I can’t even begin to describe Smith. For me, it has almost been like a second home. I go to smith roughly 1-2 times a month, just for weekend trips. It is also my favorite destination for long trips, as there is a ton of terrain that I explore every time I go down. There are lots of supporting local climbers who help climbers with beta, movement, and just about everything related to the park. The locals make smith the way it is.
Another unique thing about smith is that Metolius Climbing is based out of nearby Bend. They have been some of the nicest people I have met.
Smith has been the place for my hardest redpointing. The style of climbing here is unique. Basically, the climbing here requires a perfect balance of power, stamina, and finesse to succeed on the more difficult routes. There is a lot of footholds to stand on, but most of them are missed by the majority the people. The flaming orange walls have many types of climbing, from long technical routes to short, thuggy routes. There are millions of microscopic holds, and almost all are crimps and pockets. This can be a nightmare for some, but amazing for many.
Red River Gorge:
The Red river gorge is unique in its own way. Climbing there requires lots and lots of strength and endurance. The rock is made of sandstone, so it is super soft. Because of this, erosion has caused the sandstone to carve out, forming super steep walls with lots of pockets and crimps. One major feature of the red is lots of the striking red and gold streaks that make up most of the walls. However, the motherlode might be the single most coolest climbing wall I have ever seen. It is not the only wall like that at the red; Darkside is also like that.
This place is AWESOME for short people. There are 5 million footholds and handholds to choose from! That was I major aspect that I liked about the Red.
The Red is definitely must go to place for aspiring climbers.
Photo thanks to Vikki Weldon
Little Si is my backyard crag. While the cliff might be small, the climbing is amazing. The whole place is super steep and thuggy, while still requiring technical finesse to succeed. Some routes are 160+ feet long! The rock is Really smooth, almost like granite. because if this, there are very few pockets while massive amounts of crimps and slopers. Another interesting thing about the rock is that it is completely grey and white. This can make onsighting HEINOUS.
While it might be unknown to climbers, Little Si is an awesome place to go to.
Photo thanks to Garth Bruce’s Guidebook
Index is special in its own way. It is not a world-class crag; few people come out of the state to climb here. The climbing, however, is astronomically good. There are several walls, all featuring elaborate crack systems. I almost think this place is like Yosemite (except for the size difference). From what I could tell, the rock is polished granite, so smearing is the only option, in most places, for feet. One thing else about this place is that it is MASSIVLY underrated. The routes, while still magnificent, are sometimes rated a few letter grade easier than they should be (at least in my opinion). Index is definitely a place to visit if you’re in Washington!
Bishop has got to be my favorite bouldering place. I have spent a little while here, and from what I could tell, it is AWESOME! In many of the places there is boulders as far as the eye can see, with lots of stunning routes. The weather is weird: when the sun hits the wall, it can get super hot, like 90 degrees in the winter. When the sun sets, things get… a little chilly. Also, there are 2 main types of climbing there. The Happy/Sad boulders, and the Buttermilks.
The Happy/sad boulders are welded tuff, making the climbing almost identical to smith. The climbing here is super steep, yet surprisingly technical. Pockets and crimps adjourn! The happys and sads are full of them. I have yet to see a legit sloper there… The climbing there is really delicate, making it different from almost all of the other places I have bouldered. Sometimes, the climber has to think to get a certain move.
Photo thanks to MountainProject
The Buttermilks are the stunning granite boulders, surrounded by a high sierra plateau. This creates stunning landscapes, which only adds to the buttermilks’ beauty. The climbing there is really cool; some of the holds are like glass, while others haven’t been eroded and feel like grit sandpaper. Climbing here multiple days can completely shred any climber’s skin. One thing that the buttermilks are known for are the massive highballs. Some routes can be up to 50 feet tall! Without a rope!
I didn’t get to spend much time at St. Antonin, but it was really cool. There are several different areas there, each of them unique with its own style of climbing. I hung out mostly at this one steep wall (sorry, I don’t remember the name!) that had lots of 5.13s there. The climbing there is… different. The walls are mostly gray and white, so chalk is hard to see when you’re climbing. There are tons of gritty crimps, and lots of tufas. That was and awesome aspect of France! That was the only place I have climbed at that had tufas!
Photo Thanks to Trip Advisor
Equinox is a cool little crag on Mt. Vernon, in Washington. Not many people know of it’s existence, but the climbing is AWESOME! Imagine a 200 foot tall boulder, surrounded by trees. This is what equinox is. Climbing at equinox is interesting. The routes aren’t necessarily long routes, but I got pumped silly when I got on lots of the routes. Equinox is also awesome because it has lots of routes of every grade. The climbing there is like Little Si, but with iron oxide streaks in certain places. The wall looks really cool that way. One other thing to know is that the climbing in the harder grades is technical, I think even more than Little Si, even if it is the same type of rock.
Oh, Make sure to bring mosquito repellent if you go…
Photo thanks to Kris Taylor
Squamish is one of my FAVORITE places. For one thing, it has pretty much everything. There are hard sport routes, easy sport routes, bouldering, crack climbing, multi pitching… you name it, Squamish has it. The temps are really nice, because people can actually climb during the summer and winter without freezing or boiling! The rock, however, is my absolute favorite part about the place. it is granite, not unlike Yosemite. The rock is mostly smooth, but there are lots of fine crystals embedded. This is nice, as it makes smearing super easy. There is an awesome cliff, called chekamus, which has possibly one of the biggest, steepest walls I have ever seen. Not a route under 13b on that, though!
Squamish is a must go to place for EVERYBODY!
Photo thanks to Rock Adventures
Trout creek is awesome! There is a hour and a half approach (kind of annoying, but it’s worth it for the climbing) to get to the crag. The actual place has endless columns of rock. It’s trad climbing, which can be a nice break from the pockets of Smith.
Ceuse is a world class crag. Really, it’s one of a kind. The uphill hike is hard, but it just adds to the uniqueness of Ceuse. The style requires endurance, yet there are many hard sequences scattered throughout. The blue and orange streaks contain world class climbing from 5.9-5.15. It feels like a blend of many different areas.