The Voice


The Voice


The Voice

Quest climbs Smith Rock

Scaling the crag, fingers carefully seek firm holds against Oregon’s scenic background, fueled by the thrill of completing the climb. Over the spring break, members of Quest ventured out of Pennsylvania and one of the premiere climbing destinations in the U.S., described Director Nick McCormack. 

Background breakdown

Quest’s trip to Smith Rock State Park in Oregon has been a long-lasting annual tradition every four years. As McCormack described, the endeavor started with former Quest director Brent Simpson, who held the position in the early 2000s and who had lived near Smith Rock.

McCormack took over the program in time, making him the third director to lead the trip. He stated, “Just so happened that as I took over the program, they made trips in 2016 and 2020, so it just worked out.”

The trip comprised of members with extensive experience and newcomers, bringing a wide range of skill levels to the stage. “We can bring the new people up to speed with the people who have been around a while,” McCormack said. “The group gelled super well and getting a lot of cool climbs in.”

Tracing each step of the climb

The group flew into Oregon on Saturday. Followed by a drive that took them over the Cascade Mountains. The first two days had been spent mostly climbing the terrain, where there was “a lot of learning and a lot of practice,” according to McCormack. 

The following Tuesday, the group made it a rest day. This opened up time for everybody to explore the local sites and visit local shops. 

On Wednesday, the trip took them to a new type of rock, basalt. Smith Rock holds many locations with exposed volcanic rock such as basalt and tuff. McCormack described climbing on these types of rocks as “Totally unique compared to the climbing in PA.” 

It was on Thursday that members were taught about multi-pitch climbing, a type of climb that is longer than the length of your rope. This type of climbing helped members learn more about rope management, and more advanced skills overall. “I feel awesome being able to pass that information on to the next generation,” McCormack said. 

Friday marked their last day in Oregon with the final hike before traveling back to Portland. With the trip coming to an end, McCormack concluded with, “It’s a dream. This is absolutely my favorite thing. Being able to teach folks the basic climbing skills, especially in this beautiful location. This is my dream.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Caleb Brown, Howl Editor

Comments (0)

All The Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *