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Smith Rock's annual "Spring Thing" 2004

"Spring Thing" at Smith Rock, Oregon

On May 8, 2004 nearly 150 people showed up at Smith Rock State Park to take part in the 12th Annual "Spring Thing." Although mostly climbers, others such as hikers, Mt bikers, bird watchers, school groups and the boy scouts all volunteered their day to help Oregon Parks and Recreation Department maintain trails and make improvements to one of the most visited parks in Central Oregon.

Work projects included adding erosion control measures, planting native plants in impacted areas, picking up litter and making climbing area enhancements and trail improvements. The big project this year was completing the rock walls at Morning Glory Wall area, which was started last year. Pressure treated timbers and rebar were removed and replaced with dry stacked basalt rock, which is commonly used as landscaping throughout Central Oregon. Due to the popularity of Smith Rock the wood and
rebar are just not holding up to the amount of use. The new rock walls create stable erosion retaining walls, large flat areas for climbing gear organization, and look better than the pressure treated wood. Another series of rock walls was started in the Dihedrals in a similar manner.

An amazing amount of work also occurred in Agro Gully and Shipwreck Wall areas. Last winter the high amounts of snow and moisture loosened up the dirt. Much of the work in Agro Gully focused on shoring up some loose rocks and scree slopes. Shipwreck Wall also saw many improvements. The trail to the main part of the wall saw excellent improvements. Large rocks were used to create step and ledges for hiking and climbing. Loose scree was removed from above the trail to prevent dirt and rock from falling onto the trail.

Rope-de-Dope, the main entrance trail and Misery Ridge trail were also cleaned and improved. A split rail fence was installed near the river below the Dihedrals to prevent people from walking on the fragile hillside. A couple of groups worked along the Crooked River shoreline to clean up trash left from high water and pull noxious weeds.

The Smith Rock Group is a non-profit organization, which works with Smith Rock State Park to help maintain the recreation opportunities in the park. Many people in the group live near the park and spend countless hours organizing this yearly event. Although it is only one day there is a large amount of effort that must occur before and after the event to ensure success. The group spends several months lining up the volunteer projects with park staff. About 20 yards of rock was needed to construct the rock walls this year. The rock had to be moved in a truck then by tractor and finally by a motorized wheelbarrow. At one site the ground was so steep that all the rock had to be carried by hand for the last 100feet. All this work had to be done by the Smith Rock Group before the day of the event, due to the limited amount of equipment and congestion on the trails.

In the evening, dinner was served to the volunteers. Recognition was given to "Ranger Dave" Slaght for all his work with the group and climbing community. This was Dave's last day at Smith, since he has been promoted to a Team Leader at Cove Palisades State Park at Lake Billy Chinook. Dave thanked the volunteers for helping, recognizing that the work accomplished saved the park thousands of dollars. Dave introduced the new Ranger, Thad Fitzhenry who had already started work at Smith Rock.

The volunteers were treated with a slide show of everyone working throughout the day. A slide show of a trip to Cuba was given free of charge from Brittany Griffith and Timmy O'Neil, which had the audience rolling with laughter.

Various climbing gear companies donated product or services, which was raffled or auctioned to raise over $3,000, for supplies and materials for next years project. Support for the event was excellent. Salomon provided the largest contribution with gear for the auction. Metolius, Evolv, Entre Prises, Black Diamond, Patagonia, and Redpoint/First Ascent all made substantial donations. Other significant contributions were received from Sunset Realty, Inclimb Gym, Michael Geisen, Bluewater, Metabolic Maintenance, Stone Age, Portland Rock Gym, Eagle Crest, Solid Rock Climbers for Christ, The Greens at Redmond, Five Ten, Crooked River Ranch, Petzl, Chaco, Kelty, Courtney Lower, Misty Mountain Threadwear, Wild County, Red Chili, Cascade Designs/MSR, Clif Bar, Athletic Club of Bend, Liberty Mountain, and Rockhard.
--Ian Caldwell for The Access Fund

Note: Ian Caldwell is working his way through the 5.14 test pieces at Smith Rock. --Webmeister




Read more . . .
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Smith Rock - inadequate top rope belay
Smith Rock - climber injured on the approach
Smith Rock - WARNING - belayer drops climber off the end of the top rope
Smith Rock - novice sport climber injured
Smith Rock - fall on rock, protection pulled out
Smith Rock - fall on rock - poor position, inadequate protection
Smith Rock - pulled rock off - fall on rock, failure to test holds, exceeding abilities
Smith Rock - belay failure, fatal fall on rock

Smith Rock Spring Thing volunteer created improvements
Smith Rock Spring Thing volunteer's party
Smith Rock Spring Thing in the news
Smith Rock trad climbing practice
Smith Rock from above the Burma Road
Smith Rock rescue cache by AAC/ORS and TraditionalMountaineering
Smith Rock weekend
Smith Rock Monkey Face practice

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