Smith Rock Adventures, Part 1

In January, 2013, I moved away from some serious surf in North County San Diego to Portland, Oregon for a taste of the #swooshlife. I’d gotten a consulting gig at Nike (actually based out of Beaverton), and I was super stoked for a change of pace. This meant I’d be leaving behind the world I’d known–running my own business and consulting for a couple small startups, I’d had free rein of my own schedule, projects, and clients. The complexities of making that jump in and of themselves deserve another blog post though, because that story isn’t the point here.

I’d grown up surfing, and crave both the calm and chaos that the ocean brings and serves. The pure rush of snapping a tight turn on a clean face at Uppers in San Clemente or tucking into a keyhole barrel in Newport beach would elude me in Oregon. Maybe I was being a beach snob, or maybe, in John Muir’s words, “The mountain is calling, and I must go.”

So I swapped my beach life for a mountain life. And because Nike is one of the best places for an athlete to work (and I literally mean that–from the cafeteria offerings to the on-site gyms to the camaraderie of working with some of the world’s best and brightest), I soon found myself wandering into the Nike Rock Gym.

I’ve never been much of a gym person. The elements of the outdoors are just too tempting, but with limited time and multiple projects on my plate, I took the logical step to explore a new sport. I’d signed up for the Rock Climbing 101 classes, and my instructor, Scott, made climbing approachable and fun. Within weeks, I began to drop into the gym whenever I could, whether to work out a few boulder problems or perhaps jump on one of the longer top-roped routes.

And soon enough, I signed up for an outdoor climbing trip destined for Smith Rock in central Oregon, near Bend. I’d talked a couple of girlfriends into doing it with me, and needless to see, our excitement was uncontainable. It would be my first time really climbing, and definitely the first time climbing outside.

I won’t pretend the climbing was easy. And I won’t pretend it didn’t scare me ****less for at least the first day. But what I will say is that after those two days–where I was coming off an injury, didn’t truly know anyone super well, and struggled a couple of times to get up the wall–I knew I’ve found another way to live the same aloha lifestyle I’ve missed since I left Carlsbad.

And that’s where we’ll leave it for now.

Climb on.