The Gorge Area

Drowning out the presence of others in the park, the rushing river water splashes over giant boulders as it continues to carve a trough in this mile stretch of towering basalt columns known as The Gorge.

 
From the rimrock on the east side of the Student Wall, to the range of crack and sport climbs on the Lower and Upper Gorge, climbers have been coming to this area since the 50s.

Staying on the west side of the river, just up the gorge from the Northern Point are the west columns of the Lower Gorge. This concentration of quality climbs, every six feet for 300 yards,  lies just below private property high on the rim above.

climbers on Lower Gorge approach in the Gorge AreaThe approach to all west column routes starts with a drive past the Welcome Center to a cul-de-sac with a fee station and portable toilets. Park there.

The last house on the right just before the turnaround belongs to Oregon State Parks.

Follow the driveway and continue to the rim.

Look for a third-class stack of columns that leads into the canyon as you hike upstream.

Crooked River boulder crossing in the Lower Gorge Take care on the descent. While easy, you should pay attention to the exposure.

Once at the river, you can hop over boulders to get to the east side.

 

Student Wall in the Gorge at Smith Rock State ParkWhether you get there by crossing the river or going the long way around on the Wolf Tree Trail, the Student Wall offers some of the best of the rimrock in the area.

It’s located just opposite and south in the gorge from the Northern Point.

Recorded first ascents from the early days are pretty sketchy, even though it was popular in its day and for a couple decades that followed due to the nearby climbers camp and parking lot, now defunct.

Sport climbing took off there in the 90s, with bolts allowing for top-roping off the rim. Now a well-marked trail leading off the Burma Road Trail just after it connects to the Wolf Tree Trail gets you there. Take a right after the bridge as it winds along the river for about a mile.

Keep heading up the canyon on the same side of river as the Student Wall you come to the east columns of the Lower Gorge.Lower Gorge at Smith Rock State Park

While it may not have as many lines as its rival columns on the west side, being away from private land has its privileges.  They extend through the rimrock to the top of the cliff.

Rounding the 90 degree tip of the east side bend of the river brings you to the challenging columns of the Upper Gorge, offering some of the best advanced climbing at Smith.

A concentrated section of hard routes with a combination of tough stem and technical faces all in a single pitch are commonplace. A half mile walk along the canal on an auxiliary road off of the Burma Road Trail above gets you there.

To help with your exploration of The Gorge, we’ve scoped some selects in each of the main areas above:
(All are rated 3 star in Alan Watts’ Guidebook, with * noting a 4 star)

Student Wall:
Reproductive Wall:

5.7s:
School’s Out  
trad, 1 pitch

5.9s:
Passing Grade  mixed to 3 inches, 1 pitch
Virgin Slayer
 trad, 1 pitch

5.10s:
Flight Song 5.10a  trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch

5.11s:
Puppet Master 5.11a  TR, 1 pitch
Gridlocked 5.11b  sport, 6 bolts, 1 pitch
*Drilling Zona
 5.11c  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Embryonic 5.11d  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Sorority Girl 5.12b  trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch


Kindergarten Cliff:
Textbooks:
5.7s:
Heart Throb  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.8s:
Deep Sleep  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.9s:
Big Man on Campus  trad, gear to 1 inch, 1 pitch
The Virgin Slayer
  trad, gear to 3.5 inches, 1 pitch

5.10s:
Global Motion 5.10b  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
Labyrinth 5.10b  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
Little Bo Peep 5.10c  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Silly Boy
5.10c  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Theseus 5.10c  trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch


Lower Gorge West Columns:

Cox Rocks (aka Parched Cat Cliff):
5.9s:
The Lonesome Crowded West  trad, gear to 1 inch, 1 pitch
Patent Leather Pump  trad, 1 pitch, 65′

5.10s:
Oriface 5.10b  mixed to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Edgewise 5.10d  sport, 6 bolts, 1 pitch


Wildfire Wall:

5.10s:
Gruff 5.10a  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
Badfinger 5.10b  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Cornercopia 5.10b  mixed to 1.5 inches, 1 pitch
*Cruel Sister 5.10b  trad, gear to 3.5 inches, 1 pitch
Rim Job 5.10b  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
*Wildfire
5.10b  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
*White Trash finish 5.10d  sport, 5 bolts, 1 pitch

5.11s:
*Cry of the Poor 5.11a  trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch
On the Road 5.11a  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Out of Darkness 5.11a  mixed to 2 inches, 1 pitch
Pure Palm 5.11a  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
Crack-a-no-go 5.11b  trad, gear to 3.5 inches, 1 pitch
Crime Wave
 5.11b  trad, gear to 1.5 inch, 1 pitch
Lion of Judah 5.11d  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Just Say Yes 5.12a  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Split Decision
5.12a  trad, gear to 1 inch, 1 pitch
Try to Be Hip 5.12a  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
*White Trash 5.12a  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
The Caning 5.12b  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Edge of the Road 5.12c TR, 1 pitch
Resuscitation 5.12c  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch


Catwalk Columns:
5.10s:
Quasar 5.10a  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
*Blood Clot 5.10b  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
*Last Chance
5.10c  trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch
Prometheus
5.10c  trad, gear up to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch

5.11s:
Ground Zero 5.11a  trad, gear up to 1.5 inches, 1 pitch
Crossroads
5.11b  mixed to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Night Shift 5.11b  trad, gear up to 2 inches, 1 pitch
*The Pearl 5.11b  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Mid-Life Celebration 5.11c  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
Northern Lights 5.11d  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Nuclear 5.11d  mixed to 2 inches, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Full Court Press 5.12a  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
*Child Abuse 5.12b  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch


Star Wall:

5.10s:
Last Days 5.10a  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Mantra 5.10a  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
Left Wing
5.10c  mixed to 1 inch, 1 pitch
*Morning Star 5.10c  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Daytime Drama 5.12a  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Cry of the Gerbil
5.12b  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch


Jungleland:

5.7s:
Big Chimney X  trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch

5.10s:
Bush Doctor 5.10a  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.12s:
*Masquerade 5.12b R  trad, gear to 1 inch, 1 pitch


Lower Gorge East Columns:
So Low Wall:

5.8s:
Pipsqueak  
trad, gear up to 3 inches, 1 pitch


Windfall Wall:
5.8s:
Jeepers Creepers
X  trad, gear up to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.10s:
Fool’s Pleasure
5.10a  trad, gear up to 4 inches, 1 pitch
Baby Walks 5.10a R  trad, gear up to 3.5 inches, 1 pitch
Llama Momma 5.10b  trad, gear up to 4 inches, 1 pitch
Margo’s Madness
 5.10b  trad, gear up to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.11s:
Hard Attack 5.11a  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Mister Reach 5.11b  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Windfall
5.11b  trad, gear up to 1 inch, 1 pitch
*The Sheepgate 5.11c  mixed to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Wave of Mutilation
5.12a  sport, 5 bolts, 1 pitch
Zealot
5.12a  trad, gear up to 1 inch, 1 pitch


Hand Job Wall:

5.10s:
Hand Job
5.10b  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Original Sin
5.10c  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch


Arrington Columns:
5.10s:
Brother’s Child
5.10c  trad, gear to 2.5 inches

5.11s:
*Master Looney 5.11a  trad, mixed to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch


Shakespeare Cliff:
5.8s:
Ophelia  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.9s:
Midsummer Night’s Scream  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
Othello
 trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch

5.10s:
Puck 5.10a  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
As You Like It
5.10b  trad, gear to 2.5 inches, 1 pitch
Lust Labours Cost 5.10b  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch
Much Ado About Nothing 5.10d  trad, gear to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.11s:
Yost in Space 5.11a  TR, 1 pitch
Measure for Madness 5.11d  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch


Upper Gorge:
The Ivory Coast:
5.11s:
*Punk Primitive 5.11b  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Wardance 5.12a  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
New Breed Leader 5.12b  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Orphan’s Cruel 5.12b  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Slack Mackerel 5.12b  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
*Chillin’ in the Penzo 5.12c  sport, 11 bolts, 1 pitch
Peach Nails 5.12c  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
Streaming Café Flirts 5.12c  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
*The Urge 5.12d  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch

5.13s:
*Controlled Hysteria 5.13a  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
Cuban Slide 5.13b  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
*Big Tuna 5.13c  sport, 11 bolts, 1 pitch


Red Columns:

5.12s:
Persuasion
5.12a  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Brazilian Skies
5.12b  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Screams and Whispers
5.12b  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
Shark-Infested Waters
5.12b  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
*Atlas Shrugged 5.12c  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Red Lily Q 5.12c  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Slay the Dragon 5.12c  sport, 6 bolts, 1 pitch


Upstream Routes:
Playing in Traffic Area:
5.10s:
Just Do It 5.10a  trad, gear up to 3 inches, 1 pitch

5.11s:
Starkist 5.11a  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Formula One
5.11c  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Six Hits of Sunshine 5.11c  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
Talladega 5.11c  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Octane 96 5.12b  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
*Playing in Traffic
5.12b  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
Black Orpheus
5.12c  sport, 11 bolts, 1 pitch


The Vatican Wall:

5.11s:
Hail Mary 5.11d  trad, gear to 1 inch, 1 pitch


Middle Earth:

5.10s:
E-Type Shag 
5.10a  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
Naxis 5.10b  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
E-Type in Drag 5.10d  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch

5.11s:
*E-Type Jag 5.11a  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
Natural Art 5.11c  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
Get That Feeling 5.11d  sport, 5 bolts, 1 pitch
Tears for Tonya (aka Shut Up and Skate) 5.11d  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
The Fifth Dimension 5.11d  TR, 1 pitch
Tomb of Love 5.11d  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Gapers on a Tangent 5.12a  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Unique Monique 5.12a  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Up Country 5.12a  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
Blame It On Rio
5.12b  sport, 8 bolts (optional 3-inch cam), 1 pitch
Groove Cat 5.12c  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
*Conflicted Goddess 
5.12d sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch

5.13s:
*Feminazis 5.13a  sport, 10 bolts, 1 pitch
*Peruvian Skies
5.13a  sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
The Seventh Deadly Sin 
5.13a sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Hot Lava 5.13b  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch

The Crowded House:
5.11s:
Huck Fin 5.11d  sport, 6 bolts, 1 pitch
Hieroglyphics 5.11d  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch

5.12s:
Celibate Wives 5.12a  sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
Integrated Imaging
5.12a  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
Mojomatic 5.12b  sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch

 

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Online resource for adventurers to Smith Rock State Park. Detailed information for rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, slacklining and horseback riding.