Tag Archives: Trad

Climbing at Ozone, taking the sharp end, and cleaning routes!

Standard

Sunday, 23-Aug-2020

 

I got to climb outside again!

I don’t really know if I’d been to Ozone before; I didn’t think that I had, but after doing a few routes here… I’m less sure.  I can tell you that it’s really good rock, with a good approach trail and well bolted routes.  Parking wasn’t bad, and there weren’t nearly as many people as I’d feared there would be.  I mean, it was basically a perfect day, weather-wise, so I’d been expecting a pretty packed crag.  When there were only two teams nearby… well, definitely took that as a win.

The climbing team of the day was Bri, Lizzy, and myself.  We met up mid-morning, packed up the Mustang, and headed in!

 

Driving, parking, and walking in were easy, and in short order we were racked up and started in on the routes.  The specific climbs I’ll detail below, but the first climb was when we hit our most… exciting… part of the day – a loose boulder.

When climbing, loose rocks are just part of the outdoor adventure.  We’re careful, and warn our belayers if we knock something loose.  It’s why we have helmets, after all.

One of the biggest fears of a climber, though, if knocking a big rock loose.  A rock that a helmet can’t help our belayer against.  A bit over halfway up Night Owl, I ran into that fear first-hand when an ~80lb boulder shifted under my hands.

I was on lead, above my gear, which meant that I didn’t have anything to hold onto aside from the rock itself… which had just moved, so… not a great thing to hold onto.  Thankfully it was an easy route, and I was on fairly solid footing, so I was able to quickly re-adjust, and find some safer rock to hold onto.  I was also, more importantly, able to catch the rock on my hip, keeping it in place for the time being.

First up was warning everyone, obviously – telling my belayer and the climbers nearby to vacate the fall zone, and to keep a steady eye on the area that the rock would fall from.  Then, once I found a better handhold, I wedged the rock back into its place as best I could, and continued up the route.  On the way down, I lashed the rock in place with some slings and trad gear – another advantage of climbing Trad, I guess?

 

Once the rock was secure, our plan was to climb, and then re-assess the danger when we took the route down – the rock was safe and secure, and no one was going to be climbing on top of it going forward.

Once we’d all climbed the routes from that anchor though… that was when the adventure began.  I laced up my hiking boots and headed up on top-rope, assessing the size and fall line more directly this time.  We enlisted the climbers next to us to help keep everything clear – they blocked off one side of the trail, and we blocked off the other, making sure that no unexpected teams would wander into the fall area.

With the area safe and secure, my original plan was to lower the rock down with me, so that it wouldn’t kinetically crash down unpredictably.  Once I got to the rock though, it was quickly clear that it was far too heavy for me to safely maneuver on my own… and that ironically the safest option would be to let gravity do the work, and to let the rock fall naturally.

So I disconnected it from the safety gear, and used the webbing already on it to slowly leverage it out.

Honestly, it was terrifying.

But, in the end, it fell safely… if loudly.  Definitely a scary adventure, but I’m really glad that we were able to clear it ourselves, instead of having to leave it as a possible danger.  I did sacrifice some webbing to the rock, since I can’t re-use the webbing that fell with it, but it’s not a bad price to pay… and now I have an excuse to go to the climbing store again!

 

Routes:

Night Owl – 5.6 Trad, Lead – This one was fun, if a bit dirty.  Hasn’t been climbed too often it seems, which led to the previously-mentioned “fun” of removing the huge loose boulder.  Still, worth climbing if you’re around and are careful.

Why Must I Cry – 5.10 Top Rope – This was really fun, but definitely tough… and I may or may not have actually followed the correct route.  I’ll definitely try it again.

Rude Boy – 5.8 Top Rope – Another fun route, but still a bit dirty.  I think I crossed onto this route while doing “Why Must I Cry”.

??? (Maybe Leisure Time?) – 5.9/10 Top Rope – This route isn’t in any of the guides, but Bri and Lizzy lead it on sport… it was definitely a stiff 5.9, if not a low 5.10, and I was very happy to be seconding it.

Helm’s Deep – 5.9 Top Rope – Similar to the previous one, but has the fun of starting off a huge pillar… so there’s a sort of moat around it!  Much easier than the unknown, but I’d still happily call it a 5.9.

 

A good trip, in every sense 🙂

Climbing outside! At beacon rock! Multi-pitch!

Standard

Friday, 01-Nov-2019

Fall is my favorite time of year. It’s bright, the leaves are beautiful, it’s cold but not freezing, and the sun is still up for a fair amount of time. It’s the perfect season for rock climbing.

 

Thankfully, we were able to make a bit of time, and Sarah and I headed out to The Beacon for a quick three-pitch jaunt up the SE Face.  It was amazing to stretch out our climbing muscles again; placing gear, building anchors, and facing the cold wind through the Columbia Gorge.  We had a blast!

We’d been debating continuing to the summit, but honestly, after Pitch 3, we were pretty burnt and cold – it was NOT a warm day, and while I love climbing in the cool weather, this was getting just a little into the “cold” side of things.  We conferenced quickly, and decided that it’d be better to descend… everything after Pitch 3 is pretty weak anyways, so we weren’t really feeling drawn to it.

Instead, we rapelled down, packed up our gear… and then hiked to the summit!  Woo!

Henry’s Visit – climbing Rooster Rock

Standard
Henry’s Visit – climbing Rooster Rock

Saturday, 12-August-2017

 

Sarah’s brother came to visit!

I’d met Henry before, but this was going to be the first time that we got to spend time together her in Oregon – Henry was out for a conference, but had scheduled some extra time to hang out and go on some adventures with us.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend the whole time hanging out, as I had to fly back home for an unexpected funeral, but we were able to get a few adventures in before he flew back to Australia…

 

One of our goals for Henry’s visit was to take him rock climbing outdoors – we did some climbing while visiting Scotland for Christmas, but that was inside, and only on top rope… From what I remember, Henry’s never actually been climbing outside, or done any multi-pitch climbing.  We had to remedy that.

Instead of trying for a huge climb, we decided to take it a bit easy… I was still a little hesitant with my knee, so combining that with the fact that Henry didn’t have any climbing shoes led us to a short few pitches at the entrance of the gorge: Rooster Rock.

The climb went lovely!  Henry enjoyed himself, and got a chance to get some really good pictures from the top of the spire.

 

I… I don’t know what else to write.  Climb good.  Views good.  Adventure good.  Rappel down good.  Walk back to car, drive home, eat dinner.  Good.