Monday, December 20, 2010

Welcome To Patagonia

On a calm, clear day its hard to imagine the intensity of climbing in Patagonia. The rock is splitter, the ice bullet proof and the protection plentiful. When it all goes right its absolutely phenomenal climbing. What Mikey and I have experienced the last few days is more like excruciating battle. Just arriving at our base camp at Paso Superior was difficult. Between scary wind gusts we dashed across exposed snow slopes, burying our axes and laying on the slope when we felt we could be flicked off the ridge. The power of the wind here is humbling and by the time we were at base camp a deep respect for the serious nature of this place had settled deep in my gut.

The alarm in our snow cave beeps at 3 AM, but it is not until 10 AM that the forecasted clearing shoves aside the dark clouds. Soon we are on the glacier, making our way towards the route, a day and a half of good weather still available; supposedly.

Amazing climbing, bad weather!

Easy mixed climbing, a challenging gash, and aqua blue water ice pulls us up the wall. The climbing is incredible but by 8 PM the snow begins a soft dance around us. Pushing on into darkness, the climbing gets better, but the weather worsens. The cold settles in and we battle to fight off numbing toes and fingers. While people stumble from the closing bars of El Chalten we make ramen and try to stay afloat in the smothering spindrift.

Amazed and a bit perturbed, Mike and I watch our belay and each other blend into the crystalline whiteness of our vertical world. We are seven rope stretching pitches up a new route on Mermoz, standing on a minuscule foot ledge while the weather crumbles into a blanketing storm. I'm the first to say it. "I don't think we can do this anymore." A ghostly cloud of snow rolls down the couloir and buries us again. Behind thick clouds the sun comes up, but with new light we pull out our second rope and begin the journey down.

Mike leads the rappels as the waves of spindrift pound harder and tougher. My fear elevates with the strength of these dusty avalanches, the route we came up barely visible under all the new snow. As a Patagonia newbie I am truly blown away.

It's over!

Our relief at finally touching down on the glacier is short lived. The milky white out has me stumbling blindly through crevasses as Mikey directs my swaying movement towards the Paso. Finally, after a couple of tense hours we collapse in our snow cave amidst a pile of frozen gear. I brew coffee while Mikey sleeps under a wet bag atop a frozen back pack. Eventually we manage to stumble the eight miles towards town, the prospect of food fueling our tired muscles.

Sitting here now, reliving the experience through words, I realize how excited I am to head back up and finish the route. I've always been amazed at how the inspiration of the mountains can demolish the worst of memories. Like the Balti poet Bowa Johar wrote, "All is temporary. The sky outlives everything. Even suffering."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Going South

Huge Thanks for the folks who made this trip possible! Patagonia, Powerbar, Tendon Ropes, Petzl, and Icicle Ridge Winery...none of this happens without you!

My fingers ache and my heart beats quick. The packing and cramming is over and psyche is erupting like a volcano. It's officially Patagonia time.

Tomorrow I board a jet plane, cross my fingers, and push towards El Chalten, Argentina. If everything goes smoothly (it certainly may not, but that's part of the fun, right?) I should arrive by mid day Wednesday. It's hard to believe the time to depart is finally here. The training, the working, and the dreaming have given way to the reality of a windswept collection of rimey spikes way down south.

For me, a trip of this magnitude does not fall together easily. In my climbing, as in my life, I have formed special relationships that see me through challenges big and small. None of us can make it alone, that's for sure. I wanted to not only thank all my supporters, but also to specifically point out what they do for me.

Patagonia: While my cams and biners may last a decade, my clothing surely does not. I came into this winter with tattered jackets and blown out layers. One of my largest concerns after Mike Schaefer invited me on this trip was my clothing. Great technical wear is a must, but it's really expensive! Patagonia calmed my anxiety and threw down the best jackets and pants I've ever worn.

Tendon Ropes: Like clothing, ropes don't last forever. I am proud to use Tendon Ropes not only on this trip, but on my daily jaunts to the crags and peaks around my home. A good cord is imperative, especially in a place like Patagonia where wind and coarse granite tears at your line constantly. I am bringing a 9.7 Master down with me, just one great rope in Tendon's line of stellar products.

Powerbar: Anyone who pushes themselves athletically appreciates a tasty and effective bar. As my climbs grow bigger and my training more intense, I have focused a lot of time on finding the best way to stay energized on the go. Laura Omeara, a friend, a Powerbar devotee, and an amazing triathlete (fifth lady overall at the 2010 Ironman Canada!) helped provide me with the best product to push me through long training runs and big routes in wild places.

Petzl: Without a doubt, Petzl creates incredible ice gear, slick low profile harnesses, and amazing hard wear. I love their equipment, but am even more thankful for their generosity in helping me on all my expeditions. They never hesitate to get me what I need and their enthusiasm is infectious.

Icicle Ridge Winery: My biggest supporters (and my employers), Icicle Ridge Winery has set the foundation for my lifestyle. Their flexibility has allowed me to live a climber's life. Not only do they go above and beyond to allow me a schedule that allows me to train and climb, they are friends I cherish and just thinking of them fills me with strength when the going gets tough. Love you guys!

Ok ya'll. It's off to the races. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Patagonia Dreamin'

Grapes, rocks, and ice. The simplicity of my recent life has left me with little blogging content and even less time to jot notes about what I've been getting into. But that's all about to change...

On December sixth I leave for Argentine Patagonia for a month of climbing with my good friend Mike Schaefer. This trip is aimed at redemption, as the last time I was down south pneumonia kept me locked in Chalten. A prisoner of my health, I never even touched boot to the approach trail.

To say I've got a fire burning is an understatement. Dreams of Patagonia swirl in my brain and push my training further. Each day, after ten hours of crushing or pressing the fruit of the vine, I slip my shoes on and run into the night. Quiet forests transform into granite giants littered with ice runnels and splitter cracks. Instead of the soft strike of my running shoe on pine needles, I imagine my crampons crunching up a glacier. When I test my fingers and endurance at the local climbing wall I focus my mind on the long pushes ahead, where you climb all day and night, and then keep going.

Home on the beloved training grounds

Working six days a week leaves little time for the mountains, but I have been making use of my one day, testing my mettle against bad weather and crappy conditions. Last week I made my 14th ascent of Dragontail via the NE Coulior and a few days ago Dan Hilden and I climbed to an 8,000 foot saddle between Colchuck and Argonaut's summits. Wind loaded slopes caused us to say no to our original objective, but we still got out and sand-blasted our faces in ferocious winds and blowing snow.

Descending from the Argonaut-Colchuck col in high winds

One more item of note: Anyone who knows me understands that I am NOT a gear head. I climb with simple equipment, always relying on my personal fortitude rather than the latest and greatest. That said, the kind folks at Patagonia ( have provided some incredible layers I have been testing the last few weeks. The Nano Puff Hoody, the Micro Puff Hooded Jacket, the M10 Jacket, and the Alpine Guide pants have redefined comfort for me. Going to Patagonia with the best outerwear is surely confidence inspiring!

Testing the new gear (and myself) against pounding spindrift on D-tail's NE Coulior

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Nose: A Free Ascent of Bridge Creek Wall

My burning heart skips a beat. It's a small bear, but in the sunset I was startled. I keep running, powering up the hill until I can't go on. "It's high enough" I think, before laying two gallons of water next to a squat pine and a jumble of stones. 2,000 feet above Bridge Creek Wall sits lonley and wind swept. A bird screeches in the cold wind. My legs carry me back into the canyon.

Two days later Sol and I are sipping on the water stash under The Nose, a serpentine line of big cracks, chimnies and roofs. For years, the 5.10 A2 skull and cross bones (Viktor Kramer, auther of Leavenworth Rock, uses the symbol instead of R or X designations) rating enticed me. After Max, Sol, and I repeated The Nose this past spring, we knew it would go free. That particular day, the runout, dirty nature of the crux pitch stopped our free effort. This time Sol and I had a few pins and a hammer, hoping to make it sane.

Classic, cleand 5.9 wide

Ropedrag, moss, and a bridge of death blocks led us to the start of the money pitches. A wide, wandery chimney, a traverse, and a connecting 5.10 slab brought us to a needly ledge with a gnarled pine. A bar down the hatch and we were off to splitterville. A four inch offwidth, double finger cracks in a corner, and the best 5.8 splitter in Leavenworth deposited us to the crux cieling. "I'll tag up the pins and hammer if I need them," I say and then start stuffing my feet in the flaring crack leading up the roof. A reach to a hand jam, a jug, and a mantle and I'm through the difficulties. Unfortunately, I am also looking at two broken legs if I blow the spicy exit moves. I take a deep breath, think about the work involved in placing a pin, and decide to climb on.

The crux...not too hard, but don't fall on the face above the roof!

On top, we sit satisfied, enjoying the panoramic view of the Stuart Range. Nine exciting pitches fall away below our battered toes. The water I stashed and the cloud cover keeps us hydrated and happy. Jumping and rapping down the descent slabs leads to the longest sand surf in the world, beer, and the familiar rush of the Icicle.

The Nose
IV 5.11b R

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let It Burn


Splitter cracks, good natural pro, and juggy knobs. Challenging lines that demand fitness and technique. Spiky views of Mt. Stuart, Colchuck Peak, and Dragontail. A petite meadow borderd by firery larch trees. In my mind Colchuck Balanced Rock, or CBR, reigns as one of Washington's best alpine rock faces.

Following pitch 2 (5.12a)
On September 22nd, Max Hasson and I free climbed a new route the left of the West Face. Overall we spent 10 days on the route, always climbing ground up to our high point before continuing to push new ground. Wildly steep and pumpy climbing led us through incredible terrain. The features linked a path up the wall and gear was abundant. We hand placed four bolts on route, two on the wild second pitch (5.12a), and two at subsequent belays. A visible blaze dubbed the "Eight Mile Lake Let It Burn Fire" by the National Forest Service, consumed 119 acres while we worked on the route, hence our chosen name.

Pitch 4 (5.11c)

Pitch 5 (5.11c)
Max and I have climbed extensively over the past 8 years, but this experiance was especially satisfying. Let It Burn is an absolute classic. The moves are gymnastic and the route sustained. From the moment we climbed on the line we knew we had to complete the mission. We were inspired to say the least. Our hope is that the route will be repeated this season or next. Let us know what you think!

Puttin' it up

Max on the first ascent of pitch 4

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Sound of Goode

Black swallows the never-ending trail in front of my weary feet. Drunk on exhaustion, I swerve all over the footpath. A bear crashes in the brush a few feet away, but my trance cuts through the surprise of giants in the dark. Nothing alarms my senses now. Twenty-five hours into the experience and I am dull as a butter knife. I barely know who I am.

In September of 2008 Sol Wertkin and Blake Herrington climbed the complete east ridge of Mt. Goode, the highest point in North Cascades National Park. An icon of the region, Goode’s walls and ridges are fortified with steep brushy slopes, ice-cold river crossings, and a lonely location far from any road or town. Sol and Blake’s line snaked from the summit in winding, gendarmed twists. A sinister exposure swirled on the north side and talus filled gullies trickled down to the south. They named the massive knife-edge the Megladon Ridge in honor of the largest fish to ever swim the seas.

“It’s all about commitment.” Dan’s simple words make decisions easier. Tossing away my harness I pack the swami into my blaring red helmet and stuff it down into my rucksack on top of our shoestring lifesaver. The skinny twin line would most likely severe in the event of any fall, but the peace of mind it provides is worth its featherweight. A few cams short of a single set, a pink tri-cam, and a couple of nuts round out the arsenal. Light is right.

I have always desired to repeat the Megladon. Thoughts of a solo mission swirled in my mind for a few months. I wanted to dive deep into the North Cascades experience, pushing my limits far from humanity. Little did I know that Dan Hilden desired the same pearl of adventure even more than I did. Goode had fostered his climbing progression, serving up adventures appropriate to his building skill set. Over the years, Dan had gone from crawling up the classic NE Buttress over three painful days, to soloing the same route in one day. Now, he wanted something more trying, but more rewarding. When he suggested the Megladon in a push, I eagerly signed up. The idea was as enticing as it was crazy.

In the midst of it all

My eyeballs sti
ng, cut by a salty sweat. The ridge looms in front of me, but I’m focused on the cascading stream falling from a snow patch at its base. We are thirsty and hungry. 15 miles and 9 hard hours are behind us. I dare not let my mind measure what we’ve done. In harsh reality, we’ve only just started. A liter down the hatch and we’re off and soloing. The energy of racing up a mountain unroped in such a spectacular position exhilarates us, washing the fatigue away.

Fun climbing in an incredible position...

Dan made the perfect partner for such a venture. Tough as nails, Dan never complains and always takes on each challenge with thoughtful ambition. Our young, but mature partnership was forged in the icy wasteland of Cascade winter. Dan enjoys climbing hard routes in rotten weather. All day, even in my lowest moments, I pushed myself to maintain composure amidst punishing fatigue. Dan wasn’t complaining and I sure as hell wasn’t going to be the weak link.

Clouds over deep valleys

imbing choss is all about distributing your weight properly.” Dan nods in agreement. Our crux has been safely soloing loose, but moderate ground. Carefully, we pick our way through snow and rock towards the distant summit. Twice I pull the rope out to protect airy, more difficult climbing. I lead an exciting pitch downwards to a notch, before stretching the rest of the line out over loose and sharp ground. Just short of the wintry summit, I set a belay and watch Dan manage the verglased, steep funk. Unforeseen challenge is found in the mixed finish. Digging for holds in the snow, we creep towards the top. Puffy clouds cast shadows over the valley floor, five thousand feet below. On the summit we feel high, but yearn to get low before the light leaves. Before long we are tossing our skinny line down the descent gully, rappelling towards the journey home. Once the rope is put away we begin the 20 plus miles towards the car. For the first time, my tired mind loses focus. Hours spent repeating the “one foot in front of the other” mantra ensues.

Sunset descent

Looking back, the 27 hours spent on this mission were filled with months worth of memories. A day can feel like a year when it’s stuffed with ambition. I am overjoyed to have dug for my limits in the rugged beauty of the Cascades and more than ever, looking forward to even bigger adventures in tougher conditions with Dan. Maybe we can pull off something of this magnitude under the icy grip of winter or find similar challenge on higher peaks in greater ranges. The possibilities are endless with a commitment to seeking personal limits and a love for wild places.

Highway 20 under my feet and a dark starry sky above my head marks the end of our journey. I lay under the universe and smile for only a second before losing consciousness and drifting into dreams unremembered. Movement has stopped. The world is still.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Silent dark fades from a misty Yosemite Valley. Pine needles crackle under the tire of my cruiser as El Cap greets the rising sun. Half Dome sleeps in the shadows, icy cold gripping its broad north face.

At 3:45 AM I don my penguin suit, look in the mirror, realize again how silly the Awahanee's uniforms are, and pedal for eight hours of toilet scrubbing and laundry service. The mornings start the same, but the afternoons bring a variety of lightning bolt fissures, scalloped slabs, pounded out aid seams, and crimpy boulder problems. The granite accepts me as I am, but teaches with tie dye bruises and scabby cuts. My new friends Max and Carson also feel the joyful pain. Gouged hands and knotted muscles lead us to the Zodiac that afternoon. Excited anticipation rises in my gut as I imagine our furry fixed ropes dancing in the wind.

My usual tired ride to work seems magical, dark blue sky edging out the stars and giant streaked walls towering over meadows filled with frosty grass and grazing deer. Dropping off the bike path I swoosh down a section of smooth single track, gaining speed, smiling as the morning air whistles by my face.

Scorching mid-day heat smothers me up the talus hop to the base of the route. Carson and Max ascend the ropes ahead of me, jumaring with a grace I don't posses. Sure enough I struggle to climb the first of our three fixed lines, spinning nauseatingly while struggling to adjust my daisies correctly and ignore the laughter of the cray euros at the base.

"Frickin' sick man. This rules." Carson hands me the rack, his censored language bursting out around the crooked cigarette stuck between his lips. Although I barely managed to climb the first 600 feet of rope, I naively snatch the gear and charge upwards. Going down is not an option. We tossed the ropes just a minute ago. Unfortunately, moving quickly is not either. I labor up diorite cracks and seams above spikes before Carson relieves me for the night shift. A silver moon rises in the sky, it's blue light enhanced by a starry host of cosmic fireballs. The infinite wildness of dark below and above settles in our nerves.

Zodiac is one of my first big climbs. I'm dehydrated and tired. The night sucks Carson into its dark, pitch after pitch, and I stare at the belay, hanging in space, willing him upwards. My hips look like hamburger, my feet cramp at the arches, and painful blood oozes from my cracked fingernails. New exposure and daunting commitment offset the fatigue. Somehow we make progress.

When the light overtakes the dark, Carson relinquishes the rack to Max. He takes his duty seriously and charges for the top. "Let's get 'er done", he placidly remarks amidst his block of golden slabs and skinny cracks.

On the summit we high five and lay around eating a feast of disgusting canned foods. Our throats are dry and our muscles filled with lead, but it all feels good. Hot sun slams our perch. A falcon coasts through blue sky as the wall falls away below our weary bodies. The buzz of The Captain courses through our systems and before long we summon the energy to slip through the manzanita back to life on the Valley floor.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Holsten Family Vacation

Sitting out the storm...this is fun, right!?

"Get out of my way!" I loudly think to myself. A green swath of steep brush pulls and pushes me down with all its might. Aggression fuels my muscle as I push madly through a tangle of slide alder and fir. The pin point of a broken branch slices dirty skin and blood trickles down my arm. This is war.

Behind me I hear my father, like a bear in the woods, crashing and slipping upwards through the jungle of pain we have chosen for our yearly "vacation".

Ever since I was small I was taught that life, although beautiful, is a demanding journey where you don't always get what you want, but you always make due with what you have. When I was young I wanted my dad to burn the musty climbing gear and take the family to a beach. Hawaii, Mazatlan, hell, Florida. Take us somewhere sunny, fun, and relaxing.

Despite my tropical dream, Dad and I always chose to work with the world right out the front door of our Seattle home. "Vacation" meant days of walking, climbing, and shwacking our way through the Cascades. Those days taught mental toughness and physical tolerance. My passion for high places sprouted from the long approaches, blocky rock climbing, and glacier crossings the Cascades demand.

Pleasant terrain near Eiley Lake

My father and I still like a nice vacation every once in a while, so August 8th through 11th was set aside for an attempt on Mt. Challenger. Day one saw us cruising up Little Beaver Valley under partly cloudy skies. Days two and three were spent wandering in the mist and trying not to burn the tent down while making hot drinks. Rain pattered all afternoon and night. A sucker hole lured us out from our bivy, but before long the rain resumed as our time dwindled. A pleasant day was spent returning to the car, the emerald waters of Ross Lake lapping at the forest bank as we cruised the flat path through the moss carpeted woods.

Mt. Fury floating in the mist

Time spent in the mountains is always meaningful, especially with my Dad. Although we traveled far only to fall short of the summit, we still enjoyed the new terrain, the thrill of route finding in tough conditions, and each others company. Of course, we are dreaming of our next vacation already. A cruise, surfing in Costa Rica, or a sunny beach all sound nice, but I have a feeling we'll be working with what we've got. Deep valleys, big hills, and high mountains. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Return to the valley

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stuart Range Link

Yesterday Mike Schaefer and I completed the "short" version of a larger project I have been contemplating the last few weeks. Originally, the idea was to climb Dragons of Eden, the West Face of Colchuck Balanced Rock, and Der Sportsman on Prusik Peak. Of course, I wanted to use only hands and feet for upward movement. The sheer volume of the day and a few unknowns led to a decision to scale things back a bit. In retrospect, with a reworking of the approach, Mike and I were totally capable of the master link, but regardless, yesterday was fun and challenging.

The day began at 5:40 AM and right from the start we were pushing ourselves to move quickly. So quickly in fact that we ended up at the base of DOE in 1:50! We hydrated, took out the climbing gear and started charging up the mountain. About 3.5 hours later we were on the summit. A time check back at our packs showed 12:20 PM. Again, we were surprised to have gone base to base in 4:20. Tactics that helped attain this time included Mike crushing, me linking all three head wall pitches, and us soloing the entire upper portion of the route.

After a short break (10 minutes) we slogged up to CBR. Heat in the gully was energy sapping, but we still managed to keep a decent pace. Although we felt ourselves tiring we climbed as efficiently as possible on the West Face and achieved our second free route in a day! To speed things up on CBR we simuled to the base of the corner in one pitch and then swapped the few remaining leads. A boulder problem to the summit and the double link was done.

At this point, we were seriously considering heading to Prusik. A quick inventory revealed extremely inadequate calories for such a mission. We were willing to abandon Mike's van at the Mountaineer's Creek TH, but the hike out through the night on the Snow Lakes trail would be too taxing we decided. The day had been amazing and we were feeling good. Going further would have been proud, but also would have driven us into the deepest of pain caves.

After deciding we were happy with DOE/CBR, we backed the pace off a bit, sitting at the base enjoying the buzz of such a happy day. Once we did shoulder our packs we started charging. A time check in the talus at the far end of Colchuck lake showed 7:30 PM. We certainly had slowed a bit on CBR, but made up for it on the descent, reaching the van at 8:40 PM.

Although the ultimate goal was not realized, this was a day I won't soon forget. For me, those 15 hours gave a glimpse of whats possible and was a great wrap up of the last few years activities. Thanks to Mike for being the perfect partner. It was a hell of a lot of fun out there.

Finally time to drink beer...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dragons of Eden: Second Free Ascent

Just wanted to congratulate Max Hasson with not only completing the second free ascent of DOE, but nearly flashing the rig! His one fall was quickly corrected and the pitch climbed clean. Belaying Max on this journey was especially fun for me. DOE is one of my favorite routes anywhere and to watch Max experience its goodness had me giddy.

I really hope people keep climbing and cleaning this line. Buff it up and watch it shine. DOE is one of the best routes of its nature on the West Coast (biased opinion of course). Nice work again Max!

Get some!


This life cannot be faced alone. Companionship, support, honesty, and inspiration keep us walking life's trail with a bounce in our step. Most people, including climbers, gravitate towards others with similar passions and ambitions. The energy we receive from our friends fills us up and is passed on, a positive chain reaction that sparks our imaginations, spurs us into motion, and empowers us through the journey of our dreams.

For the past decade I have lived and breathed climbing. I've walked this path with amazing athletes and true friends. Although I've cherished all my experiences, the past few years in Leavenworth have solidified the core of who I am, as a climber and as a person. With clear desires and the positive willingness to get there, my friends and I are living our ambitions and seeing our goals through to the end.

It is difficult not to improve in this environment. Everyone trains hard, pushes above their gear, and finishes their projects. Unless your careful, its easy to fall off the pace. More than ever, I am willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level. It may sound a bit competitive, and in a healthy sense, it is. Through failure and success we laugh, try hard, and love the mountains. To all my friends, thanks for paving the way and helping me bust my own chains of limitation.

Find community!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Freedom or Death

Cool breezes through deep shade. Edges, smears, and orange creamsicle granite. Ripples, scoops, cracks, and slabs. Pins, bashies, bolts, and cams. A rugged world of peaks stretching out of sight. Lichen clutching the stone.

The second pitch (5.11c)
These thoughts flood me when I think of the East Face of Liberty Bell. On Wednesday, Jessica Campbell and I completed our journey up Freedom or Death/Liberty Crack. After a cold day last week working through numb digits on small smears and edges, we came back for the send. This time it was T-shirt weather all the way.

Footsy climbing on the crux slab (5.12a). Jessica walking the path.
Max and Sol were a high five away at points, working the free version of Thin Red Line. We enjoyed the scene as if it were a day at the boulders...

Max at a belay, myself following the golden slab.

Max pushing onward to TRL's crux pitch.

With the crux 5.12a slab behind us, Jessica and I sketched our way up a beautiful and bold pitch, connecting the Freedom or Death variation with Liberty Crack proper. Sol and Max monkeyed their way right and out of sight, their own crux hanging above.

Connecting the routes...spicy times on pitch 4

Bon voyage amigos...

The moderate finish of Liberty crack was pure joy. Cool, but not cold, engaging, but not difficult. Their was plenty of time to enjoy the views.

Jessica following pitch 5 (5.10a)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Settling In

Settling In by Jessica Campbell

Muddy snow sprays from the bald tires of Chase Latta's blue chrysler minivan. We laugh hysterically like the 16 year olds we are. Doing donuts in the Skull Hollow parking lot in the middle of a cold February night beats the hell out of our normal high school lifestyle. The next day we sleep, wake without coffee, and charge towards the sunny walls of Smith Rock State Park. We climb innocent. No ego and no pressure.
Blue Light Special (5.11a) and Liquid Jade (5.12b)
Flash forward to last week. I'm not 16 anymore, but I'm back at Smith, ready for five days on stone that literally directed the course of my life. I learned to push my limits on it's walls and have never looked back.
Jessica, Chase, Rachel, Max, Ryan, Jasmine, Drew, River, Honcho, and myself (thats a mouthful!) enjoyed a handful of days on the sweeping orange planes of Tuft (the rock type) that is Smith. Sharp crimpers tore tips, tiny feet tested toes, and heady climbing demanded bravery. Smith is awesome.
River watching the sunset
Vision (5.12b)

Go Dog Go (5.12c)