Last week I was able to get out of the rain for a two day trip to Smith Rock. The weather was perfect – low 50s and sunny during the day – also known as sending temps, bro. After a long winter of climbing plastic in the gym, our first day involved Keith and I getting reacquainted with climbing real rock. We jumped on a few moderate routes, mostly 5.8s and 5.9s. We were even able to snag an ascent of five gallon buckets without waiting in line!
We got up early the next day to try and beat the crowds up the Pioneer Route on the Monkey Face. As we approached we saw a pair of climbers cruising up the bolt ladder – but nobody else. Little did we know, those two were guides that were setting up a Tyrolean into the Monkey’s mouth for 27 clients.
A busy day on the Monkey Face. You can barely see the tyrolean in the upper left.
The guidebook gives a good description of the route but it involves an easy (5.5) trad pitch up to a ledge with multiple bolted anchors. This puts you directly below a line of about 20 bolts that Keith aided up and I got my first experience jumaring behind him. Once into the mouth, we were able to climb the top pitch in between clients coming through. This pitch is definitely the money pitch, with steep, juggy, and crazy exposed 5.7 climbing. After taking in the views of the central Oregon volcanoes we used the guided parties’ rap line for the free hanging rappel. 2.5 hours after we started we got back to the packs and enjoyed a sandwich. We climbed a couple of cool-down sport pitches on the way back to the car and went back to the rain in Portland.
Keith following the first pitch of the Pioneer Route.
Sam’s summit pose on top of the Monkey Face