With her knee still injured, and outdoor adventures out of the picture, Sarah’s taken to living vicariously through me. To do so, she’s been setting up play dates for me with various climbers that she knows. This weekend was a climbing trip with two people she’d met during her Advanced Rock class with the Mazamas, on an adventure to a new climbing area that neither of us had been to…
The day started early, as it’s wont to do when Mazamas are involved.
I hadn’t met either of the two Patricks that I’d be climbing with today, but we’d been chatting on Facebook for a while, discussing plans and coming up with route ideas and gear selection. It was good – we were pretty ready, and while it was going to be an early morning, climbing’s one of those things that I’ll very willingly wake up early for.
We met up, piled into Pat’s (one gentleman was Pat, the other was Patrick) Subaru, and hit the road! It was going to be a long drive – just about an hour and a half – but that’s the price we pay here in Oregon to find good rock.
The drive? Simple, enjoyable, and finished before too long.
The parking? Kind of sketchy, since it’s just a tiny pulloff on a winding road East of Mt. Hood.
The approach? Tough. I packed too much, and don’t like hiking straight up the side of a mountain. I lived, though.
The climbs? Well…
- Blue Grouse – 5.9, Sport, Top Rope – Our warmup route, this one was really fun and pretty straight forward. I enjoyed it, even though it was sport.
- Belly of the Beast – 5.8, Trad, Lead – This one was glorious, if a bit tough for me. I haven’t done much crack climbing since breaking my knee, and the movements are still a bit tough for me. But I pushed through, slammed gear in, and safely made it up to the top. I loved the top of it, specifically, traversing out from under a roof, and clipping an anchor out on the face.
- Ourboros – 5.8, Trad, Lead – This was around the corner from Belly of the Beast, on the far side of the huge basalt column. I liked this a bit more, since it was a little cleaner and had some better placements, but honestly it wasn’t super different from Belly of the Beast. The real challenge was remembering when/where to traverse around the arrete to get to the anchors. I caught myself before I went too far, but poor Pat had to downclimb nearly 6ft to get back to the anchors.
- Shaken (not to be confused with Shaken) – 5.8, Mixed, Top Rope – this route… was a bit contrived, if I’m being honest. It looks like a really hard finger crack, but Mountain Project called it a 5.8, so we jumped on it. But it’s literally 2ft right of a 5.10 sport line. So… you can easily clip bolts everywhere. And while the crack looked good… well, this route was really just a face climb with a tiny crack that you could sometimes place gear into. Meh.
We started up one more route, but unfortunately the rain started seriously threatening almost immediately after Pat headed up. By the time Patrick was on his way to clean, it was sprinkling… and when he was down, we had rain.
So, we packed up and headed back. The drive was pretty clean, though I’ll be the first to admit that I had a bit of trouble staying awake for all of it. I didn’t fully nod off, but I definitely zoned our pretty regularly.
But hey! That means we went hard! And I got to explore a new area, so… that’s pretty rad, right?