Follow the directions on the main page to get to the northwest corner of the Smith Rock Group. Directions are most easily given from Asterisk Pass but if one wishes to avoid the exposed (and unroped) scrambling over Asterisk Pass, stay on the main riverside trail all the way until it circles the Smith Rock Group and puts you on its west side. From that point on, one can scramble up to Asterisk Pass and follow the directions below. As you cross Asterisk Pass from the east (Dihedrals) side to the west side, turn left immediately below the scramble portion on a climber's trail that follows the base of the Smith Rock Group. Hike about 200 feet on this trail never getting more than 40 feet away from the base of the rock until you see what looks like a huge (about 40-50 foot high) boulder detached from the main wall. The route starts on the north side (your approach side from Asterisk) of this detached boulder. Look for shiny and beefy new bolts.
Like many of the fine routes at Smith, this is a bolted, multi-pitch face climb. The route reaches the top of the northwest wall of the Smith Rock Group in five bolted pitches of face climbing. It provides a fun outing with outstanding views of Monkey Face, The Christian Brothers, The Dihedrals, the Oregon farmlands below, and the Cascade Volcanos on the western horizon (from Jefferson to the Three Sisters complex). The route was put up recently (early 2000's?) by Ryan Lawson (author of many new routes at Smtih and of the Smith guide book supplement) and is beautifully bolted all the way. The route is quickly becoming popular and waiting lines will soon be the norm.
Pitch 1: 5.8. Starting in a vague, left-facing corner, climb up to the top of the detached boulder/pillar to a belay anchor. The crux of this pitch is getting started off the ground.
Pitch 2: 5.9. Once on top of the pillar, walk a few steps, then step over the gap between the pillar and the main wall. Move up the nearly vertical section past 3 bolts (crux of pitch 2). After the third bolt the angle eases. Keep climbing (movig up and left) until you reach a doubly bolted belay ledge.
Pitch 3: 5.9: Move left and up from the belay ledge. You will see a bolt line going straight up from here - that's not your route. Instead, traverse left onto the exposed face clipping bolts. Keep moving left and up along this face on nice knobby holds. At some point you will see a doubly bolted anchor directly above - this is NOT your anchor. Keep moving up and slightly left (your anchor is out of sight until you're pretty much there) to reach a narrow ledge below a sloping slab with double bolts.
Pitch 4: 5.9: This is probably the crux pitch of the route. Move up and right following the right edge of a slab. The last two bolts put you on a short arete beyond which is the belay anchor at the bottomo of a gently sloping slab. Great views north from here.
Pitch 5: 5.8: Move up the greenish slab (5.4) toward a short headwall. Go directly up to the top of the headwall. Belay anchors are at the top.
Descent: The description in the R. Lawson's booklet is not very clear after the initial rappel (I can add the better descent option here if someone has the beta). Next to the belay bolts on top of pitch 5, you'll see a set of fat rap bolts. Rap (to east side, that's the Dihedrals side) with a single 60m rope to the large, sandy ledge below. You have three options at this point:
(1) Single 60m rope rappels. Scramble left (or north) along the base of the wall you just rapped down on the dirty ledges till you find a set of bolts on a low-angle slab facing north-west (standard rappel line). Do three, single 60 m rope rappels down the west side. Note that the first rappel brings you to the top of the third pitch of Wherever I May Roam route (potential traffic jams!) but the remaining raps. follow an independent line. Follow the foot of the northwest wall right till it brings you back to Asterisk Pass.
(2) Double 60m rope rappels. Move left (descending person's left) and east to see rap slings wrapped around a boulder sitting atop a squeeze chimney. Begin the TWO 60 m ropes rappel by lowering yourself into the chimney (akward start) and past a VERY LOOSE ledge. Continue the rappel down the east side of the Sky Ridge arete. Use extreme caution - several killer-sized rocks are just waiting to be dislodged from this ledge by a rope (or a strong breeze). EXTREMELY DANGEROUS if there are people below - you WILL be launching some rocks. Keep rappelling till you reach another ledge. There are two sets of bolts on this ledge including a nice fat set you can use to run your rap rope directly through. Do another double 60 m rope rappel to the ground (single 60 m MIGHT work here - haven't tried). Scramble left toward Asterisk Pass. Obviously not the choice option unless there's a huge traffic jam below you on the route. Some webbing/rap rings may be required to back up - if needed - the existing rap station on the way down (put new sling + 2 rap rings there on 3/9/03).
(3) No roped rappels required. There is also a walk-off option for this route (have NOT tried it - take the description here with a large grain of salt!). It involves doing the top-most rap as described above (this rap could also probably be skipped with some exposed 3rd or 4th class scrambling up and left from top of pitch 5) and then walking up the 3rd class terrain (roughly south) from the sandy ledge (mentioned above). Keep walking roughly south until the terrain allows you to turn west (right) and walk down to the river-side trail below. Supposedly this option puts you on the west side (south-west) of where you started.
A set of quick draws (12 or so). All belays are doubly bolted - NO trad gear needed. One 60 m rope.
Route TopoWherever I May Roam route topo
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