Chilling out, relaxing all cool all over the place in October.


For our North American Sales Training at work, the bean counters decided that it's far cheaper to fly to Orlando, FL
than anywhere else in the country during September. As it turns out, it's for good reason. That's smack dab in
the middle of Hurrican Season! In a year when Florida got ravaged by four huge hurricanes in six weeks, a few
hundred dollars on airfare savings doesn't seem like a great idea. Needless to say, we went to Florida, hung out,
and actually got to spend a little time at the Beach. This is one of my co-workers, the lovely Ms Lee Space
at Cocoa beach, a normally packed beach on the Atlantic Coast.

Note the complete desolation and the boarded-up windows on the time-shares on the beach. I'm definitely
not planning any major home purchases here anytime soon.

If you squint really hard, I think you can see France!


Our buddy Paul Dehaan got us together for a fun afternoon of grilling and soccer in the Northwest part of Portland.
Here are Katie, Ha, and Otz juggling around in the sun.

The big man, P Diddy himself, launching the ol' pigskin.

I wish I could explain some of our friends' minds sometimes. "Some people" decided it would be a great idea
to write on Ha's car with shoe polish. When he finally got back to his car, the "perps" were so busy giggling
in the bushes that I think they missed the expression on his face. "YOU GOT SERVED!!"

My good buddy Ross Segelken had the foresight to hook us up with early tickets for the touring US Women's Soccer
friendly against New Zealand. The game itself was a blow-out with the US winning 5-0, but the game was
definitely memorable as Mia Hamm scored possibly the best soccer goal I've ever seen live, and Kristine Lilly
scored her 100th career goal. More game summary here: Game Summary

The very beautiful Mia Hamm, popping a corner kick. This last 10-game friendly tour through the US will
be Ms Hamm's last games as she and other team members Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett plan on retiring after this tour.

Mia on a throw-in.

Even though Ross and I scammed seats a little closer to the action for the second half, our original seats
at PGE Park were still pretty sweet. Thanks Ross!

The ladies man himself, Ross Segelken. Ladies, for a hot date with this young bachelor, find him chilling with
Duke at the dog parks, setting records on his mountain bike, or down at the climbing gym flashing V4s.


Jeff Hemphill and I decided to make a run out to City of Rocks, Idaho, to do some late season climbing.
This area is possibly one of the best I've ever climbed at. The rock is fantastic, there is more variety
than you can imagine, and there's still umpteen untouched rocks for new routes at both the City, and at the
newer Castle Rocks. The weather co-operated, as can be seen here in this sunrise view of some of the rocks.

Some of the rocks at City, viewed with the morning sun.

Jeff and I climbed a variety of great routes at City. This particular route though, wasn't what we were expecting.
The guidebook claimed that Morning Glory went at 5.10d, was three pitches and was memorable. Jeff and I
got one pitch up onto terrible friction granite that was popping crimpers everywhere, and decided to bail.
This is Jeff saying how he felt about that climb.

This is Jeff saying how he REALLY felt about that climb.

Around the north side of the Morning Glory Spire is a great 5.8 trad climb called Skyline . The line
is visible up the obvious crack in the centre of the spire, moving to the right, and then a puckering
left around an undercling to finish the crack up the spire. Thanks to Jeff for "volunteering" to do the first pitch,
since he had done it before and remembered the exposure on the second pitch.

The granite at City is pretty unique in that the rock itself has a layer of iron oxide, forming a type of
patina which resists the weathering of the years. The rock below the patina, however, winds up weathering, and
through a combination of rain and wind, you wind up with the mushroom shapes of some of the rocks here.

The view at the top of the 18-bolt single pitch 5.8 called Too Much Fun . This climb was possibly
the longest single pitch I've ever done, coming in at roughly 160 feet, but the holds were huge, making it
a relaxing jug haul.

The view to the next set of rocks, with some climbers on the summit.

Jeff, at the top of Too Much Fun , showing the changing seasons behind him.

Lisa, this picture is for you. Frame it, throw darts at it, do whatever you like. Again, this is
on top of Too Much fun .

Jeff was kind enough to return the favour, and this is the view to the other side of the climb.
Yeah, yeah, I know the helmet is a little ugly.

Our second day of climbing in Idaho, we went a little further up the road to Castle Rocks, an area
that just opened a year ago, and already has over 100 bolted routes on it. This particular chunk of
rock is the Castle Rock itself. Up the centre of this rock is a 5 pitch (we did it in kind of 3) 5.7
called Big something or other .

In contrast to the City, Castle Rocks is about as desolate an area as you can find. This is from two pitches
off the deck.

As desolate as the area is, the climbing is just amazing. So much so, in fact, that this classic climb
(on a beautiful Saturday morning, mind you) was a social event. We hung out at a rap station so that
another group could climb through us, and while another group rapped past us. We took the opportunity
to get a seldom-taken shot of both Jeff and I off the deck.

After the main Castle Wall, we moved just a little up the gully to some really interesting rock. We initially
looked at a stiff (and totally blank) 5.11a, but decided to do a 5.10a instead. While the moves were not that
difficult, the exposure, and the reliance on granite friction made this lead one of my personal victories. The
move to get around the roof and then 8 more feet past the roof to your clip was tied only with the finishing
moves for difficulty. Of course, as soon as we got down, someone asked us, "How is it?". I automatically
respond, "It's pretty stiff, and a little ballsy." The people who had asked were some of the local Idaho
climbers who had set some of the first ascents at City, and who regularly climb 5.12. They promptly
ran up the climb that had just kicked my ass, and I felt a little less victorious.
A totally worthwhile climb though.

Between the back gully and the main Castle Rock wall is a proud-looking arete called Red Rim . It has
been called one of Castle Rock's classics, even though it's only been up for a year. The climb is definitely worth
its 5.10b grade, and Jeff led one of the better climbs I've seen him lead through some good exposure, frictiony
granite, and long sequences between bolts.

After having had our butts handed to us on the friction at Castle, we decided to push ourselves a little at
City before we left to drive home. After waking up to a skiff of snow, Jeff and I put on our balls, and hopped
on a 5.11c that was definitely out of my grade for sure. The climb is called She's the Bosch and is on
the Window Wall.

Here is some video of me before I got onto the route. CLICK HERE FOR VID

Here is video of me after being humbled. CLICK HERE FOR VID

This is Jeff at the same spot I got stuck at.

Jeff's feelings after coming down from She's the Bosch CLICK HERE FOR VID

For more information about climbing at City of Rocks, check out the National Reserve website

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