That Spring Thing

Posted: May 11, 2004 in Uncategorized

You know you’ve had an awesome weekend when the next night after you got back, you’re so comparitively bored you’re having withdrawl.

Friday night Shel and I packed up quickly, while the skies just opened up and DUMPED rain. Several checks of the forecast for Smith showed inbound thunderstorms, which I assumed was what Eugene was getting hit with, so I packed for the worst, down to my waterproof cycling pants. One way or another, I was gonna be out working, so best be comfortable. Some quick grocery shopping, dinner at Subway, and off we went. The road over Santiam was all ours, and we spent the drive relaxing, listening to Hendrix and talking music and philosophy.

On arrival at the grasslands around 11:30, we almost drove past the turnoff, since the place was FILLED with what looked like nearly 100 horse trailers. A sign on the road to the campsite informed us that they were there for an endurance race, to take place the next morning. Thankfully the main campsite was off-limits to the horses and largely empty, and we were greeted by the “Plab” sign and Erik’s white Westfalia with the “BASCAMP” license plate. We pulled in, rolled out the pads and sleeping bags, and passed out.

Next morning we woke to the sound of waning rainfall and anxious horses, and eventually crawled out of the car, stretched, and headed out for coffee and registration at the Smith parking lot. By the time we got registered, any signs of rain were quickly disappearing. We grabbed water, food, and equipment, and headed to the Morning Glory wall. Over the next 5 hours, some 20 people worked with amazing intent and cooperation you’d think they’d been working together for months, and at the end, we had completed several terraces and a set of stairs to help mediate foot traffic and reduce erosion. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed volunteer work as much as I enjoyed this project.

After finishing working, we took a quick tour of the finished projects, and nearly walked right past Carston and Raluka, who originally weren’t going to come. Somewhat more rested, Shel and I decided to try and get in at least one climb for the day, and grabbed our gear from the car. As luck had it, we found Erik and Pax with some friends working two routes that Erik had put up years ago, and jumped on. I managed a toprope up the 5.10a, which I greatly enjoyed. As it rolled around to 6, we headed back to the car to rest, then on to the ranger station that was housing the free dinner for all the volunteers.

The thing that really struck me in particular about this group was that, not only were they bound by the comraderie of climbing, but they were also well-rounded people who understand the need to give back to the places they play. Though most people were meeting for the first time, I again would swear people had been friends for years. The beer flowed free thanks to Murk, the towering beer man who was probably taking a shot from the keg for every beer he poured, the food was most welcome, and the setting was awesome. Though I didn’t know it, I was almost constantly shoulder-to-shoulder with many climbing celebrities, including Timmy O’Neil, Brittany Griffith, and Steve House (the first two later gave a slideshow of their recent Cuba trip). After the slideshows began the gear raffle and auction, which I came away from with a t-shirt, some sort of hand creme, and an aching side from the Timmy O’Neil Show going on next to me. I swear the guy should be in stand-up.

By this point most of us had long since passed sober, so the only thing left was to head back to the campground and break out more booze. Erik broke out a bottle of whiskey and some Sprite for 7&7s, while our new friends Avie and Jason showed up with entirely more beer and wine than two people should ever need to drink, so we took it upon ourselves to relieve them of the duty. Meantime, we were surrounded by other campsites with blazing fires, while we stood in a circle around the only warming source we had, the bottle of Seagrams, since if any of us had tried to venture out for firewood, we likely would have been either trampled by exhausted horses or never seen again. But, the whiskey was doing its work well, and eventually I worked up enough courage to go over to the next camp to try and bum some wood, which much to my surprise worked perfectly. After backing Basecamp out of the fireplace, and somehow avoiding anyone being horribly burned, we whiled away the rest of the night around the orange glow, until we each crawled into our sleeping bags to spend the next hour or so trying to convince the world it really shouldn’t be spinning around like that.

The next morning I was woken not by the gentle patter of rain or horses neighing to each other (both of which had left for the remainder of the weekend), but my car alarm going off. Turns out when you use the keyless entry keychain the lock the car, the alarm will go off when you try to open the car even from the inside, a point Shelly learned the hard way when trying to make her way to the bathroom. After assuring my heart it didn’t want to take a vacation from my chest, we got up, rubbed our sore muscles, and headed for a wonderful breakfast of chicken fried steak and omlettes at the Sunspot. From there we headed back to the parking lot, geared up, and headed out.

Because most people were not feeling their best from the night’s festivites, we moved slowly and only got in a couple climbs, but both of them were great fun. First climb was a return to Lion’s Jaw (5.9 trad), my first Smith climb back in November. Unlike my first time, I cruised up with confidence, which was such a great feeling. After cleaning that, we went to finish our day on a crack further back called Toys In The Attic, another 5.9 trad which I’d never touched, and I think is underrated, both in grade and quality. Both climbs were lead by Nick, who according to Shelly has vastly improved over the last year, and I’d say it certainly shows.

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. I saw some friends again, made new ones, gave back to a wonderful place, and just had fun the entire time. Unfortunately I didn’t get in any leads with my new quickdraws, but that just meant I got to climb things above my comfort level and really worked.

And there’s always next trip.

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Comments
  1. a_wags says:

    sigh, looks like fun

  2. Anonymous says:

    sigh, looks like fun

  3. Anonymous says:

    sigh, looks like fun

  4. muffster says:

    SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO FREAKING FUN
    I ned to write up my weekend and say my thankfuls…
    THANKS BADVOODOO 😀

  5. Anonymous says:

    SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO FREAKING FUN
    I ned to write up my weekend and say my thankfuls…
    THANKS BADVOODOO 😀

  6. Anonymous says:

    SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO FREAKING FUN

    I ned to write up my weekend and say my thankfuls…

    THANKS BADVOODOO 😀

  7. rhinoblues says:

    man…i want to climb outside…i’ve been doing entirely to much studying lately. crap..i just need to climb in general.

  8. Anonymous says:

    man…i want to climb outside…i’ve been doing entirely to much studying lately. crap..i just need to climb in general.

  9. Anonymous says:

    man…i want to climb outside…i’ve been doing entirely to much studying lately. crap..i just need to climb in general.

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