Thursday, June 9

Just Did It

Smith is a really special place - unquestionably one of the greatest crags in America. Towering walls dramatically rise above the Crooked River, huge raptors zig-zag the sky and sun-bathing snakes line the hillside. The scenery and hang at Smith are amazing. The climbing is honest; old school bolting ethics and an unforgiving technical style characterize this world class crag. Climbing well here takes experience that one can't acquire in a gym - it's bold, perplexing and at times seriously heinous.... It's awesome!!

Needless to say, I'm a Smith Rock fan, so it was only natural that I give myself an opportunity to try one of it's most impressive climbs, 'Just Do It' 14c. I got to try Just Do It once last year when I visited for two weeks in May. Unfortunately my effort was in the direct sun, and proved to be mostly worthless accept for the fact that I did get my draws hanging on this 18 clip masterpiece.

I was thrilled to find that my draws remained when I hiked to the Monkey Face last Thursday. I got one burn in, ticking some feet and learning the sequences - pleased to find that the route felt quite a bit more reasonable in the shade of the late afternoon.

Tyler Roemer Image

Just Do It is a monster of a rock climb. It begins with an in-your-face delicate edging sequence that features some of the most finger taxing crimps I'd experienced at Smith. After 5 bolts the route allows a good shake before passing a strenuous section of blank rock via a powerful undercling, shallow mono and a crucial foot smear - this sequence brings you to the end of the lower section and the first set of anchors. Here you relax in a great rest before entering into the upper purple rock, and the routes crux. A few bolts of pumpy 5.12 climbing lead to a brief rest before a very bouldery crux - a few difficult lock-offs followed by a huge span, and a successive 10 move boulder problem takes you to the top.

A bend local, and impressive photographer, Tyler Roemer came out with me at a moment's notice to capture these rad photos of 'Just Do It' - have a look at some of his other varied and interesting photography on his website.

I was psyched to get this beast down to a one-hang on Sunday, and had high hopes for our next day out. Unfortunately, my dog Zeke had a little too much fun chasing the horses out on the ranch, and he wound up getting kicked pretty good. He seemed to be okay but by Sunday night he was in a bunch of pain so we made an emergency trip to Bend to the 24hr Vet. They hooked him up with some meds and checked out his wounds, but we didn't make it to sleep until 4am - I figured Monday would be little more than a active rest day.

Thankfully, it only took a single scoop of coveted Huckleberry ice cream to convince Marisa into giving me a belay late in the afternoon, and to my surprise, I sent! It was such a rad experience being back on the Monkey and trying this route - on colder days it felt pretty isolated back there. As for the grade: It took me six tries to finish this rig, but given the shear amount of difficult and varied climbing on Just Do It, I'd say it felt 14c to me - albeit a soft one.

feeling especially cowboy, thanks to the hospitality of my homeboy Greg Garretson

Now we've swiftly moved on to the next spot - lovely Seattle... A city I've really fell in love with over the last few years. I'm stoked to be here and can't wait to get out climbing!


  1. Nice work Jon! I have to ask though.. why didn't you stick around a bit longer to work on some of the standing projects? There are so many lines left at Smith, and you're one of the only major pros who I know visits the crag with any regularity. It's unfortunate to see those futuristic lines in the gulleys be neglected :)

    At any rate, killer job on Just Do It!!

  2. JDI has always IMO been a dream line of a climb. Those pics are b-e-a-utiful! Nice job Jstar!

  3. It's pretty funny because I was just at my local climbing store and picked up a back issue of UC Mag and it had your write up about smith in it, which was very well written by the way. Here you are back there tearing it up! Congrats on sending. That route looks massive! Are you planning on hitting up Vegas again while you are out on the west coast? Also, I have a question for you. I want to get my climbing buddies together for a crag trip and was wondering where would be a good place to go on the west coast with a fair amount of solid moderate climbs and great scenery? Stay awesome!

    - Ernest

  4. I have found why the name of the route says something to me : it has been established by french climber J.B. Tribout some years ago.
    Impressive route.
    Congratulations for this great performance !!

  5. Anon - honestly I'm unaware of the projects in the Gulley's..? I did take a look at a line to the left of JDI - Chris Sharma is there taking a look at it too actually now, along with the one to the left of Scarface (looks HEINOUS / impossible). I'm always psyched to look at new rock though, and new routing is where the majority of my focus will go over the next few years.

    Ernest - dude, check out Smith man! seriously, one of the best crags in America, with a great selection of easier trad and sport, and stunning scenery. Otherwise, J-Tree is really close to you. I've not been there but there is like 10,000 routes or something ridiculous and it's supposed to be beautiful - Wolverine Publishing just launched a new guide book. Hopefully I'm back in Vegas next January!

  6. Nice one Jonathan! Don't know if you have heard of this but next time in town check out:

  7. Hi guy-

    Ken let me know you had some trouble. Hope you don't let it get you down. As I remeber you took a few pictures of some of my older gear in the Tetons. I still have that stuff around if that would help you out. Also available a set of double nines your dad and I scored that we used on Denali and in Peru (right before your birthday). They are still in pretty good shape.
    Other than that - take care. See ya -Kurt


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