Getting some outdoor leads in!


Saturday, 25-Sept-2021

The Beacon, Washington State

Man… with the exception of my Devil’s Tower climbing adventure, I can’t really remember the last time I just went out to climb with friends in the great outdoors. Ehh, okay. That’s a bit hyperbolic – It was last November, or maybe October, climbing at Ozone / FarSide with Bri and Lizzie. I had to trundle a huge boulder out of the route when it nearly fell out.

Fun times.

But… distant times, you know?

When Imogen expressed interest in climbing outdoors… well, I jumped on it. I was psyched, and came up with a few ideas of where we could go – she’s a newer climber, so I didn’t want to overwhelm her just yet… so just some shorter and cleaner pitches to get the blood flowing, you know?

In other words, The Beacon called.

It’s not an easy area, but there are a few very well travelled, very clean, very moderate routes that I’ve gotten to know pretty well. Not so much that I could climb them blindfolded… but the “with one arm tied behind my back” phrase does come to mind.

I packed up the car, picked her up in Portland, and we made our way toward adventure!

What did we climb?

SE Corner, 5.6, Trad – I got to lead!

We also explored quite a bit around the base of the Beacon… I feel like I’ve explored these before, but I can’t quite remember any specific instances… so we crawled into caves, stared up at huge walls, and appreciated the open air and cool fall breezes.

It was a simple and fun day – we got one solid pitch in, but… I’ll admit, I underestimated just how intimidating outdoor climbing can be, in comparison to gym climbing… especially when you get an amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge. Great views are a double-edged sword, right? They’re awesome and beautiful… but they’re also intimidating if you’re not accustomed to them.

Which leads me to the real meat and potatoes of this post – Climbing today, I was reminded just how deeply immersed I am in my element. It doesn’t really fall into one of the four natural elements… but instead I’m just exceptionally comfortable outdoors. Which… I’m just going to say it, I’m really exceptionally proud of.

It’s neat to think of, you know? I’d been camping when I was younger, a few times, but I’d never really considered myself into the outdoors until I got to college and had a chance to really stretch into my own wings.

But once I did… I’ve learned a lot, and experienced such a huge bounty of amazing trips, places, and… well, let’s be honest here. Quite a few mistakes along the way as well.

But… It’s been at least 16 years that I’ve been doing this. 16 solid years of trips, adventures, mistakes, memories, and excitement. Highs and lows, great summiting and rappelling in the rain.

It’s good to step back and recognize just how awesome we really are, every once in a while. To look at ourselves from the outside, and see just how many experiences we’ve lived, and how comfortable we’ve become in our elements – be it work, adventure, hobbies, or what have you.

To quite a wise (if short) old master: “Luminous beings are we”

One response »

  1. Was Master Yoda clinging to your shoulders for part of those climbs, Master Ben?

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