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reed magazine logoMarch 2010

On the Ledge Continued

“Somebody’s been hurt,” Sofich yelled over his shoulder. To make it to the ranger station in time, he had to keep moving. Down the talus fields, he vaulted over boulders, plunge-stepped down the steep forested trail, wrapping his arms around tree trunks and grabbing at roots. Sometimes it felt more like a controlled fall than a downclimb. At last, just after 3 p.m., he made it back to the trailhead. Moments later he was barreling down the road to Marblemount in Anderson’s Jeep, flashing his lights, laying on the horn, and swerving around tourists out for scenic drives. One aggrieved motorist tailgated him all the way to the ranger station parking lot, sputtering with indignation until Sofich shouted a brief explanation (punctuated with a few choice expletives).

Just before 4.p.m., Sofich burst into the Wilderness Information Center, interrupting a visitor who had been chatting amiably with a volunteer staffing the information desk.

“There’s been an accident on Dorado Needle,” he gasped. “I need some help.”

He briefed district ranger Kelly Bush, who dispatched a search and rescue team (she later would tell the Oregonian that it would have taken her two days to cover the same terrain). Two hours later, Anderson, still bundled against the mountain chill, stepped out of a search and rescue helicopter into Sofich’s embrace.

“It was hard to talk because of the noise from the helicopter rotors,” says Anderson, who, excepting the sutures in his backside, emerged from the ordeal remarkably unscathed. “But I did express my thanks. I told him he earned a Chad Anderson gold card.”

Which means free beer for life.

The next morning, back at home in Portland, Sofich reached for the Motrin. Suffering from delayed onset muscle syndrome—pooled lactic acid in his sore-to-the-touch legs—he had trouble climbing out of bed.

“My wife said, ‘It’s good to see that you can actually feel pain,’” jokes the stoic Sofich.

Recuperating at home, he called the Reed sports center to let everybody know that he’d been in a climbing accident, and that he’d recover in time for the customary O-week expedition to Smith Rock.

“He said, ‘I’m a little sore,’” laughs Lombardo. “I would’ve been in a coma.”

Four days later, Sofich, wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, was standing at the base of a cliff in the high desert outside Bend, introducing the latest crop of Reed freshmen to the thrills of vertical rock. He had worried that the Oregonian article would trigger an avalanche of questions. But nobody wanted to know about what had happened in the North Cascades. They were more interested in learning how to climb.

Which suited Sofich just fine.

Ted Katauskas is a Portland writer and a member of the Mazamas climbing group. This is his first article for Reed.

Sports At Reed

Reed offers an impressive array of activities to fulfill the college’s longstanding physical education requirement. (Six quarters of P.E. or no diploma!) Here’s a partial list of classes. For more, visit

outdoor odyssey

Sofich leads the Outdoor Odyssey, a four-day climbing adventure for incoming students.

  • Aerobics
  • Aikido
  • Archery
  • Backcountry Navigation
  • Badminton
  • Ballet
  • Ballroom Dance
  • Basketball
  • Belly Dance
  • Bowling
  • Canoeing
  • Capoeira
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Fencing
  • Folk Dance
  • Hip Hop Dance
  • Horseback Riding
  • Jazz Dance
  • Jitterbug
  • Judo
  • Juggling
  • Kayaking
  • Kenjitsu
  • Meditation
  • Pilates
  • Retro P.E.
  • Rock Climbing
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • sailing
  • Self-Defense
  • snowboarding
  • soccer
  • softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi
  • Tango
  • Tennis
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Weight Training
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Yoga
reed magazine logoMarch 2010