Then I blinked, and suddenly it was the end of June and I still had zero climbing experience. "I don't think it's really worth it for me to go," I lamented to Tegan. I told my roommate Sara of my disappointment and she said, "Smith is a great place to learn! You should just go. I'll give you a crash course tomorrow after work."
So thanks to her encouragement, I decided not to be deterred. She loaned me a harness and shoes and taught me how to belay in our living room, and told me what safety things I needed to know. Then we went to Vertical World and I took the belay test and then climbed a few routes. I climbed a few routes! I had this perception that I needed super human strength and special techniques to climb anything, but I pleasantly surprised to find that in the beginning, you mostly just have to do it.
Then Tegan and I loaded up the car with snacks and drove first to Portland, where we picked up another friend of Tegan's. Lindsay is an awesome all-around outdoor lady, and would be our lead climber at Smith. When we got to Bend that evening, the air was still thick and warm. We were greeted graciously by our hosts before all walking down the block for a delicious dinner at Spork.
The next day we awoke earlyish, theoretically wanting to beat the heat but also wanting to be on vacation. We drove to Smith Rock, and here is the view as we started the hike in. Smith is made up of a handful of big tuff and basalt rock walls with the Crooked River winding through the valley.
This was our view across the river. We were on a south-facing wall baking in the sun, so we made a note that this rock was east and north facing and shaded, maybe a good climb for tomorrow.
We headed back to our friends' house in the afternoon, happy with our climbs of the day but worn out from the heat. What better cure for that than a river float?! We piled in our friend's circus van and did a car shuttle to a couple points on the Deschutes River.
Growler Phil's, you have over 30 choices, almost all from craft Oregon breweries. Mark my words, we will start to see this in Seattle soon! We sampled a bunch of different beers and left very satisfied with our selections.