BCEP – An evening at the Mazamas Mountaineering Center


Who are the Mazamas, you may ask? And what’s BCEP, you may enquire? Well, let me fill you in dear reader. When I first moved to Oregon, I pretty quickly heard about a mountaineering group in town called The Mazamas.

Similar to the AMC back in Boston, they teach classes and do conservation outreach projects. Over the years, I’d interacted with them tangentially – attending a few classes, volunteering with a few groups, but I’d never been able to actually take a course officially. I’d applied to their Advanced Rock climbing class, but wasn’t accepted for one reason or another.

Now, nearly seven years after first moving to Oregon, I was trying again. This time beginning at the bottom – while you may notice that I’m not quite a beginner when it comes to the outdoors, I was tired. These last few years haven’t been easy, and I was just tired of fighting… the chance to just sit back and meet new people while enjoying a few group hikes was more than worth the price of admission.

Friday, 18-Mar-2022

Part of BCEP is learning rock climbing techniques – and while learning about climbing in lectures and in books is helpful, it doesn’t quite match up to learning out in the field.

I remember with NUHOC, I’d teach people how to tie in and belay using a length of rope looped over a water pipe in the gear room – not quite the same as being outdoors, but it was good enough for the university… and repetition is the key point, not the environment that it’s repeated in.

The Mazamas is able to afford a slightly better setup than an old water pipe in a disused back closet, though. Nothing against the NUHOC gear room of my youth, of course! But… Man, if I’d had a full indoor training center like the Mazamas Mountain Center (MMC), well.. dang. I’d have been a happy Ben.

I don’t really have too much to write down here… I mean, we practiced rope skills and climbing systems, both of which I’ve been doing for the better part of half my life at this point. I learned a few new terms for things I’ve done before, and had a chance to practice moving on a fixed line, but overarchingly it was a chance for me to repeat some things and socialize with the team I’d be hiking and climbing with for the next two months.

The biggest item of note, in my mind at least, was some simple validation that I received, in no way related to climbing at all: We had a potluck! And since the Potluck was after a day that I had off from work… well, I had a chance to show off a little, and cook a large-scope meal that I wouldn’t normally be able to eat all on my own.

What did I cook, you may ask?

Well. I’d made ribs the weekend before, so that was out… But I was still feeling porcine, so Pulled Pork was on the menu!

Yep, you guessed it. This is going to turn into a cooking post! First off, you start with…

No, I won’t do that to you, dear readers. I’ve posted this recipe, or similar, a few times before… and while I’ll still add a link below, with my modifications, I’ll just say this – My offering got cleaned out completely. Now, I knew it was good, but that just means that I liked it… and that’s been my question recently; am I really a good cook, or do I just cook things that only I enjoy?

I’m happy to report that I got quite a few thumbs up on the potluck offering, so… some nice ego boost, and a bit of validation, right there.

Not a bad way to start the weekend.



– Add sage to the rub, to give it a bit of a desert flavor (since I’ve been kind of obsessed with the high desert recently)
– Make the sauce a 50/50 split of Sweet Baby Ray’s, and pan drippings. Lots of liquid smoke, of course!
– Add cayenne pepper to the sauce, since a bit of heat is nice
– Roast the freshly-pulled loin under the broiler ’till it starts to blacken on the edges. Get that nice crisp!
– Finish the pulled pork in a crock-pot for ~45min, set to low, simmering to re-hydrate the slightly dry pork into the sauce

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