Thursday, June 9

Just Did It

Smith is a really special place - unquestionably one of the greatest crags in America. Towering walls dramatically rise above the Crooked River, huge raptors zig-zag the sky and sun-bathing snakes line the hillside. The scenery and hang at Smith are amazing. The climbing is honest; old school bolting ethics and an unforgiving technical style characterize this world class crag. Climbing well here takes experience that one can't acquire in a gym - it's bold, perplexing and at times seriously heinous.... It's awesome!!

Needless to say, I'm a Smith Rock fan, so it was only natural that I give myself an opportunity to try one of it's most impressive climbs, 'Just Do It' 14c. I got to try Just Do It once last year when I visited for two weeks in May. Unfortunately my effort was in the direct sun, and proved to be mostly worthless accept for the fact that I did get my draws hanging on this 18 clip masterpiece.

I was thrilled to find that my draws remained when I hiked to the Monkey Face last Thursday. I got one burn in, ticking some feet and learning the sequences - pleased to find that the route felt quite a bit more reasonable in the shade of the late afternoon.

Tyler Roemer Image

Just Do It is a monster of a rock climb. It begins with an in-your-face delicate edging sequence that features some of the most finger taxing crimps I'd experienced at Smith. After 5 bolts the route allows a good shake before passing a strenuous section of blank rock via a powerful undercling, shallow mono and a crucial foot smear - this sequence brings you to the end of the lower section and the first set of anchors. Here you relax in a great rest before entering into the upper purple rock, and the routes crux. A few bolts of pumpy 5.12 climbing lead to a brief rest before a very bouldery crux - a few difficult lock-offs followed by a huge span, and a successive 10 move boulder problem takes you to the top.

A bend local, and impressive photographer, Tyler Roemer came out with me at a moment's notice to capture these rad photos of 'Just Do It' - have a look at some of his other varied and interesting photography on his website.

I was psyched to get this beast down to a one-hang on Sunday, and had high hopes for our next day out. Unfortunately, my dog Zeke had a little too much fun chasing the horses out on the ranch, and he wound up getting kicked pretty good. He seemed to be okay but by Sunday night he was in a bunch of pain so we made an emergency trip to Bend to the 24hr Vet. They hooked him up with some meds and checked out his wounds, but we didn't make it to sleep until 4am - I figured Monday would be little more than a active rest day.

Thankfully, it only took a single scoop of coveted Huckleberry ice cream to convince Marisa into giving me a belay late in the afternoon, and to my surprise, I sent! It was such a rad experience being back on the Monkey and trying this route - on colder days it felt pretty isolated back there. As for the grade: It took me six tries to finish this rig, but given the shear amount of difficult and varied climbing on Just Do It, I'd say it felt 14c to me - albeit a soft one.

feeling especially cowboy, thanks to the hospitality of my homeboy Greg Garretson

Now we've swiftly moved on to the next spot - lovely Seattle... A city I've really fell in love with over the last few years. I'm stoked to be here and can't wait to get out climbing!