24 June 2010

Smith Rock, Oregon

Over memorial day weekend, I went with a few friends to Smith Rock in Oregon, and pretty well known climbing mecca. I was joined by Allen, a fellow I had just met a few weeks prior (man I love the climbing community - people are always so game to get out and actually DO something), and a couple, Amy & Duffy, and their two adorable boys aged 2 & 4.  In all, it was a fantastic group and I had an awesome time!  Normally, I just climb with one partner, so someone is climbing, and someone is belaying, and there's not much room for photos, since it's safety first!  Since there were finally more than 2 people out climbing, we were able to get some pretty stellar climbing shots. I thought I'd use my travel blog to share some of them!  Hey, we drove for 6 hours and went to a different state - I say that counts as traveling!
Allen and I drove down on Thursday night, and got up earlyish to do a classic climb - "Wherever You My Roam", which is a 5-pitch, 4 star, 5.8-5.9.  To get there, we had to navigate asterix pass, which is dodgy.  I do NOT like downclimbing, but for whatever reason Allen thought my struggles through were pretty amusing - here's him looking bemused while I struggle through:
We successfully navigated the pass, and got to the climb to discover other people already on it.  We waited a bit, then I led the first 5.8 pitch.  The rocks at Smith vary quite a bit in texture depending on where you are.  This particular spot had a lot of "nubbins" - little round protrusions from the rock.  They definitely will hold you, but it takes some getting used to, and it took a toll on my hands a bit as well.
The first pitch was smooth sailing, then Allen expertly led the following three pitches of 5.9.  One was a long traverse that had a lot of exposure.  I was a little sketched out.
Here you can see Allen leading the 2nd pitch.  The guy above him is at the belay station.  These pitches were all pretty long, 11-12 bolt sport routes. 

I led the 5th and last pitch.  The view from the top was stunning, but due to the light-pollution we couldn't get a good shot with my Cannon.  Oh well, guess we have to go back!  As you can see here though, we did get pretty high!
Then we got to do 4 rappels down.  Man, do I ever LOVE rappelling!  Everything about it, especially the dirty hands!  By the end of the weekend our hands were BLACK from the rope!
We were joined by the Bucker family on Friday night, and we hung out and drank some brewskies.  Delish!  Saturday we set out with the kiddos and went to a rock that's across the way from the major climbing areas.  There were about 8 routes over there, ranging from a 5.7 to a 5.10b.  We put up all 8 routes so I climbed the whole rock!  I led just one climb, the 5.7, but then I ended up cleaning 4 of the other climbs - which meant more rappelling.  Yessss!!!

Here are the best shots from Saturday:
Sunday we set out and kind of jumped around a bit.  We started with a classic 5.8 climb, "5 Gallon Jugs", which I led.
As I was climbing though, we heard a shout in the far off distance, then roughly 10 seconds later a carabiner came careening down and forcefully landed right behind me, where some people were sitting just feet away.  We weren't all wearing helmets, but we're VERY lucky no one was hurt - and it was just a good reminder to always wear a helmet!
Me on Lead
Allen on Lead
Duffy on Lead
After these classic climbs, we hopped over to work on an 11c project that Allen had going.  With a little cheater move, Duffy was eventually able to send it.  So Allen climbed it on top rope, and I'm confident he'll lead it our next trip out.  We also put up an 11a while we were in the area.  I got about half way up before my fingers were too chewed up from the rock to continue.
Allen Leading the 10c
Me top-roping the 11a - I got about half way
That night, we went into Bend, Oregon, and enjoyed some food and microbrews at Deschutes brewery.  I would DEFINITELY recommend that place!

Monday morning, before heading out around 2pm, Duffy, Allen and I got up and put up 2 last routes: a classic mixed trad-sport route and a nice 10b arete climb.  Duffy led the trad route beautifully, especially considering it was pretty run out.  I really enjoyed climbing it after him, since I rarely get the chance to crack climb.

As you can see, we were a bit sketched by the start
But he quickly got it under control
Here I am on top rope - you can see it's such a cool line under the roof
Allen on the Arete
And Duffy
Me - this is what I look like when I'm WAY sketched out
In all, it was a really amazing trip.  We're actually looking to head back over the 4th of July, so keep your eyes peeled for those, and I'm sure many other, more epic climbing pics to come.  For now, me and my new lizard friend bid you adeu.  Thanks for reading!