Smith Rock State Park (Rock skills practice)
June 15-16, 2002
A small group of Obsidians and guests met early on a fine June morning to make the drive over the mountains to Oregon’s premier rock climbing crag, Smith Rock State Park. The day was already turning warm as we assembled at about 10:00am to hike down into the Crooked River Gorge under towering cliffs of tuff, where many climbers were already at play on the numerous sport and traditional routes of this world renowned destination climbing area. We found some room to put up our ropes (sometimes a challenge due to the area’s popularity) on a “small” block named Rope-De-Dope. We spent the day there, grateful for the time we were able to stay in the shade, sharing know-how, belays and companionship, and challenging ourselves on top-rope or lead on climbs ranging in rating from 5.3 to 5.8. When all of us were sweaty, grimy handed and satisfied with a day of learning we packed the gear back to the cars and drove to our camp at Steelhead Falls, a scenic but little known and little used primitive campground on the Deschutes River outside Terrebonne.
After a restful evening and mild night under the stars we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading back to Smith. This time our destination was an area called Cinnamon Slab, located in one of the more popular sections of the park. Again we were fortunate enough to have relatively quick access to our desired climbing routes; perhaps because we were climbing in full sun on what was again turning out to be quite a bright and warm day. For our second day we expanded on our practice. Some worked on furthering their skills on belaying and climbing on top-rope. Others practiced leading bolted routes, belaying and rappelling on a multi pitched sport route. We ended our day of climbing a bit early as several wanted to be back in Eugene early enough to spend time with their fathers.
This was a fine weekend at one of those beautiful and unique Oregon places; made even better by sharing the pleasure and challenge of rock climbing with a great bunch of people. Every one is to be commended for their cooperative spirit, hard work and success at meeting new challenges. Special thanks to my co-leader, George Baitinger, for his expert help and support in making this a safe and successful outing. Other bolt clipping, hang dogging climbers were: Eric Bonnet, Wayne Deeter, Bill Johnson, Richard Gambino, Sandy McFarland and Doug Nelson (leader).
— photos by Wayne Deeter