“I thought for sure I was going to come here and send this thing. Whatever man, I can still climb 5.13 in Colorado, Utah, Montana…”

Those are just a few of the bitter words we heard one day while climbing next to a party that was struggling to get through the crux of Chain Reaction. The worked up climber was lowered to the ground spewing all sorts of frustration that continued well beyond him taking off his shoes and packing up for the night before starting the hike out.

For what it’s worth, we were warming on up on Wedding Day, a 5.10b that was giving me all sorts of trouble for my first time on the climb.

It went on the first go but it was slow moving and nearly took all I had to hold onto the small crimps through the first two-thirds of the climb. Coming back down to the ground I shook my head from the pain of my ego having taken a few jabs to the face with the reality that a 5.10b had pushed me to my limit. I send those things without thinking at the gym.

This is what makes Smith great

You rarely find a climb that doesn’t make you work for it just a bit more than you expected or way more than you find at your local gym. Some climbers take this on the chin, like our friend from the Rockies who had been chewed up and spit off Chain Reaction.

It’s not always easy to be reminded that we (ahem…I) are mere weekend-warriors struggling up a climb you figured you’d dance up given your gym exploits or past performances. It happens to us almost every time we head out to Smith and try hard(ish). We are reminded that, at least, we aren’t ever going pro and probably aren’t ever going to feel like the uber-confident 5.11+ climber we wish were.

Views like this from Koala Rock are a good reminder of why we like to climb.


That’s OK because Smith can be a beast. It can also helps remind us to not get caught up in grade chasing but savor the fun to be had and enjoy the beauty of the park. For each climb we try hard on we also remember to head up easy classics like Super Slab, Lusty Lady, or Spiderman and soak up the flowing moves and surrounding views because climbing is more than being associated with a number/letter grade.

At the end of the day it’s about being outside and wringing out all the enjoyment you can in the great outdoors before returning to face whatever your day-to-day life is.