Back to climbing at Smith Rock

October 6-7, 2012.

This weekend I joined up with three friends to do some climbing at Smith Rock. I hadn’t climbed as much as I would have liked this summer, since moving to Corvallis. So I wasn’t feeling awesome about my climbing skills and I was just coming off of a cold. Enough excuses? Ready and go.

Lower Gorge

Saturday we wandered down into the Lower Gorge for some trad climbing. I followed a couple fun and easy 5.9’s to start: Sitting Duck and Lost Souls. Then we crossed the river to Shakespeare Cliff.

I followed up Lusts Labours Cost, a 5.10b. We protected the bottom “scramble” or did an alternate start that took the dirty crack just below the rockpile at the base. This climb was REALLY hard! There were hardly any feet and the jams were painful. It took me a few falls to figure it out. My partner struggled with it too, so he led it again after I finished.

Finally I tried to get back on lead. I chose Othello, a 5.9. I had a rough time, placed a lot of gear and gave up after about an hour of thrashing around on it. My partner led it and I followed. I still had a lot of trouble climbing it on top rope, so perhaps it was just not my day. Time to pack up and head to camp.

Fourth Horseman

Why not start on lead the next day after that disaster? It sounded like a good idea at the time. So I was coaxed onto Snuffy Smith, a 5.9, for my first climb on Sunday morning. I fought my way mostly to the top but ultimately had to bail out. Another wasted hour. I took some practice falls before coming down in order to try and get my head in the game. The longer falls were freaking me out, even though I practiced falling from just above the last bolt. UGH!

My friend led it and I followed. I decided it was challenging for me to do any high step moves on lead, even though high stepping feels really solid on top rope.

I tucked my tail between my legs and let my partner take over. He led Tuff it Out, 5.10a . This felt more do-able and had a fun start. Go figure. Next, the first pitch of No Golf Shoes, a 5.10c. He found it easier but I thought it was harder. It was challenging enough for me to start in a chimney and make a wide step across nothing to get on the face. He belayed me from above so he couldn’t give me any pointers. The rest of the climb was delicate and hard.

Christian Brothers East

We sat in the shade, ate lunch and then meandered over to a project he had been working on. Some 5.11. I can belay 5.11. We were both thrilled that he sent his project, so we went to find the other half of our group to share the news. They had a rope up on Jete, an easy sport route. I happily top roped that.

On the way out, my partner suggested putting up Blasphemy, a sporty 5.11a. To my utter disbelief, I followed it almost clean, with maybe one fall or take on it. I even managed the awkward bulge without too much of a hassle. An excellent way to cap off a mediocre weekend.

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