Ben’s Corner: Pink Feather

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Ben's Corner | 0 comments

Welcome to our new blog highlight, Ben’s Corner, where our staff will give you a bit of a “guidebook” to Portland Rock Gym routes. First off…

Route Name: Pink Feather

Grade: 5.12-

Location: Anchor 20 – “Stair step”

For all of you looking to break the grade on a 5.12 gym climb, c heck out “Pink Feather”. It follows the obvious line on the west facing “steps”. Come up off the ground into a flowing hand over hand crimp climb punctuated by good rests and a few long reaches. Then keep it together for that last clip and you’re set yourself up for a proper “Rocktober!”

Stumptown Throwdown

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Climbing Team, Featured, Gym Events | 0 comments

Stumptown Throwdown

Join us for the 3rd Annual Stumptown Throwdown, an ABS Youth Bouldering Competition, on Saturday, November 1, 2014!

Each Session will be capped at 60 competitors.  PRG will update this page and send an email to the coaches of the local teams if the sessions are getting full or have been closed.

Download the registration form now!


PRG-Stumptown Throwdown

Portland Rock Gym is Growing!

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Featured, Local Climbing, News | 0 comments

Portland Rock Gym is Growing!

We’ve got exciting news! Coming in Spring 2015, Portland Rock Gym will be expanding and getting a facelift. We can’t wait to share more details with you over the coming months. Get psyched!

PRG-11x17 Print

REEL ROCK 9 Pre-Party at Mountain Shop!

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Gym Events, Videos | 0 comments

REEL ROCK 9 Pre-Party at Mountain Shop!

Come party with us at the Mountain Shop (1510 NE 37th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97232) before REEL ROCK 9!

September 17, 2014 : 5PM
September 18, 2014 : 5PM

They’ll be serving up Base Camp Brewing Company beer and some light snacks, as well as a heavy helping of stoke! There might even be some prizes given away. (And by might, we of course mean, there absolutely will be prizes!)

After the fun, we’ll walk the two blocks to Hollywood Theater for the main attraction. Be sure to buy your tickets now for REEL ROCK 9!

Access Fund Conservation!

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Conservation, Gym Events, Local Climbing | 0 comments

Access Fund Conservation!

Mark your Calendar!

September 9th, 5-8PM
Conservation Team BBQ

September 13th, 9AM-2PM
Adopt-A-Crag: Broughton Bluff

Come join the Access Fund Conservation Team and the Mazamas for some trail work at Broughton Bluff. We’ll meet up at 9AM in the Lewis & Clark State Park parking lot off I-84 on Sept. 13th. See more information here.

This project is supported by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Mountain Shop, Portland Rock Gym, The Source Climbing Center, and Next Adventure

I Am Not Hard Core

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Inspiration | 3 comments

Mazama (4)

Written by guest blogger Heather Marsh, PRG Climber

For starters, let me begin by clarifying: I am not hard core.

I always used to assume that climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts were born ready to tackle anything that came their way, and I never thought of myself as that person. I remember visiting Garden of the Gods in Colorado while in college and watching the climbers in awe, thinking how amazing it’d be to be up there, but never for a second did I think I’d be one of them. It just didn’t occur to me.

Back in 2012, my sister and I got a deal on a beginners class at PRG. It was perfect: we could try something new, we could do it together, win-win. So, we took the class. And both of us fell in love. We used every bit of the time that came along with the class, and then bought up longer amounts of time. She took a break for a while, but even without my belay partner I couldn’t stop. I would go and climb the auto belay and talk to random strangers who were doing the same. I ended up climbing with and getting to know a handful of really great people (enthusiastic plug for offering a belay to others who are alone at the gym… I’ve never once regretted it!). They challenged me, encouraged me.

I got better.

Suddenly, those tiny pinch holds that terrified me when I started didn’t seem so bad, and I found myself climbing 5.9s without too much trouble. When I sent my first 5.10, I wanted to take a picture and hang it on my fridge. I didn’t, but I should have.

I spent a lot of time asking questions. By spring of 2013, I knew I wanted to work up to lead, that was my big goal for the year. By fall, I’d taken the course, and was certified for lead in the gym. Since then, I’ve started to lead outside, had my first painful fall, and conquered countless obstacles that I honestly never thought I’d have even attempted.

And today? I’m still not hard core. I don’t climb 5.12s. And sometimes I end up taking more of a break from climbing than I’d like, when life gets in the way. But I miss it like crazy. I always come back to it. I love it. It challenges my brain, my body, my will. It’s introduced me to some amazing people, amazing places.


These days, most recently, I can be found on the bouldering wall, trying to build up my strength and my callouses from a climbing hiatus that lasted far too long. I’m learning to love the short pitches and more puzzling challenges that are involved in bouldering. I’m that person staring at the wall, and trying the same bit over and over, pushing herself a little harder each time, and probably finally conquering it just before she leaves for the day. Or maybe I’ll be there lead climbing with my friends who are far more hard core than I am, who push me to be better, climb harder, be willing to fall more. I still hate falling. Or maybe I’ll be talking to another climber, comparing stories about how climbing really did change my life. Completely. My confidence, my priorities, my muscle tone, even my tan is better since I started climbing (I still wear sunscreen!).

I could throw a million cheesy lines in here to finish this post, but really the moral of my story is pretty simple. Climb. Challenge gravity, your perception of yourself, your body. Look down. See how far you’ve come.

Back to School! Back to PRG!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Featured, Youth | 0 comments

Back to School! Back to PRG!

Did you miss us this Summer? We missed you! If you took the Summer off, it’s time to get back to climbing! Our afterschool youth programs are designed to give young climbers between the ages of 6 -17 a chance to learn and improve climbing skills. It’s a cool way to connect with other climbers while staying fit. Enrollment is on a monthly basis and will be at the start of each month. See more information and sign up today!

6 Steps to the Perfect Climbing Photograph

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 in How To | 0 comments

As climbers, we find ourselves in some pretty outrageous positions and places. And who doesn’t want to come home with cool photos of these experiences. But just like climbing, your photography can only improve with lots and lots of practice. No one comes off the couch climbing 5.14, neither can we expect magazine quality photos right out of the gate. So, first order of business, just like climbing, is to get out there with your camera and try hard!

Along with going out and just shooting, here are a few simple things to consider that can help improve your climbing shots.

1)   Composition/Concept

Don’t just look at something cool and shoot it. Spend a moment to identify what you’re shooting. What are you trying to capture and convey with this photo? Some ideas to consider: the climber and/or a specific move looks dope, the climber in relation to a beautiful landscape or interesting textured rock, the scene at the base of the climb…


2)   Light

Light is the essence of photography. It takes practice to understand the importance of light in making an extraordinary photo. Start by just noticing how light affects lines, forms and the relationships between objects in a scene. Be sure to not confuse quality of light with quantity of light. Usually the most beautiful light is in the early morning and late evening, especially for a landscape type climbing photos.


However, often we find ourselves climbing in the middle of the day when the sun is harsh. In this case, shoot in the shade. The shade can enrich colors and remove the conflict of shadows in a scene. Be aware of any direct light when shooting in the shade. The contrast can be very confusing to the viewer.


3)   Get in Position

Think about the best place to be to obtain the image you composed in your head. On a rope — pick a section of the climb you want to shoot and position your self there—is it directly above the climber, to the side, or maybe it is a few routes away. It could also be from a distance—from another cliff, from the ground, through bushes—think drama.


4)   Basic Climbing Photo ‘Rules’

(And remember, all rules are meant to be broken…)


a) Position self to get all 4 limbs of the climber AND the face—capture the climber’s expression and especially the EYES!


b) Look for interesting, dynamic movements and have the climber repeat if necessary (and they are game).


c) Notice the geometry of rock, compelling lines and shapes, the line of the rope- all of these things can help lead your eye to the climber.


d) Try to get separation of climber and rock—many times the color of a climber can get lost in the color of the rock. Look at what is ‘behind’ the climber when you’re shooting. Positioning the climber’s body against the sky or a dramatically different colored rock is an example of this.


e) Keep things simple- the more you leave out the more compelling a photo usually becomes. The more clutter in a photo, the more confusion for the viewer.

5)   Tell a Story

Remember it’s not ALL about the climbing. Tell the visual story of your adventure. Capture the scene, the gear, the people, the smiles, the tears, the approach, the interaction of folks….

6) “Steal like an artist.” –Austin Kleon

Study your favorite climbing photographers and pick your favorite images. Analyze how they got that image and use that as a starting point. No one can make a perfect copy, so by trying to copy how someone got a great image, you will inevitably instill your own style and eventually, with lots and lots of practice, you will come out with something uniquely your own. Just remember to credit your inspiration.

Now you just need to get out there, get after it and try hard!!!


Blog written by Photographer Christine Bailey Speed. Christine frequently teams up with hubby Boone Speed on photography projects!Find out more about Christine and Boone’s work:

Christine Bailey Speed:
Instagram | Facebook

Boone Speed:
Instagram | Facebook

August Outdoor Clinics

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Gym Events, Local Climbing | 0 comments

August Outdoor Clinics

Did you miss your chance to get outside with PRG in June and July? Well, don’t you fret, because our August Outdoor Clinics are here. Make sure to conquer all the skills you set out to this season with the help of our great instructors!