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Friday, October 9, 2009

Hello Reel Rock Tour

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog. The season is wrapping up, but if you are a Carver Climbing Club member there will be a few days/weeks over the winter. Stay tuned. I am working on a Twilight the movie circuit.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meetings Have Taken Place

So I've met with Michael Lary and Gary Rall of the the Carver Climbing Club separately and feel they are working to keep the area open and here are the updates: (all depend on our actions going forward)

  • If you are currently a member, access is open and should remain so as long as we police ourselves
  • Don't expect new members to be added until next spring
  • Expect to see some sort of a membership "reset" starting in January (current members will be given an opportunity to rejoin without repaying)
  • The Club is also committed to better communication of the happenings and expectations of climbers visiting the Carver Bridge Cliff - expect to see some flyers/posters show-up at your gym or favorite shop.
  • Please leave your dogs at home
That's it for now. The weather is good today. I'll be at Carver. You should be as well, unless your not a member.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

What I Know and Some Rambling

In my last post I asked some pointed questions of the Carver Climbing Club. If they came across as hostile I apologize, but I like many others have/had reached a level of frustration with the Club and their lack of communication and transparency.

Since then, I've had a couple of beers with Michael Lary, secretary of the Club, who gave some insight into what the Club is doing right now - biggest example is their new website for the Carver Climbing Club - and what they hope to do going forward as long as Carver remains open.

One of the big challenges is just the growth the Portland Climbing Community has gone through over the years and the tensions in our community. When the club was started in 1991 it was done for three main reasons:
  1. To be a point of contact for the landowner
  2. To collect the release waivers the landowner required
  3. To be stewards of the property
I moved to PDX in 1998 from NC and was extremely fortunate to have found/bought an original copy of the Portland Climbing Guide in a used bookstore back in NC for $4.00. By 1998 the book had been out of print for quite awhile and I had climbers offer me up to $50.00 for it.

I really started climbing at Carver in the summer of late spring/early summer of 1999 and quickly transitioned to bouldering after the Rampage video came out and inspired new bouldering development around the country.

There was no restaurant then and you parked down near the Pioneer Church and walked in the long way or down on the road near the Rock Garden Tavern and hiked up through the Bonzai Boulders. New boulders and problems were slowly being cleaned in different parts of the woods. It was still wild out there. You could be out bouldering and if your friends showed-up you might tell them about some new boulder and how to get there, only to have them come back 20 minutes later without ever having found it.

Those were the days: new boulders, thick woods, quiet, no crowds and a small community.

Then the restaurant was built and the Circuit Gym opened and bouldering exploded with new, inspired climbers who don't know the roots/history of Portland Climbing. They didn't buuy the Portland Climbing Guide because it was out-of-print again or because they didn't care about rope climbing. The growth has been great for climbing. It has been hard on local resources and strained an already dysfunctional larger Portland Climbing Community. And it put a lot of under-informed climbers out at Carver.

Yes, I said the larger PDX community is dysfunctional, even fractured. It has been like that since I moved here. You started with the PRGers, the ClubSporters (I managed the rock gym from 2000-2001: full disclosure) and the climbers from Stoneworks.

Then more gyms/climbing walls started opening after 2000/2001. The Sherwood YMCA, PSU, Mt. Hood Community College, Nike (where I manage the rock gym now), the Multnomah Athletic Club, Hawthorne Farms, Firstenburg Community Center (Vancouver, WA), Vault Climbing Gym (St. Helens, OR), Sunset Athletic Club and a host of walls at other fitness centers, schools and garages.

When you have growth like that and mix in a lot of elitist attitudes you end up with junior high cliques and and all of the negative things you remember from junior high.

Now is the time for us, as a community, to move past that attitude and get back to the glory days of Kindergarten when still shared toys and had birthday parties where everyone was invited.

This isn't rope climbers vs. boulderers or the PRG vs. the Circuit (historical aside: the first gym in town was a bouldering gym), this is the time where we have to play together. I admit the boulderers have more to lose if Carver is closed since the next good bouldering area is out in the Gorge.

So if we work together and the Club can rise to the higher purpose to represent all of the climbing at Carver we should be able to keep tugging on the little rocks at Carver and our soon to be found unity can spill over and help to re-open the Madrone Wall and make it easier to develop the other cliff near there (yes there is still potential to develop new climbing in the Portland area.

Please be respectful to Mr. Rosenbaum, his staff and other users of the area we should be able to get through this rough patch. Please be sure and checkout the updated rules on the Club site and you are hereby deputized to ask climbers you meet in the woods if they are members of the Club. If they are not, then politely ask them to leave.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Letter to the Carver Climbing Club

I emailed the following to the Carver Climbing Club:


I wrote the bouldering guide for Carver with Jered Bernert and also maintain the blog, Carver Bouldering. Follows are questions that are of interest to me and readers of my blog.
  1. What is the club doing to keep access open?
  2. What is the club doing to inform the climbing community (feels like I'm the only person bringing attention to what's going on)?
  3. Why doesn't the club communicate when they are having meetings?
  4. What is the meeting schedule?
  5. Can you please send me a copy of the club bylaws?
  6. When are the next elections for officers?
  7. Is there any sort of scheduled clean-up for Carver (even if Mr. Rosenbaum shuts the area down, the club should organize a clean-up as a, "Thanks for letting us use your land as long as you did.")?

I eagerly await your timely response,


I'll let you know what I hear back.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Busy Day on the Cedar Boulder

Had a good time with some friends on the Cedar Boulder. It would suck if we're counting down the days until Mr. Rosenbaum cuts off access. A rant follows the photo - you have been warned.

Finally got out to Carver yesterday. It had been almost three weeks since the last time I was out. But I've heard some stories from the land owner, Mr. Rosenbaum, via other friends who've been going out regularly.

He isn't very psyched with climbers right now. It feels like an unfair amount of the criticism is being leveled on the boulderers, some of it rightly so, but some of it is being shoveled our way because of some ingrained local politics.

Here are three events that Mr. Rosenbaum brought up to me yesterday or to some friends last weekend:

1. Group of boulderers hanging in the parking lot drink beers and passing the marijuana around after a session. (He is running a family restaurant and plenty of the Twilighters are kids as well. The group is lucky he didn't call the sheriff. The OLCC could also come down hard on his business.)

2. Couple of rope climbers pull up last Sunday while he is roaming the parking lot asking if people are members of the Carver Climbing and checking IDs. They tell him they are not members. He explains that this is private property and they won't be able to climb. They then cop an attitude and tell him they've been climbing out there for years and have never been members. (That kind of entitled attitude from climbers is one of the main reasons he is unhappy. We have to police this area ourselves. Ask people if they are members; if they are not they have to leave. Mr. Rosenbaum is not enjoying spending his weekends finding out if someone is a member.)

3. Climbers should to be out of the parking lot by 9:00pm. There have now been at least 2 instances where the restaurant staff are trying to leave, which includes locking the gate down at the road, only to have climbers' cars left in the parking lot. On one occasion the night manager had to call some employees back to help her check the woods for climbers. (That is money out of Mr. Rosenbaum's pocket to pay his employees to come look for your sorry ass.) I think that time involved some rope climbers up at the cliff. The staff told the climbers to leave so the gate could be locked (it was after 10pm already) and the climbers told the staff they weren't done yet. Quit being jackasses people. You'd hate it if someone came to your job and was just hanging around refusing to leave once you were ready to go home.

So I heard a rumor that the Carver Climbing Club met last week and changed the dog rule to be, "Don't bring dogs out to Carver anymore." Also, "No Drugs. No Alcohol."

If you want a beer, go have one in the restaurant (it is cheaper than losing a climbing area).

Hopefully the Carver Climbing Club will use its new website to:

* Advertise when the club meetings are so their members could actually attend and find out what the club is doing to keep climbing open at Carver.

* List a complete set of rules, especially ones that have changed recently.

* Organize some clean-up/trail maintenance days

- and maybe correct the spelling of the Stone Cliff Inn on the "Attention Climbers" signs that have been recently posted at a couple of the trail heads on the property.

You can email the Carver Climbing Club to let them know you boulder, you're a member and you want to know what's going on to preserve access. Be nice.

Spencer out

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Bit of Carver Climbing History

So a friend of mine had some old Carver Climbing Club stuff he loaned me to photograph. The first is the button you would get to put on your climbing pack to show you were a member of the club. I joined in 1999 and these were no longer in existence. This is the first one I've ever seen. You?

These next few images are of the pamphlet that was created to to inform climbers (this was before people really bouldered) about the rope climbing at the Carver Bridge Cliff.

Yep, the date on the cover of the pamphlet reads 5/14/91. Not too much has changed since then. You still need to be respectful to the landowner, Mr. Rosenbaum, and now also the Stone Cliff Inn Staff. And you still need to treat the land better than your own.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Access and Guidebook Update

So, I said the Carver Bouldering Guide was a couple of weeks away and it was, but not now.

The guide is hopefully only on a temporary hold as the land owner decides the access fate of his property. He is holding off judgment until the end of the summer to see how climbers behave for the next several weeks.

So access is now up to all of us. We need to be low impact, low key and amazingly polite and respectful to everyone.

Here is a list of rules from the land owner:

- You must be a signed member to climb or boulder on Stone Cliff property and/or property owned by Mike and Sherie Rosenbaum;
- You may bring guests who are 18 years of age and older, but they may not boulder or climb if they are not a signed member. They may only observe, which does not include handling any rope or other equipment;
- Only canned beverages are allowed. No glass of any kind;
- Dogs are permitted only if they do not stray from the owner and the owner picks up after the dog;
- Each climber or boulderer is responsible for picking up their own garbage or garbage left by others. This is a joint effort;
- No new trails or paths or routes will be allowed. Only those which are already in place;
- People must stay on the trails at all times. People walking off the trails can damage flora and fauna;
- Each person, whether a member or a guest, must have picture id on their person at all times and present it to anyone acting on behalf of Stone Cliff Inn to verify membership and/or identity;
- The Stone Cliff Inn parking lot may be used all days except holidays, and Friday and Saturday evenings (from 5:00 p.m. on). During holidays, or Friday and Saturday evenings, members may park at the intersection of Hattan and Gronlund Roads and come in through that trail, which starts on Stone Cliff Lane;
- Radios or other music players are not allowed;
- No rock wall climbing is allowed unless you are an experienced climber with skills suitable to the rock terrain;
- No removal of rock, moss, wood, or any other item from this site unless it has already been removed for climbing purposes;
- Be respectful of the property and others. You are here at the discretion of the owners. Your right to boulder or climb here is subject to revocation at any time; and
- Everyone must be off the hill and rocks, and in their car by 9:00 pm in the fall, spring, and summertime and 6:00 pm in the wintertime.

The Carver Climbing Club, after years of being low key themselves, appear to be creating more of a presence for the community. They are creating a space on the interwebs here.

Good luck and safe climbing,

Spencer out

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Boulders Behind the Cedar Boulder at Carver and a Heads-Up

Heads-Up! Please be very respectful to everyone you encounter out at Carver, especially Twilighters and restaurant patrons.

- Stay on trails

- Clean-up any trash you find in the woods (even if its not yours)

- Don't park here to go to the river

- No one under 18 is allowed to climb here

Keegan F. hanging on for the full 8 seconds on Go Cart V2 (as listed in the guide, but after reworking it with a group, probably solid V3). Go Cart is in that constant 65 degree corridor behind the Cedar Boulder that I mentioned in the Carver Guide Book post.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Carver Bouldering Has a Guidebook...Almost

So the proof copy was on my doorstep Thursday after work. I made a couple of tweaks and switched out two photos and sent it back to the printer. So it looks like two weeks before the Carver Bouldering Guide is available around Portland.

In the interim, if you are looking for a nice place to climb and still beat the heat, try the problems in the corridor behind the Cedar Boulder. There are a handful of problems back there along with a spot that stays around 65 degrees.

I bouldered there with my buddy Mark on Wednesday after work when it was 105. I was almost chilly in pants and a t-shirt.

So good luck and safe climbing.

Spencer out

Monday, July 27, 2009

Clean Holds on the Carpet Boulder

Out yesterday in the heat, we managed to eek out a pretty good session on the Carpet Boulder (situated between the two parking areas and looks like a submarine).

While we didn't clean off everything, there should be enough to get you going with problems from V1 to V8. It also sits under some shade, so that was nice yesterday.

Here are a couple of photos of a V5, Ten Dollar Bread. Crimpy, bulging, slopey: everything you want in a boulder problem at Carver. First up is Josh:

And this one is Dan making progress:

And the crux is getting past that bulge, so good luck and safe climbing.

spencer out

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Drake Boulder Is Clean

Went out yesterday afternoon and cleaned the Drake Boulder.

This boulder is next to the circle turnaround to the right of the Stone Cliff Inn. It is part of the Carpet Boulders Group. The problem this boulder is named after, The Drake, is now partially buried by the parking lot, but three other very fun problems still exist (and The Drake could be unearthed).

The problems are, Brakeman V3, Caboose V4 (recently broken hold), Rail Yard V0, Rail Yard Left V4, The Drake V3 (buried).

The photo of Avery on Brakeman is in this post. Caboose would start to the left of her feet (hold now broken, but still enough to start on) and climb into the arete. The other problems are around the corner to the right and exit up the slab which is now clean enough.

Also went out last week and sawed the fallen tree off the Water Tower Boulder, which is part of the Titlest Boulders near the Pioneer Church.

And the Guidebook has been sent to the printers.

Good Luck.

Spencer out

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cleaning at Carver

Climbing in Portland is dirty business. Each year we endure months of rain only to head outside that first dry week to discover that our favorite problem has been reclaimed by moss and dirt.

You now have three options:

1. Come back in a week or two and hope someone else has cleaned it for you and put enough chalk on the holds to make you feel like your back in the gym.

2. Go ahead and climb it dirty in all its epic goodness until you pitch off just before the send because your foot slipped off that dusty edge or you got moss in your eye.

3. Take one for the team and bust out your brush set.

Hopefully you’ve chosen the noble path of helping out the whole community and decided to do some brushing or gardening if the problem has gone more than two seasons without a cleaning.

Before you begin, here are some tools and some tips:
  • No wire brushes – The basalt around Portland is soft enough that wire brushing will remove important texture.
  • Nylon bristle brushes – These can be old toothbrushes, scrub brushes from under the kitchen sink or fancy brushes from climbing companies like Revolution, Lapis or Metolius. I recommend trimming the bristles down with a pair of scissors to make them a bit more firm.
  • Painter’s pole – Attaching a brush to the end of an extendable pole means cleaning more holds from the ground and less time standing on your girlfriend’s shoulders.
  • Start from the top – If possible, clean from the top down so you don’t have to clean off the same hold multiple times.
  • Broom - Using a broom head for the final bit of cleaning works best to get more of the fine, loose debris off the holds.
Moss removal – Leave the moss alone if it isn’t covering-up anything important.

That should get you started and remember to watch out for loose rock and slugs.

Spencer out

Friday, July 17, 2009

Carver Bouldering Guide is Very Close

Spent the last few days out at Carver taking new photos for the guidebook. Had to replace one photo that was in the guide because some new age restrictions are in place (sorry Otto). You must be 18 to climb at Carver.

You also need to sign the release form at either the PRG or the Circuit.

Set the flash up two days ago with a grid and dialed the ambient light down to black, to get this shot:

That's me on Kansas Mantle, V4 on the Mantle Boulder. The start is low and scrunched, but the slopers are some of the best in the woods. The texture on this boulder is a little slicker than most at Carver because of someone using a wire brush on it years ago.

My buddy Mark Oronzio snapped the photo above. He is doing really cool underwater stuff at Tiger Shark Productions.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Not Carver, but close

I went out hiking last week to an area I hadn't been to in years, The Magma Zone. This area is a small/short cliff band at Lewis & Clark State Park aka Broughton Bluff.

From the parking lot you hike East on the trail that parallels the RR Tracks for about a mile +/-. After you cross a couple of drainage gullies (one is starting to get deep) starting watching for a trail that heads up hill. Follow that and it should lead you to the start of the Zone.

There was chalk on one jug, but that was it - oh and fresh dog crap. Not a lot of hard problems, but not the best places for beginners either because the landings are narrow and fall off quickly down the hillside.

This is prow is a V2 called Magma Man:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guidebook Update and Climbing Porn

So the guide has been a slow process, mostly on my end, but saw its own share of political delays as well. The later may still exist, but who knows.

As for the guide, it is is actually almost dialed in completely. The last couple of things are to square away the index and run it by the powers that be. If nothing changes it is 48 pages with around 320 problems.

That's it for an update and here is Avery C. on the Brakeman V3. This problem is in the Carpet Boulders area which is between the back gravel lot and the gravel turn-around. When you top out the Drake you should be just below the turn-around.