Ten miles north of Redmond, OR, lies Smith Rock State Park. Considered by many to be the birthplace of U.S. sport climbing, it inspires both veteran climbers and beginners to test their limits. This month, Northwest Self Storage is highlighting the amazing natural landmark and helping you get ready to explore it for yourself.
Smith Rock State Park History and Climbing Culture
The park was purchased from the city of Redmond between 1960 and 1975, but its climbing history began as early as the 1920s. The first recorded ascent occurred in 1935 when a man named Johnny Bissell climbed the South Sister. Climbing techniques and technologies evolved throughout the decades until the emergence of sport climbing in the 1980s. Alan Watts made the first sport climb at Smith Rock by climbing a portion of the sheer cliffs known as The Dihedrals. The route was later named “Watts Tots.” Today, more than 700,000 people attend the park annually to enjoy its thousands of climbing routes as well as the beautiful natural scenery.
Getting Started: Smith Rock Climbing Basics
Smith Rock Park offers climbing routes for people at all skill levels. If you’re a beginner, you may want to start with the Rope-de-Dope, which starts at 5.5R (using the Yosemite Decimal System for climb ratings) and is a great route to help you get familiar with your gear. When you’re ready to advance, consider the Spiderman route, which offers an unobstructed view of the gorgeous Cascade Mountains. The formation known to contain some of the most difficult climbs in the world is a 350-foot pillar called Monkey Face. It includes the famous Just Do It route. Learn more about the various climbing routes at the Smith Rock Park Climbing Guides website.
Gear Up With the Essentials
Before you start out on your adventure, take time to learn the basics of rock climbing, and obtain quality equipment. Here’s a list of essentials you’ll need to face the challenges at Smith Rock State Park.
- Reliable harness
- Climbing shoes
- Chalk bag
- Dynamic climbing rope
- Belay device
- Four carabiners with long slings for a top-rope anchor
- Additional carabiner for personal protection
Keep Your Climbing Gear Safe in Affordable Storage Units
At Northwest Self Storage, we know that having the right equipment on hand is critical to your safety and success. If you don’t have extra room in your garage, or you’d prefer to keep your climbing gear closer to Smith Rock State Park, our nearby Redmond, OR, facility offers the perfect solution. Contact us today for details about our secure, clean storage units. We’ll make sure that your valuable climbing gear is ready for action whenever you are.