Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Despite the dampest spring I've seen up here we've still managed to climb some rocks.  Temps are well below the summer highs but it's been warm enough to shift the focus from the pebbles to the cliffs.  A couple weeks ago Jessica, Drew and I met up with Jens in Oregon for a brief but sweet trip to Smith Rocks. 

It had been a couple years since my last trip to the tuff (vocanic tuff) and over a decade since I first climbed outside at Oregon's premier climbing destination.  While the granite bouldering doesn't do much to keep my arms fresh on Smith's extra long tech-fests, I found a few shorter pitches that suit my style.  We were only there for one full day but climbed three, it rained every day but not enough to soak the stone.  The monkeys always send.

After coming home we've all been a little more inspired to hit the crags, putting laps in at Nason Ridge, the Drip Wall (no longer dripping), random projects and most surprisingly, Midnight Rock. 

This incredible cliff is generally closed until August for Falcon nesting, teasing local climbers from high on the canyon side with it's soaring cracks and wild features.  Unexpectedly the closure was lifted this year, hopefully the birds of prey have found another good nesting site to hatch their young. 

Joel, Jens and I couldn't help being psyched on this development and despite a late start we packed up for the pitches we'd been dreaming about.  Jens borrowed some big cams for the indomitable Super Crack, while I grabbed an extra rope and some brushes for an investigation of the Dagoba System.

Like many plans however, ours changed.  Did I mention the late start?  The fact is easily forgotten that Midnight Rock is no laughing matter.  The approach sucks some life out of you, the pitches are long, physical and generally dirty, or at least neglected. 

Many routes need new hardware to be safely led, the Dagoba sports some of the nastiest looking bolts I've ever seen.

We did the standard Midnight Rock circuit, hitting up the same climbs we usually do, but it was still a great day at Leavenworth's best cliff.  Inspiration is high to give some love to this highly deserving crag.