After a super cold December and January the weather has gotten pretty warm and sunny here for the past few weeks. As a result I've been going out to Smith to go rock climbing a lot more than expected. This has been great for my climbing. I haven't been getting out skiing and alpine climbing as much as I would like, but who can say "no" to basking in desert sunshine mid-winter?
I've been climbing with a whole range of people, but my most consistent partner has been Caitlin, my girlfriend. She is also pretty stoked to climb right now, and has been improving by leaps and bounds. Together we have been checking off many of the highly recommended, moderate-difficulty trad routes at Smith. This has been great for my climbing to-do list (and that means great for my OCD, type-A self). It's also nice because I get to lead everything and forces me to adopt a "guide-mode" mind-set.
This past Saturday Caitlin and I went out with a large group of friends... Mike, Joe, Kristin, Dirk and Faith. It was a little windy but absolutely beautiful. We hiked over Asterisk Pass and climbed various cracks and bulges on Spiderman's Butt... ress. (A rock buttress! I wasn't being dirty at all!) Mike, using his new camera, made another awesome video (the man is a natural videographer! mad props!) so check it out...
Climbing at Smith Rock from Mike Arrera on Vimeo.
Routes we climbed that day:
Squashed Spider, 5.7 sport, 1 pitch
First Ascent Crack, 5.4 trad, 1 pitch
Out of Harm's Way, 5.8 mixed, 1 pitch (check mark! short dihedral to vertical face climbing, very fun!)
Spiderman, 5.7 trad, 2 pitches (check mark! slab, dihedral, splitter crack and overhang all in 200ft!)
Other great routes Caitlin and I have climbed in the past month:
Western Chimney, 5.5R trad, 1 pitch (strenuous and complicated for 5.5, don't go up it expecting a cruise)
Bookworm, 5.7 mixed, 2 pitches (off-width crack to a bolted slab)
Lion's Jaw, 5.8 trad, 1 pitch (awesome dihedral)
Moonshine Dihedral, 5.9 trad, 1 pitch (same as Lion's Jaw but steeper and longer)