Autumn 2020 in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on September 22, 2020. This is earlier than I thought. I thought it was September 28th, or something like that. But that’s besides the point. The point is this: I have very little time to accomplish my goal, which was to send V7 by the end of the summer (hence The Road to V7 that has dominated this blog for much of the past few months). There’s still a hail Mary chance it could happen. I COULD go to Mr. Smooth next week at the Skykomish River Boulders and somehow send it, but at this point I don’t really care. I wouldn’t consider sending Mr. Smooth really sending V7 since it would be such a fluke. So I’m going to concentrate on a modified goal, one that is actually achievable by the end of this summer (aka in the next four days): Climbing V4.
Yes, that’s right friends, you heard it here fifth: My goal has changed. I have modified my goal. Does this mean I’m going to give up on climbing V7 altogether? Of course. In fact, after I climb V4 I’m probably just going to give up on life. I’m going to let myself become obese and I’m going to start drinking again and I’m going to spend the majority of my days railing on about the “ills of society.” I’m going to move to Italy, and by Italy I of course mean New Hampshire. I’m going to buy a little cabin in the woods and fester there. I’m going to start talking to animals. And maybe, when no one’s looking, I’ll head out in the middle of the night, naked, to try to relive my bouldering glory days, a bottle of Fireball in one hand, a tube of liquid chalk in the other. Some Birkenstocks on my feet. And I’ll climb V0.
I’m kidding, of course. Guys, I’m not done bouldering. I’m just getting started. Yesterday I had a conversation with the doctor about my shoulder. It went a bit like this:
“Yoooooooo, Marko, what is cracking?”
“Hey doc, still running from all those malpractice suits?”
“Ha ha! You know it, dog. So tell me about your shoulder.”
“Well, doctor, it really does seem to be a classic overuse injury, I’m just not sure exactly which tendons/muscles it’s affecting. Apparently the most used muscles for climbing are the lats, but judging merely by its location it seems like it could also be the teres major.”
“Interesting, interesting. So, basically you’re just a huge pussy?”
“That’s right, doc. Haven’t even sent V4 yet.”
“I can literally send V4 using only one arm and one leg.”
“Doc, I’ve only been climbing for less than a year.”
“By the end of my first year I was already sending V10’s. Of course, there was a lot of coke going around those days…”
“God no. Red Rocks.”
“OK. Here’s what to do about your shoulder.”
“I’m 78% ears.”
“First of all, stop complaining about it. Second of all, do some damn stretching. And third of all, send V4.”
Doc hangs up.
OK, so that was slightly different than the actual conversation, but I had to paraphrase because I don’t remember most of the real conversation. Basically it ended with the wonderful doctor giving me a referral for physical therapy. The thing is, I’ve already started doing my own physical therapy. I’ve found some killer videos on shoulder and hip mobility made by a guy named Tom Merrick in England. I’ve gotten a foam roller for my back and shoulder and IT bands and adductors and hamstrings. I’ve started doing chest exercises to strengthen the muscles that oppose the shoulder muscles. And lastly, I haven’t climbed in two full days. I’m resting. I’m a good little patient. I want to get better. I want to get strong. I might not even climb tomorrow. Or Sunday. I could possibly get three or four days of nourishing, unadulterated rest! Or I could just get in my car right now and drive to Serenity Now V4 and possibly send it. Or I could just leave my boat and walk to the grocery store. Or I could meditate. Or I could drive to REI and return the stupid therapy cane I bought which is completely superfluous now that I have a foam roller.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with a list of the most likely V4’s that could go in the next four days, thus completing my goal. One criteria! They must be listed as V4 in the guidebook AND ALSO ON MOUTAIN PROJECT! This means no I Don’t F$#ck with Cockroaches or French Tickler at the Paradise boulders. Anyway:
Zelda Rails V4 (Index)
Serenity Now V4 (Highway 2 just past Gold Bar)
Fridge Center V4 (Leavenworth)
Unnamed V4 (on the King of Hill Boulder, Paradise, Skykomish)
Bushy Tail Traverse V5 (Paradise Boulders, near Skykomish)
(Side note: I walked to the bathroom right now and tried to think of more on the way but couldn’t. And then there was someone in the bathroom and I wanted to murder them. AKA I need to finish this post and go back. All caps AKA is way too aggressive. Aka is much better)
All right, so that’s it, that’s the goal. Send V4. I will be pretty happy if in the first nine months of my bouldering I’d already sent V4 outside. I feel like that’s not terrible. I’m already fairly happy just with V3, but V4 sounds way more badass. If you’re reading this and have any suggestions for V4’s that are ALSO V4’s on Mountain Project but on the softer side (see: Egyptian cotton pillow), please let me know. It’s gonna take some cooperation from the weather and my shoulder and my psyche for this to happen.
That said, a quiet confidence lingers throughout…..
Stay happy, stay healthy!