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Say hello to Jordan through the form or email her at jordieasmith@gmail.com


Portland, OR

Jordan A. Smith is a freelance designer in Portland, OR.


A collection of projects and extracurricular activities I partake in.

jordie's first climb

Jordan Smith

Julie Nagan should change her name to Julie Naggin', because for three months she's been trying to get me to go to Vertical Endeavors. I always thought this was an insult. Not because she thought it'd be funny to see me clinging desperately to a rock, my feet slipping on my tears that have wetted their tiny perch. But because I had mentally mistaken it with this place—which I remember designing ads for back in my City Pages days—and thought she was giving me a hint.

But Thursday night I needed to escape the house and for something more than just Punch Pizza (though that's usually a good enough reason to put on pants). I had never attempted a climbing wall beyond that one at Bunker Beach and that's not intimidating—10 feet tall and above a pool. These walls are 50-60 feet tall.


And after fumbling with the auto belay for what felt like 10 minutes, I was afraid to pull my toes off the rubber chunks. I looked back at Julie and asked if she thought I could do it, because that baby pool rock wall was harder than I want to admit. I frantically climbed ten feet without looking down. And then I did.

Julie, I'm afraid of heights. I kind of forgot about that.

Julie didn't care. She cheered me on and I suppressed the feeling of my heart trying to kill me before the fall could. And I almost made it to the top of that first wall.


The knobs at Vertical Endeavors take on many shapes, like turtles, Aztek gods and cars. I felt a little sad when I looked down and saw this cute little guy, realizing I'd have to put my foot on his face.


Also, I was very poor at repelling.

Thank you, Julie, for nagging me to go. I finished a few walls and went back to take on that first terror. It was a perfect reason to get out of the house.