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All outdoor activities are inherently dangerous. This inherent danger is what draws many outdoor enthusiasts to the adventure. But when this inherent danger catches up with reality and injury or death occur, the beautiful song and balance of adventure come to a screeching halt.This writing explores the dark reality that one cannot always be in perfect shape and in perfect health.

My life is run by adventures and my path is dictated by whichever rock or mountain comes into my life next.That being said, in December-February in Central Oregon is the "off season" as I call it. Its "off" for me because the weather is the least friendly for climbing of any type during these months.

With no immediate ice climbing available, and the climbing gym becoming all too routine, I was seeking something else.

The skiing in Central Oregon is phenomenal, so I invested in the required equipment and headed to the hills. I figured that this activity would compliment my mountaineering skills, and that it couldn't hurt my spring climbing coming up in a few months. Because I have invested all of my time and energy into climbing, I am a novice, therefore I had my work cut out for me.

Two mountain trips later and I was competently skiing and enjoying myself to the level that I could relax and enjoy the activity, instead of concentrating so hard on nailing the technique.Then, near the end of my second full day I had a wake-up call as I was flying (falling) through knee deep powder. I fell, and my ski didn't release. In immediate pain, I grabbed my right knee and wide eyed, I came to the realization that I may have just ended my skiing for the season. Lucky for me, minimal damage was done, and I regained composure and returned to ski the next week.


Where: Koala Rock, Marsupial Cliffs, Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, Oregon

When: November 3rd. Weather: 50's to 70's... Got some sunburn on my nose.

Summary: Late on Friday night, Jenny Martin and Rebecca Larsen of Altrec / Greatoutdoors.com asked what the plans were for the weekend.

The topic of climbing instantly came up, and Rebecca, Jenny and I quickly made plans to get out super early the next morning.

Around noon, I finally picked the ladies up and we headed for Smith Rocks. On such a busy weekend we elected to head for the "hills" and trek the hour long approach to a remote park of the park called "The Marsupials". Once there, we decided to get some air and exposure on a 3-pitch (roughly three rope lengths... or 300 feet) climb called "Down River" (5.8). This particular climb granted us some of the best views of the park. The orange rock was featured with pockets and knobs that led us toward the flat summit of "Koala Rock". We had a fantastic climb on two pitches of low angle slabs, which led us to a dead vertical last pitch of slopey huecos that took us directly to the summit. After topping out, we slapped some high fives and walked to the back of Koala Rock and rappelled down to the ground via a free-hanging rappel.

With a few hours of energy left, we found two more routes on the Koala that were not in the guide book. Being the adventurous group that we were, we decided to climb them as well. They were both nice and probably around the 5.6-5.8 level. A super mellow climbing day in perfect weather away from the crowds..... marvelous!

Check out the photos, and if you're ever itching to climb in a remote"ish" area at Smith, keep the Marsupials in mind. Great rock, and no crowds. - Drew D. Peterson


Where: Route 97 Northbound Lane in Mike Rougeux's 1987 Volvo 740 GL Turbo (A.K.A "The Grey Ghost" which Mike payed for with $800.00 cash, the vinyl Prince album "When Doves Cry" and a promise to mow the seller's mother's lawn for two months)

Distance: 14.2 Miles

Time: 5:45 AM PST

Weather: 39 Degrees, complete downpour.


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