Watts and Volk on the Origins of Climbing at Smith Rock—a Video Retrospective


January 2, 2018

Alan Watts and Mike Volk didn't believe that having fun climbing at Smith Rock every day in the '80s would lead to the creation of an internationally famous rock climbing destination, but the secret of this special place got out. 

Alan Watts and Mike Volk on early rock climbing at Smith Rock

If you climb at the park, you have Alan to thank for his tireless route building and documentation that led to "Rock Climbing, Smith Rock State Park," a two-inch tome on hundreds of routes and their ratings, now in its second edition, with a third in the works.

If you haven't heard of Mike Volk, in addition to starting Timberline Mountain Guides and Smith Rock Climbing School, he provided the place for Alan to base his operation, just across the street from the park. Full disclosure—he's also the founder of SmithRock.com.

early Alan Watts
When you started to conciously try to eliminate the danger people didn’t think that was OK.
— Alan Watts
 Mike Volk "slackwires" as Alan Watts gives it a rating.

Mike Volk "slackwires" as Alan Watts gives it a rating.

In 1986, rock climbers from all over the world descended on Smith Rock, the birthplace of sport climbing in the U.S. Rather than having us talk about it, let's have them tell you how they remember it.

Watts and Volk—still hanging around Smith Rock after all these years.


Thanks Adam Long for the hard work on putting this piece together to share on SmithRock.com! And thanks Ryan Palo, Logan Carr, and Ari DeLashmatt for keeping the spirit of these pioneers going.

 

 Adam loves it when people contact him. Go ahead, do it.

Adam loves it when people contact him. Go ahead, do it.