Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Smith Rock Hike

My last post was about climbing on these vertical walls.  Now, I take you on a hike up, down and along them.

My hike began by descending a trail named the Chute, named that, I assume, for its short, steep grade.  I crossed the Crooked River on a footbridge, then began to climb the Misery Ridge Trail.  On the way, I had some dramatic views, both to the left

and to the right.

Once on the ridge, the trail traveled west, then began its descent near the tower topped by Monkey Face.

Part way down the Mesa Verde Trail, the spires offered this photo op.

On reaching the valley, the River Trail paralleled the Crooked River.

Finally, I crossed the bridge and ascended the Chute, where I was offered this last look into the valley I had walked.

Then, home, and some Advil…

The Vertical World of Smith Rock

I last visited Smith Rock in 2010, before I could get far on the trails.  It was time to return.

Smith Rock tops out at about 1000 feet above the Crooked River below.  The walls of Smith Rock provide a climbing opportunity of international renown.  My hike gave me a sampling of others taking the vertical path up.

In the first shot, two climbers are present.  The guy on the left is top roped, allowing him to climb with great protection from a harmful fall.  The girl on the right is lead climbing.  Her protection comes from her skills, and from the last point where she clipped her rope to the rock wall below her.

It was a pleasure to watch the smoothness with which she moved on the rock.

Part way up the Misery Ridge Trail, I had a nice view of another top roped climber.

Around the point to the left, an impressive wall drew top roped climbers.

On the far side of the rock is a 600' pillar called Monkey Head for the shape of the top of the pillar.

At the base of this formation, a climber is beginning this challenging ascent.

From the east side, the pillar presides over the Crooked River valley below.  Can you spot the climbers on the pillar below the head?

Honest - they are there, dangling below the chin.

A spectator gets a closer view than I had.  The climbers have now moved behind the chin.

This may help - both with seeing the Monkey Head appearance and with seeing the climbers.  No longer on a rope beneath the formation, they are now in the monkey's mouth.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mountains Making Weather

As I headed off for a hike, the sky was almost cloudless.  Except for one place, that is.  Clouds were forming over the Teton Range.

I did a short hike.  Leaving the trailhead afterward, the gathered clouds were becoming more angry-looking.

The closer I got to the campground, the more severe the skies over the peaks looked.

This was the last view before Blacktail Butte blocked sight of the oncoming storm (which is STILL hanging there and threatening).