moving past the flake
Moving past the flake
Rock Climbing Photo: This photo shows the starting holds (red) and gene...
BETA PHOTO: This photo shows the starting holds (red) and gene...

Comments on Rio's Smaug Face Problem Add Comment
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By Christian Prellwitz
From: Telluride, CO
May 21, 2015

Since many people have acknowledged the quality of this route, I decided to add it to the site. I called it 'Rio's Face' to distinguish it from 'Rio's Problem' to avoid confusion. Another addition to the million other Rio lines out there. Rio certainly had a good eye for lines.
By Ian McAfee
From: Concord, NH
May 21, 2015

Hey Christian,

Matt Wallace asked about this line, on The Zoo page comments, Bryce he says it's called Rio's Smaug Problem, or Smaug's Face. I had always wondered about that climb because I had always seen chalk on it and dug around a bit for information and found that comment. After climbing it, I love the line and think it's great climbing, but the flake before the topout is just a ticking time bomb, which is why I think it wasn't posted.

Nice picture btw!
By Christian Prellwitz
From: Telluride, CO
May 22, 2015

Yah, I had seen that discussion, though I think there's another 'Smaug Face' problem on this same boulder, located on the other side. Either way, I've renamed it to include every variation of the name. :)

I agree that the high right hand sidepull flake is pretty hollow, but it can also be done without that hold by going straight to the lip off the good left hand in the middle of the face. It's a grade or two harder this way, but arguably better. I thought it would be better to post it so people at least knew what they were getting in to grade wise and leave it up to them to make good decisions about the landing and what holds to use.

So, yes, beware of the landing and the fragility of some of the holds. Climb softly.
By Lanky
From: Tired
May 22, 2015

This thing is super good, but the flakes up higher seem suspect to me. I remember climbing pretty gingerly up there.
By Ian McAfee
From: Concord, NH
May 22, 2015

Oh interesting, wonder if either of the possible lines it could be is in the underground book.
By Andrew Nelligan
From: Henniker, NH
Nov 10, 2015

If you can get past the fear of popping that flake and knocking all of your teeth out, this is an awesome problem. Might be worth noting that brushing the pine needles off of the landing can help keep your pad (and you) from sliding into the abyss.
By Graham O.
Sep 4, 2016
rating: V3 6A

Really cool problem except for the choss. Could be three or maybe even four stars but the flake is so hollow that you can hear an echo inside of it when you knock on it. Be sure to pull up, not out on the flake. Other than that, really fun problem! Pretty sure it's actually called "Sisyphus".

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