Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hot Times in Central Oregon

When I took the Mazamas Intermediate Climb School (ICS) in 2004 / 2005, we had only one trip to Smith Rock State Park.  Since then they have vastly improved the class by making two trips trips to this rock climbing Mecca in Central Oregon.  This weekend I returned to Smith Rocks for the second time this year to help out.

Saturday started with an early morning departure from Portland and passing over the Cascades along the shoulder of Mt. Hood.  As I drove south on Highways 26 and 97 I saw a grand view of the snow covered volcanoes of the Oregon Cascades:  Broken Top, the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Hood.  Most of the peaks triggered memories of my past travels, along with plans for the future.

Most of the students were paired with graduates of the Mazamas Advanced Rock class to try out multi-pitch climbs.  Since I have not taken that class, I spent both Saturday and Sunday working with students in a top-roping situation.  At the top of the climbing route we would work with the students as they practiced building an anchor for each climbing route.  Then we would scramble down to the bottom of the route.  From there we spent the day taking turns climbing and belaying from the bottom of the route.  Both days I was stationed at North Point climbing area, which thankfully was in the shade most of the day.  Even with the shade it was hot, so Saturday evening I went for a cool dip in the Deschutes River near Steelhead Falls.

Initially it did not seem like there would be any climb leaders available to give me my final Field Session Evaluation that I needed for Climb Leader Development.  However, the coordinator may be able to provide one for me based upon my work this weekend.  Whether or not that happens, I left Smith Rock satisfied that I had helped provide valuable instruction and improved my climbing skills.

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