Vantage... New Crew
I think we've all had those trips or events in life that you just know will stick with you forever. My first trip to the Frenchman Coulee in Vantage, WA is one of those trips.
In order to proceed with the actual trip I have to rewind a bit to explain how this trip came about. It started with a random post on WHC from a gal named Jessica asking about who was trying to tag Mount Hood soon. I replied because it was in my near-term radar, and before I know it I'm in the middle of a group chat with 4 other people of which I had never meet or even talked to. The conversations took off as we got to know each other, and you could just tell that there was a fun vibe about this crew. We got along well. We all told shitty jokes, and overall everyone seemed pretty chill and fun.
After what was the most roller coaster ride of a weather pattern I've ever seen that week it became very apparent that trying to tag the summit of Mt. Hood was not the smartest thing to do. I kinda joked and said, "Well screw this shit. I'm going to Vantage to at least get some sunshine and climbing". Who would have thought that everyone (minus Ryan) would agree, and soon we were making last minute plans to shuttle everyone across the pass to Vantage. Oddly enough the day before I left we had a belay course for the basic students, and I mentioned to Galen and Greg (from the Mountaineers crew) that we were heading to Vantage only to find out they were headed there too.
So now fast forward to Saturday morning and here we all are happily hiking down the trail across the top of the crags having only meet mere hours before. What ensued was hands down one of the funnest days I've had in a long long time. Between myslef, Greg, Galen, Jessica, Ines, Parker, and Alesha we spent the entire day cracking horribly inappropriate jokes, laughing hysterically, and climbing until we couldn't climb any more. Greg and Galen did the heavy lifting on route setting with myself filling in on the moderate leads. We ran an absolute train down the Riverview Park wall tagging route after route. After we finished there we headed over to the Sunshine Wall to finish the day off. Greg persisted in taking 4 lead whippers in a row (thank you Greg for the entertainment), Jessica set a record for the longest time on a route with no takes (we actually kinda forgot she was climbing), and if all the laughter and jokes weren't enough of a treat we got to see an amazing sun halo followed by a beautiful sunset.
From there some of the crew took off, and the rest of us got another unexpected treat. After getting a bit lost at night trying to find the gullies that go up to the top of the crags we got the opportunity to sit down and watch the moon rise over the horizon. It really is something everyone should experience in life. It's peaceful, and I like to hope it bonded some friendships that night.
A nice warm fire, and some hot-off-the-coaIs potatoes thanks to to Galen was the perfect end to an amazing day. Sunday was a bit less dramatic with the wind picking up quite severely which stifled the climbing ambition. We used the opportunity for a little teaching, and managed to get out of there before the nasty weather set in.
You know I still struggle to wrap my head around how complete strangers could have so much fun together. For me, it was a huge eye opener. I can completely admit that I tend to keep my friend circle pretty small, and in doing so I'm now sure I've missed out on some amazing friendships over the years. This is something I really want to work on in the future, and I'm proud to say that my circle has now grown due to meeting these amazing people. I'll never forget the day the Master of Perverts and Jesus 2.0 were born, or the day I was told to "suck it" by a bottom-feeder, lol. Cheers to new friends and many adventures to come!