Q. I'm not sure which trip or course to sign up for right now. Is that a problem?
- A. Not a problem at all. We offer many different trip and course options to give clients an idea of what is available. However, it is all very flexible, and we can change things up when you arrive, or even while we are down at the rock. We recommend signing up for the outing that seems closest to your interest and/or ability level, and then we can further customize the outing when you arrive.
Q. What is the best time of year to climb at Smith Rock?
- A. Smith Rock is a great year round crag. Our guides know where to find either sun or shade, so it doesn't matter if it's 40 degrees or 100. The park is generally less crowded in the summer, and the weather is more stable. Fall and spring have more comfortable temps, but with more competition for routes. Winter is a bit more unpredictable weather-wise, but is perfect for locals who come out on sunny days; and no crowds! It really is a toss up; it is nice either way really.
- A. They are welcome to come along. Smith Rock has a great trail system, and most of the climbing routes have a trail going right up to the base. Family and friends are welcome to hang out and watch. Sometimes they come back and try it themselves!
Q. Doesn't rock climbing require a lot of upper body strength?
- Not nearly as much as you might think. Climbing, especially outdoors, is mostly about balance and posture. Your legs "push" you up the rock while your handholds help stabilize and provide balance. Of course, on very difficult climbs you do need more finger power. But Smith Rock has many climbs that are as easy as climbing a ladder.
- A. Dogs are welcome, as long as they are always on a leash and under someone's direct control. If there are two or more people in your group, one person can watch the dog while the others climb.
Q. How long are your half-day trips? How about full-day?
- A. Half-day trips are 4.5 hours from the time we meet to the time you are headed home. This allows 10-15 minutes for the walk to the main climbing area; and maybe some picture taking along the way! Full-day trips have no time limit, although most people climb between 5-9 hours.
- A. For half-days, we recommend meeting at either 8:30am or 2:30pm, especially on hot days. This is due to sun/shade cycles, and allows us to climb in the shade. If you are on a schedule, however, we can meet at whatever time works best for you. For full-days, the meeting time is less of a factor, as we have more time to move around and sync with the sun/shade cycles in various areas of the park.
- A. We can sometimes provide an hourly rate, if requested, on slow days. The hourly rate is based on 1/3 the total cost of the half-day rate for your particular group size. For example, for a group of three (normally $255 total for a 4.5 hour half-day) the rate would be $85 per hour. This is sometimes a good option if you just want to do a route or two. The time starts when we start hiking to the climbs, so we normally choose an area with a short approach. There is a one hour, or $85 (whichever is greater) minimum charge for hourly climbing.
Q. Can I buy a gift certificate?
- Yes! We sell customized rock climbing gift certificates that can be mailed or emailed ASAP. They are paid for upfront, can be redeemed for any date, and do not expire.
Q. What is the youngest / oldest client you have had?
- A. It is common for us to have kids as young as four. We have had a few three year olds as well! We have full body harnesses and shoes made just for kids. Smith Rock has a great variety of easy climbs (or even 20 foot boulders) that make kids feel like kings of the rock. As for an oldest client, we have had first-time climbers in their late 70's make it up 100 foot routes! There is no age minimum or maximum for rock climbing. It is a low impact and extremely safe activity when done with a professional guide.
Q. Do you accept credit cards?
- A. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex, and Diners Club cards. We cannot take checks, money orders or cashiers checks expect by prior arrangement from schools, churches, or other institutions.
- A. Tips are customary in the guiding industry, and are definitely appreciated. The average tip is around $35. However, this is by no means mandatory, and you will receive top-notch service regardless.
Q. Is gear included in the cost of the trip?
- A. Yes; all rental equipment (harness, helmet, climbing shoes, chalkbag, backpack if needed, etc.) is supplied at no extra charge.
Q. What do I need to bring with me?
- A. Be sure to bring water (and food for full-day trips), and comfortable walking shoes for the trail in. As for clothing, anything that allows for freedom of movement is fine. If you are with a minor that is not your own child, be sure to bring a waiver and declaration of fitness signed by their parent / legal guardian. These can be downloaded here.
Q. Do I have to wear a helmet?
- A. Helmets are recommended, but if you do not want to wear one you can sign a protective headwear refusal form when you arrive.
Q. Do you get many people who have never climbed at all?
- A. A good percentage (probably about 40%) of our clients have never climbed outdoors on real rock. Many have climbed before on indoor climbing walls, while perhaps 25% have never climbed at all, either indoors or out. The famous walls of Smith Rock are the perfect place for your first climbing experience!
Q. Do you guide experienced climbers as well?
- A. We employ some of the hardest-climbing rock guides in the US (see about us ). Whether you are climbing 5.1 or 5.14, we have a guide for you. Additionally, our lead guides have received certification as climbing instructors, and stay up to date with ever-changing climbing practices and equipment. Even the most experienced climbers will find there is something to learn from a professional guide.
- This is very common, and no problem at all. There is a great deal of variety at Smith Rock, and nearly 2000 climbs to choose from. With groups like this, we choose routes in which a single anchor can access two or more routes. In this way, an experienced climber can climb a harder route, while the new climber can do something easy; all on the same rope. Our guides know the park very well, and will get everyone on routes appropriate to their ability level while maximizing climbing time for everyone.
Q. What if it rains during our climb?
- A. Our rain refund policy is the best in the business. Check our rain /snow refund policy here. However, it is uncommon to be rained-out here at Smith Rock. It rarely rains for very long, so you may choose just to wait it out and keep climbing!
Q. How high will we go?
- A. That depends on your comfort level and how much time we have. Routes range in height from 40 to 400 feet. Some clients want to start even lower, so we sometimes rig a rope on a 20 foot boulder and move up from there. Others want to go as high as possible right away. Many clients go up 100 feet on several routes their first day out. We've even had new climbers make it up 400 foot routes!
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