Two Days, Two Portland Crags, Two Different Vibes.

Sorry for the absence these last ten days.  Sorry to disappointed all of you.  However, not much has gone down the last two weeks and I’ve been experiencing a fair amount of resistance lately.  That’s not to say I haven’t been writing, I have, I just having been giving the blog much love.  Time to change that.  But that’s not all that important.  So without further ado, here’s today’s story.

I talked Doug into coming down to Portland to take advantage of the good weather and log some milage on the routes around Portland to compliment our training for the Bugs.  It was fun taking Doug to the places where I like to climb, as well as get on some routes that I hadn’t climbed before.

Saturday started off with the one breakfast I’m capable of making: Scrambled eggs, bell peppers, spinach, with chicken sausage pieces in it.  Ummmm, tasty.  After breakfast we jump in Doug’s car, which the kids at the school mistook for a Broadway Cab, because it’s yellow (Note to self, all yellow cars are cabs.),  and drove out to Lewis and Clark State Park to climb at Broughton’s Bluff. It was my plan to show Doug the wonderfulness of “Classic Crack”, but it wasn’t in the cards.  I did however have him lead a route that I’d never climbed, and from the amount of dirt that came off a small ledge half way up the route neither does anyone else.  Doug climbed it in good style, and got that sweet revenge when I peeled of the dirt crux several times.  Yes, I fell on a 5. 7, on top rope, my head is hung in shame.

After that we climbed a few laps on Anastasia a short but quality route originally put up by Wayne Wallace.  Apparently it can be lead, but it will take balls bigger than mine at the moment.  From there we moved over to the Hanging Gardens wall and climbed a few variations on the Hanging Gardens route that I hadn’t climbed before and required some wide crack skills.  Skills which I sadly lack.  From there we moved further down the cliff line and climbed a 5.9 variation to “Prometheus Slab\Spud\ The Sickle”. As we ran a few laps on variations.  There where three other people at the climbing the line next to ours.  Bryan, his girlfriend and one of their friends.  I can’t remember their names, and if formal introductions where done I wasn’t around for them.  Which isn’t surprising because Doug is much better at that kind of stuff than I am.

The mood was a jolly one, with lots of joking and snide responses to the question “How do I climb this?” .  The “this” being cracks.  We offered great gems like “Use your whole body, smear your butt against the rock” or “Stick your head in there!”  We also took it upon ourselves to heckle one of the girls who was worried about something coming out of cracks.  Suddenly every ledge and crack housed various animals.  Real and Mystical.  A good time was had by all and I look forward to spending some more time perched on the “Unicorn Ledge”.  We left the crag and headed to Rouge for some beers and food.

The next morning we got a late start and Signe made us a lovely breakfast before we headed out to navigate the read tape of climbing at Carver.  We managed to finally make it to the crag ’round 11:30.  At the base we slipped past some teenage twilight fans and walked to the base of the Chemistry Slab.  I love Carver for several reasons, one of them is the that the place is generally quiet, but as we got closer to the base I could here several voices and the cries of a scared girl coming down the trail.

We meet four people at the top of the trail.  The situation looked like one where the boys take their girlfriends (who don’t really climb) out for a day to teach, so that they could combine their two passions.  This is almost always a recipe for an emotional disaster and thanks to my ability to throw gas on any smoldering fire, that’s exactly what ensued.

Now there are a lot of players in this game, so I’ll do my best to keep them all straight.  Perhaps a chart is in order :IMG.  Ok, hope that helps.  You may want to open it in another window or tab to help you keep track.

Doug and I made quick work of a couple easy climbs, all the while listening to the banter between the people below.  The talk fueled by the girls and revolved around statements as such.

Girl#1: “We have sex all the time”

Girl#2: “I’m so Jealous, I wish we had sex all the time.”

A little later.

Girl #2: I have to put my hand in the crack?  I put my hand in Girl #1’s crack all the time.

giggle giggle giggle.

Generally the type of talk that is had by over sexed youngians.  After the girls had their turn HM decided it was time to start climbing hard.  He started with Dreamscape, which he had apparently climbed before.  Today he was having a rough go of it.  I don’t say this to put him down.  He’s a much better climber than I am.  But I thought I knew what the problem was.  His girlfriend wouldn’t shut up!  It takes focus to climb hard, and his focus was constantly being broken.

Girl#1 (while HM is climbing)” How’s your arm babe?  Are you ok?  Be safe?  I love you?  How’s your arm?”

Girl #2 to Bro:  “Bro,  I love you.  I love you,  Bro. Look at me. What’s wrong?”

Neither of these guys would do the right thing, which was not answering, or asking them to be quiet.  The boys where getting visibly frustrated, so I decided to throw them a bone and speak up “You know its fucking distracting when you’re trying to climb hard and people keep talking to you.”  I think they may have turned to look at me, but I was busy looking up at Doug trying to make sure I wouldn’t drop him.  By the time Doug had reached the ground the whole vibe had changed.  The boys where pissed at the girls, the girls where pissed at the boys and Me.  I didn’t care, I had used up all my good will the day before on a much less annoying group of people. Doug and I climbed a few more routes in relative silence as HM and Girl #1 tried to keep their fighting under wraps.  It wasn’t working.

We packed up our stuff and headed over to climb some laps on New Generation.  We talked and laughed about what had happened at the other end of cliff.  Doug lead New Generation, I lead New Generation and discovered how shaky my lead head is currently.  As I cleaned the pitch the emotional fire storm that was this group headed over toward us.  Things seemed a bit better, and Doug managed to smooth things out with HM.  Turns out he climbs very hard (like 5.14s) and we both know a local hardman.  Apparently Girl #1 doesn’t like him because she kept interrupting us to tell us what a “whore” he was, how he’s fucked lots of “fat chicks”.  She continued this the whole during our whole interaction, all the while hanging on the neck of HM.  I did my best to ignore her, but after she had leveled the harshest of insults “He probably has a small dick” at least ten times I had no choice but to acknowledge her.  I looked at her and said “I don’t care how big his dick is.”  At that point I lifted my bag, wished them luck and we headed back toward the chemistry slab.

Here I remembered that HM left a #1 Metolious power cam in Dreamscape.  Declaring that he didn’t care about.  Doug and I set out with some aid climbing tomfoolery and managed to free the stuck piece of gear pack up and head down the trail just as emotional time bomb started to leave.  We quickly boogyed down the trail, less they see that we absconded with their gear.  After all, they left it and we earned it.  Not only by going after it, but by having to endure the onslaught of juvenility.

Sorry for the long post.  I try to keep these shorter, but I felt this story had to be told.

8 thoughts on “Two Days, Two Portland Crags, Two Different Vibes.

  1. Good post, Bob. Funny stuff. My favorite line: “thanks to my ability to throw gas on any smoldering fire, that’s exactly what ensued.” Great stuff.

    One thing, though:

    “further ado”


    “because it’s yellow”

    Sorry, can’t help it!


    1. Changes made. Thank you for your services.

  2. *phew* I feel better. Thanks.

    I hear you had a good climb @ Carver today w/ Jim. Wish I’d been able to join you.

  3. I got word that our climbing on Saturday had made it into a blog. I am the unnamed climber friend of Bryan. I have to apologize for smashing into you at “Unicorn Ledge.” I still feel terrible about it.

    I’m just happy to see it didn’t make it into this post 🙂


    1. I like you guys so I was going to leave the swing and crash out. But since you mention it! We’ll just say that the Unicorn pushed you into me.

  4. Fair enouogh. I think we can classify it as “type 2 fun”.

    1. I don’t know, I’d say that it was most definitely Type 1

  5. “…thanks to my ability to throw gas on any smoldering fire, that’s exactly what ensued”

    Hahaha – I am smiling and lovingly shaking my head back and forth while tsk-tsking.

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