Tag Archives: Smith Rock

A quick stop at Smith Rock, 13-Oct-2019

Standard

Sunday, 13-October-2019

 

After spending the weekend in Bend, and the morning exploring the Newbury Volcanic Monument, we stopped into Smith Rock to take a quick tour of the climbing area.

 

We got some amazing pictures.

That’s… that’s kind of it.  It was a pretty quick stop.

Hiking Misery Ridge, Sunday 25-Aug-2019

Standard

Sunday, 25-Aug-2019

Smith Rock, out near Bend

 

It’s been ages since Sarah and I’ve been out to Smith Rock – injuries and new jobs, backpacking and house projects.  Lots of other things we’ve been doing, but when we finally had a weekend in Bend, we jumped at the chance to do some exploring!

While climbing would have been really fun, it wasn’t quite in the cards.  Ollie was with us, and the weather was pretty hot… turns out, August in the desert isn’t quite ideal climbing weather.  Who knew?  Us, that’s who.  And that’s why we got up early, grabbed our pre-packed bags, and zipped toward Smith with the top down and the music cranked up.

 

We got to the parking lot early enough to find a nice parking lot, but not so early that it was still freezing out.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t quite hot out yet either.  But it was nice – just on the warm side of cool, and perfect temperature for us to start into the hike.  We zipped down, and started our traverse of Misery Ridge after chatting a bit with a ranger to catch up on trail conditions and other details.

The hike itself was lovely – it warmed up quickly, and didn’t stop until it passed “yes this is August in the desert thank you please stop getting hotter” in the dust.  I don’t think it actually got much above 95, but the higher altitude and cloudless day, combined with the steep terrain, meant that we were definitely being good about hydration.  Ollie wasn’t at all a fan of the heat, at least on the up-hill portion… but we kept her close and stopped often to keep her hydrated.  Slowly but surely we ground our way up to the top, and to our lunch stop.

Overlooking Monkey’s Face, we made our sandwiches and chatted with some fellow hikers.  It was gloriously cute – there were two ladies hiking with a younger kid; one lady was visiting from Carolina, on break from her work as a teacher at space camp.

Yup.  Space camp.

So we learned about that, and shared some sandwich and granola with them and the young boy – who, we learned, hadn’t remembered to pack his own lunch for the day, even though he’d been reminded to multiple times.  His Mom made it clear to him that he shouldn’t ask us to share ours, since that would be weird, but since we overheard the conversation we offered some snacks up of our own volition – in trade for space camp stories, of course.

It was lovely, and a great chance to just hang out and chat with some interesting people.

 

The rest of the hike was simple and beautiful – going past the Monkey, around the long riverside trail… it was lovely, and we had a great time just enjoying the desert air and staying in the shade as often as we could.

A Weekend of Climbing – Competition and Smith Rock

Standard
A Weekend of Climbing – Competition and Smith Rock

Weekend of 10, 11, 12-Mar-2018

 

 

Friday, 10-Mar-2018

 

So far I’ve been to three instances of the PDX Pulldown – the first year where I made it into the open professional category, the second year where I had a broken knee, and now this, the third year in a row.

Each time it’s been a bit of a madhouse. Competitions always are, but this one was particularly impressive; they don’t cap attendance, so it usually ends up with a 30+ minute wait for any individual climb. But, in my opinion at least, it’s still totally worth it.

Why’s it worth it? What could make that much craziness and such a press of stinky rock climbers worth it?

The routes.

When they have a competition, they pull out all the stops. They bring in route setters from… I don’t know, route-set-topia? From somewhere. And they set interesting challenges; neat sequences, tough footwork, and powerfully dynamic moves. It’s awesome, and I love climbing them in the heat of competition.

The climbing went pretty well, although we went kind of lightly, truth be told. We could have probably pushed a bit harder and maybe even broken into the open category, but since we had a trip to Smith coming up over the next few days, we didn’t want to hurt ourselves or burn too hard. We need the fuel in the tank for the real rock climbing, instead of just competing in the gym, right?

It was an excellent competition, though. We didn’t end up winning any prizes for how hard we climbed, but we were both pretty proud of how well we did. On top of that, we won a few random raffle prizes, which is always nice. Nothing too nuts, but I got a $50 mountain hardware gift card, and Sarah got a set of stretching tools and a set of nutrition consultation appointments, which are also pretty neat.

 

 

Saturday, 11-Mar-2018

Our trip out to Smith was supposed to start on Friday evening… but let’s be honest. Who wants to drive 3 hours in the dark, just so that you can set up a tent, in the cold, sometime after midnight? No one, that’s who. Or… strange people, maybe? Not us, is what I’m getting at. Instead of driving out late, we decided to go early. Early to bed, early to rise, and early to drive the long drive to Smith.

Ollie was already in puppy camp, so our goals for the trip revolved almost exclusively around multi-pitch routes and big climbs. While Ollie can do well sitting at the base of the wall, she’s only good as long as someone is with her… multi-pitch routes, where both Sarah and I are on the wall for a few hours, don’t quite work with little miss separation anxiety over here.

Our goals hadn’t really been chisled into stone when we left Portland, but the drive clarified it up a bit as we sped on, deciding on what we wanted to work on.

That first day, we finally completed a long-standing goal of mine – a route I’d started calling “The Moscow Palace Traverse”. It’s not a single route, but instead it’s a traverse of the entire Smith Rock formation, starting on the East side with Moscow (a 3 pitch, 5.7 trad climb) and ending with a route called Matthew, in an area called Pleasure Palace (a single-pitch, 5.10 sport route). I’d come up with the traverse while climbing at Smith with Daniel a few years back, but had never had a chance to actually make it a reality.

But this was our time! This was our place! The Moscow Palace traverse was completed!

It went really well, too! Both Sarah and I got some successes in; Sarah led the two harder sections of Moscow, which had been giving her trouble for a long while. I climbed Matthew (not on lead, I’m sorry to admit), which was a really solid benchmark for me, since it’s a tough climb and I’m still a little unsteady on my healed knee. I busted it out though, and felt strong doing it. I think I need to start doing some more deadlifts though, to keep bulking the stabilizer muscles out a bit…

Anyways, the climbs went really well. The hike out went really well. Dinner… Ohh man. Dinner went so absolutely well, you don’t even know.

We made mac and cheese – a double portion, if I recall, made mostly with butter and a little bit of half and half. But we also made some chicken apple sausage, sliced it up, and added it in. Seriously, you don’t understand how amazing that meal is, after a whole day of climbing and hiking. It’s… well, I probably would trade it for gold, since gold is just super valuable. But… silver? I’d probably weigh it against silver, yeah.

After dinner, we embarked upon our final adventure of the day – sharing my ultra-light tent. I’ve had it since before I went to New Zealand, and it’s amazing for solo backpacking trips. It’s light, it’s small, and it’s quick to set up… all on top of being windproof and quite rainproof too. But… it’s small. As in, a bit cramped for two people, and definitely cramped for two people and a dog. So we didn’t want to test it out when Ollie was with us.

Results came back… neutral. Not super positive, since it was definitely pretty cramped, with not too much space for any gear. But not negative either, since it still easily had enough room for us, and it’s majorly lighter than any of the other tents that we’ve got. Will we take it on our next backpacking trip? Ehh…. maybe. Depends where we go, I think.

With that scientific experiment ongoing, we slept under the stars (in a tent, under the stars).

 

Sunday, 12-Mar-2018

While the tent experiment went well, our sleep didn’t go quite as well… not really sure what caused it, but somehow we didn’t end up quite as rested and refreshed as we’d hoped. Simple to solve, though, especially since the morning dawned rather bitterly cold. We just curled a bit deeper into our sleeping bags and slept in a bit.

Or… I slept in, I should say.

Sarah’s kind of a badass, so she didn’t want to sleep in. She wanted to wake up and make breakfast and brew up some coffee. When I say “she wanted to make breakfast”, I usually mean “Sarah looked at some food, then thought better of it and just drank some more coffee”. Today, though, it meant that she tied her hair back, rolled up her sleeves, and made us mini pizzas.

Yeah, seriously. While camping. Sarah made. Pizza. For breakfast. While I slept.

I woke up to pizza chips. It was unbelievably delicious.

I mean, I don’t even understand. I didn’t realize we had the ingredients for pizza chips, much less the option to have them as breakfast-in-sleepingbag. It was like waking up from a pleasant dream, just to find out that I was having another, even more pleasant dream.

Anyways yes we ate breakfast and it was awesome.

Then, we went rock climbing again! Keeping with our plan of doing some trad multi-pitch routes, we re-did another legacy route that we’d worked before – this time one called Super-Slab. It’s a pleasant route, with a bit of scary exposure at a few points. Sarah lead the first two pitches, and I took on the third.

Nothing was really out of the ordinary, which was honestly a really nice aspect of the climb. Climbing is, too often, a stressful event with us… swinging leads, making sure we have the right gear, negotiating challenging sections, it gets tough. This time it was different though – we cruised up, ripped past the tough spots, and had a great time!

The day was honestly just a really pleasant and quick one – we climbed, we descended via three long rappels, and we took the long trek out to the car. It was fun!

I’ll admit, the Dairy Queen on the drive home was also pretty fun, same with getting to sleep in our own bed after a night of cramped camping, but I’m pretty confident that’s simply because of how well we’d climbed the previous two days. DQ food is good, as is any semi-fast food, but it’s honestly only truly delicious when you’re covered in chalk dust and exhausted from a few days of good adventure.