Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 26, 27 & 28 February, 2016
So we finally did it.
We packed up the Mustang, with tents and sleeping bags, and cookware and an Ollie, and drove down to Smith for a weekend of adventure and intrigue.
We got into Smith early evening on Friday, and headed basically straight into Skull Hollow to get camp set up and to hopefully get an early start on Saturday morning. As per the usual, I’d brought the battle axe to chop up the firewood… but this time we held off for the first night, instead just relaxing and letting Ollie get used to the idea of being at a campground with us.
Saturday morning saw us heading to the Waterfall slab area – a smaller section, but one that’s nicely remote and generally untraveled… which was critical for us, since Ollie’s still getting used to being a crag dog and doesn’t really know how to stay calm while Sarah and I are climbing. We’d already done all of the routes around here before, so it was a nice change to just relax and do some fun / easy climbing… while keeping a cautious eye on the demon puppy.
After finishing up at the slabs, we moved along to the Pleasure Palace area, so that I could have a rematch against the route that Daniel and I had done while he was out… a really fun 5.10b, with a solidly tough beginning crux that I just loved. The hike into the Palace was, as usual, long and horrible and tiring, but the resulting view was amazing.
The climb was just as fun as I’d remembered it – a quite short, quite pumpy section followed by a long and boring section of basically walking up to the anchor.
Climbs on Saturday:
Taylor Brook – 5.7, sport
Amelia Dearheart – 5.7, Sport
9999 – 5.6, Sport
unknown climb – 5.9/5.10, Sport – This one was the far right of the waterfall slab, and it was definitely interesting. I led it twice; once through pure fear and skittering, and once much cleaner and quicker. The trick, I learned, was to stay low and use a tiny little side-pull to tear above the crux.
Matthew 7:24 – 5.10b, sport Clean Lead!
Saturday night was relaxing – fire, dinner over a stove, and relaxing. Ollie did really well too; she pulled at the leash a lot, but never actually snuck away from us. She was also, more importantly, very good around the fire and around camp. She only tied me up with the leash once or twice, and didn’t even pull the tent down once! Though I will admit that getting to sleep was a bit tough, since SOMEONE kept trying to cuddle into both Sarah and I…
Best / cutest part? Ollie running around in Sarah’s sweater. We put it around her to keep her warm, so it became the only part of her that we could actually see – black dog in a dark night, you understand. So it was basically a small reflective sweater bounding around the campsite, with two little glowing eyes poking out… Creepy and cute!
Sunday was another chill day – we didn’t bother trying to get more climbing in, and instead just took ourselves out to a fun breakfast, and then put the top down and cruised back to Hood River with Ollie curled up on Sarah’s lap 🙂