The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon | Issue Archives | Dec 15, 2011
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  • Issue of
  • Dec 15-21, 2011
  • Vol. 15, No. 50

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  • Less Crowds, More Routes: Smith Rock shines in winter's solitude

    Puffy coats and wool beanies at belay stations. Handwarmers tucked into chalkbags. Thin socks in shoes a half size larger than normal. Sun on south facing rock. Thermoses filled with hot tea. Classic lines with no crowds, and temperatures perfect for sending. Welcome to central Oregon winter rock climbing. While many locals have been busy deriding the weather for a lack of snow, a few have taken to celebrating the recent high pressure for its resulting extension of the fall climbing season at Smith Rock and local bouldering areas. Climbers prepared to suffer the relatively small and short-lived discomforts of frosty mornings and early darkness are reaping huge rewards in the form of 50 degree air temperatures, sun-warmed rocks, a noticeable lack of greasy hold and walk-on access to routes that in the summer have parties stacked up for hours waiting a turn. "Most folks think summer is climbing season at Smith Rock, but that is definitely not the case," said Chris Wright, a certified American Mountain Guide Association Rock and Alpine guide for Timberline Mountain Guides. "If the sun is shining it's almost never too cold to climb."

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