Climbing at Smith Rock Oregon

Note: Today’s kid’s corner post is courtesy of my 10 year-old daughter, who found her athletic passion on the rock wall and climbs competitively. During our visit to Central Oregon last year, we took a mother-daughter side trip to go rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park. Here are her thoughts about that experience.

I was so excited. I really can’t believe I didn’t explode on the ride to Smith Rock, Oregon, a rock climbing mecca for climbers. I couldn’t wait to to go climbing at one of the biggest and awesomest rocks in the universe (in my opinion at least 😉 )! Not only that, I was excited to share the sport that I love with my mom. For years I’ve been trying to get her to go rock climbing with me, because I know she would love it, and we were finally getting our chance.

When we finally got there I was a bit over-eager to get going! Not even the rattlesnake and cougar warnings, or the long trek into the park could deter me from wanting to share my passion with my mom.

Family rock climbing in Smith Rock State Park in Oregon -- from a kid's point of view

When our guide Jesse showed us where we would be climbing that morning, I looked up at the rock. It looked like it had a few fun climbs. After climbing a 5.7 and giving my mom a try (she didn’t make it all the way up that one,) Jesse decided to hook me up with something a little more difficult.

We moved over to a higher part of the rock and Jesse climbed up to set the anchor…and up and up and up until he rounded an outcropping and we couldn’t see him anymore. Probably around 110 feet in total.

And so, I started to climb the 5.9 rated route. At home in the rock gym I was only climbing 5.8 (now I’m up to 5.9s), and sometimes climbing outdoors can be more difficult than inside, or at least very different. But I wanted a challenge, so up I went.

Family rock climbing in Smith Rock State Park in Oregon -- from a kid's point of view

The first part was pretty hard, it had a bunch of holes that made me reach a bit out of my comfort zone. The second part was ok, and dotted with hard spots. But the last bit was the hardest by far. By this time I’d had been on the wall for at least 15 minutes and I was getting tired. The holds were tiny and I had to squeeze my fingers to fit but I kept going.

Many times I wanted to shout that I wanted to come down, but I still kept going. I am so glad I didn’t give up, because when I touched the clip that marked the end of the route, I felt so proud of myself that I wanted to shout. That feeling of accomplishment was well worth the effort.

Family rock climbing in Smith Rock State Park in Oregon -- from a kid's point of view

After I came down, my mom and I both climbed a 5.6. She got her head stuck in a particularly scratchy bush that was in the way, but she finished that one and so did I.

Soon after, it was time to go, and for once, I didn’t complain because I was so tired. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, and I was also glad that I finally got to share this experience with my mom and I hope it is something we can do together again in the future.

If you like rock climbing, I’d recommend a trip to Smith Rock!


Family rock climbing in Smith Rock State Park in Oregon -- from a kid's point of view

2 Comments on “Climbing at Smith Rock Oregon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Wow!! I am very impressed – I don’t think I would ever be able to climb a rock that high! You should be very proud of yourself – as should your mom for trying something outside her comfort zone too!

Get your free Family Vacation Planning Kit

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a Family Vacation Planning Kit with tips, questionnaires, budget templates, checklists and a planning timeline. will use the information you provide on this form to send you newsletters and updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.