23 August 2010

Smith Rocks, Part Deux

I know it's been months, but I couldn't not write about my second trip to Smith Rocks.  I've been there before, in case you want to read about it

This time the trip consisted of a crew of peeps, including Allen from last time and the Blissful miss Erica, who I was very excited to get out and climb with.  There was also "Flexy" Hexar, Sarah (a speech pathologist with wicked guns), Brad, Mike, Chris, Steve, and Anne.  In general we split up for most of the climbing days, but it was a super fun group and now (two months later) we are a happy little climbing crew, getting together at least once a week for local outings.

Allen and I drove down on Thursday night and started the trip off right by climbing Friday, which also happened to be Allen's birthday, with another multi-day epic.  This time it was a 5-pitch, 5.4-5.9 climb.  I led the first pitch, a 5.8.  Here I am belaying Allen up. 
Then we swapped leads through a 5.8 (which was confusing since it wandered a bit), a 5.4 traverse (my first traverse lead - it's a weird sensation to have rope drag feel like it's pulling you off), a and 5.9 to top out.  
Here's Allen on the last pitch.
Happy Birthday!  Love this pic which I've titled "Contemplating Awesomeness"
 Because of the long traverse pitch, we had to rappel down through a different set of anchors.  Sometimes this can be quite an experience in an of itself, and not in a good way.  However, in this case we were very pleasantly suprised to discover an open air rappel through a super cool mini-cave/canyon.
Rappelling really puts me in my happy place, especially when you discover an unexpected open-air rappel!
Here's looking out through the top of the "cave" - kind of looks like a face!
My Happy Place
Dirty Climbers
After our epic we headed back to camp to celebrate a successful day and partake in birthday beverages whilst waiting for everyone else to arrive.  The hike back was long and took us past the Monkey Face.  A lot of the routes to get up there are either aid or massively overhung, but someday I plan to sit in his mouth!
Saturday morning I woke up feeling less-than-stellar (damn you Irish Death) but determined nonetheless to go out and be awesome. Allen and Erica were also set to go, so the three of us set off.  It really became a gorgeous day!
The climbing was good as can be expected at Smith.  We started with my lead on a 5.8 - here I am hanging out setting up anchor.
Here's Erica coming up as I'm cleaning a different anchor:
In total, the three of us sent two 5.8's, a 10c, and a 5.7.  Not bad for a good days work.  We also took our time and enjoyed the hiking.  As per usual, Smith did not disappoint.
Saturday night we assembled the crew to once again visit Deschutes Brewery to celebrate Allen's Birthday.  They brought him beer with a candle in it.  We sang.  It was epic.
Saunday morning we got up with lofty plans again, as Allen wanted to top out on the 11c that he'd been projecting.  He got right to work - didn't take much prodding from Erica and I for that shirt to come off.  You can't see his face here, but he's contemplating awesomenss:
Those are some pretty ridiculous back muscles you have Hulk.
Sending the crux.  Nice job Allen!
 Allen made it look so fun that Erica gave it a go.  I was perfectly happy on the ground giving a good belay!
I actually didn't want to climb because I was "saving myself" to do my first 10a lead outside.  I had my eye on a specific climb in the book, only when we got there someone else was on it.  No bother, we hiked up a VERY STEEP hillside and got to a little 10a called "Wicked Little Thing."  Fitting for my first 10a lead, don't you think?
Next we put Allen up on a 10b.  Here's my "spot".  
After another beautiful lead by Sir Allen, Erica got on this 10b and sent it like a jedi master.  Allen took some cool artsy photos while I belayed:
Me 'hanging out' while Erica's taking a break
I, on the other hand, just didn't 'get' this climb at all and flailed about like a weakling. Perhaps it's because my fingers looked like this - check out how far gone my finger tips are, I'm easily missing a few layers of skin:
Nevertheless, I coudln't let Erica and Allen (Allenica?) outclimb me, so I got on it anyway.  Here's my best effort to "crouching tiger" my way up the route:
I never did figure the route out and had to hang for a while.
It made me feel like this (not my happy place):
But Erica knows how to cheer a girl up, so we played a game of "how about I'll just belay myself?" and I felt all better :-)
Oh, and here are my wicked awesome knee bruises.  Is it weird that I'm fascinated by climbing injuries?
Now it was REALLY hot on Sunday.  Not as hot as it normally is in Smith on the 4th of July, but still in the 80's.  What a better way to cool off then with some cliff jumping?  Good thing Erica knew of a local place!  So we all hopped in the car and hiked down to take a dip.

Here's Allen's first launch:
And Brad diving in what quite possibly may be the best picture I take in my whole life:
After drying off, we drove to a pub, ate some grub, and headed back to camp.  As I mentioned it was the 4th of July, and we had been entertainign the idea of hiking up to the top of the rocks all weekend to watch the fireworks in town, but now that the time was actually here....we decided to just sit in camp and drink instead.  Allen had bought a growler at Deschutes, and nearly finished it!  By himself!  Even though Brad clearly wanted in on the action!
"I just wanna hold it, I promise."
Monday morning we begrudgingly emerged from our tents bright and early to get some climbing in before heading back to Sea-town.  I started off leading a 5.9 with a classic "smith" start, i.e. there's a huge human-sized hole where you would normally find foot holds.  Good thing I've been working on my "guns".

I love this pic, mostly because of all the gear on my harness.  I'm a simple girl.  Gear pleases me. 
First clip!
About 1/3 of the way up.  After this it becomes tiny chicken-head nubbins.  Not my fave.
Here's Sarah (so cute!) standing in the hole at the start.  I know I am prone to exaggeration, but I was not kidding when I said there are human sized holes.
But Sarah (and everyone else) had no problem mastering the start:
Here's Erica starting the 5.9 with me on belay while Erica looks on and Hexar adjusts his helmet for safety.
Hexar got on lead on the stout 10b after Allen.  Here he is showing off why we call him Flexy. 
One last look at our last wall at Smith. 
Thanks for a great trip climbing crew!!!  See you next weekend in Skaha!

1 comment:

Tamara Nicole said...

Looks like a blast, great pics!!!