Smith: Kiss Of The Lepers Buttress

Smith: Kiss Of The Lepers Buttress

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 44.36680°N / 121.13631°W
Additional Information County: Deschutes
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 3300 ft / 1006 m
Sign the Climber's Log


The Kiss Of The Lepers Buttress is a large outcrop of generally low quality rock (with significant patches of "the good stuff" mixed in!) immediately north of Monkey Face. At its tallest point, the height of the Buttress probably does not exceed 400 feet. It is an obscure wall located far away from the more mainstream Smith walls. Allan Watts describes the wall as "huge amount of stone that's every bit as bad as Monkey Face is good". So why would one want to climb anything on it? The reason lies in the recent route development on the Buttress by Ryan Lawson. Two noteworthy routes have been established on the Buttress in 2002 - neither of which (to my knowledge) has been published anywhere. The first is a four pitch moderate (5.7-5.8) soon-to-be classic bolted line called The First Kiss; the second is a unique route called The Water Groove (also fully bolted) and rated 5.10c A1. The uniqueness of the latter is owed to the fact that its second pitch is in a nearly fully enclosed water groove or "cave". Note that the "summit" elevation listed is a rough approximation.

Getting There

Smith 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 ($5 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. Follow the directions for the "hardest" approach trail to Monkey Face - via Misery Ridge Trail (approx. 0.75 mile from bridge). This route is the most straight forward approach to Kiss of the Lepers Buttress. Past the bridge, follow the trail up switchbacks toward the Picnic Lunch Wall. The trail turns right at the foot of the wall and skirts its bottom passing along some of the more famous Smith Rock moderates such as Super Slab and Moscow. Follow the tail as it switchbacks to the top of Misery Ridge. Atop, the trail levels off. Stay on main trail and you'll soon see the top of Monkey Face on your right (the west side of Misery Ridge). The main trail then turns right toward Monkey. As you start to descend the switchbacked trail toward the base of the Monkey Face pillar, Kiss of the Lepers Buttress is on your right. Note that you can see the top portions of the terraced buttress as you start descending down the trail. As the trail switchbacks for the very last time at the very base of Monkey's northwest corner, stay on the trail for another 200 yards. The trail deposits you at the southwest edge of the buttress.

Red Tape

The park charges $5 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 leashed (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 Climb

The 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. Kiss of the Lepers Buttress is generally a good choice for warm days as it receives the cooler breezes from the west (coming off of the Cascade mountains). 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.


Smith 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 Conditions

Smith 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, OUT OF PRINT). 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.

Route Updates

This information copied/pasted from the message boards at (it was posted there by R. Lawson): Here are a few new routes for you trad climbers to check out if you feel like doing something new. These climbs are not classics, nor will they ever be in their current states, but if you are adventurous and looking for something different, you might enjoy them. Rebolts were used in place of regular bolts in numerous locations. Please try to refrain from and be cautious to avoid knocking rocks onto the trail below. 5.11? Open Project Gear to 4 inches (two 60 meter ropes for rappel) This climb is on the furthest left and most downhill piece of the Kiss of the Lepers formation. It climbs the obvious dihedral and huge roof crack. Feel free to give it a try. It will make most people cringe just looking at it, but who knows, maybe there is someone out there who can free it. I would love to get the first free ascent but honestly I'm too busy and would just love to see it get climbed. 1st Pitch-Stem and jam up the sometimes awkward crack 40 meters until possible to step left to a two bolt belay on a ledge. 2nd Pitch-Wide stems and jams and jugs made of petrified bird guano lead up to the giant roof. Ridiculously contorted and wide stems or a combination of foot jams and hand stacks lead to an extremely physical offwidth exit with your feet 180 feet straight above your pack. One double rope rappel with 60 meter ropes makes it to the ground. Text copied from a post on by R. Lawson


Smith 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.



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Smith Rock CragsMountains & Rocks