REDMOND, OR -- Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne is a well-known rock-climbing Mecca, but climbing faces are mostly vertical. Ian Caldwell, sometimes called the "Mayor of Smith Rock," is an elite climber working to bring a horizontal climbing opportunity to Central Oregon.
Caldwell is developing a climbing wall on the underside of Redmond's Maple Avenue Bridge. "We are working on putting up the first routes. We have eight potential arches we want to put routes up, and right now we’re working on the first arch. It’s about 130’ long of rock climbing and about 70’ tall."
He says the 8-year-old span is ideal because it crosses a public park, not a river or railroad track like other bridges. "What’s unique is that it’s steep and overhung. Most of the climbing at Smith Rock is on vertical faces. We have some of the most difficult routes in America at Smith Rock, but nothing that’s really steep. These walls start at 45-degree overhung and they continue to be completely horizontal climbing," Caldwell says.
"In 2013, I took a trip to a place called Maple Canyon
in Utah. It has really steep overhanging walls, similar to this angle. When I came back I came and looked at these arches and I thought, ‘wow, that’s just like Maple Canyon.’ It was kind of ironic it was on the Maple Bridge. It got me thinking we don’t have any steep climbing at Smith Rock and we need some of it for training."
The project is funded by donations and recently received the full approval of Redmond City Councilors. The first routes could be done by this full.