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Trip Report: Voyage of the Cowdog, Smith Rock State Park, OR
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Trip Report: Voyage of the Cowdog, Smith Rock State Park, OR

Trip Report: Voyage of the Cowdog, Smith Rock State Park, OR

When: 03/07/2017
Location: Voyage of the Cowdog, Smith Rock State Park, OR
Conditions: 65 degrees, sunny
Duration: 10am-1pm
Difficulty: Challenging
Kid Friendly: No
Pet Friendly: No
Useful links: mountainproject.com

The Full Report:

Voyage of the Cowdog is one of those climbs that many longtime Smith climbers know about, but haven’t climbed due to its only recent increase in popularity.

Voyage of the Cowdog

The approach takes you down the main trail, across the bridge, left, around Shiprock, and up the first path on the right. From there, just keep taking right turns and climbing higher as the trail winds around past overhung projects. As you arrive in the gully between the Table Scraps Wall and the jutting mass of rock that connects Shiprock to the main wall, continue up until the trail ends at the base of a low angle dark slab.

The first pitch is mundane and forgettable. If someone is having a bad day and doesn’t want to be climbing, don’t make them lead this pitch. A pocketed slab leads to tricky footwork up a headwall, leading to a small dihedral which ends at a substantial ledge. This 9 bolt pitch is nothing special. I led this pitch carrying a small backpack, complaining all the way up. I linked it with the short, traversing 5.4 pitch that follows it. I caught some flak from my partner for only clipping 2 out of this pitches’ 4 bolts (I said I was trying to reduce rope drag, but in reality, I was moving quickly and didn’t need the protection. The second pitch ends at a comfortable anchor with a wonderful view. The day we climbed, the weather was so clear we had a view of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. It’s the third pitch of this climb that makes the first two worthwhile.

Voyage of the Cowdog

The pitch begins up some 5.8ish classic Smith Rock nubbin moves, grabbing the occasional loose flake. It’s pretty well protected although the exposure can make one feel scared. It gently moves further and further right onto the arête, suddenly positioning the climber over several hundred feet of exposure, as they scale the upper left flank of the Picnic Lunch Wall. A challenging high step finishing move leads to a comfortable anchor on a relatively flat ledge.

To descend, we did a somewhat exciting walk off on the only obvious route up a hard one move buttress, and down a six-foot drop. The walk off eventually lands you at the top of the Red Wall on the Misery Ridge Trail.

Voyage of the Cowdog

The third pitch of this climb make the first two completely worthwhile and it was a great experience. I would recommend it to anyone comfortable at the grade but seeking a little bit of exposure and some multipitch experience.

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