beacon rock: Then and now
Produced in collaboration with
Beacon Rock was first climbed in 1901 by a steamship captain on a dare from his crew. Since then, Beacon Rock has proven to test the strength of even the grittiest of climbers. This film is a celebration of the community of climbers who pushed the grade and found creative and daring ways of the cryptic terrain of the Pacific Northwest's largest free standing monolith. Legacies are sometimes hard earned and we salute those who have gone before. The full film is currently touring local climbing events and working to preserve the history of this iconic landmark in The Columbia River Gorge.
A carless remark
"[Frank Chase Smith] simply says that an old gentleman came up to him and said, 'Can Beacon Rock be climbed?' He gave sort of a one-word answer, 'easily.' It was a careless remark because it was overheard by his crew. It was overheard by his passengers. And from then on, they wouldn't let go of it. And they kept teasing him and daring him and saying, 'When are you going to climb the rock?" In order to shut everybody up, he had to go try the climb" -Jeff Thomas, Mazamas Historian
Discovering the route
"I pulled this mass back and here is this spike. And I just went, Oh my God, this is the route. Whoever did this was obsessed. These things are like a half-inch thick or something, and they look like they just put them in yesterday. They were so perfect."
-Jim Opdyke, Old School Beacon Climber