Smith Rock: Lower Gorge

September 17, 2011.

Today was a nice day for trad climbing at Smith Rock. I tagged along with a friend and his climbing buddy for the day. Since both were much better climbers than me I was able to look forward to a day of following hard trad routes!

First they graciously offered to let me lead something easy. I chose Two Gentlemen’s Pneumonia (5.7) at Shakespeare Cliff. I struggled majorly at the bottom, where smeary feet led to an off-width. After lots of gear-hopping and takes, I made it past that section to better moves. When I reached the chockstone, I opted to squeeze into the chimney behind a pillar instead of pull up and over on the face.

Next, a couple more climbs on this side of the river, with my buddies on lead. I followed them both: Azog (5.9) and Much Ado about Nothing (5.10d/5.9). The upper pitch has the 10d moves so I just completed the 5.9 variation. These were both really fun crack climbs with some bouldery finishing moves.

Back across the river, we chose a couple more climbs. On lead again, I tackled Dire Wolf (5.8). This was nut-tastic! The gear was so good and the climbing felt easy that I just cruised up it.

The last, and best climb of the day was Morning Star (5.10 c), which I toproped. It was a sustained, challenging finger crack. There were also some crazy stemming/chimneying moves thrown in for good measure. I fell once and yelled a lot but otherwise climbed it well. What a satisfying day!

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