Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I just got back from two days at Smith. On Monday we climbed Sky Chimney a multi-pitch 5.7 route to the top of Smith Rock. It's rated as a two-star but relative to other climbs at Smith I would give it a one-star. The views are awesome, but the climbing is full body. The first pitch is described as grunting up an unpleasant chimney which is an understatement. The second and third pitches were more enjoyable but exposed. After topping out we walked off the backside and hydrated after 4 hours without water in 90 degree weather. Before calling it a day we did a quick run up Five Gallon Bucks (5.8) to regain some climbing mojo. I love that route! It's so easy with big bucket holds you could almost sleep in.

Tuesday we trekked over to Koala Rock to find some shade. We warmed up on Round River, an easy 5.4 multi-pitch route to the top, then rapped down the backside to The Knob (5.10a) and Hero of the Day (5.7). We finished the day with Round There (5.6) and Crazies (5.7) before heading home.

Unfortunately rock climbing is becoming a challenge for me with my finger problems. I find my finger joints are stiff and painful after the first day of climbing and I have no confidence in my grip strength. Top roping things I once led is frustrating. Climbing is still fun on top rope, but not being able to lead limits the thrill. Hopefully I'll find a way to deal with my fingers that will allow me to climb at the best of my abilities again. I'm itching to try some harder, longer routes.

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