20090518-21 Climbing at Smith Rock with Carlton

Carlton is a great mountaineer, with ascents of Rainier, Denali and expeditions to Mt. Vinson and the Himalaya all under his belt.  But a lot of the climbing in the Cascades, near his Seattle home, require rock climbing skills.  So Carlton started working with me last summer to improve his rock skills and start thinking about some of the great climbing he could be doing closer to home.  When he heard that I'd be up at Smith Rock, he jumped at the chance to get in a few days of climbing.

 Carlton climbing up a fantastic pitch on Brogan Spire, 
the Marsupials, Smith Rock State Park.

This was meant to be a civilized trip - we stayed at McMenamin's Hotel and Pub in Bend and commuted to the crags.  Showers and beers every night.  Very rough.

We started out at the Cinnamon Slabs - blazing sun and high temps made for incredibly hot climbing, but we pushed through.  Climbing the next day was an exercise in extremes - lower temps, wind chills, and shady objectives plus incorrect assumptions of yesterdays conditions meant that I was cold all day long.  Brrrrrrr!!!  But after two days of single pitching we were ready for the meat.  Tuesday afternoon we hiked over to the Red Wall and climbed Super Slab, the best 3-pitch 5.6 in the park.  That last pitch was, indeed, Super!

 Carlton finishing the super final pitch on the Super Slab, 
II 5.6, 3 pitches / 90 meters.

The next day we went to climb the Longest Ride in the Park, an 8+ pitch 5.6 ridge traverse of the Mudpile and Brogan Spire, way way off in the Marsupials.  After a rough start we moved efficiently, tagging every summit except the Mini Half Dome, and by the time we reached the rappel station Carlton was handily the exposed ridges with cool detachment.

Carlton waves from the summit of the Opossum, Brogan Spire, while I prepare the rappel to the ground.  Longest Ride in the Park, III 5.6, 8+ pitches and the summits of the Mudpile, Mini Half Dome (skipped by us), Brogan Spire, Possum's Tail, and the Opussum.

On the final day we returned to the Red Wall, but this time went ot the Right Sector and climbed Moscow, a 4-pitch traditional climb that reaches the top of the formation.  We changed into our hiking shoes for a short pitch of 4th class before rejoining the trail and hiking back to our packs.

 Carlton climbing the final 5th class pitch of Moscow, II 5.6, 4 pitches.

We finished a trip to a walk into Oz, hiking around the Brogan Spire ridge that we had climbed the day before, taking in the incredible rock and climbing potential that still exists for anyone willing to carry the loads and do the work.  One last beer and an early dinner at McMenamins made for a perfect finish to the trip.  Carlton headed to the airport, and I started the long drive south to Bishop.  Thanks C!

Note:  More pictures of the Red Wall and Brogan Spire can be found on my Picasa Account, at http://picasaweb.google.com/mtnfreak/20090518SwanSmithRock#.