Smith Rock, OR Felix Wong

“Smith Rock,” said Hunza, a rock climbing enthusiast from the Czech Republic before moving here 8 years ago, “”was THE premiere place for rock climbing in the world.” Indeed, my California friends were all raving about the rock, sending me messages that said things like they hope I move to Bend so they will “have an excuse to go to Smith Rock!”

Hence, I was ecstatic when Hunza invited me to go climbing with his wife Margey and his co-worker Bethany one Tuesday night. Smith Rock was a mere 40 minute drive (through rush-hour traffic) from Hunza and Margey’s place in Bend, and the view of the entire place from the parking lot was awesome. So much volcanic rock, so many routes, so little time.

We went to do a few climbs near that called “the Phoenix”, which were shaded, not that it was an especially hot day. The mosquitoes were out in full force today, which surprised Margey, who said “the mosquitoes are never out in Central Oregon.” Fortunately I brought some citronella-oil bug spray which kept them at bay, unlike at Crater Lake, when I was devoured by them.

Anyhow, the rock was great, with a ton of texture, sometimes somewhat sharp, but not very painful nor nearly as crumbly as the volcanic rock at, say, Pinnacles in CA. We did four well-bolted climbs, including a 5.8, two 5.10a’s, and a 5.10b, until it got dark.

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In the evening, we went to Smith Rock (~35-40 minutes from downtown Bend) where there is some world class climbing.  Here is Hunza leading the way.A stream runs by Smith Rock.Bethany, Tika the dog, and Hunza get all set to climb.Bethany and Margey watch on as Hunza leads this bolted climb.Felix Wong begins his first climb at Smith!Felix Wong within 10 feet of the toprope anchor.Bethany on a 5.10a.Another section of Smith Rock.  There is so much rock that one could probably spend a year here and not do all of the routes!The overnight bivouac area for Smith Rock.  I stayed here on my last night in the Bend area, pitching my tent right next to a burbly stream overshadowed by volcanic rock.  Ah, paradise...

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