Monday, October 29, 2007

This past weekend I took Kerry out to Smith Rock for her first outdoor climbing experience and our first time camping together. It was also the 3rd Annual Skull Hallow Halloween bash. Saturday morning we met up with Ryan and Jannelle and their friend Stacey in the parking lot. Then we headed over to the popular Morning Glory Wall and Dihedrals area to find some beginner routes. It was probably the busiest weekend I've ever seen at Smith. A combination of great weather, being the last "good weekend" before winter and several large groups made it difficult to find an easy route to start out on.

We eventually settled in at Bunny Face, a easy 5.7 route. My friends Al and Claudia were just finishing so I had them trail our rope up rather than leading it myself. We spent a couple of hours at Bunny Face while Ryan and Kerry climbed it. After that we went over to an unnamed 5.5 route near Cinnamon Slab. I lead it, then Ryan climbed it. As soon as Kerry started several obnoxiously loud climbers descended on us and literally crowded us off the route. Their lack of etiquette was the only low point of the weekend. Rather than try to find a less crowded route, we decided to bail and head off to the campground early to claim a good spot near the party but far enough away to sleep in case the party raged on all night long.

The party Saturday night was a great success. There about 50 friends and friends of friends there. We had beer, food, a bonfire, a game of corn hole, and lots of good fun. The party went on till close to midnight and it was great to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen all summer.

Sunday we cured our hangovers with breakfast at the Smith Rock Cafe and then opted to do the 4 mile hike up and over Misery Ridge and around the backside of Smith Rock. At the top we spotted another friend John climbing the famous Monkey Face, a detached 350-foot spire with insane exposure and great views. One of these days I really need to go climb it myself. After watching John lead the aid climbing pitch we headed down the backside and back along the Crooked River to the trailhead.

It was a perfect way to wrap-up the summer. Probably my last trip to Smith until next spring. Now I'm hoping for a good winter with lots of snow so we can ski, ski, ski!

Click here to see more photos from the weekend.

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