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Climb your way to the top

Oregon’s landscape has many different faces, and areas of Central Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge are just a couple of them that draw climbers.

One of the most popular climbing areas in Oregon is Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon. This is a 651 acre park, on a high desert plateau at about 3,000 feet in elevation. The major rock faces of Smith Rock are made up of compressed volcanic ash reaching up to 550 feet.

There are over 1,300 climbing routes at Smith Rock, such as Monkey Face, Morning Glory Wall and Spiderman Buttress. boasts that with hundreds of climbing routes the park has some of the best climbs in the world.

If Central Oregon is too much of a journey, you can try Rooster Rock State Park or Broughton’s Bluff located just off Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge.

Rooster Rock has several major rock formations that provide good climbing. The park is surrounded by trees and hills, and also gives a great view of the Columbia River, which runs along side the park.

Broughton’s Bluff at Lewis and Clark State Park is located in Troutdale, just outside of Portland. The Bluff provides a great climb because of its variety of rock faces that accommodate any skill level.

As far as skill level goes, if you’re not too confident in your Spiderman-like abilities, then there are several classes you can take to brush up.

Climb Oregon offers classes for beginning climbers who can learn to climb indoors first at Mt. Hood Community College’s rock wall on the first Monday of every month. The two-hour classes teach the basics of indoor climbing and cost $25 per person, including equipment and a pass to climb at the rock gym a second time.

Those who want to learn to climb outdoors at the start can take a class at Smith Rock. This class is held the last weekend of every month and costs $125 per person. The cost covers the equipment and two full days of guided climbing.

Climbers can also learn to set top-ropes at Climb Oregon’s clinics held at Broughton’s Bluff. This clinic is only held twice over the summer and costs $60 per person. The first of these clinics is on June 9 and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. For more information about these classes call 503-788-4549.