Trying to decide whether to stay at Smith or start moving on, I go and check out the Skull Hollow free campground, to see if I can meet anyone else to climb with. It might be free, but the bivy area at Smith is only $4 and has hot showers and running water. Maybe if the viy area was >$10/night you might consider it. You also have to drive, and have no option of walking to the crag, which is pretty lame. Maybe if you're cheap. Anyway, everyone there is still out climbing or doing other things, so I had resigned myself to leaving the next morning, and drive back to camp.
There's heaps of new people! I very quickly run into Judith and Marcus, who are reading and drinking wine by the dying sunlight. They seem almost eager for me to climb with them, which is lovely. Looks like I'm staying. :)
We climb for two days, and cover lots of ground. Both of them are very good company, and don't mind me hanging around at all. Marcus only leads, which is interesting. Ever. He never seconds. He always leads. Fair enough. I get to do a fair bit of pink pointing which works out fine with me. The first day we climb the 9 and 5 gallon buckets and some routes on the peanut, before calling it a day.
The next day we go hard. We start in the Dihedrals, and do Bunny Face, so Judith can lead something, then I do Jete, take some photos of a guy working on Double Trouble a cool looking 10b arete. I never meet these guys again. I was hoping to see them in the carpark that night, maybe try and sell them some prints, but I was out late. I think the climbers name was Joe, and his friend was from Bend, but who knows.
We cross over Asterix Pass, chasing the shade, and meet some climbers with the red guide. (The addendum to the blue guide) We find a pleasant 5.8, Benedictine Punk, then Marcus has a go at Manic Nirvana, a 10c that climbs up around the lip of a big arching overhang. He can't quite make the crux, and the fall looks bad, around the lip of the overhang and sideways.
So I go up and give it a go, and with a bit of reaching I manage to pull through and up. Very cool feeling. It's nice to be a useful part of the party :)
We then hit Cosmos, which is on a beautiful concave face, but is a little long for Marcus's tastes. (almost 25m) A storm blows in, big winds, a few drops of rain, then it's gone again, so we go up to the Pleasure Palace for some fun short stuff on a different layer of rock. And with that we were done. Marcus and Judith headed off to City of Rocks the next morning, and I had previously arranged to meet Liz so was sticking around for one more day.
Marcus leading Nine Gallon Buckets
Marcus leading Hop on Pop
Marcus and the Peanut, and the Crooked River
Marcus on Five Gallon Buckets
Karl leading Five Gallon Buckets
Judith climbing Five Gallon Buckets
West side of Smith Rock
Monkey Face west side