Monday, July 16, 2012

Anniversary on the Marsupial Traverse

Kristin celebrating our 8th anniversary on Brogan Spine
This year, July 4th - our 8th Anniversary - fell on a Wednesday, during a stiff period of work for the both of us, and so we hemmed and hawed a bit about what to do.  Although we have been climbing quite a bit this spring and early summer, we've been confined to the crags and haven't really spent much time off the ground.  After some back and forth, we finally decided on the Marsupial Traverse at Smith Rock, rumored to be the longest route in the park and a mini-adventure on typically variable Smith tuff.  After a reasonable 7 am departure from Portland, we managed to bag the route, enjoy a fancy anniversary dinner at Abby's pizza in Madras, and then arrive back in Portland by 10 pm.  A fine day!

Overall, I really enjoyed the route, but its not for the weak minded.  Although the first pitch and the last two pitches are well bolted, the middle sections of the route is extremely run out on very moderate terrain with some serious exposure.  But with that caveat, it's a route well worth doing - at least once - to experience the terrain, the min-summits, and the incredible views of the surrounding Central Oregon landscape. 

Kristin atop of the 5.8 first pitch - aka Carla the Stripper - this is a long, fun, well bolted journey up the Mudpile.  Good stuff.
K descending off the top of the Mudpile towards Mini-Half Dome.  Let the runout chossaineering begin!
At the second belay on the Mudpile.  One 5.7 move off this belay is well protected by a bolt - enjoy the exposure!
Kristin headed towards the summit of Min-Half Dome - After the 5.7 move, the route steps over an airy gap to Mini-Half Dome - fun. 
The rappel off the backside of Mini-Half Dome
The headiest part of the route is the climb from the notch behind Mini-Half Dome to the summit of Brogan Spire.  This section requires two pretty long pitches of suspect rock with crappy, sparsely spaced pro with plenty of exposure.  This shot looks back down from the summit, with an anchor draw visible after about 30-40 feet of runout 5.4-5.5 climbing.  Exciting but not very hard. 
Kristin rapping off the summit of Brogan Spire.  Two single rope rappels bring you down to the namesake cave on the well-known Cave Route.
K at the semi-hanging belay on the route up The Tail.  This traversing, 5.7-5.8 pitch was really cool, pretty well bolted, and airy.  A nice change of pace.  From this anchor, one single rope rap will get you to the ground.
K on the top of the Opossum managing the rope.  We rapped from the top of the Tail back to the anchor in the photo above and then to the ground.  It worked pretty well and avoids the gut churning knife edge and rap off suspect anchors on the Opossum. 
Summit Shot - Eight years!  Dang we're old.  But we're still climbing. 

And some of that beautiful Smith scenery for the walk out.

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