Logo Alan Watts Interview Shiprock
Shiprock and fog from
the main overlook How would you
describe Smith Rock for someone
who has never climbed there? It was
the new and difficult routes that you
and others pioneered that helped to
get Smith Rock discovered, but what
are some of the, other features of
Smith Rock that set it apart from
other areas and still draw climbers to
Smith Rock?

Alan: The setting for Smith Rock is
outstanding. It's truly a beautiful place
to visit and to climb. It is also compact
enough where you can see everything.
It's not overgrown, and you can see
many other routes and you can watch
other climbers around you.

There's a whole feeling to the
environment of the main area that
is visually very cool.

The other great feature is the variety
of climbs. There are many micro areas
within Smith Rock that offer amazing
variety. I'd say that there is more
variety at Smith Rock than just about
any other climbing area. And when did you
actually start climbing at Smith Rock?

Alan: I didn't really climb there when I
was young -- beyond just hiking around
with the family.

In fact, I didn't even do any technical
climbing there until early 1975. Until
that time I was more interested in
mountaineering, but I was fifteen
years old and had no way to drive
up to the mountains.
With the long
winters here, I looked at Smith as a
place to go to train for mountain
climbing. It was only twenty miles away
from where I lived and there happened
to be somebody at my high school who
was a climber, and we ended up going
to Smith -- and that's how it started
for me.

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