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Facing My Fears Climbing at Smith Rock State Park

If you’ve been following our blog this year, then you know I have a crippling fear of heights. My legs turn to jello if I go up a ladder or get too close to an edge. For whatever reason, I decided that this was going to be the year where I face that fear by learning how to climb. We started at the Grotto, a bouldering gym in San Diego. Bouldering indoors was a great way to get a workout without my mind realizing it, but the hope was always to get comfortable enough to take my skills outdoors.

Thank you Square Cash for sponsoring this post. All opinions are our own.
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Smith Rock State Park Oregon //

After we moved to Portland, we kept hearing that we needed to make it out to Smith Rock State Park. Not only is it quite popular within the climbing community, but it also happens to be one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders. I also recently learned that it’s the birthplace of sport climbing in the US, which makes it an awesome place to try it for the first time!

Some of our new friends were planning a trip to Smith this fall and invited us out. As nervous as I was, I wanted to see what my limits were. After all, the best way to conquer your fears is to face them head-on, right? This is me on 5-gallon buckets.

5 Gallon Buckets Smith Rock Climbing //

Did I conquer my fear of heights on this trip?

Not exactly.

It was during this trip that I realized how extreme my fear is. After I reached a certain height, my body would start shaking, and then I would psych myself out since I felt like I had zero control over my body. I may have shaved several years off my life from how much I stressed myself out. I chickened out on many routes, which was disappointing, but I also surprised myself that I still managed to do a few beginner ones that were ridiculously high.

Bunny Face, Smith Rock State Park OR //

Despite how terrifying my first sport climbing experience was, it was a great trip! I’m glad that I tried things I didn’t think were possible. Plus, I’m so thankful that our friends did all the planning for us. They rented the house, coordinated the cooking, and since they were familiar with the park, they planned which routes to climb. We had a group of 13 and split the costs of housing and food and used the new Square Cash app to chip in for our stay. The app makes it easy for the organizer to book everything and immediately request payments. They can even be split by different amounts.


Square Cash is a free app that lets you exchange money quickly and easily. There is no fee, you can cash out instantly, and you can use it with anyone, even if they don’t have an account. Send money to your friends and family with your debit card at no cost. You can even create a simple username or “$Cashtag” that makes it even easier to share.

What is Square Cash App? Check out our review //
What is Square Cash App? Check out our review //

We recently started using it and found out that many of our friends were already on it.


Other than trips, we’ve also used the Cash app to split bills at restaurants, reimbursing for local outings, and a friend even sent us money after selling an item online for us. It really makes paying back your friends or family easy. You can download Square Cash from the Apple App Store or Google Play Market.


It makes it easier to be more spontaneous and say yes to more adventures with friends!

For those of you guys interested in visiting Smith Rock, I’ll be doing a few more posts in the coming months with more detailed info about hikes, climbs, and photography spots there.

Monkey Face, Smith Rock State Park Oregon //

When we go back, I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to give climbing another go or just watch how Jacob manages. Overcoming that fear is going to be a long process.

Have you tried using Square Cash? Have you or would you ever try climbing?



Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Square, Inc. The opinions and text are all our own.


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