Monkey Face is one of the most renowned routes at Smith Rock. I had been dreaming of climbing this route for since I had first visited Smith Rock as a Boy Scout. It is called Monkey Face because the rock literally looks like a Monkey.
I set out to climb this route after a day of work at G5 in Bend, Oregon. In the late afternoon I met up with my friends Daniel and Kellan, whom had already been climbing for several hours. We approached Monkey Face around 4:00PM with plenty of sun light to finish the route before it got dark.
Unfortunately we had to wait in queue at the bottom of the route for what felt like hours as an inexperienced couple made there way up the route.
As first timers on the Monkey we wanted to do the simple / traditional route up into the mouth. This route climbs as a 5.8 / 5.9 with the exception of one pitch that is 5.13. The 5.13 crux is above my current skill level, therefore climbers use aiders and ascenders, or in our case quick draws to pull ourselves up the pitch and into the mouth.
By the time the three of us were in the Monkey's mouth it was pitch dark. The final pitch is the best on the whole route. You climb out of the mouth and on to the face with nearly 300 feet of exposure. In the dark this feeling is incomparable to anything I have ever experienced.
The three of us reached the top of Monkey face around 8:30 PM, which was well after dark. With the stoke at all time we anchored in and began tying the ropes together for our 300+ feet for repelling. Let me tell you - repelling 300 feet in the dark is an amazing feeling of freedom and for a moment you feel as though nothing exists.
We all made it safely back to earth where gravity could take the best of us and we hiked roughly 3 miles back to the parking lot.
For anyone visiting Smith Rock State Park, I highly suggest you at least hike around to see the Monkey.
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I am going to use this as a platform to document my amazing adventures and career changes throughout the course of my life.
My blog will soon be updated with photos and stories from my back packing trip to the Winema National Forest this past summer, climbing Monkey Face at Smith Rock, biking in the Central Oregon Cascade Lakes, and more.
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"Summit As Friends"
Left - Mom "Michelle Middle - Scott Right Girlfriend "Nicole"
A marathon is no small feat. Months of training, personal sacrifices, less sleep than average and more just for a 26.2 mile run.
For me the marathon is a chance to test my mental and physical capacity, meditate, motivate and inspire. The marathon has taught me to dig deep inside of myself for energy that I never before knew existed. The marathon has helped me with alcoholism, business success, personal goal achievement, direction and opened my mind to what I am truly capable of.
The night before this years marathon we chose to take a different route than in the past. Rather than chilling at home and trying to relax we decided it was best to surround ourselves with friends and family at the 2012 PBP Portland Triple Threat ski movie premier. We enjoyed the ski flicks, got our winter stoke on and frequently forgot about the 26.2 mile challenge tomorrow would bring. My friends wished us good luck and we journeyed home for 5 hours of sleep.
The marathon morning is unique from any other day. You wake up between 430 and 500AM with energy, major stoke and tons of thoughts. Did I train enough? Am I really strong enough for this? When will my body shutdown and my mind take over? Will my mind actually tell me to start slow and finish fast? Will I finish? …………………….. These thoughts and more race through our heads as we go through our morning wake up and nutrition routine.
Before I know it, I am standing at the start line with thousands of other people and my girlfriend / best friend Nicole. Five minutes before the start of the Portland Marathon it is traditional for someone to sing the National Anthem. This year everyone sang! And I mean EVERYONE! All 17000 of us sang at 655AM before the start of what we had set out to do months prior. The energy of the group is always larger than one.
The race starts at 7AM sharp. The anticipation is finally over. A wave of 17000 people begin running through the streets of SW Portland. The energy I feel from the crowd forces my body to a pace far faster than I should be running, but I don’t care. I am running! Time to get in the zone for the next 3-4 hours.
My 5K split should have been a warning sign that I started out far too fast. I crossed the timing pad at 24:35, which is a 7:55minute/mile pace. I should have been running at around 8:45minute/mile pace aside Nicole. The voice in my head said screw it! I felt good and was going to hold this pace while continuing to take walk breaks every 5 minutes as I had done in my training. This was my self will talking.
At the half marathon timing pad I had only been running for 1:45:50, which is an 8:05 / mile pace. Still feeling strong, I continued this pace until about mile 17.5.
Today, mile 17.5 was the wall. This is where the marathon gets real hard for most people. I mean REAL HARD! Your muscles start cramping, your body starts begging for more nutrients, your mind is near the stage and you just want to sit down and cry. Somehow I find that hidden energy and adrenaline shoots through my body. Awwww that felt great! I think to myself if only this would last for more than .25 miles.
By mile 22 my mind and body are OVER IT. 100% OVER IT! All I can think about is the finish line. Why is it not here yet? Oooooo that hurts. Ouch my knees! And then BANG! I look back to see an older man lying on the ground. I stop and ask – Are you ok man? His reply – agghhhhhh yeah! He ate shit hard, but found the strength to get up without aid and finish the marathon. I believe he even beat me!
Like many others at mile 24 I was searching everywhere for motivation and strength to finish. Just as these thoughts were racing through my head someone in far worse shape came from behind. His name was Justin! Justin – “Hey man how are you feeling?” Me – “I am dead man! The finish line is so close though. I can smell it! Literally! Lets push through this bitch!” Justin – “My legs are cramping! Feels like someone is stabbing knives into my legs.” Justin and I spent the following 15 minutes sending positive words to each other and getting to know each other a bit. Final words from me – “We only have about 300 yards to the final right turn, then a left turn into the finish line BOOM BOOM BANG!
At this point the sounds, smells and energy from the crowd force me to forget about my incredibly painful legs, drained mind and all the work I did to make it here. I have 100 yards to the finish line and the crowd is packed shoulder to shoulder, people are screaming, laughing, crying and every other emotional reaction you can imagine. My stoke level and adrenaline are all time. I made it!
I finished the 2012 Portland Marathon in 3:53:42. This was not my fastest marathon, but still gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. I could still walk at the end, felt ok and was already thinking about the Boston Massachusetts Marathon. While 3:53:42 is FAR from a qualifying time I know that through the next year my commitment to training, nutrition and education will help me attain my goal of 2:59:59. I will complete the Sunriver Marathon, Sisters Marathon and Bend Marathon courses over the next 12 months, integrate weight training, ski my ass off and learn more than I have ever known before about my mind and body. This commitment will help me kick some serious butt.
Nicole finished the marathon shortly after me in a time of 4:10.00. I should have taken this as an opportunity to enjoy a long run with her, but at times self will takes over. There will be a next time and I am certain we will both break 4 hours, that time together.
Enjoy The Photos my Dad generously took from this years marathon! Super bummed we did not get a photo together I guess we were just too stoked to be at the finish line.
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