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Smith Rock Detour Event Spans Generations

By Tony Holmes; Access Fund Regional Coordinator, Oregon

As the monuments and spires of Smith Rock State Park sit sun-bleached and glowing in the September sun, the silhouette of portable rock walls set contrast to the cobalt blue sky. In a field, just yards away from this natural climbing wonder-land the Smith Rock Detour event is going off!

Climb Max Mountaineering, a local shop with a heart of gold brings to this event the unique chemistry of one-half kids climbing competition and one-half Reel Rock Film Fest, the Detour draws crowds of climbers and gawkers alike from every generation.

This two-day outdoor event started four years ago with a small collection of industry reps and climbing enthusiasts. Today it is an annual event that brings young plastic pullers face to face with some of the sports top athletes and pioneers.

On September 22nd and 23rd, kids from all over the Northwest threw themselves at the walls of plexy and steel, the sounds of encouragement and achievement echoed through the desert air. Clinics where offered for all ages including Cicada Jenerick, the teen-age phenom, teaching those three-times her senior how to break the 5.12 barrier, Arno Illgner presented concepts from his Rock Warriors Way and some where treated to a priceless workshop on how to build bomber anchors.

As the sun set on the burning walls of orange and red, the grounds filled with locals and those that had spent the day in the park. They came for The Reel Rock Film Fest which found a home under a sea of stars as the premier showing of Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimers King Lines wowed audiences snug in their poly-pro and down.

On Sunday, as the semis raged into the finals, Access Fund Regional Coordinator Kellie Rice hosted a service project in the park and in addition to setting routes and coaching I had the opportunity to run a workshop from the Access Funds Boulder Project initiative, Together we were able to insure that the leaders of tomorrow preserve and protect the climbing environment.

Now the air is crisp and the frictionperfect. As I head into the park to work my latest project I think back on the friends that were made and the routes that were set, climbed and stripped and I know I will be back next year. I hope you can make it too.

Date: 10/11/2007