Back in Time // Mexico on Sunday

I’m trying to decide whether or not to go climbing right now. I’m sitting on the boat drinking a matcha latte I just got from Whole Foods and it’s delicious. Sixteen ounces, oat milk. Need I say more? Shall I say more? Would you like me to say more?

The neighbors’ devil child has been screaming all morning and it makes me want to get off the boat. I’ve thought about going bouldering today, but feel it might be too much for my shoulder (shoulder). But if I were to go bouldering, where would I go? Well, I think the choice is pretty clear: The Sasquatch Boulders. Today might be the last day the Sasquatch Boulders are climbable all season. Starting tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, and with the rain the river level will be coming up, and if the river level gets too high it will be impossible to cross. Which means you’d have to either bushwack in from Index or get in a raft and not get sucked down the rapids. Either way a somewhat dicey prospect. Put on a wetsuit and swim across, toting your belongings behind you covered in plastic? That’s also a possibility.

Another possibility is that I could go to a place called Seattle Bouldering Project today. Seattle Bouldering Project is a climbing gym (actually there are two of them) in Seattle that’s dedicated to the discipline of “bouldering.” Bouldering, in case you’re familiar, is essentially rock climbing but without ropes and never getting high enough to where a fall would be fatal. If you boulder high enough it’s no longer bouldering: It’s free-soloing. Alex Honnold, for instance, sort of “bouldered” Freerider on El Capitan, only his boulder was several thousand feet high. Most of the time when you boulder you’re only several feet off the ground. Sometimes several inches.

Or I could wait till tomorrow and NOT climb today. A dastardly prospect. A prospect.

God, I wish I had another matcha latte.

Maybe I’ll roll it out fo a bit with the foam roller.

If I don’t climb today, and I don’t climb tomorrow, I won’t be climbing for another three or so weeks. This is because on Sunday morning I’m going to Mexico. Zihuatanejo, to be exact, though we’re not actually GOING to Zihuat, we’re going to points north to go surfing. By “we” I mean I and three of my friends. We fly into Zihuat Sunday afternoon, rent a car, drive up to a surf spot called The Ranch, surf there for a few days, and then drive north to Nexpa and possibly La Ticla. I don’t know how I feel about this trip, to be honest. Sure, I’m excited. I’m excited AF. But I’m also going to miss bouldering. I’m going to miss my solo missions into the mountains. And I know it’s for the best. I know my shoulder is screaming for (politely requesting) a break like this. And now it’s going to get a break. Three weeks with no bouldering at all. What will become of my psyche? How will I live?

In other news, I slept so fucking well last night. This morning I was having the most vivid dream — I’d slept through the whole night without having to get up and pee — and it was one of those dreams where it’s not necessarily great but it’s also not really a nightmare, it’s more just realistic, and it feels like it goes on and on and on…and then you wake up. And you’re kinda bummed you woke up. You kinda wanna fall back asleep and go right back to the moment you were living right before you woke up. But then you DO get up, and you go get a matcha  latte. And all is right in the world.

I think I’m going to meditate now. And by meditate I mean sit up somewhat straight and close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I don’t know how to meditate. Is it possible to know “how” to meditate? Is there a right and a wrong way? Can you meditate while listening to Metallica? Can you meditate while letting your mind run wild thinking whatever the hell thoughts it wants. OK, OK, real quick the Back in Time Exercise. Where was I a month ago? I was here, probably climbing, or if not climbing then thinking about climbing. My friend Pat would come over the next day and we’d take the boat out. Two months ago? OK nevermind that was two months ago. One month ago the smoke was here and there was a strange woman chilling on the dock and I’d gone to visit my parents that day but I was back on the dock trying to figure out who this woman was and the air was hot and sultry and I was bored.

So basically a lot has changed.

One year ago to this day? I was in Mexico with Nate and Hunter. We were in Nexpa. We’d probably just met Doreen and Tina, the girls with whom we’d spend the rest of the trip.

Two years ago to this day? I was in Vienna.

Five years ago to this day? I might’ve been out partying and drinking too much. Or hungover.

Ten years? I was in Oaxaca, coming back from a trip in the moutains.

20 years ago. I was in high school.

30 years ago. I was in Minnesota in first grade.

40 years ago. I didn’t exist.

Fin.

A Capital Climbing Day | Road to V4

Happiness is a homemade brush extension on a boulder you’re about to eat shit on. Photo: Carolyn.

Yesterday I went to the Index River Boulders despite the fact that I was feeling under the weather, or maybe BECAUSE I was feeling under the weather and didn’t want to spend all day wallowing on my boat. I think yesterday was a perfect example of where the phrase “under the weather” probably comes from. The day before I’d gone swimming in the semi-frigid October Lake Washington water, and then promptly taken a hot shower, and then promptly walked around with my wet hair exposed to the elements. This is supposedly a recipe for catching a cold, and that appears to be exactly what I did. Yesterday I woke up, it was cloudy and shitty and generally depressing outside, and my voice sounded like I had a bullfrog living in my larynx, and I generally felt slightly fatigued. But there’s the keyword: slightly. This felt like a quintessentially common cold to me, and so I decided to press east towards the mountains, not least because I had a hotel reservation in Leavenworth for that night.

My first step on yesterday’s fall odyssey were the boulders on the Skykomish River near Index. These boulders are sometimes called the “Boulder Drop Boulders,” since they’re right next to some kayaking feature which is apparently called a “Boulder Drop” (or something. I have no idea. I’ve never river kayaked in my life. Is it fun? It looks kind of lame. But that was exactly what I said about bouldering until I tried it). My goal when going to these boulders yesterday was 16-fold: 1) Send Unnamed V3 (around the corner from Finger Crack V3), 2) Get some good burns in on Finger Crack V3, and 3) Maybe send the River Warm-Up V0 problem. If you remember from a previous post, I ate shit on Unnamed V3 one day when Carolyn and I were there, falling all the way from the lip, barely landing on the pad and in the process rolling my ankle, slightly spraining my wrist, and almost hitting my head. So another goal was just to not do that. Bouldering by yourself with one pad is significantly different from bouldering with a bunch of homies and a bunch of pads. I’ve never really experienced the latter. One time Barold, Carolyn and I went bouldering together and had THREE PADS. Can you imagine the decadence? We were punting off highballs just for fun. Carolyn did a swan dive off French Slab V2 just to take advantage of the multitude of protection we had placed at the base of the boulder.

Long story short: I sent Unnamed V3, and it glorious. Start on the side-pull and the undercling, move left grabbing the ledge above you. Get your hands on a good sloping ledge and then get your left foot up on the ledge on the left side of the boulder, and then reach up and grab the mini-jug just before the lip. The problem is the lip is slopey, and once you’ve grabbed the lip your work is not over, because everything about the boulder wants to push you off to the right and off balance. You must fight this feeling with not a little bit of cunning and cool-headedness. Yesterday I got to the lip very easily (the tenuous slopers you chill on just before reaching for the hold below the lip are so sick, you feel like you’re gonna fall off but they hold you perfectly), but then couldn’t top out because I felt off balance. Then the SECOND time I got to the lip I took my time, got my feet figured out, and the top out was actually pretty easy. I basically just vaulted my person onto the top, which was covered in moss and leaves, not unlike a bed. And then I rejoiced in what was only the fourth V3 I’ve ever sent!!!!! The fanfare!!!!! The glory!!!!! The sponsorship deals!!!!!!! The feeling of accomplishment!!!!!!

And then I peaced out and drove to Leavenworth.

Well actually before I peaced out and drove to Leavenworth I gave Finger Crack V3 a few burns and yes, despite getting shut down, made some progress. Do I feel like it will go next session? Maybe. Do I feel like it will go in the next couple sessions? Definitely.

Fall is upon us, and the drive to Leavenworth yesterday was nothing short of orange-tinged ecstasy. I passed most of the drive in a sort of reverie induced by black tea, the happiness of sending a project, and the uncertainty of what I was going to do that night. Carolyn and I were supposed to hang out but hanging out was probably not a good idea given the current state of my health. I figured if I DID go all the way to Leavenworth though I might as well climb, and so after chilling in the Swiftwater parking lot for a second and fondling some of the jugs on Hate Rock, I decided roll on down to The Labyrinth, an area I’d never climbed before and which MIGHT be the subject for another post, or might not since I only sent two problems (one of which was a V2 flash!!!!).

But anyway, for now it’s sunny and beautiful outside, and I’m going to get out of my sweatpants and off my boat. Though actually I might chill here just a little bit longer and read Pride and Prejudice, since I think Ms. Bennett is finally about to pull her head out of her ass and tell Mr. Darcy how she feels. God, I hope so.

Did people boulder in Victorian England?

– Wetzler

Should You Have Goals?

OK, dann machen wir weiter, mit Hausaufgabe vier….

Good morning! It is a beautiful, cloudy morning here in Seattle. And by Seattle I of course mean the Ballard Locks, and by the Ballard Locks I of course mean where I’m sitting on my little 27-foot sailboat, boiling (actually not quite boiling) water for matcha so I can start my day. For today’s post I’d like to talk about goals, and how goals have shaped my life and what my life is like with goals vs. what my life is like without goals. I’d also like to talk about whether or not one should HAVE goals in their life, whether or not they’re truly necessary. I’d also like to talk about 9.9 horsepower Johnson outboards and possibly milfoil.

It took me a long time to realize goals were important for me, I mean REALLY important. Basically what it took was trying out a life without goals in it to see the kind of emptiness it brings before I finally realized I have to “be like everyone else” and just have goals. Over the last 10 or so years I’ve had goals — that much is true — but I haven’t had a long-term vision, I haven’t really stuck to anything, and at times I’ve tried to see what it’s like to have no goals at all, to just kind of float through life. After all, one of my favorite Tao Te Ching verses contains the line:

Other people have a purpose;

I alone don’t know.

I drift like a wave on the ocean,

I blow as aimless as the wind.

(Stephen Mitchell Translation, verse 20)

I’ve been reading the Tao Te Ching for about five years now, and I’ve always interpreted this verse as sort of meaning that if you have goals you’re really just distracting yourself. And so I just kind of let my goals…slip away. I justified this using the previous verse, and I also justified it saying that my goals weren’t really worthy, that since my goals didn’t really “make sense” or do anything for others they weren’t worthy goals. Which I actually sort of believe is a valid point. Sort of. The reason that, when scrutinized, it’s not a valid point at all is because GOALS DON’T HAVE TO MAKE SENSE. If for some reason your goal is to play a particular Chopin piece perfectly even though you don’t know why, that’s a wonderful goal. You’ll figure out the why later. Or maybe YOU won’t figure out the why, but other people will find a why. Other people will appropriate your goal and make it meaningful for themselves. Or maybe you want to have a wildebeest farm. Or maybe you want to be a world-class crocheter. Or maybe you want to set a new world record for how long someone can stare at a wall. These are all great goals. Noble, admirable, even if they don’t make sense at all. You’ll make sense of them later, or other people will, and they’re noble because they come from the heart.

Which was why it was completely admirable to have the goal of bouldering V7 outdoors by the end of last summer.

Which of course I didn’t do.

I didn’t even boulder V4.

But I might today.

When I was younger I had so many goals, and they shaped every aspect of my life. I wanted to be a pro basketball player, I wanted to be a pro baseball player, I wanted to be a pro soccer player. Then I wanted to be a pro wakeboarder, or at least wakeboard all the time, and then I wanted to be a skateboarding team manager, and then finally I wanted to speak Spanish perfectly. At some point I wanted to be a good Spanish teacher, at another point I wanted to travel to every country in the world, and then at another point I wanted to get paid to travel and write about it (this last one might still be true). At later points I wanted to be a famous novelist or a famous writer of some sort (this last one is definitely still true). But then of course this idea entered my life at some point that my desires were somehow unworthy, or that they were vain, or that even if I had desires and goals I should give up on them, because goals just put you on the hedonic treadmill and once you reach one goal you’re just going to need another goal, and that way you’ll never be happy.

Which actually might be kinda true.

But as humans we also need goals.

My friend Jen says that desires are divine, and I’m still grappling with what this means. I know that not ALL desires can be divine, or at least if they are I’m struggling with how they’re divine. For example, right now I would maim for some yerba mate, and how is that desire divine? Also, the Buddha always said that desire was synonymous with suffering, and that until we rid ourselves of desires we would always suffer. So shouldn’t we strive to not have desires? Shouldn’t we strive to not have goals?

It’s all very confusing.

I think one thing needs to be realized: I’m not the Buddha, and you’re (probably) not the Buddha (but maybe you also are).

It would then follow that one must pursue goals but not be attached to the outcome. One may pursue desires but not be devastated when they don’t obtain what they desire, or to at least be prepared for the suffering and even WELCOME it.

I think that’s a little more on the mark. After all, if you welcome the suffering, is it still really suffering?

On that note, I’m going to try to reincorporate goals into my life and also let them shape my life. I’m going to try to find the divinity in desire, and I’m also going to try to prepare myself for the inevitable suffering that comes with these things. Because yes, you can drift like a wave on the ocean, blissfully sailing through life, if you’re enlightened.

But I am not enlightened.

– Wetz

Last Climbing Trip Before Mex | Road to V4

My sister and her son — aka my nephew — and I went on a walk this morning-

Hold on, let me start over.

I went on a walk this morning with my sister and her son, aka my nephew, to “Poo Poo Point,” a short little jaun-

OK, I don’t like that one either.

I’m sitting on my boat drinking matcha this afternoon and what’s different between right now and when I USUALLY sit on my boat is that I’m sitting outside, in the cockpit, feeling the breeze and watching my boardshorts sway in the br-

Damnit.

OK. Sitting on my boat drinking matcha. Boarshorts swaying in the breeze. Sunny. Crows cawing. Tired but feeling ok since I just jumped in the water. Maybe should jump in again to wake up even more? Mellifluous. Not very comfortable. Ducks pissed at each other. Plant looks like it’s dying. What am I gonna do tonight?

OK that’s MUCH better now that I’m sitting on the ground and instead of on that pad. Though the ground is dirty.

Why am I so TIIIIIIIIIIRED right now? I have no good food on my boat except apples and peanut butter, but I’ve already had two apples today. I have kale. What am I going to do with the kale? Eat it plain? Disgusting. Eat it with some olive oil and salt?

OK I’m ready to start.

Good afternoon, faithful Where’s Wetzler readers! My name is Mark Wetzler and I’ll be your host for this afternoon’s blog post. We’ve got a lot to talk about today, including but not limited to: Me going bouldering tomorrow, my hike today, why I feel so tired–

K, sorry, can’t do that either. Can’t do a real post.

Stephen King said: Don’t go lightly to the page. I’m going to lightly to the page right now, Stephen. Light as a feather. Light as one of the leaves on my calathea plant that’s dying. Light as my humor. Light as my right toenail which is becoming slightly ingrown. Here’s the problem with reading books on how to write: It’s like reading books on how to paint pictures. They can only take you so far. At some point you have to launch yourself off the diving board and think: OK, I’m gonna do my OWN thing now. And if people hate it then fuck ’em. I’m going to make the stuff that I know is good, that makes me happy, and if people don’t like it well then they’re the ones with no taste. You don’t tell me what’s good art. I tell YOU what’s good art. I tell you what to like. People don’t know what they like anyway until someone has already given it to them. They say, “Well, I like light comedies,” and then someone makes a horror film and they love it cuz it’s well done and someone says, “But you don’t like horror films,” and they say, “Well, I guess I like that one.”

I’m going to be a piece of shit for the rest of the day and I’ve made peace with that. Go to Whole Foods. Read Pride and Prejudice. You know what I might do tomorrow? I might go session Serenity Now V4 FRESH. I’ve never sessioned that boulder fresh before. Only after a pretty long sesh. So maybe I’ll go there tomorrow, I’ll warm up on the slab a bit, I’ll climb the V0, and then I’ll give Serenity Now some fresh burns. Give it everything I got. And maybe make it past the crux.

K just watched a few videos of people getting up Serenity Now V4 (+!). I think I can do the crux now. And by crux I mean the low crux, there’s also a fairly gnarly deadpoint up to the hold on the lip. God, I got this. I need this. Come on, Mark.

Mellifluous

The mellifluous view from my sister’s window.

Hello friends and lovers, how is everyone doing this fine fall day, spring if you’re in the southern hemi? I’m doing well. I’m sitting on my boat right now and my stomach is fucked up and I smell like the Moroccan Sea Salt spray I got the other day at CVS which promises to give my hair unseemly amounts of volume. It smells very feminine though, which is confusing to say the most. Love some good volume, though. Love it.

What to talk about? Well, first we should talk about how I had a little escape yesterday to my hometown and it was wonderful. I found myself lying on the floor in my parents’ house looking at the ceiling, my mind completely blank. I was like a newborn, just gazing at the infinite multitude of contours on the ceiling. Everything felt very mellifluous, though to be fair I don’t know what that word means. When I got off the ferry I got a latte with oat milk because the girl working said it was the creamier between oat and hemp milk. And then I walked to my parents’ house, where I spent the evening doing the following things: Watching the movie Ocean’s Eight (I remember it actually being good on the plane but then for some reason my standard for movies on a plane drops like the barometric pressure in the wake of a hurricane); walking to the high school to play soccer by myself; contemplating getting McDonald’s and instead just having popcorn while watching aforementioned movie; falling asleep to an Eckhart Tolle teaching that Deepak Choprak was supposed to appear on but thankfully I fell asleep before Chopes came on.

Today I had physical therapy with a different guy than last time. I told him straight up, “I’m going to continue climbing, so if you don’t wanna work with me because of that that’s fine.”

And he was like, “…..”

And I was like, “…………..”

And he was like, “???????”

And I was like, “!!!!!!!!!!!”

And they were like, “……………………”

Fin.

No, he was actually really awesome. He said his goal was to “meet me halfway,” which was exactly what I was hoping to hear. He gave me two (2) exercises he wants me to do, one of which I’ll do right now (if you’ll excuse me). He also gave me a therapy band which, like, makes things feel more official. The only thing I wished would’ve gone differently is maybe some deep massage or maybe that ultra-sound thing, but I don’t even know if they use that anymore. That might be so 2011. Or even so 2006.

And now I’m tired. So tired. Is it because my diet was shitty yesterday?

I think there’s a decent chance I’ll go climbing tomorrow. It all hinges on if my friend Hart wants to go or not. If he does want to go we’ll probably go to the Sasquatch boulders, since the river is low again and this is definitely the last chance I’ll have to climb them before it gets rainy again. And if he DOESN’T want to go climbing tomorrow, then what will I do? I ask you: What will I do? Probably just sit around crying on my boat. I’m kidding, of course. I’m 46% kidding. No, if he doesn’t want to go then maybe I’ll go by myself or go on a hiking mission with my sister. Even though I sort of (see: completely) hate hiking.

OK it’s time to eat cuz I’m hungry af.

I love you guys.

– Wetz

The Beauty of Not Sending | Road to V4

Today’s post is sponsored by Friction Labs Gorilla Grip*, the only chalk I use when I’m getting shut down by a V2. I’ve used Friction Labs ever since I needed to order some chalk online and had no idea what kind to get so I got the kind with the coolest branding. I mean, come on, the package looks dope. It’s all blue and that gorilla has his arms crossed like, “Bro, you’re ready for V4 and if you don’t send it today I’m gonna get your head in a vice grip.” All jokes aside, of the few chalks I’ve used so far I like Friction Labs the best. And I love the chunks in the Gorilla Grip!

*Today’s post is absolutely not sponsored by Friction Labs.

Aber ich wunshe ihnen einen sehr guten Morgen, meine Freundin! ¿Cómo están todos? ¿Qué hacen? ¿Toman lattes de matcha como yo? ¿Veían el partido entre Tottenham y Man United como yo, para luego apagarlo por la tarjeta roja estúpida que le dieron a Anthony Martial, pinches culeros de mierda?

Anyway, it’s a beautiful day (it’s absolutely not a beautiful day; it’s misting outside and grey and cloudy and the sky in Seattle reminds me of a wet diaper) and I’m drinking a matcha latte on the boat that I just got at Whole Foods. I must say, I remember hemp milk being better. This actually tastes like hemp. And there’s NO sweetness, which I know is good for my health but means this matcha latte mostly tastes like hay. I got an oat milk matcha latte at Whole Foods yesterday and it was significantly better. They definitely don’t use ceremonial grade matcha.

I know all of your are reading this post for one reason and one reason only: You want to know if I went climbing yesterday. And the answer is: Sort of.

I mean, I TECHNICALLY went climbing yesterday. I hiked all the way up to the boulders at Gold Bar, warmed up on a new V0 called Mario Kart or Mario Bros or Super Mario or something like that, and then because I was feeling slightly self-conscious due to people right next to me trying Metroid Prime V6 I went to a DIFFERENT area, aka walked around The Doja muttering and remarking on all the bad landings, and then I finally ended up at The Container V2, an overhanging V2 that looks like it should be SO easy and probably is really easy once you figure out the top out, but I keep getting shut down on the thing and yesterday was no different.

But see the thing is, yesterday I didn’t even really want to send.

Why would you go bouldering, you may be wondering, if I didn’t want to send. And the answer is simple but also incredibly nuanced.

Sending, for me, is not the most important thing in bouldering. Sure, it feels GOOD to send, but bouldering for me is kind of like going fishing. I LOVE fishing, and it has nothing to do with catching anything. It’s the ANTICIPATION of catching something. That’s all it is. It’s kind of like watching soccer or hockey. If all you care about are goals, you should be watching a different sport. But if you can appreciate the movement, or a good play, or a good opportunity, then you can appreciate those sports. Similarly with bouldering, if you really want it to be fulfilling, you better just appreciate the movement and also making progress, however minute that is. There is always progress if you look at things correctly. Yesterday I SAW new boulders. I climbed ONE new problem. And I got pumped, which is always progress, because it means you’re getting stronger. Viewed correctly, a session is never wasted, especially when you’re in it to get out of the fog in Seattle and get out in nature as much as anything else.

And now I must go because I just made a last-minute reservation at Seattle Bouldering Project to climb using the guess passes they just gave all members with frozen memberships, i.e., me. Which means I’m going climbing today. And I’m gonna get pumped!

– Wetz

I Could Talk About

 

Today’s post is sponsored by Ugly Mug Cafe* on Dravis, who sold me a matcha latte this morning for $5.95 this morning and still had the gall to ask if I wanted to add a tip. Fuckers.

*Today’s post is absolutely not sponsored by Ugly Mug Cafe. The matcha latte was actually delicious and it’s my own damn fault for only tipping because I felt obligated.

Good morning! I have a wonderful post for you today. That’s actually not true. I have no post for you today. Nothing is “in store,” as they say. And actually I just found out that I need to leave the boat in 15-20 to pick up a friend, so that means this post is going to be harried, hurried, and possibly just really bad.

What could I talk about today?

Well, I could talk about how I MIGHT go climbing today. After I hang out with my home-boy today I might drive over to Index, Washington, United States of America, to try my fingertips on the elusive Unnamed V3, around the corner from such classics as Hittin’ the Rail (V5?) and Finger Crack V3. What a perfect day it would be if I did the following: hung out with my home-slice, drove to Index, day-flashed Unnamed V3, sent Finger Crack V3 in the first couple attempts, sent The Jewel V3 in the first few attempts, and then hauled my man-body up to Leggo My Ego and actually put in decent session on it. Wouldn’t that be a perfect day? I’m asking you: Would it be a perfect day.

It would be a perfect day.

I’m so alone.

What else could I talk about?

I could talk more about our sessions in Leavenworth the other day but I don’t want to do that. I could finally review the Miuras I got from La Sportiva recently that have (sort of) revolutionized my climbing (aka given me better edges and better grip but haven’t really made my technique better). I could talk about Mexico. I could talk about what I’m going to do when I get back from Mexico (maybe drive down to Bishop and camp there for a couple weeks). I could talk about the song I’m listening to right now, November, by Max Richter. I could talk about how badly I want the Canadian border to open. I could talk about how I want even more badly the Chilean border to open so I can go there after Christmas and spend January and February there before coming back from the spring climbing season (is this really how I live my life now).

Or I could talk about something else.

Part time love is the life round here

We’re never done.

What I think I’m ACTUALLY going to do though is talk about none of this. I’m going to finish listening to the James Blake song I’m listening to right now. I’m going to watch a little of the Machester City vs. Leeds United game. And then I’m going to go pick up my friend and get yet another (and another, and another, and another??????) matcha latte. And then we’re gonna come back to my boat and chill in the “sun,” aka the 67-degree misty weather.

Anyway. Maybe I’ll have more for you tomorrow. Aka I’ll definitely have more for you tomorrow. Aka I might have more for you tomorrow. Aka I smell like a girl because I got “Moroccan Sea Salt Spray” and it’s for women and the word “bombshell” shows up repeatedly in the copy.

Hair looks great, though.

– Wetzler

The Ballad of Alexis C. Jolly | Road to V4

Carolyn vibing with the sensual arete of Alexis C Jolly, everyone’s fourth favorite two star V0.

Yesterday Carolyn and I went to the Pretty Boulders in Leavenworth. We left at around 7:45am after getting Caffe Vita (I got a matcha latte with oat milk, my latest go-to drink) and took probably two and a half hours to get there 1) Because I was driving and 2) because we made a quick stop at the Nason Creek Rest Area. God, nothing like a good rest area. This is a wonderful country, right? Wonderful interstate system. Wonderful rest stops. Now, let me let you in a a little secret: Other countries have rest stops too. Except they’re usually more in the line of restaurants, i.e. they have a parking lot for lots of cars and things like buses and trucks. They’re usually somewhat beautiful because they’re in the middle of nowhere, but they also have a restaurant geared primarily at people on the road. And I honestly don’t know which set-up is better. For example, I have glorious memories of hot food at an Austrian rest stop just south of Salzburg on my way to Slovenia, but I also have glorious memories of rest stops in the US, more for their solitude (mixed with the camaraderie of being around fellow travelers?) and relative quiet.

After the rest stop we made yet ANOTHER stop. I know: It’s like we weren’t even in a rush. It’s like we weren’t frothing. It’s like my blood wasn’t boiling with the prospect of sampling tasty new Central Cascade granite pearls. The place we made a stop at is called Argonaut, and even though I find it a bit overpriced it’s still my favorite café in Leavenworth, partly because it’s tasteful, partly because it’s the first café you come to, and partly because it has about as much square footage as the closet on my boat. The one thing I DON’T like about it is that they verbally ask you if you want to leave a tip. I much prefer when tipping is something you can do or not do discreetly without having to voice out over the six-foot chasm between you and the ordering window. What am I supposed to say if I don’t want to leave a tip because their product is already expensive as balls? No, thanks? Sorry, no? I’m not thankful, and I’m not sorry.

Anyway, Carolyn got hipster toast (fancy avocado toast) and I got yet another matcha latte. God, I am obsessed with matcha lattes lately. With oat milk!!! If I had a bathtub on my boat I would bathe in them. I would lather the beautiful matcha onto my supple dermis. I would inhale the matcha steam rising from said bathtub. I would slip a few inches under the water and see how long I could hold my breath.

But now onto the Pretty Boulders! This was my first time at the Pretty Boulders and as usual I had massive expectations. First impressions: They weren’t as hard to find as I thought. The guidebook shows how to arrive perfectly. Secondly, I was expecting a longer approach. I have no idea why. Third, I was expecting (again I have no idea why) that Pretty Girl V3 would be south facing. But it’s not; it’s east facing (k maybe southeast). I did (and still do) find this somewhat disconcerting. I also expected Pretty Girl to be more of a highball, and though people said repeatedly it was  bit of a sandbag, I expected it to be easier. And I know it’s highly beta dependent, but I couldn’t get past the first couple moves. I couldn’t get my hand up to the fin. I couldn’t send the boulder. And all I wanted to do was weep by it and have someone console me, but instead I mustered what was left of my dignity and sent Pretty Easy V0 in good fashion, and also sent Noland V1, which for some reason has zero stars despite not being that fun at all. Oh, and of course we warmed up on the sumptuous Alexis C. Jolly, a two star V0 capable of bringing you to your knees and begging for mercy just because all you want to do is fondle her beautiful granite hips and she spits you off like an Arabian show horse to punish you for your gall. Just kidding. Alexis C. Jolly was really easy. It’s insane how much of a difference there is between V0’s. Alexis C. Jolly: easy as fuck. Pretty easy: Not actually that easy. Noland V1: actually pretty easy (though that might’ve just been cuz I’m tall).

ANYWAYEIFAEWFHIDJFKDJFKEDJWFKWEJDFKSDJFKDSJFKDSAJFKDSJKADSJFKDSJFKDASJFDKASJFDKSFJDSKFJDSKFJDSKFJADSKFJDSKFJDSKFJDSAKFDJASKFDJSKFADSJFKLDSJFKADJSLFDJSKLFDJSAKLFDJSAKLFDSAJLKFDSAJFLKASDJFLKSDJFLKSADJFLKDSAJFLKADSJFLKDSAJFLKDSAJFKLDSAJFDSKLFJDASKLFJADKSLFJDSALKFJADSLKFJDAKLSJFDLSKFJADSKLFJADSLKFJDASKLFJDSAKLFJADSKLFJDSLKFJDSALKFJDSALF

The worst part of the Pretty Boulders was getting completely owned by Ms. Pac Man V2. If you’ve sent it and have the beta please leave a comment. If you have video please leave me a link. If you have words of wisdom please also leave a comment. If you have words of hate please don’t leave a comment. If you know some kind of beautiful saying in Spanish please leave it in the comments. French and German work, too. Russian also works but I won’t be able to understand without the aid of Google Translate. I will be sort of able to sound it out, though.

ANYWAY!

After the Pretty Boulders we had lunch at South, a Mexican Restaurant, which is overpriced but good and it’s nice not to be surrounded by anti-maskers at the various Biergartens. Then we went to the Beach Forest, where I had a semi-erotic experience with the slopers of Fountainblues V0 (video to come?????) and Carolyn I think wanted to strap some explosives to the slopers because she didn’t find them quite as alluring. Carolyn absolutely THRASHED Brickwork V0, a V0 whose top-out is not exactly easy. I tried U2 V3 a couple times for posterity, got kind close and then gave up. Then after chilling at the Beach a bit we got in the car and drove back to Seattle.

All in all a tough-on-the-ego day at Leavenworth but good to get lots of climbing in and rough up the skin a bit. When I got back to my boat I even did my pushups! Fuck yeah antagonist exercises!!! And today my shoulder doesn’t even feel THAT bad. And my fingers don’t feel that bad either. And I’m listening to Eric Satie and it’s dreamy.

– Wetz

We All Got Our Runnins | Road to V4

Frustration after an attempt on Insanity Later V2.

I probably shouldn’t have woken up so early but on any day that I’m going climbing I’m like a kid on Christmas. The only difference between this kid and an actual kid on Christmas is that I’m getting stoked to hopefully send sic (sic) blocs (sic). Today I’m hoping to send Dirty Dancing V4, which would be my first ever V4. That’s what I’m hoping. But I’m not pinning the success of this mission on that one bloc. There are plenty of other boulders I want to try, and frankly I’m stoked to just be getting out there climbing. I’ll be stoked if I send some new V0 and V1’s. I’ll be even more stoked if I send a couple new V2’s or even a V3. And if I send a V4, then, well, you know what this blog becomes:

The Road to V5.

Anyway. Waking up on the boat. Not having earl grey but rather Trader Joe’s Chai. Which means yes, I’m having black tea, and yes, to combat the tannins I’ve mixed said black tea with some golden tea mix containing (I think) turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, and coconut creamer. It’s delicious. Is it delicious? I’m not sure. God, yesterday started off wonderfully but then finished dastardly. And then for some ridiculous reason I decided to watch the Netflix show An American Murder before bed. Big mistake. It made me feel so bad. There’s a reason I don’t watch horror movies or scary movies or even scary documentaries. I don’t see the point. I don’t see the redeeming value. They just make me feel terrible.

Left foot up to the tiny scoop hold. Left hand up to the terrible slimper. Right foot up, trying not to catch it on the undercling. That’s about all the beta I remember from Dirty Dancing V4. The high today in Leavenworth is somewhere in the mid-80’s, which is not exactly the best weather for strenuous slab climbing. But it is good weather for hanging out and enjoying the last rays of summer/early fall, and it is good for swimming, and we me might take a dip in the Wenatchee River after sessioning the Beach Forest Boulders or we we might go over to Lake Wenatchee. I’m not sure. Should I be doing a keto diet?

I don’t really know what to talk about this morning. I’m stoked to be going bouldering, that’s all. I’ve actually wondered lately why I don’t more unabashedly give my life over to bouldering. And I think it’s because I’m 37 and I just started bouldering and that, for some reason, would seem ridiculous. But on the other hand it’s all I want to do. It brings me happiness like few other activities ever have. When I’m bouldering I feel complete, and the thing is it has nothing to do with sending hard (for me) problems or making new friends. I’m just as happy bouldering alone, if not much happier. It has to do instead with the feeling of stone against skin and the feeling of body moving over stone. It has to do with presence. It has to do with listening to the sound of your breathing, and then lying there on the mat, after an attempt, listening to the sound of the forest. It has to do with turning your brain off. It has to do with some sort of connection that’s difficult to describe. And the whole fact that it’s contrived and unnecessary makes it that much more beautiful. It makes it art; and art is necessary.

It’s almost time to go and I hope I don’t drink coffee today. I hope I eat well and am positive. I hope I climb hard and that my body feels good. I hope I have a wonderful day and that today is day of improvement on all fronts, however, incremental.

Bless you all.

– Wetzler

Even the Best | Sometimes…

Another day, another proverbial shekel.

Just a little music to start off your day. Why was this music video filmed in Toronto? These are the things I lie awake at night thinking about.

How’s everyone doing today? It’s a wonderful day. The first thing I did this morning was chug some olive oil so I’d have something in my stomach so I could then start chugging black tea. If I don’t have anything in my stomach, the tannins from the black tea make me nauseous.

Enough about me, though. Let’s talk about you. What are your hopes? Your dreams? Can’t wait to hear about them in the comments below. It is so incredibly important for the unenlightened being to wake up in the morning and have some kind of mission or sense of purpose. As I said in yesterday’s post, when I go bouldering I have that. I have several boulders I want to try that day. I have some kind of grade goal. Or even just the goal of checking out a new area. But I never go up to the boulders without any goal at all. I couldn’t if I tried. It’s like when I try to “not have a destination” when I travel. Even when I don’t plan anything my brain starts toiling away at where I’m going to go next, so when I go to the bus station or on Google Flights I kind of already know where I want to go. We don’t deal well with randomness, with uncertainty.

Even the best fall down sometimes

Even the wrong words seem to rhyme.

In case you were wondering, I am an unenlightened man. I spend most of the day in the grips of anxiety (thinking about the future) or reflection/rumination (thinking about the past). I spend very little of the day in the present moment. I judge the shit out of people. I judge myself. Today, for example, if I don’t DO anything, I will rip myself to shreds with judgment. What would DOING SOMETHING involve? It would involve “work,” or social interaction, or something like going bouldering. But here’s the funny thing: When I was working all I wanted to do was stop. All my problems will stop once I stop working, I thought. Once I’m free.

But we we are never free.

The dawn is breaking/A light shining through.

I’m actually loving writing this blog, by the way. Today I’m going to go to Nana’s Green Tea at 11am when it opens, and then I have to drop off a stool sample at Country Doctor. OHHHHH, GROSS, STOOL SAMPLE. Yes, it IS kind of gross, but it’s a fact of life. When your digestive system is shredded and has been for many months (ever since you took a two week vacay to Vietnam), it makes sense to drop off a stool sample so they can hopefully figure out what’s going on. It might just be dietary stuff, though, how the hell should I know. The only thing I know right now is I’m about to have my second cup of black tea and I feel the first one starting to take effect and it’s causing my little sausage fingers to flit faster and faster across the keyboard and it’s causing this paragraph to become longer and longer and it’s causing this sentence to become a run-on which is what they ALWAYS warned us about in high school English and middle school English the FUCKING RUN-ON SENTENCE IS THE FUCKING BOOGEY-MAN but then you get older and you realize that things like run on sentences don’t really matter, that indeed they can even me useful sometimes, and that, well….

Even the best fall down

….sometimes

Even the….

Anyway.

Oh god I just broke my rule. I ate. But I think eating a tiny bit of nuts is OK if it means staving off the nausea rendered by unbridled tannins.

As many of you know, I’m really, really obsessed with bouldering right now, and I would really like to go to Squamish to go bouldering but, as many of you also might know, the US CANADA BORDER IS FUCKING CLOSED RIGHT NOW. And has been for a long time. Which means I can’t go to Squamish to go bouldering. One day, though, it’ll open again and rest assured I’ll be open there with brush and chalk in hand, ready to tackle some sick blocs. ALSO, one thing I noticed today is that some crushers out of eastern British Columbia have come up with a guidebook for the Kootenays! The Kootenays is a region in southeastern British Columbia around the town of Nelson and named for the Kootenay River. The guidebook, which just came out, has 960+ boulder problems, is in full color, and you can purchase it and check out a sample page here. Now, you may be saying to yourself: “Hey, Marko, thanks for the guidebook rec, but I’m really not looking to purchase a $45.00 CAD guidebook when I can’t even go to Canada right now. Like, I’d rather just take my kids out to Chick Fil-A.”

And I totally hear you. That’s a valid argument. But here’s the deal: The border is gonna open up by next spring, and you’re gonna want that guidebook. You’re gonna want to sesh those 960 problems. You’re gonna want to be in the Kootenays.

At least I’m gonna want to be in the Kooenays. Aka Squamish.

OK, as much as I’d like to continue hanging out and blogging I have to, because nature is calling and I really wanna figure out if I have giardia.

I probably don’t, though.

But maybe I do.

Even the best fall down…

– Wetz