Two weekends out climbing in a row! The last week of June and the first week of July have been absolutely amazing and much needed. I had a chance to travel with team SW/AG on two trips back to back with all types of climbing and partying included.
The last weekend in June I traveled with the team up to Canada to celebrate my actual birthday. Half the group took advantage of an Air BnB in North Vancouver while the other half camped near the park.
Our first day we all met up to boulder under the towering granite monolith, the Stawamus Chief. We wandered about the forest like hobbits with crash pads off on an adventure. The course granite shredded the baby skin right off our fingertips like cheddar to a cheese grater but we had fun climbing small boulders, slab problems, high-balls and overhangs.
About half way through the day, the group split up and I headed back down to Murin park with my half of the group to try our hand at trad climbing. I've been to Squamish many times over the years but this would be my first time climbing trad there. The experience was humbling to say the least especially for not going past 5.9. We climbed a handful of zig-zagging routes on various terrain ranging from slabby to wandery to partially wet granite. Good times.
The second day we all drove up to the Smoke Bluffs for a full day of trad climbing. The place was packed tighter than a dozen vacuum sealed hot dogs but the farther up the bluffs we hiked up, the less crowded it got. We arrived at a spot that had a few cracks near the grades we dared to climb and there were only a few people on them so we dropped anchor and got in line. Being primarily sport climbers, it didn't take long for a lot of us to feel like we were in over our heads while on lead. As my friend Tim put it, "Fish out of water". Still we managed to put up ropes one way or another and we all got to enjoy the afternoon and learn a little something about ourselves in the process.
Our final day was completely the opposite. This day we were like ducks in a pond as we clipped bolt after bolt on the overhanging routes of Cheakamus Canyon. Tired and sore from the previous two days of climbing, we welcomed the simplicity and familiar movement of sport climbing. After we completed a handful of routes we started our 7 hour drive back to Portland with a successful weekend behind us.
The workweek back in Portland consisted of catch up work for AntiGravity Equipment with lots of new products showing up at the store. Also, the tradeshow WWSRA was in town so I spent a few days meeting with all the vendors to get the sneak peaks on all the new gear for 2017.
After that week flew by it was Fourth of July weekend, Saturday morning, as a large portion of the SW/AG team met up outside Stoneworks to load up and head down to Northern California for a weekend of bouldering and partying on the beach.
11 of the 27 people that attended this year, piled up into the rented AntiGravity Equipment Sprinter Van along with pads, camping gear, and enough beer to stock an AMPM. About 7 hours later we were strewn about the beach like driftwood gawking at all the scenery and climbing boulder problems that were at least 7 feet higher than the previous year (due to tides washing out the sand). We reserved a huge portion of the meadow at nearby Kamp Klamath and after setting up SW/AG city we all got in line to take advantage of the delicious 4th of July BBQ the camp ground puts on each year.
The second day we piled more people than there were seats in the van (to avoid overcrowded parking) and once again headed to the beach for more bouldering. With a little work and some shuttle service, we managed to get ourselves, our pads, and a cooler past high-tide areas and dropped anchor near a good concentration of boulder problems. The sun broke through the marine layer and all manner of fun and shenanigans ensued for the remainder of the day. Back at camp we split up into smaller groups to cook our dinners but converged around a big warm fire until the wee hours of the night.
Our final day, we woke up, had breakfast and broke down camp as a group. Just before noon we were on the road looking for the pullout to Myrtle Beach along the Smith River. We descended upon this awesome swimming hole and cooled off in the river, jumped off rocks, dozed off in the sun, and got sunburnt to our heart's content. After our swim session it was finally time to part ways and head back to Portland in time to watch fireworks. Another successful annual trip with Team SW/AG is behind us.