• Kelley Bayern

A True Miracle

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

In the wee hours of a Saturday morning in mid-July, my car was broken into and all my climbing gear was stolen. A few days after the incident, I got mostly all of it back. Hallelujah! I went from pure devastation to extreme happiness in the span of 72 hours - an exhausting roller coaster of emotions. As it turns out, when thieves steal things they don’t think they can sell, they just toss the stuff to the side of the road. I had about $1,900 worth of gear taken from me to begin with. Knowing that it all very well could have been left outside to waste was the most frustrating thing. However, my stuff was quickly spotted about 20 blocks from where those a-holes broke in. A photo of it was posted to Facebook over the weekend. By Monday, I was in contact with the nice stranger who'd found it.

The Facebook Post

I tried to be a good sport the morning after the break in. It was completely my choice to leave valuables inside my car, mostly from a generous faith in humanity and pure laziness. Ultimately, no one got hurt and material things can always be replaced. Throughout the weekend, I stayed hopeful that I'd get my gear back. Seattle PD was on the case and had the licence plate number of the thieves. I went on a run in a park and found a four-leafed clover in the grass. My superstitions were buzzing and boy were they actually spot on. The funny thing is that my Black Diamond ATC (a belay device) is my lucky charm. I have lost that piece of gear three times now and have always had it returned to me. The first time, I accidentally tossed it off a 200 foot wall while climbing at Smith Rock State Park. Five hours later when I got down from the climb, my ATC was nicely laying on a rock. The second time I left it at a climbing gym and my friends were able to locate it and return it back to me. This round, my ATC was clipped to my harness inside my stolen backpack with my other valuables. Statistically, I figured there was a chance I’d get my stuff back... I can only chuckle at how it all came to fruition. Thank you, lucky ATC! (pictured below)

I’d like to give a huge shout out to my friend, Jeromy, for spotting the initial Facebook post about a pile of stolen gear sitting in a parking lotAlso, a huge shout out to the Seattle rock climbing community and the kindness of complete strangers. The photo of my ditched gear (shown above)was shared to multiple Facebook neighborhood groups and climbing groups and eventually made way to me via Jeromy. It was incredible to witness the kindness of a community, and how people can come together in a time of misfortune and tragedy to lift someone back on their feet. And in this case, back onto the walls. Lastly, a shout out to my brother, Max, for dealing with my frantic phone calls from Portland and driving to said parking lot near Ravenna to gather all my belongings. I got everything back except some sunglasses, a water bottle, and a pair of belay gloves.

Index, WA

Back in action with my gear, I took a trip to the Index town walls last weekend in the beautiful Sky Valley. The sunshine brought temps to the 80s as we hiked through the humid forest. Index is full of sandbagged trad routes and is challenging as heck. But I was out for redemption. I spent the weekend wrestling the rock, placing my cams, and jamming my way up some harder routes with some of my favorite people. 

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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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