Smith Rock State Park
May 8-9, 2004
This was the third year that I have had the pleasure of leading a weekend of introductory rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park near Redmond. Smith is a renowned sport climbing area but, with its towering cliffs, abundant wildlife and miles of hiking and biking trails, the appeal is not limited to climbers.
The weather for our trip was near perfect. Intermittent clouds and a gentle breeze kept the temperatures comfortably cool and quite suitable for rock climbing. Our group of ten spent the morning at a formation called Rope-De-Dope Block, working on a number of climbing routes of varying degrees of difficulty and finding plenty to challenge everyone. Later in the afternoon the group split up, with some opting to enjoy some of the fine hiking and vistas in the park while the rest continued to test themselves on the vertical faces.
Though the timing of the trip worked very well in many ways, perhaps I should not have scheduled a weekend trip in conflict with Mother’s Day. More than half the group decided to return to town on Saturday evening. It’s hard to compete with Mom! Those of us who stayed enjoyed a quiet evening at Steelhead Falls, a primitive but scenic campground overlooking the Deschutes River. There is little that is more relaxing than a peaceful night sleeping under a brilliant canopy of stars.
After breakfast we returned to the park for more climbing. For our second day we crossed the Crooked River to play in the more popular climbing area near The Dihedrals. Everyone had progressed in ability after one day of practice, and we ramped things up a notch or two for our second day; climbing more challenging routes, practicing rappels from tiny ledges and, for one new climber, taking the “sharp end” and putting the rope up on a couple of routes.
Though we all could have climbed longer, we ended our day early enough to make the drive home in time to enjoy dinner with our families. Thanks to George and everyone for the help and cooperative effort. For me it was a very enjoyable trip.
Climbers were: George Baitinger (assistant), Bob Burnett, Wayne Deeter, Laurie Funkhouser, Andy Jobanek, George Jobanek, Abe Mooney, Mark Slipp, Steve Still and Doug Nelson (leader).
—photos by Wayne Deeter