Guest Blogger: Quebecois Delano Lavigne, newly transplanted to beautiful Bend, Oregon
I have been climbing for over 15 years and have made it a point, ney a rule, to avoid rock-climbing when the temperature outside is more conducive to playing hockey than to crimping rocks. But as the truism goes, rules are meant to be broken and boundaries meant to be pushed. And who better to do that with, now that Bend is my newly adopted home, than the dynamic duo of Tosch and Zoë Roy from Free Range Equipment.
So when they extended me an invitation to join them on the prophetically named First Annual Top-of-Monkey Face BBQ (possibly FATMFbbq), I could not resist despite the below freezing temperatures.
We were the first to arrive at Smith Rocks and despite the soft layer of morning frost that blanketed the park, splitter blue skis added resolve to hope, as we knew in a few hours we would be enjoying beers and brats in the sun on the summit of Smith Rock’s prolific Monkey Face.
We hiked along the Crooked River and found the Monkey Face inviting us with a mischievous yet benign smile. Once at the base and seeing that we were likely the only ones climbing the face, we took our time racking up, which in this case, included the standard for any TOTbbq (Top of Tower bbq): cams, draws, helmets, lighter fluid, charcoal and BBQ. We loaded our Stud packs with enough clothes to deal with the cold and left the rest in our haul bag.
Tosch took the early morning honors by leading the way towards our charcoaled destiny with the summit. Zoë followed behind and then Sarah Mac and I trailed as a second team. The climbing was stress-free as we had planned and I was happy to have time to absorb one of the most beautiful views I have seen in a long time. And just as we began to tag-team the aid pitch, the sun finally hit. Now we were in business; in the business of establishing bbq-ascents (Suggested: Grade III 5.7 C0, CQ1).
At the summit, we were left virtually to ourselves despite the crowds of camera-touting hikers who stood gawking at the the four climbers standing around occasional lighter fluid-induced plumes of smoke wafting from the summit. Now I admit, discretion was a consideration but after using an entire bottle of the stuff, we were left to embrace the attention we had drawn to ourselves. In fact and ironically, we became like monkeys in a zoo; “trapped” on the summit with at least 25 people watching us, asking us to wave and ultimately becoming an unexpected line in the story of their own day’s adventure.
I guess that is what you get for climbing the Monkey Face, you become a monkey. But I don't mind. And I look forward to the second annual TMFbbq. Maybe next year we will wear monkeys suits!
Monkey Face photo taken from Misery Ridge...photo cred: awesome guy who scored some digits and pulled through by sending Zoë the resulting picture.
FATMFbbq (First Annual Top of Monkey Face BBQ)
TOTbbq (Top of Tower BBQ)
CQ1 (Charcoal BBQ; easy haul)
ATMFbbq (Annual Top of Monkey BBQ)