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smith rock

Mike Doyle, pitch two of The Backbone (13a), with Monique Forestier belaying, Monkey Face, Smith Rock, Oregon, USA. Buy print.

Recently we were very fortunate to spend a month at Smith Rock in Oregon, USA. As you might know, Smith is pretty much the birthplace of American sport climbing, so it was great to at last make the pilgrimage and tick this interesting place off the bucket list. Hopefully won’t be my last visit either. Those five words “birthplace of American sport climbing” is your first bit of beta right there; as you might imagine, if this crag was developed today it’s entirely likely that the bolts wouldn’t be so far apart, and the routes wouldn’t be so hard for the grades. It’s a popular place, seeing hundreds of climbers on peak weekends, so it’s no great surprise that — over the years — many of the classics have turned into what I can only describe as “slippery sandbags”. Nevertheless, it is of course entirely possible to kick back on expectations, which we did, and the climbing is brilliant, so we did indeed have a great time — enhanced in no small way by the awesome crew we met there!

Smith is also, as expected, a super photogenic place, which inspired me into working my ring off and come away with a neat swag of shots. I’ll show you a few now and some more in my next newsletter. We’ve found a very cool use for some of these shots so until that appears I won’t be posting these pics on social media. Consider this a newsletter exclusive.

What else?

  • Thanks to Outdoor Australia for inviting me to pen a regular column in their magazine. Check it out! My first column appears in the current issue which is available now in newsstands; it features my photo of The Moai on the cover.
  • Logan Brae access. The very generous and understanding owners of the land that is used to access the Logan Brae crag in the Blue Mountains contacted me concerned about some things that have been happening on their private property. That they had to contact me, as local guidebook publisher, of course just highlights the fact that we don’t have an access officer or organisation around here (unlike Queensland and Victoria), something I really think we need to get our act together about. Anyway, in the meantime I’m happy to do my bit, and so I met with the landowners and discussed the issues. In short: it’s imperative that climbers here minimise their environmental impact, as well as minimising disturbance to the landowners. Do not overcrowd the parking area on the left side of the road (park further down the road if there’s not room). Do not park anywhere on the right side of the road. No overnight parking. No fires. No littering. No cairns. No dogs. Stick to the track. Read the details here. Help spread the word. Thanks!
  • Re-bolting. I’ve recently made financial donations to Blue Mountains Crag Care and the Sydney Rock Climbing club. The SRC donation is earmarked for re-bolting, so you can contact them for help there. In addition, I’ve purchased 100 beautifully made U-bolts for re-bolting here in the Blue Mountains, so if that’s your thing then you also have the option to contact me directly and I can hook you up with the goods…
  • Some great results by Aussies in the World Cup Bouldering competition in Japan on the weekend. Congrats to 15 year old Oceania Mackenzie who made the semi-final and finished up 20th in her first ever World Cup. Great results also by Emma Horan and Thomas Farrell, who both only just missed out on getting into the semi-finals. Well done!

Thanks for reading. More soon.

~ Simon

Mike Doyle, Spank the Monkey (13d), Monkey Face. Buy print.

The move. Amity Warme, Rude Boys (13c). Buy print.

Michael Houghton, Take a Powder (12a). Buy print.

Jorge Garzon and Mike Doyle (belaying) on pitch two of The Backbone (13a), Monkey Face. Buy print.

Amity Warme, Darkness at Noon (13a). Buy print.

The sound of one hand slapping… Nic Thune on the arete classic Last Waltz (12c). Buy print.

Olivia Hsu, Dreamin’ (12a). Buy print.

Olivia Hsu, Dreamin’ (12a), Smith Rock, Oregon, USA. Buy print.

Our lux digs, just 10 minutes from Smith. Totally recommended. Check out CasaRuana on Facebook.

Time lapse of light trails from runners in the recent 2018 Ultra-Trail Australia in the Blue Mountains. Buy print.

Bolts for re-bolting in the Blue Mountains. Contact me and I’ll hook you up.

Thanks to my sponsors: PranaSterling Rope, La Sportiva and Photo Toolbox.


The International Ocean Film Tour is touring Australia NOW. Get info and tickets –> here.


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