Guest blogger Sarah Wolfe didn't learn to climb as a teenager, not even in her 20s. The passionate climber and organizer of the American Alpine Club’s Smith Rock Craggin' Classic and founder of the popular Oregon Climbs e-news got hooked in her mid-30s when it clicked with her core values. Read more about Sarah in "Climbing: The Bigger Picture”. We asked Sarah to try to sum up this year’s American Alpine Club Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic. It was a tough assignment, given all that went on.
Amy Sue Matthews, AKA “Summit Trail Amy” as dubbed by SmithRock.com for her great trail conditions reporting on the Summit Trail Loop that started with last winter’s snow dump, is Smith Rock State Park’s biggest fan. Now a volunteer for the park, she attends every learning event she can to expand her knowledge to provide visitors the best experience that she can assist with. Last weekend, during the American Alpine Club’s Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic, she met up with Alan Watts, a name synonymous with the birth of sport climbing in America on his annual Walking Tour of Smith Rock for the Craggin’ Classic.
We took a stroll out to the Lower Gorge with John Rich, a long-time climbing aficionado of the Gorge Area, aka “Mayor of the Gorge.” We wanted to get his take on the proposed Oregon State Parks & Rec (OPRD) acquisition of 38 undeveloped acres to expand Smith Rock State Park there on both sides of the Crooked River.
The full title of the book says a lot. “Hangdog Days: Conflict, Change, and the Race for 5.14.” In it author Jeff Smoot weaves an intricate story around some of the characters he hung around during the period of arguments, fistfights, and even death threats that were part of the painful birth of modern sport climbing. At the center of the controversy, local Alan Watts, was one of the revolutionaries that pushed back against the climbing traditionalists of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s to use another approach to get American climbing routes up to the coveted 5.14 gade.
When we asked local climbing route developer Chris Hatzai to write a post for SmithRock.com on what’s been happening this past year in the Monument Area and the Marsupials, we had not realized it was the anniversary of Alex Reed’s fatal fall. Chris’s poignant piece elaborates on the route development question, expanding it into a story of evolution, both for him personally since the tragic accident, as well as an evolution for climbing at Smith.