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(zz) Upper Gorge

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Big Tuna S 
Bushwhacker S 
Celibate wives S 
Conflicted Goddess S 
E type Jag S 
Feminazis S 
Land of the Lost T 
Natural Art S 
Naxis S 
Shark Infested Waters S 
Sign Of The Priest, The S 
Up Country S 
Urge, The S 

(zz) Upper Gorge Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 185'
Location: 44.36434, -121.12783 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 5,333
Administrators: Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bryson Slothower on Mar 1, 2006
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Seasonal Raptor Closure 2016 MORE INFO >>>


Steller basalt sport climbing with a small sprinkling of trad climbs. Mostly upper grades 11's and up.

Getting There 

Up stream from the Lower Gorge. Either bushwack or take a long walk and scramble down from the top of the North side of the Gorge.

Climbing Season

For the Smith Rock area.

Weather station 6.9 miles from here

13 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in (zz) Upper Gorge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for (zz) Upper Gorge:
Naxis   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport   
E type Jag   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in (zz) Upper Gorge

Featured Route For (zz) Upper Gorge
Rock Climbing Photo: Clipping the 3rd bolt on the third ascent of Big T...

Big Tuna 5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a  OR : Smith Rock : (zz) Upper Gorge
This is the big prize in the Upper Gorge. If there is a harder route on a basalt column anywhere in the world, I'd like to see it.This route is the ultimate in a unique genre of double-arete column climbing, or "Outies" (vs. "Innies") as Jeff Frizzel sometimes called them. If you're interested in achieving an ascent of this route, I recommend a gradual apprenticeship through the bolted columns of the Lower Gorge (routes such as Try to Be Hip & Catalayst) then working through the "outies" of th...[more]   Browse More Classics in OR

Comments on (zz) Upper Gorge Add Comment
Show which comments
By Peter Franzen
From: Phoenix, AZ
Sep 1, 2008
Condition update on the approach:

Apparently, nobody goes here any more. After dropping down the gully from the rim we were faced with some hellish bushwhacking through 8ft. tall reeds and underbrush. We were able to fight our way to E-Type Jag, but most routes out here will need some significant brush clearing in order to have a place from which to belay.

Full-length pants and sleeves should be considered essential equipment for this approach, and a machete wouldn't be a bad idea either.

E-Type is still worth the hike though.
By ----
Dec 16, 2008
Are there any access issues with any of the cliffs in the upper gorge? Watts mentions in his guidebook that the Red Columns and the Ivory Coast are closed to climbing due to liability concerns of the property owners. I know this book was written a long time ago and I also know that people have climbed in these areas in recent years. What is the latest? Anyone know anything? Am I going to get shot at if I try to climb here?
By ChrisAlex5
From: Portland, OR
Apr 5, 2011
I'd be interested, very interested, if I could track down a veteran of this area who would be interested and available, especially mid-week, to clean it up a bit, and climb it a bit more. I have good pruners, good loppers, a crappy machete, and a strong will, and, again, mid-week availability (and Tech-nu).

To be clear, I do NOT have any experience in the Upper Gorge. I'd like to find someone who knows the area to minimize wasting time trying to figure it all out, but I'm happy to put some work back into day or two, perhaps even three...Anyone?
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Apr 6, 2011
If you're serious, you might consider contacting Paul Marshall. He's an architect living in Bend. He was Mr. Upper Gorge when I was climbing there in '05. He was talking about moving back East, so he may not be in Bend anymore.

The Upper Gorge is a great crag that deserves more attention.
By JamesLucas
Feb 3, 2012
The routes in the upper gorge with their cryptic, intricate climbing, on high quality rock, makes the dihedrals look like a fluffed up bunch of choss. Why don't Smith rocks "hardmen" climb down here?
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Feb 3, 2012
Its called "Smith Rock".