April 26, 2012
It’s been a fantastic week in Smith Rocks! Yesterday, after some smaller objectives earlier in the week, we set our sights high and went after one of America’s classic climbs – Monkey Face, via the west face variation. “The Monkey” as the locals call it, is a 500 ft freestanding pillar. From the top you can see all of central Oregon, an absolutely stunning view. We started out at 8am and hit the ground safe and sound by 3pm, quite a long day, but very rewarding.
The route consists of five pitches of 5.8 climbing. The most difficult pitch was the aid pitch. Climbing up 16 bolts to the mouth of the Monkey. This bolt ladder takes climbers up incredibly steep and overhanging terrain. Mark, Brannon, and Mimi were all able to cut their teeth on free hanging rope ascension, a very useful skill for crevasse rescue, big wall climbing, and fixed rope travel. The final pitch of the route goes out of the mouth and off Panic point, the most difficult 5.6 ever. Its incredibly positive climbing but the exposure is hard to stomach, what an adventure! Once on top the team descends via a 200ft free hanging rappel.
The Smith Rocks seminar has been quite rewarding. Each day builds on the skills learned the previous day. A great learning environment for any climber!