OverviewRed Wall is a 300-foot high formation on the east side of Misery Ridge immediately right of the Picnic Lunch Wall – the most prominent face in the park. The Red Wall derives its name from the iron-rich rock that gives it its distinctive rust-like color. The rock is of high quality, the faces are consistently steep, and the approach is quick (10 minutes from parking lot). Most of the multi-pitch routes top out on the wall. Generally, descent involves either a walk-down via the Misery Ridge Trail just to the north of the wall or a rappel down the Super Slab rap line (bolted). There are approximately 30+ established routes on the Wall – both trad and sport – ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.11b.
Red Ryder Buttress is a chossy cliff immediatly right of a grass slope lying right of Red Wall. It contains very few routes as most of the rock is very chossy and the Buttress is relatively short (180 feet?). There are however a handful of worthy ruoutes including I Almost Died - a 5.11a on perfect rock and with great protection.
Getting ThereSmith Rock State Park is located outside the town of Terrebonne, Oregon (approximately 30 miles north of Bend) off of US highway 97. Those who wish to fly in usually do so via Portland, OR about 3 hours driving time (140 miles) northwest of Terrebonne.
Take US 97 to the town of Terrebonne. Turn east onto B Avenue which shortly becomes Smith Rock way (there are signs for Smith on US 97). Follow the road past railroad tracks and down the hill to a signed intersection (approx. 0.75 miles from 97). Make a left onto NE 1st Ave. which then becomes NE Wilcox Ave. Follow it for about 1 mile to another signed junction with Crooked River Drive. Turn left toward Smith. Follow this road (passing the entrance into Smith Rock campground) until you see a roadside parking area on your left. Pay the day use fee ($3 per car per day) at the vending machine (or at the self issue station located in the driveway to the campground) and don't forget to leave a copy on your dashboard. The parking area has a public restroom and vending machines. Stopping at the above-mentioned billboard in the driveway into the state campground (you can pay the day use fee there as well as camping fee if staying overnight at the campground) is generally a good idea since it will allow you to see if there are any pertinent route closures.
Follow the trail down hill toward the bridge over the Crooked River below. Cross the bridge and you will see a pointer sign. Go straight at the intersection immediately after the bridge following the directions for the "hardest" approach trail to Monkey Face - via Misery Ridge Trail. The switch-backed trail eventually reaches the base of the distinctive red colored rock – you have arrived at the base of the Red Wall.
To reach the Red Ryder Buttress, stay on the trail for a few more hundred feet as it climbs the hillside past the base of Red Wall in one long, leftward switchback. At the end of the switchback, Red Ryder Buttress is directly above you.
Red TapeThe park charges $3 per vehicle per day to park at the state parking lot. The park is "open" from dawn to dusk (or about 10 pm in the summer). The consequences of staying past "closing time" are unclear and some climbers do "moonlight climbing".
The park allows dogs but is very strict as to keeping them leased (fine = $94) and requests that you clean up after them.
New regulation, as of March 1st, 2003: Owners of unattended dogs left tied in at the base of climbs will be given a citation.
When To ClimbThe park is officially open year round (though shower facilities at the campground are turned off in winter time). Climbing can be uncomfortably hot in the summer and snow often blankets the rocks in the winter. Spring and fall are ideal as the temperatures are moderate and the east side of Oregon's Cascade Mountains is generally dry. The Red Wall receives the sun early in the morning and remains shady for a better part of the day.
Check with the park (or by calling one of the climbing shops below) for seasonal route closures due to falcon nesting. You will most likely be ticketed if you break the rules here as the locals often keep an active watch of the crags during closure periods.
CampingSmith Rock State Park operates a campground that overlooks the crags (see directions above under Getting There section). The campground has bathrooms and shower facilities (showers available summertime only) as wells as some communal picnic tables. Sleeping in cars is not permitted. The campground charges $4 per person per night (this will also allow you to spend a day enjoying Smith without having to pay the additional $3 day use fee).
In addition, there is a free campground (BLM operated?) approx. 7 miles from the main parking area for Smith. Directions to this campground: Skull Hollow Campground. This information was provided by Brian Jenkins.
Want to spend your time at Smith in the lap of luxury? This is especially nice during late/winter/early season outings when the days are short and nights are long. The Hub Motel in Redmond offers clean rooms (shower, fridge, cable included!) for $35/night (double occupancy). This price is most likely a "special" for climbers so be sure to smile at the nice folks in the main office and let them know the purpose of your visit. The motel (huge red neon sign) is located on the left hand side of US97 on the northern outskirts of Redmond, approximately 6 miles south of Terrebonne.
Mountain ConditionsSmith Rock is part of the Oregon state park system. The official (though not very useful for climbers) website is here. A more useful Smith website is here.
Redpoint Climbers Supply store located on the corner of US 97 and B Avenue (the turnoff to Smith) offers not only a complete selection of climbing paraphenelia but is a great place to inquire about route conditions including details such as bolt conditions and route closures (800-923-6207 or 541-923-6207, hours vary with weather and season). This is also the place to purchase the guidebook supplement (New Sh!tuff at Smith) mentioned below.
Rockhard store is another option for route beta and climbing supplies. It is located about 100 yards before the campground driveway on Crooked River Drive.
GuidebookUnlike many other cliffs and formations at Smith, Red Wall had much route development early enough so that most of the popular routes have made it into the A. Watts' "bible" (the only currently published guide to Smith Rock). There has been some more recent route development and those routes are listed in the Supplement booklet (you can pick it up at Redpoint climbers' supply store (see above) in Terrebonne. OUT OF PRINT
Single Pitch Route DescriptionsBill's Flake 5.10a, 60 feet. This one-pitch route climbs up the left side of a large flake sitting atop the ledge system 20-30 feet above ground (ledge system accessible via 4th class chimney left of route) and about 30 feet left of the start of Paper Tiger in this photo. Initial leftward traverse under the roof is the 5.10- crux marked by great hand jams and perfect rock. Photo of the opening (crux) traverse is here. Gear: Camalots from #0.75 to #3 (optional #3.5).
Gone With The Flake 5.9, 115 feet. This one-pitch route climbs up the left side of a large flake 80 feet above the ground (photo). Start up a finger crack with some face incuts. Pass some thin and hollow flakes about midway up and reach the start of the flake. Move left and up and around the flake (crux). Belay from slings around a block. Gear: Single set of Aliens from green to red. Camalots from #0.5 to #5. Doubles in 0.5 and 0.75. NOTE: A 60 meter rope will NOT allow you to lower off or rappel - 70 meter makes it with about 10 feet to spare.
I Almost Died 5.11a, 60 feet. This route is on the Red Ryder Buttress. Hike the Misery Ridge Trail past the base of the Red Wall. After it maks the first left turn following the long leftward uphill section, it makes 2 or 3 tight switchbacks. The route follows a short, left leaning dihedral right next to the trail along these switchbacks (before you encounter the first steps in the trail). Mantle up easy blocks at base of dihedral (here). Traverse up and left following a crack in the dihedral (2 #0.5 Camalot placements, 1 #.75 Camalot). 15 feet up pass a 10-foot block (#3.5 Camalot in crack at base of block) on thinner fingers (2 yellow Alien placements; photo here) and grab for top of block (huge jugs). Throw for hand jam in the roof (#2 Camalot) and pass the easier roof on good hand jams. Going eases right above. Scramble 10 feet above roof to anchor (2 bolts). You can also easily walk off left back to trail. Gear: 2X #0.5Camalots, 1X #.75, #1, #2, #3, #3.5 Camalots, 2X yellow Aliens.
FoodSmith Rock Restaurant in Terrebonne (behind a hardware store) is a great choice for after-climbing "pig-outs". The service is outstanding and food very good - both dinners and breakfasts. Note that it's closed Sunday afternoons.
Burger Works in downtown Madras (20 miles north of Terrebonne) is not to be missed for their top-notch marionberry milk shakes. These are THE best milk shakes we've ever had - PERIOD. The place is located on the east/south-bound side of US26/97 in Madras. They also serve decent burgers and very good grilled hot dogs.