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Smith Rock Oct 10-12, 2014

This past weekend, Andy and I took off ASAP after work in order to get our hands on central Oregon rock for what will likely be one of the last warm weekends until spring… This thought is alarming to me.

Getting there friday night was close to a disaster. After stopping at an incredible Thai place in Sandy for dinner (which we ate on the drive), we ran into some traffic. And by traffic I mean… Driving hell. We plugged along, spending 10-15 minutes at a time at a complete standstill, and waited to finally encounter the “wreck” that all the signs had been raving about. There was no such wreck. Eventually we were cruising again and after nearly 5 hours, we made it to the bivy, only to find that each and every parking space was taken. So, we turned around and headed for Skull Hollow… Or The Grasslands, as Andy prefers to call it.

It, too, was full.

So, somewhere around 1130pm, we pulled off the road, parked the car, lay down our bags and pads on the ground, and fell asleep.

In the morning, we ate breakfast and drank coffee at the furthest edge of the parking lot; our destination today: the northern point- home to lovely basalt climbs, and a place that we were hoping would be free from all the ‘fest participants.

We were correct; aside from a few pairs of climbers, we spent our day climbing (Andy crushing) on basalt- I hopped on some 11s and pulled through as much as I could- enjoying every second of climbing on the basalt with my adventure partner.

Mid afternoon, we took a nap in the sunshine, waiting for the crowds to thin down below so we could hop on some slabby nubbins.

Several hours later, slabby nubbins conquered, we drove to Redmond, drank 20th anniversary IPA at cascade lakes, and returned to the bivy, early enough to get a parking spot, and a camp site.

A few beers and many shenanigans later, we fell asleep, preparing for another full day of climbing!

Sunday morning we met a friend of Andy’s, Lindsay, in the parking lot, and hiked up a stretch of misery ridge to the base of Red Wall where we three climbed 3 pitches of trad; Andy, bravely and wonderfully acting as our rope gun ;) Lindsay and I simul-climbed, which was a new, fun experience, and we eventually made it to the top, soaked up some lovely rays of sunshine, and chatted for a while. As scary as I still find multi pitching (trad in particular), I can feel myself beginning to get used to it, and am thankful to both Andy (for pushing me outside of my comfort zone), and to Lindsay (for helping me further expand my knowledge of multipitch climbing).

We had quite the adventure scramble down off the wall, but eventually hit the dirt, hiking to the other end of the park to the Phoenix wall, home to some rad features, sweet climbs, and some very friendly dogs. Lindsay left after we finished our first climb, but Andy and I stuck around as late as possible to enjoy the weather and the quiet.

One of the highlights to this Smith trip, at least for me, was doing AcroYoga in the grass near the rim trail while the sun was setting over the rock. It was purely magical. We got a few calls and whistles as we worked on our balancing act in the fading light, but we perfected and mastered a couple new poses, and that was very, very wonderful. AcroYoga, panda-style, is my new favorite activity.

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