Updated: Jan 31
When my son and I visited Smith Rock State Park earlier this Summer the weather was perfect. It was about 85 degrees, clear skies - perfect for pictures and sightseeing. There was some kind of festival going on. There must have been 150 small one-man tents set up in a massive grassy field near the entrance to the park. I never found out exactly what the festival was about, but the park was quite crowded with rock climbers, hikers, families with kids running around chasing each other, and park rangers answering questions.
We did not do any hiking because the trip was mostly about getting my son to a job interview in Bend. But I obviously could not leave Bend without visiting the rock climbing mecca of the Pacific NW. I did get to interview two rock climbers who were just leaving as we were arriving. Jason and Sean were two young, lean, and experienced-looking guys who had just arrived at their truck to unload their rock climbing gear. They were with a group of climbers who had come all the way from California. I told them I was building a rock climbing and hiking website and hoped they wouldn't mind if I asked them a few questions about rock climbing in general and how their rock climbing day here at Smith rock went. They were glad to answer my questions. The first questions I asked had to do with gear. I asked what they thought were the best rock climbing shoes. They both answered without hesitation, "La Sportiva." As far as questions about other types of rock climbing gear they just agreed that you get what you pay for, but many climbers have their favorites based upon their experience level. They told us they had been at Smith Rock for a week and had stayed at a walk-in camp called, The "Bivy" They climbed two 5.14 routes and a wall called "Monkey Face" which they thought was one of the best routes in the US. As for my son and me, we just walked around for a few hours and took in the awesomeness of Smith Rock vowing to each other that we would come back with gear next time.