Here's some shots and brief vids from some climbing and hiking in Oregon, September 2004.
One rainy, foggy morning, Chris Otzenberger ("Otz") and I decided to go check out Beacon Rock.
I had never been there before and have always wanted to check it out. As it turns out, there is
a hiking trail all the way to the summit of this rock. Some of the trail is made entirely out of
concrete and it twists and winds more than any trail I've ever seen. This is a view into the
valley from the top, looking into the Columbia Gorge. For more info on Beacon Rock and its history, click HERE
Here's Otz at the top of the rock, being a gomer. Did I say Chris is photogenic?
Me, looking down to the Columbia River.
Beating Gandalf's Grip
Jeff Hemphill and I decided to try our luck on Gandalf's Grip at Broughton's Bluff. It's
a fairly stiff 5.9 3 pitch trad climb with a few bolts at the bottom. This is both of us at the top of the
second pitch, which Jeff led totally clean.
Jeff looking down to the Salmon River, I think, and towards Portland. Again, at the top of the second pitch.
Another shot of Jeff, this time after summitting. The third pitch is one of the shortest pieces of rock I've been on.
It's still worthwhile and a nice finish to the route.
Jordan Disko, Jason Stowers, and I decided to make a quick run out to Smith for the day
on a nice Saturday in September. We checked out a new area we'd never been to called the Upper Gorge
and we were in for a treat.
Here is the infamous Jordan Disko. If I haven't described Jordan to you before, allow me to do it now.
Jordan is the sort of guy who always knows what's happening. He's always on the edge. He's the sort of guy
that you'll tell him about the really cool cutting-edge band you saw last weekend, and he'll say, "Yeah, they're
pretty sweet, they used to live in my basement in Colorado" or something. He's
also a great climber and the one guy I always want to have along on a long roadtrip. Here he is at the
parking lot at Smith Rocks, OR, 25 Sept, 2004.
On this particular day, we decided to check out the Upper Gorge. Now, if we knew where we were going,
we would have made it to the Gorge within about 45 minutes. But, we're idiots and followed Jason on a
roundabout approach, taking an hour and a half through some of the worst-kept hiking trail in the history of
man. Both Jason and Jordan got vicious stinging nettles (I'm still not sure how I avoided it since I was
in shorts...). It definitely needs a few machetes to clean it up, because the area is super sweet! This is
me flailing around on E-type Jag , one of Smith's great 5.11 climbs that Jason led. It's a bit of a
bucket haul, but up to a really cool roof, finishing off with some interesting moves to finish. This is on
the far end of Middle Earth wall, right by the Second Pedestal.
Cool vid of me pulling the roof move in E-type Jag (Thanks Jason!) CLICK HERE
These trees in the gorge have these little puffs of branches that are different from the rest of the tree.
This is Jason "puff-diving", as it were.
Good shot of Jordan working his way up the climb. The pillars are definitely on-route.
Jordan pulling the roof in impeccable style.
Video of Jordan working through the roof crux. Apologies for recording sideways, just turn your monitor! CLICK HERE
Jordan at the top chilling out. Jason and I looked up and we were trying to figure out why Jordan
seemed so comfortable, and then we realized he had actually found a place to SIT down while he
cleaned the route! This shot actually shows the roof crux pretty well.
After we all had a run on E-type, we kept cruising along the Gorge to The Crowded House area to try a
5.10d called Blind Dogs Need Bones Too . This is me attempting the lead. For late September,
it was ridiculously hot on this climb, and I got frustrated and came off.
Video of me falling on lead, and proceeding to curse every family member this rock ever had. Not pretty, CLICK HERE
Video of Jason working through that tough move that I couldn't do with hot shoes on. Again, tilt your screen, CLICK HERE
So, we learned a few things on the trip into the Upper Gorge. The first is that if the path to a supposedly great
climbing area seems rough, you're probably hiking the wrong way. The second is that fences and locks only keep
out honest people. Fences also manage to rip your pants as you're climbing over the barbed wire on the fenced off
bridge that saves two miles of hiking. The third thing we learned is that mule deer are awfully dumb. This is
without any zoom at all, and this is how close we were to these animals.
The sun setting over the Cascades as we're driving back to Portland, following a successful day of climbing.
This was taken through Jason's polarized sunglasses and it turned out not too badly.
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