A Changed View: On the Rock at Smith Rock

Phoenix Wall

Steve sent a message out about our whereabouts and we got word back from some Twitter friends (@expandoutdoors) that they were also in Smith Rock climbing and camping in the same area. I was unaware of this exchange, so I was surprised to hear my name called out as I was cleaning up from breakfast. Who knew me here?

I looked at the woman coming towards me with a big smile and I smiled in return- I’m sure with a shadow of doubt in there.  She probably sensed my confusion because she immediately slowed and asked if I was Gina. “Yes,” I confirmed. She smiled again and explained that she was Amy from @expandoutdoors and that she had been in contact with Steve. I got really excited to see someone from Twitter there.  We were introduced to her husband, Bracken, and we made plans to climb together after they finished eating.

Amy taking on a pebble-strewn 5.10

Amy taking on a pebble-strewn 5.10

Even though we were feeling more confident because of Juan’s advice yesterday, we were ecstatic to be climbing with people who knew the area. They confirmed what Juan had said and added that the 5.8 we had tried yesterday was notorious for being harder than its rating.

Ah, we felt much better.

The morning was complete after each of us did four climbs. Our attitude had completely changed by the time we finished our first climb with them. We learned that a lot of the rock was made up of tiny holds (finger-sized) and pebbles the size of fingernails for tiptoes to rest on. I was advised to use my Evolv Bandits on this stuff- the extremely tight fit and precise edging on these new soles were able to find the tiny pebbles that stuck out and made micro-ledges seem like platforms.

Bracken and Amy of @expandoutdoors

We took off on our own after lunch and headed to Phoenix wall, which was in the shade (whew… good reprieve. Smith Rock is definitely a place to have water and sunscreen). We met a bunch of people in this area… some to take lessons on what NOT to do in natural areas (i.e., frat boys throwing Wheat Thins to see who could make it the furthest. They threw half their box and then started smoking in this congested area) and some very cool (University of Oregon students who discussed city planning, equality, etc. until we all broke away for the evening).

Smith Rock was weird, challenging and yup… fun. Glad we stayed.

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