Photo by Rikar Otegi
I am in the States right now. I came a few days ago. We flew from Europe directly to Portland (Oregon). The trip didn't start very well. First, driving sleepy to the airport of Bilbao (Euskadi), the right front wheel of our car got pricked so we had to change it with the extra time needed and we were in a hurry. Finally, we were in the airport but very stressed! After more than 10 hours in the air, we arrived to Portland, but our baggage didn't so we had to stay around there two extra days! Our destination was Smith Rocks and the third day finally managed to see this incredible National Park. Yeah, it's a kind of weird. It's like an obsession; an "orange obsession." Suddenly, first day there, I realize that each gear I got has an orange color part: my new belay carabineer, my new quickdraws, my new climbing shoes have orange stripes, even my new jersey! My favorite t-shirt is orange colored, my two new wallets; my old tiny English dictionary I am using for this blog...
Hey! And what about the bright orange colour of the rock of Smith when sunset!? Now, I am serious... I didn't know much about Smith just some few ancient marvelous photos about routes so famous such as Rude Boys, Scarface, Chain Reaction, To Bolt or Not To Be, and the famous Just Do It. An impressive part of the history and development of modern sport climbing. It was a sunset when we first parked our car in front of the walls and the lines that we could guess were magnificent -- really elegant lines. I wanted to check out Just Do It as soon as possible, so the second day in the Smith we went straight to the "Monkey Face" Wow!!! AWESOME!!! I AM POOR AND SHORT IF I ONLY SAY THAT THE "STICKY ARROW" IS BEAUTIFUL! The conditions were awful, though. The strong, icey wind stream pushed me up, but I couldn't feel any holds and any of my points of my fingers. Even my nose was orange iced! My chicks were cold and insensitive. I gave up. I decided to wait for better conditions, so that I could feel real sensations in those small tiny edges. Next day, I enjoyed in a great sunny day with nice weather Just Do It. I tasted the whole route and realize that it has two different styles split into two parts. The first part is vertical and slabby it is really hard with very far between nearly non-existent holds. It is a long route by itself, this first pitch! I did very well and climbed all the moves very fluidly with the exception of the last difficult one. It made me try a lot. It was a small one-and-a-half finger pocket traction to dynamic to a slopey edge with nearly no feet. One try, two, three... Argggh!!
Then, I focused the power of my anger in the point of my left finger to pull up for a dynamic move to a rounded edge. I didn't give up. I understood, as Rikar told me, that it was more a balance move than a pure power one, so I think I finally found the precise body position. The final part is pretty bouldery, and as you going up, it gets more and more powerful. Last days here it's been pretty ugly, showers and coldness have disturbed me a little. It's too cold for the moment to try onto the shady east face of the monkey. Anyway, let's try other routes in Smith Rock. I'm leaving the States on the 31st of October. It's the Hallowing day isn't it? I didn't realize that -- just when everything will be invaded by the orange colored pumpykins! I expect the orange obsession won't follow me home...jajaja :-)