Only Glass Separates You From Smith Rock's (and more) Climbing Past


May 1, 2018

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but an artifact speaks volumes. A new exhibit at the High Desert Museum entitled "Ascent:  Climbing Explored" has so many artifacts from renowned area and regional climbers it's a veritable candy store for climbers, and non-climbers alike. You just can't take any of the candy home with you. 

 Alan Watts and Mike Volk with Curator Laura Ferguson at the entrance to the Ascent Climbing Exhibit

Alan Watts and Mike Volk with Curator Laura Ferguson at the entrance to the Ascent Climbing Exhibit

Watts and Volk finally found a great place for their old clothing too. The giant shadow box walls displayed not only their gear, but that of many other contributors. The collective exhibit explores the history, culture, and art of the sport of climbing from Smith Rock to Yosemite, as well as the geology that draws climbers to Central Oregon.

 Alan Watts in front of a display of some of his old gear

Alan Watts in front of a display of some of his old gear

 Climbing bodice for woman mountain climber.

Climbing bodice for woman mountain climber.

Alan Watts, responsible for the first complete guidebook and current "bible" on Smith Rock was at the opening on April 27, along with SmithRock.com's founder and original owner of Timberline Mountain Guides and Smith Rock Climbing School, Mike Volk. 

Each had met with Laura Ferguson, the curator of the exhibit weeks before and had submitted boxes of old gear and images for the exhibit. Neither of them knew what was going to be featured, or how it was to be displayed. They were both blown away. 

 Watts and Volk discuss the stories behind their gear on display.

Watts and Volk discuss the stories behind their gear on display.

An interactive knot tying exhibit demonstrates some of the technique involved in joining rope and climber to get up routes. And a climbing wall for kids allows parents time to read all the annotations of each of the artifacts displayed. 

 Ferguson laughs at Watts' and Volk's reaction to the "Dirt Baggers" display

Ferguson laughs at Watts' and Volk's reaction to the "Dirt Baggers" display

 Chris Grover photo by Mike Volk of first power drilled route at Smith Rock

Chris Grover photo by Mike Volk of first power drilled route at Smith Rock

Curator Laura Ferguson introduces us to the new exhibit on climbing at the High Desert Museum that includes Smith Rock artifacts from renown regional climbers.

The exhibit runs April 28, 2018 through September 9, 2018. Bend Rock Gym members and valid punch card holders and one guest receive 20% off Museum admission during the run of the exhibit.

You must show cards and I.D. High Desert Museum members receive a free gear rental during the run of the exhibit at the Bend Rock Gym by showing an HDM membership card.