I have been on my own/solo for the past 5 days, as Colette went to the UK for some family biz. I seriously do everything with that girl and miss her for sure… but it’s always good to be put in the situations that mix up your pace and this was a perfect opportunity to embark on a power-move. Portland, Oregon.
My friend (and hero) Boone Speed called a week ago and suggested, while we were in the NW, come check out his town Portland, OR. I contemplated the thought, but it felt too far, and not worth the effort for just drinking beer in a cool town. Then Boone followed up with a text saying “There’s a *sick* 5.14 here we gotta do, Seriously good and pretty hard. Portland is fun. Holler!” Then even more texts about this route and how it’s similar to Logan Canyon’s China cave and how this route (Freakshow) was decent in the summer time. Being a little annoyed with Little Si (heat, humidity, no wind, wet holds, my sweaty fingers) I figured while Colette tends to her Family I should make a move and chill with Boone, Chris Bailey, and their crew, climb at the Rat Cave and chill in Portland! WHY NOT!
I dropped Colette off at the airport and bombed down the 3+ hours on I-5 straight to Boone’s house. He lives right in the city in an awesome neighborhood. The house is pleasant, filled with natural light, and has a great vibe with everyone in it. I have seriously been enjoying the company of others and even Bill Ramsey paid a visit while he was in town. The people make the place. And so does WATER SKIING… Yeah… we DID THAT!!!!
Portland is an amazing town. WHY aren’t there more decent cliffs here!!??? WHY!!!!???? This is such a cool place in terms of style (lotta hipsters n tatts), open mindedness, convenience, food, beer, coffee, even the climbing gyms look decent. I could thoroughly live here… but…. THERE AREN’T ENOUGH CLIFFS!!! Ugh… why is that always the case? Either way it’s great to visit a new town and climb at a new cliff. I feel refreshed.
The Rat Cave is the spot in Vogue around here. It is blocky basalt and similar to Deep Ceek. It’s constantly changing from sweaty-ass-crack-conditions to decent-try-to-send-while-the-breeze-is-blowing-conditions. The route Freakshow was bolted by numerous people and free’d by Ryan Palo. The style is sustained on sh*t holds and is pretty much always slimy feeling as I have experienced. You have to change your approach as friction is pretty much out the door. I am super impressed with how the locals deal with the humidity, as it’s like they don’t even notice it… I DON’T get it. Once again… SUMMER TIME! What are you gonna do?
Matt Gerlach has been projecting the route and is looking super strong on it. Check out the video of him on it.
I pieced the route together and banged it out in 5 tries… Propa! Now the motive for us to add the alternative start AND the alternative ending… ANDRADA style!!! It bumps the grade up a little to probably a lower end 8c? I put the bolts in yesterday, tried it three times and fell for various reasons. My last attempt was the closest. The conditions got bearable again so I figured I should seize the day! I got through the primary crux and lost body tension. (I had spent an hour or two bolting a route to the left and was worked.) My feet came off and I was a ways above a bolt I had skipped… I ate it. I flew towards the ground screaming! I pictured bones sticking out of my legs!!! Bailey who was belaying me shot up to the second bolt, which was all I had clipped from the start (should have clipped the first bolt in order for a better/safer fall)!!! It was like slow motions. When I hit the end of the rope I was a mere 4 feet off the ground swinging around in a bush! YIKES!!! Dang it was scary! DAMN good belay Chris Bailey!!! You saved my ASS!!!
Be safe everyone… calculate your run-outs and consider what falls might be like even if you feel strong as nails, anything can happen.
I get Colette from the airport tomorrow, collect draws at Little Si, then head back down here for some more Rat Cave action. HA! I love choss.
Thanks for checking in everyone! Have an awesome week.