Excuse me while I close down the many web sites I’ve opened and run through the pictures from Rockfest 2011 (June 25-26).

Charlie, Me and Sara, after two days of "summer camp."

Cool bags on Cilogear.com, oh and Feathered Friends, I’ll pick out my color and size for my new vest soon. Hmmmm, Google Images – was that local route setter Bryan Burdo who worked out the knots on my back after I kiddingly mentioned how Rockfest 2011 needed a sports massage chair? I was sunning on a bench on my belly, waiting out the pancake coma that I just put myself into and next thing you know, there were very strong hands on my back! Before I got up, he had scurried off before I could say thanks! OH and what WAS that awesome route I climbed on Saturday afternoon at Fun Wall that kicked my butt but felt amazing? (Still need to research that one).

On the grass at Goat Wall View in Mazama, there is Eddie making rounds, sporting his 15th outfit of the weekend, each with a different hat while Jackie sports her bright blue  new OR hat. She, Sara and Graham are teaching Charlie how to do cartwheels in the grass. Mark’s 2.5 month old puppy golden retriever steals the show, as every conversation is stopped immediately as people drop to their knees to cuddle with this rambunctious ball of fur. 

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The food at this event was a climber’s dream: breakfast Saturday was  egg/sausage/veggie scramble with hashbrowns and bagels, with copious amounts of coffee and orange juice before all-day climbing sessions. Then blueberry pancakes on Sunday morning. No oatmeal and stoves of boiling water for this crew. We needed that carb-heavy breakfast for hauling buckets of gravel for a trail maintenance project.

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Believe it or not, this WAS a rock climbing festival. But it was more like a summer camp.

Rockfest had been moved from Leavenworth to Mazama for 2011, and hosted by American Alpine Club. It was a small turnout, maybe 50 people total, including guides, vendors, plus the industry and non-industry related attendees. But I really couldn’t have imagined it to be much bigger.

Afternoon sesh at Fun Wall.

Most everyone took a clinic and if they weren’t in a clinic, they were in the same area climbing with the rest of us, creating this wonderful small-community feeling. While most of us find that feeling in the climbing areas we frequent, this weekend, we all started the day together and ended it together. It felt more like summer camp, for these reasons:

Saturday Breakfast/Meet N’ Greet – the egg scramble and carb loading, breaking the ice, sharing climbing and dog-owning stories, why they were here, what activities they wanted to do.

Morning Activity = Clinics/Climbing ( I took a wonderful multi-pitch anchors clinic with Dave from Petzl and Eddie from Black Diamond. Thanks to Eddie for letting me use his trad rack to make anchors!).

Lunch/Snack = Everyone on their own, plus snacking on mini Clifbars while getting ready for Afternoon Activity. “Camp Director” Eddie milled about, taking pictures while sporting a fancy cowboy hat.

Afternoon Activity = Clinics/Climbing (I took the Intro to Leading from North Cascades Mountain Guides – again, a great clinic!). Shoemaker 5.10 hung out with demo shoes for everyone to try.

Free Time = Climbing with new friends or wandering back to camp to rest up before Evening Activity.

Game = Cornhole at the OR tent. Rumor was that Sonnie Trotter had a pretty good aim.

Dinner/Drama= BBQ and beverages! Raffle for awesome gear and Silent Auction for even more awesome gear (hence, my new Feathered Friends vest. Thank you Graham for not outbidding me). Even better? All the dough went toward Washington Climbers Coalition, raising $1,600 from our small group!

Only 1/3 of the swag Sara, Charlie and I won during the raffle.

Only 1/3 of the swag Sara, Charlie and I won during the raffle.

Show & Tell = Hilarious slideshows from Will Stanhope and Sonnie Trotter, two completely down-to-earth guys who have seen some beautiful countryside and had us in stitches with the stories behind the climbs.

Late Night Activities = Bonfire with new friends and/or giggling in your tent with your tentmates.

Sunday Breakfast= Blueberry pancakes made by Petey and Phil from Mountain Gear!  Best part of the breakfast? Syrup out of cycling waterbottles!

Best. Idea. Ever. Syrup Waterbottle.

Morning Activity = participating in an American Alpine Club trail maintenance project that involved hauling buckets of gravel. Nearly everyone who participated in the previous day’s event showed up and put in some sweat equity, much to the relief of local AAC folks who thought there would only be about 5 people helping – we had about 20!

Afternoon Activity/Breakdown Camp = The folks who worked the event scurried off to climb, while those who attended started to breakdown camp, did cartwheels in the grass and hugged each other goodbye.

Post-climbing fest and trail maintenance with AAC, in Mazama, Wash.

Hopefully, next year, we will do it all over again – make a beeline for our old friends, make new friends and together, pour syrup out of waterbottles on to our pancakes…

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