• Kelley Bayern

Finding my "Project"

The Reel Rock 12 film recently came out and as always, gets the climbing community hyped for the Spring climbing season. This year's set of adventure films profiled a handful of extremely talented climbers - like Brad Gobright, an Alex Honnold 2.0. And Margo Hayes and Mo Beck, a pair of badass woman who go above and beyond to reach their goals of climbing the first 5.15a and a 5.12 with one hand, respectively. Watching these ladies got me thinking. I want to enter this climbing season with an attainable goal. I need a worthy route that I can work to death and red-point finish like a true climber. I'm tired of top roping hard 5.10's and trying 5.11a's and calling those sends. I want to do it correctly. And that is to lead a hard climb with no falls or rests. The good thing is that there is already a route calling my name.

Last Fall, my friends and I spent almost every weekend climbing at Riverview Park at the Frenchman Coulee in Vantage, WA. We became pretty familiar with the wall, which includes a great group of sport routes with several 4-star 5.11's. I remember finally top-roping one, which became a monumental moment for me. It was a big leap in my climbing skill. But as a group, we struggled to get up another 5.11a route called "Psychogenic Fugue Thus Far," almost needing to use our bail biner before the anchor. The route sends to a small well-protected roof with "more stiff routes above." I have only made it up 75% of the climb, but spent a good 30-minutes at the roof and taking 10-foot falls. That blurry photo was my run at sending it last September.

This is my route. "Psychogenic Fugue Thus Far." What a name. I have no idea what it even means. What is a fugue? Anyways, it has been on my mind since last Fall and I want to devote the time to send it properly. I feel it's an attainable goal worthy of some nods as a beginner climber. And Vantage is hour and fifteen minutes away from my home. We are out there enough, or I could surely beg and drag a friend to belay me out there on the weekends until I red-point it. I think working to send this route and taking falls will be a gateway to harder climbs this season. It'll train my mind to trust my harness, not think about clipping in, but rather the climbing instead. I've been training in the gym all winter and I am pretty stoked on my new goal. Updates coming soon.

Some things that I never got to blogging about: Last November, my best friend Elise and I took a trip to Smith Rock to climb our first multipitch together. The weather in the desert high plains of Oregon was gorgeous that weekend. A little cold at night, but the day produced climbing temps in the 50's with mostly sunny skies. We headed there in hopes of climbing a beginner multipitch route called "Voyage of the Cowdog." The park was pretty empty and we found just one group ahead of us as we geared up for the pitch. It was our first multipitch experience and a little nerve-wracking. I taught Elise how to anchor and belay on the car ride over. But we had the most epic climb and I had no doubt trusting that girl with my life. I lead the first two pitches and Elise took the last. We finished at sunset to some amazing views and an exposed hike down and out the backside.

This trip is one I'll never forget. Aside from getting our camping gear stolen at the Bivy Site and having to rent a hotel room for two nights... We'd decided not to let a run of bad luck get us down. Elise and I got to explore Bend and its trendy restaurant scene. We had a spa night at our hotel, drank lots of wine, and also geared up to ski Mt. Bachelor, which had opened up that weekend. Groups of friends are fun, but it's also nice to just do something badass with your best friend. I wouldn't choose anyone else up there with me. I'm excited for more vertical adventures in the near future.


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Follow my thoughts, ideas, and adventures as I prepare to summit the tallest peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

Hello. I'm Kelley and I'm a bear.
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