This is my daughter and I sitting on top of Red Wall in Smith Rocks State Park. We just finished the 3 pitch climb of Super Slab. What a view!
My husband and I are truly blessed to have these amazing kids who also happen to be very athletic and, apparently, fearless. Our son, Ryan, is only 21 but has been a rock instructor since he was 14. He recently began to acquire AMGA certifications and is now a professional guide. He is also a classically trained clarinetist, not sure how these two worlds will knit together yet, but as his parents have zero musical talent, we have chosen to join his climbing world.
This was the first trip to Smith for the parentals (as our daughter Alex calls us) but the kids have been numerous times. We stayed in a motel in Redmond Oregon, about 10 minutes from the park. We had never been to Central Oregon before and were impressed with its beauty. We live in Redmond Washington so the drive is about 6 hours, give or take. Warning: Lots of pictures in this post!
We were greeted by these yellow bellied marmots, which are like rabbits there.
Our first day in was all about Red Wall, and climbing a route called Super Slab. We had a small hike for the approach, but when you are carrying gear, ropes, a camera and its 70+°F, the hike is harder! It was mostly uphill of course!
Our daughter at the very top of the last pitch
A view of the wall as we approached
Our trusty guide!
Ryan did most of the leading and set the rope for me. Alex lead up for Dennis.
Once we finished all three pitches it was time to enjoy the view and some snacks
The views were spectacular!
I do like being as high as the birds
This is the crooked river which runs through the entire park
You can see why this is called the Red Wall
Ryan was probably a mountain goat in a former life!
We rappelled down, reorganized the gear and headed off to another climb that the kids felt the parentals could handle. Ryan also had a project that he had been working on, that was impressive!
We made our way over to a route called “5 gallon Buckets” because the holds are huge-perfect for my husband and me! This was only rated a 5.8 but it was longer than most of our lead climbs, so the decision was made that I would lead up, set the anchor then hubby would top rope it. This was my first outdoor lead climb!
Yep, that’s me up there!
The good news is that I got it done in one take! Then my husband climbed it and we all headed over to Ryan’s project- A very intimidating 11.c climb named “heresy”. It is only 4 bolts and the anchor and it is intense!
We did have a short wait in line while other climbers were on the wall so I took some shots of the surroundings.
There are climbers all over this rock like ants!
A number of climbers here as well
There were humans hanging all over the place!
Then it was Ryan’s turn to climb!
He got it in one try! At this point we were all tired and it had been a full day! We hiked out (no small thing) and drug ourselves to dinner in town. I was asleep by 9pm.
The next day was also to be a big one-the Marsupial Traverse which was a whopping 10 pitches total. We got up and out the door and were at the park by 9:30am. We had a nice long hike out to the site. Since this climb was longer and required more gear, I did not take my canon with me, just an iPhone, so less pictures this time!
This was one of the views on the way into the canyon
This is what we would look like in a few hours! I caught this group doing the traverse before we did!
Along the way, Alex decided to try a quick climb before we all started the traverse. She got up ok, but stuck on the way down (the rope drag was too much for her size). Fortunately, little brother knew what to do and brought her down safely!
The traverse took all day, as I said before we started at 9:30am and we finished the final, 200 foot rappel at 5:45pm. Another long day, but so worth it!
My hubby fighting his way up!
Amazing views from up here-notice my husband hunkered down and tied in at all times! He is not super excited about the height!
He is feeling a little safer here!
This climber is on an adjacent spire waiting to rappel
- Look how joyful Ryan is! This is his “happy place” several hundred feet above the ground!
We had an amazing time at Smith and will definitely do it again! The parentals did mange to get one half marathon training run done while the kids went for one last climb before we all piled in the car for the long ride home. We were dirty, tired, sun burned and very happy!