Sunset on the Boat

The question on everyone’s mind right now, aka no one’s mind, aka my mind, is the following: How are red bananas different from regular bananas?

The other question I have is: Should I move to Leavenworth?

And by move I of course don’t mean move. I mean kinda move. I mean mostly move. I mean get an apartment there but keep my boat in Seattle so I have the best of boat (sorry) worlds. When it’s sunny and beautiful and I wanna be on the water? Chill on the boat. When I want to boulder my ass off and have dry weather and the stark beauty of the north-central Cascades? Leavenworth.

It would also make sense to rent in Leavenworth before I buy land there. This is what a responsible adult might do. But to be fair, the experience of living in an apartment complex would be very different from living off grid on a semi remote piece of land. But there are things you can figure out even living in an apartment complex. Do you like the community? Can you make friends there? Are the tourists too annoying? Are the summers way too hot? Is it too dry?

These, of course, and myriad other questions.

I’m back on the boat and I’m thinking about doing my physical therapy and I’m also thinking about doing some training, i.e. hanging. The roof of my boat is in fact perfect for hanging, and using core strength to bring my feet up to touch the mast actually sort of simulates climbing an overhang. The physical therapist gave me insane amounts of hope yesterday when she said she thought I might be able to start gym climbing in two weeks. I don’t think she realized how much hope she gave me. I have to get my body back in shape. I have to start getting ready for climbing. I will be so happy when I can just climb a red or a green at SBP. Not even purple let alone an orange or black or blue. A red. A green. Anything harder than a yellow, which is beyond VB and basically like climbing a ladder. Though climbing up and down yellows all day could be a GREAT way to build endurance. You cannot fall while climbing yellows. You can fall on reds. You can definitely fall on reds. And you can definitely fall on greens. But you can’t fall on yellows.

I’m drinking a Hop Tea and it’s delicious. Sixty mg caffeine. I just had a matcha latte from Whole Foods with unsweetened almond milk. Lunch was young coconut meat, a red banana and a thing of yoghurt. The yoghurt had a cream top. Bliss.

Slash I really wish I had caffeine and I’m gonna need to leave my boat later to get some.

Slash I bought a throw pillow from Target the other day.

Some observations as of late:

  1. I’m weirdly obsessed with oats.
  2. I bought a throw pillow. I am now an adult.
  3. The sunset is approaching 6pm!!!!! (and daylight savings is approaching!!!!!)
  4. A good book will see you through almost any bout of loneliness.
  5. My finger is fucked.

The sunset is casting an orange glow on my neighbor’s boat. In the distance I hear a train sounding its horn. A merganser plies the water near my boat. A seagull floats by in the distance, and a cormorant bullets by up close. So many bird species. Kingfisher, herons, mallards, mergansers, loons, even a beaver. A bald eagle. The whir of the heater at my feet. My orange puffy jacket on the bench seat across from me. My hands that smell like smoked salmon. The new basket I got from target holding all the clutter. The piles of books underneath the basket. So many books. So many books I read, and even more that I don’t read and will be put in one of those little lending libraries. Omega 3’s, mushroom powder, vitamin d, a laptop case, tortilla chips. The light on my boat seems faint. I want more rolled oats. One throw pillow isn’t enough; you gotta have two. Beef bone broth. Tech stocks tanking. Geese honking in the distance. Are they going north or south? Did some of the geese miss the memo this winter and go nowhere at all? A sparkling yerba mate from Trader Joe’s, and I wish I were curled up next to a fire right now. I’m going to go to Tahoe this summer and go bouldering. I’m gonna go to Bishop, and J-Tree, and Rocky Mountain National Park, and Roy, NM, and Spain, and France, and British Columbia. A thank you note that needs to be written. A foam roller. Physical therapy exercises undone. A masters in Spanish, C1 in French, B2 in German. A pint of blueberries and the sun continues to set.

 

She Said || The Road to Recovery

I just had a physical therapy appointment. In person. By Greenlake. It was wonderful. I think the best part was when the physical therapist massaged my hamstring. And then I did exercises, all of which felt fine EXCEPT for the lateral walking with a band wrapped around my ankles for resistance. My LCL had to take a LITTLE strain, and I wasn’t used to that. But it’s fine. It’s exactly what I’m there for.

Afterward I got a disgusting matcha latte at Chocolati Cafe and then walked around Greenlake. I think it’s something like 2.8 miles. My knee felt fine. It was gloriously sunny. Vitamin D coursing into my body. My heart singing looking at the treetops, at the blue sky, at the geese and ducks. People walking around only counterclockwise. The odd family or couple walking against the flow of traffic. Me cursing them for it.

Then afterward I went to the Northeast Library Branch to get Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey. I think this is going to be an amazing book. Please, God, don’t be pretentious. Please god make it like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but more nature-centric. Please god let him be one of my new favorite authors.

I was stoked because the first part of the book mentions Moab and Arches National Park, which I drove through on my way back from Mexico. Moab is a terrible town. It’s basically a strip mall with gas stations. Sounds like it used to be charming, though. The only people I greeted were two Mormons on their missions who always say “hi” SUPER enthusiastically, but I didn’t have it in me to talk to them. Sometimes I like talking to the Mormons. But this time it just kinda made me sad. I did want to say, “Man, people get sent all over the world on their missions. They learn cool languages like Finnish and Russian and Swahili. And you guys are in….Moab. Are you bummed?” But I’m sure they weren’t bummed. They were spreading the word of Jesus Christ Our Redeemer. So I’m sure they were stoked. I was stoked to get a matcha latte the next morning. I was stoked to have a fuck ton of driving time to myself. I was stoked to drive through canyons.

The physical therapist said….

She said…..

She says…..

I says…..

She said, “—”

I said, “So can I go climbing after today’s session.”

She said, “Give it a couple weeks and we’ll discuss.”

I said, “OK.”

I threw a tantrum.

She said, “Your LCL is healing great. I was unable to provoke symptoms today.”

I said, “That’s wonderful news. I want my LCL to be stronger than ever. I want my LCL to be the strongest ligament in my body. I want it to bully the other ligaments in my knee.”

She said, “Just give it a couple weeks.”

I said, “…..”.

She said, “?????????”

I said, “–“.

She said, “.”

It is gloriously sunny. I’m thinking of going over to Bainbridge. I’m thinking of getting a FocusAid. I’m thinking of applying to more jobs. I’m thinking of calling someone east of the Cascades. I’m thinking…..

– MTW

Slash Omega 3’s || Chilling on the Boat

It is gloriously sunny in Seattle right now. It’s 9:26am. The sun rose at exactly 7:00am this morning. It will set at….wait for it….5:45pm. Civil twilight (where you can still kinda see outside) will last till 6:16pm. Nautical twilight (where you could still navigate a barco) will last till 6:52pm, for all you mariners out there. And the best part? The absolute best part? The part that makes you want to scream with glee and jump into Lake Washington with all your clothes on? In less than three weeks, on March 13th, the clocks will inexplicably “spring” forward an hour in time. We will all effectively time travel. We will shut our eyes and when we wake up the clocks will have surged forward. The sun will set an hour later. It will be (almost) spring. Joy and hope will be in the air. And all will be well.

Slash.

Turmeric supplements.

Slash.

Carlson brand Omega-3’s.

Slash.

Whole Foods matcha latte with almond milk.

Slash.

Branch chain amino acids.

Slash.

Knee brace.

Today is day two of my training. Today I do 15 mast touches (where, hanging from the roof of my boat, I use core strength to alternate bringing my feet up to lightly tap the mast), and also some warm-up and some hanging. It’s not much. It’s not much at all. But it’s a start, and that’s what I need. Yesterday Barry and I were talking about how I should be training upper body, and I realized I’m a fool for not doing it. Yes, footwork is massive when climbing, but I don’t need to train my leg muscles. I have strong-ass legs. Strong thighs. Strong quads. Strong hamstrings. Fabulous glutes. But I could definitely use some upper body training, some hangboarding, some pullups, and eventually, campus boards. Besides, you wanna be real climber? You gotta hit the campus boards. They’re so cool. If you’re campus boarding you’re automatically kinda cool. And I wanna be cool.

Slash.

The Subi got new brakes yesterday. And to think I was thinking of buying a brand new car!!!! A 2016 or 2018 Subaru Outback. I mean, it’d be cool to have a car like that, or it’d be cool to go to your favorite mechanic, Al, and pay him 181 bucks for new rear brakes, an oil change, and an oil filter change. If I’m going to spend a lot of money on something, it’s going to be my living space. Aka an apartment or land or both. Not a car. That’s just foolish. I already have a car that’s taken me to Cali twice in the last few months and almost all the way to Mexico City. Sure, she might have a cracked frame. Everyone knows that. But she’s beautiful. And we have a relationship. We’ve stood next to each other in tough times. Surgery to repair a right front axle, etc etc etc etc

OK.

Still sunny.

Vitamin D.

Slash.

The Two V6’s I Think I Can Send by the End of Summer | Road to V5

Now, you may be asking yourself: Why are you writing a blog post about sending V6’s when you’ve only sent one V4 outdoors and haven’t sent any V5’s. And that’s a valid question. It’s an annoying question, but it’s a valid question. And the answer is that I as a boulderer you’re drawn to certain problems, and so far I haven’t found any V5’s that I’m particularly drawn to, but I have found a couple V6’s, and the two listed in the title are probably not only the two V6’s I’m most drawn to but the two V6’s I think I have the best chance of sending by the end of this summer. And not that I like these 6’s just because I think I can send them, I also like them because they’re beautiful lines. They call out to me. It’s impossible to look at these lines and not think, “Golly, that is a beautiful line. I want to get on those crimps.”

The boat was so warm this morning but now I’ve had to turn off the heater because I’m charging my laptop. I can do both at the same time but it’s kind of annoying. A lot of wires. So I’ve just turned the heat off. Plus turning the heater off might motivate me to get off the boat. And get some caffeine.

Here’s a video of local crusher Marque Benion sending Climax Control V6:

Now, I don’t think I’d use this beta. I’ve gotten about two thirds of the way up this bloc and the beta I used was quite different. This bloc doesn’t look that high, but the crux is reaching for the crimp at the top (at least I think) and once you’re up that high you’re up really high. Which means I’m really gonna need to rehab the LCL. Luckily, the landing is bomber. Perfectly flat, dirt. One thing about this bloc is that the wind tends to whip through the valley, which can make it really cold. I wish I’d seen it when it still had trees.

The second bloc I think I can send by the end of summer is the 5-Star Arete, located at the 5-Star Boulder in the Reiter Foothills. This is one of the most famous blocs in Washington, and if you haven’t been there I suggest scheduling some kind of field trip in the next couple weeks. Maybe bring a picnic lunch and some rain gear just in case it’s raining or wet and you’re not able to climb but still able to sit in the shadow of this granodiorite fantasy for a few hours gazing at its gorgeous lines. The most famous of these lines if probably the 5-Star Arete, and a must on any Washington boulderders tic list. This thing has it all, but rather than describe it just watch Lisa Chulich crush it:

Fell in love, right? With the line, you weirdo, what’d you think I was talking about. God, what a gorgeous line. This video doesn’t show the top-out though, which is definitely up there on a the spice-o-meter, especially when the rock is mossy. There’s definitely a no-fall zone. But the holds also look pretty bomber.

Of course, before I can climb V6’s I need to start stacking some V4’s, and more V3’s, and V2’s, and some V5’s. But also sometimes you just find blocs that are your style, and both of these blocs seem to be my style. I know from experience that Climax Control is my style, because I’ve already been on it. And I just have a hunch about the 5-Star Arete.

These blocs will NOT be the focus of my spring and summer once I can start climbing. Hell no. My focus is going to be climbing a shit ton, training more, eating better, meeting new people, having fun, and just building a deeper connection with the rock and nature. That’s what brings me joy, anyway. The grades don’t bring joy. I mean it’s fun af to chase them, but they don’t reliably bring joy the way just touching stone can.

If you have any suggestions about other sick V5’s and V6’s to try this spring and summer, please list them below. Keep in mind I’m located in Seattle but am basically down to boulder the entire American West, so that means places like Squamish and Bishop and maybe even RMNP are on the list.

K now it’s time to actually get caffeine. And maybe even get something to eat.

– Wetz

 

Back in the Stirrups || Road to V5

OK! I would like to welcome all the boulderers out there who have sort of been following this blog, waiting for my recovery so they can start reading about the Road to V7 again, aka Road to V5, aka Road to VB. Why Road to V7? Becuase the goal of last summer was to send V7 outdoors before the summer was over. Which didn’t happen. So then basically the blog just became Road to X (x being whatever v-grade I was currently working on). And before my LCL injury that was V5. In fact, about a week before my injury was when I sent my first V4 outdoors. Here’s the video in case you don’t watch it every day before you go to bed:

Ahhhhhhhhh, the pleasures of watching a 37 year old man climbing a lowball while huffing like a musk ox. I forgot how enjoyable that video was, the feet cutting loose every four seconds, the red Patagonia fleece that I wear (literally) every day (though I did just get a new fleece). So yeah, I climbed that boulder, which I’d been working on a long time and gotten super close tons of times and finally did it just before Xmas, and then a week later I mangled myself climbing a V3 in California. Fuck.

But today! Today, friends! Today. Today something happened. Today I ran a mile. OK. I didn’t run a mile. I jogged a mile. OK, I didn’t jog a mile, I walk-jogged a mile. My official time on today’s mile was 10:57. As you can see, this time is mildly Olympian. And there was discomfort in my knee while jogging. Plenty of discomfort. But I imagined a physical therapist sitting there talking to me saying, “As long as there’s not like SHOOTING PAIN, like as long as it doens’t hurt really bad, if it’s just some slight discomfort, then keep going. Because keep in mind your body hasn’t run in a month and a half. It’s not going to feel great.” This was the physical therapist that was talking in my head while I jogged. Let’s call him Todd. Todd drives a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek and lives in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. He’s dating a girl named Danielle (actually, they just got engaged a month ago). They own a golden doodle. Todd is also a climber, which makes him uniquely adept at giving me physical therapy advice. Danielle and Todd will get married. They’ll divorce after 15 years. Todd will move to Nebraska and become a pipe fitter. Danielle will get full custody of the kids and remarry a guy named Rick who sells used Subarus in Ballard but lives in Kent. They’ll never speak again except when coordinating seeing the kids.

After jogging my mile (which I did at Greenlake) I got a matcha latte from Milstead and then came back to my boat where I promptly injected Body Protective Compound #157 into my knee. Right by the LCL. And now I’m sitting here thinking regenerative thoughts. Not thinking about bouldering, cuz that just makes me sad. Driving back from running I had to go by SBP, and that made me sad. I want to be there so bad. I want to work there. Maybe I should drop off an application. I am actually filling out job applications now, which is weird.

So, what are the goals for this summer, bouldering-wise? Well, to be perfectly honest, right now the goal by the end of this summer is V6. I hope to send Climax Control (Ryan Problem’s) V6, and The 5-Star Arete V6. I know I can do both of these boulders. I know it deep in my soul. But I need to get healthy in order to be able to send them. Not just my knee. My shoulder. My fingers. My psyche.

OK, time to rest for a bit, let this BPC 157 take hold. Any soccer on today? Not really. One Bundesliga game, one Premier League game.

God my succulent is beautiful.

– MW

Just Nudge || Road to Recovery

Random boulders in northern New Mexico.

I am so happy to be here on the boat, sitting with a cup of a green tea, the heater caressing my shins, checking stocks, checking the sunset time, checking the weather for the next few days, and thinking about what I’d like to do with the rest of my life.

It is joyous.

Sometimes when you’re struggling or down a bit or not sure what to do next, or somehow unhappy with your current circumstances, the only thing you can do is get in your car and drive 7,000 miles. I’m kidding, of course. Sort of. Is it ironic that I needed to drive 7,000 miles to realize that I would be better off not driving anywhere at all. Unless that place is Gold Bar, WA, of course, where I will of course have to drive as soon as I can climb again. Oh, and Leavenworth. I must go to Leavy. But the climbing season hasn’t really started in Leavy yet. It won’t really start until March or April, when things stop being snowy.

The appointment with the physical therapist yesterday was incredibly fruitful. For the first time I feel truly optimistic about my recovery. My goal when I talked about this a couple weeks ago was to be climbing sometime in April. But now I might even move that up again. I think I could be back in the climbing gym in March. If I eat well, if I inject the shit out of my knee with BPC-157, and if I really go to town on rehab and physical therapy exercises, I think I could be back in the gym sometime in the next month. Which would be incredible. There is nothing I want more. But of course it will be the gym — climbing outside will have to wait longer. Climbing outside = gnarlier landings, more unpredictable landings, more unpredictable everything, really. I could go climb a yellow in the gym today. But that’s not really climbing. That’s more: Can you get up a ladder without falling? I could probably climb a green today, too. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable falling. I wouldn’t feeling comfortable being up high. I never realized until this injury how important falling is in bouldering. Generally I feel really good falling, I almost like it. I take pride in my falling. But now falling is terrifying. Somehow I will have to get my body ready to fall again, and fall hard. And from places on high.

In other news. I feel like there was other news. Oh yes, I have started implementing certain lifestyle changes that are already paying sweeping dividends. I have implemented some diet changes, and I don’t want to give too much away here but they basically involve having less caffeine, or having less of a certain kind of caffeine, and also having less sugar. And by less sugar I mean less SUGAR, less CARBS, since carbs are basically sugar. Also, I think I’m realizing that different carbs affect me differently. I ate a bunch of tortilla chips yesterday and didn’t really feel inflamed. But other kinds of carbs do make me feel inflamed. I can feel it in my knee. I desperately need to buy a blood glucose meter. AKA they sell pure oxygen canisters at Fred Meyer now.

I am trying to nudge myself in the right direction. Every day. Every day, just nudge myself a bit. Don’t push! Don’t force! Just nudge. You don’t get anything done by forcing. Whatever you force will rebound upon itself with an equal force. But if you just nudge. If you encourage. Then you can do anything. Like wake up at the same time every morning. Which is actually kinda huge.

Another cup of gree tea. Barcelona play PSG at noon. I hope Kylian Mbappe scores a hat trick but Barca still somehow destroy them. I would murder for a matcha latte right now but don’t want to leave the boat. I can’t eat Go Macro bars anymore because they have 39g of carbs. Damnit. I just finished the book News of the World and it was incredible. Now to watch the movie. The preview looks terrible.

I am sending love to you all and wish you all a wonderful day,

Wetz

Somewhere in the American West.

I Want My Knee to Heal So Bad | Road to Recovery

Since I know the majority of you come here for spanking new bouldering content, I thought I’d give you an update on my knee and my Road to V7, aka Road to V12, aka Road to V2, aka Road to Being Able to Use My Knee Again in Any Sort of Normal Capacity.

So.

I’m lying on the floor of my hotel room in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. I just iced my knee with a huge bag of ice the dude from the restaurant gave me. I debated about whether or not to tip him. Should I give him the 5 pesos in my pocket? Would that be insulting? Do you really have to tip in a hotel when anyone does anything for you? Should I just dip my knee in the pool?

Brought the ice back up to my room, lay on the floor, propped my knee up on the foam roller (I travel nowhere without my foam roller), and iced the shit out of it. Then rested it. Then iced it some more. Watched some Emma Chamberlain. Rested it. Iced the living fuck out of it. And now I’m elevating it.

This knee is so fucking frustrating. Is it just my LCL that’s partially torn? Is it getting better? If it’s getting better why doesn’t it feel like it’s getting better? Are my ACL and meniscus also kinda fucked? God I hope not.

I’ve stopped writing about bouldering because I’m not bouldering. I went to Bishop last week and just looked at boulders. I drove by some boulders leaving Hermosillo the other day and you know what? IT DIDN’T FEEL WEIRD NOT BEING ABLE TO CLIMB THEM. I’M GETTING USED TO NOT BEING ABLE TO CLIMB.

It’s terrible.

When I can climb, where do I want to go? Bishop, of course. Leavenworth. Gold Bar. Index. Joe’s Valley. Moe’s Valley. RMNP. Bishop again. Joshua Tree. Back to Bishop. Leavenworth. Bishop. Leavenworth. Bishop. Leavenworth.

Squamish.

Has anyone else partially torn their LCL in isolation? How long did it take to heal? Please leave several comments below.

I can hear the ice melting next to me.

I’m going to watch a movie on Hulu tonight and go to bed. Supposedly I’m fasting right now. We’ll see how that pans out. I think it will pan out fairly well. Tomorrow I’m driving to Mazatlan. Or maybe even beyond, to San Blas.

I want my knee to heal so bad.