Our new permanent home.

Our new permanent home.

Good news and bad news: we got to Smith Rock and had the place to ourselves today, but Big Red broke down as we pulled into the parking area. We’re getting towed back to Portland but not until after we’ve climbed. In the meantime we got the best campsite…and there’s nothing the rangers can do about it.

Long story: it was New Year’s Eve, the sun went down, zoozoo got cold and needed some clothes, drinks went around, and I woke up on top of this oddly shaped phallus…

Bouldering is a good way to get stronger for climbing…

~MandM

I read a funny article about Hideka Suzuki climbing in JTree where he lowered off a route, lit up a joint, and said to his partner, “sometimes I feel bold, really really bold.” And it’s true, roping up in JTree feels like (at least I imagine it being like) getting ready to run with the bulls. You’re definitely excited, but it’s an excitement laced with uncertainty…will I make it to the end of the street or will the bull stick his horns into my ass while everyone watches. Your heart pounds, you feel giddy, and if you make it, well there’s nothing better. But the odd thing about JTree, what makes it even harder to runout a holdless slab, or mantle 20 feet of the deck, or clip a manky piton because it’s the only thing, you pray and curse and sweat, that will keep you off the ground, the really odd thing is that those watching you want to see the horns go in. Not all the way, mind you, but at least half way. They want to see your legs shaking and your elbows turn upwards. They want to hear your shriek. They want to see you either attain your freedom through pain, watch you latch that key hold and pull yourself to the top by the skin of your teeth, bloodied and wide eyed, or else they want to see you go for the biggest ride of your life, hoping with all their animalistic tendencies that there will be a yellowish tint to the front of your pants when you stop…or better yet a brown streak riding your behind.

Some of our wild rides, all on lead, ground up:

EBGBs, at dusk
Big Moe
Eye for an Eye
Resurrection
Medusa…no RP
Hot Rocks
Desert Shield
Father Figure
Hidden Arch
Loose Lady
Roller Coaster
Leap Year Flake

Zoo and I are serious free riders—napping in the back of the van while our Mattie drives us to JTree! We are two lucky bugs.

Zoo and I are serious free riders—napping in the back of the van while our Mattie drives us to JTree! We are two lucky bugs.

Merry X-Mas everyone!  We’re goin to J-Tree and I’m driving m&m…

Merry X-Mas everyone! We’re goin to J-Tree and I’m driving m&m…

parting shots.

We made it to Red Rocks last weekend with our good friend KJ.

Michy climbed an amazing route called Running Man 11d, a notoriously long and sustained climb. She did it on just her second go! She also onsighted two other cool 11s, Sister Pain and Baseboy Direct, and made good progress on probably the hardest 12b around, Lee Press On.

I was excited to climb a route that has slapped me in the face about three years ago. The Aspirant, 13a/b, is a very energetic route that involves difficult boulder moves, balance, and a calm head for a spicy noodle of a mantle at the top. I also managed to climb Pablo Diablo Direct and Shadow Warrior, both 13a, but one significantly harder than the other…Shadow Warrior, as Michy Claims, I got the Free-Hot-Sample-On-Site, while Mr. Diablo took control and bore witness to a couple of my embarrassing fits of frustration. Tip: Breathing is always better than a profusion of swear words, and is also more calming.

KJ, always committed to getting to the top, is where I want to be late in my climbing career - on a rope and having fun! He pulled his way to the tip top of every route he tried, including two 5.9+ routes, and trekked the arduous gullies and mazes of boulders with a smile.

On a final note, I am going to take Michy’s advice and when I am about to get frustrated and say Fuck…Fuck…Fuck… I will look at her and say “You’re so beautiful and I’m glad I’m out climbing!”

Two climbers in a van eating m&m's

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