Stoked on Mad Meadows || ROAD TO V5

So, I’m watching this vid right now:

Before this video I had no idea who Ned Feehally was. Now I’m obsessed with him. Did you know that Ned Feehally is one of the few climbers in the world to have flashed V14? Did you know he’s also one of the co-founders of Beastmaker? Did you know I’m one of the few people who live on a 27-foot Catalina in the Greater Seattle Area to have flashed V2? Did you know any of these things?

He also just wrote a book called Beastmaking: A fingers-first approach to becoming a better climber. You can (and will, because I command it) pre-oder a signed copy right here. Prepare to spend the rest of your life climbing. Prepare to flash V14.

ANYWAY, nothing like starting off a blog post on a tanget. Because I’m not here today to talk about Ned Feehally. I’m here today to talk about climbing shoes. And Leavenworth. And Mad Meadows. And actually MOSTLY Mad Meadows, and the Sword Boulders, and sending V2, and chilling with tons of people at the boulders, and having tons of mats, and generally having a wonderful time. Because that’s what went down this last Saturday in Leavenworth. We had a mega crew, and that led to a mega sesh.

Slash I had to take it easy because I COULD NOT FALL. Aka could not fall from high up. Aka could not aggravate my back. Aka.

I think I might need to make some sausage and eggs right now.

Bear with me.

We started off on The Hueco Route V1. Keira sent. I sent. Then we went over to Barnacles V1. Keira sent. I sent. At some point during the warm-up I completely ravaged my right middle finger. Yes, the one that’s been super fucked up for a long time. Then we went UP the trail over to The Rail boulder, and started working on a V2 called The Crack. Keira sent. I sent.

BUT.

But.

BUT.

But.

(But.)

This wasn’t your ordinary V2. The first move was, like, kinda hard. I tried the heel hook beta and couldn’t do it cuz I suck at heel hooking. Kiera said, “I don’t think I’m gonna be able to do it without the throw,” and then proceeded to stick the throw, and then thrutch the shit out of the top out. I stuck the throw but wrenched the shit out of my shoulder, and thought about calling it a day (aka calling it a boulder). But then I felt inspired to see if I could do the throw without wrenching my shoulder. And I did. And I found a hold on the top out that made the top out, like, pretty darn easy, despite the guidebook calling the top out “strenuous.” And so I decided I loved the boulder, even though we were baking in the sun like geoducks at low tide, and even though I’d wrenched my shoulder, and even though I failed on the heel hook beta.

And then the Mega Crew showed up.

The crushers: B-Rad, Emi, Meli. Co-starring: Franz.

They proceeded to session the shit out of The Crack and do every kind of beta imaginable. I’m not sure why they didn’t try the V3 around the corner, The Rail, which is supposedly classic. They seemed more stoked on just doing The Crack over and over. It was rad to watch B-Rad’s heel hook methods. It inspired me to go back and do it again with the heel hooks, and just get better at heel hooking in general. Why am I so bad at it. Is it because I want so badly to be good at it? Is that it? Are the gods taunting me?

Um, so yeah.

Then we went to The Sword Boulders.

And sent a bunch of V0’s.

And maybe a V2.

And then Emi tried the dyno on The Hourglass V6 for like an hour. And by an hour I of course mean a half hour. And then it was, like, late. So we left. And went to the diner by Cole’s Corner. And I got a club sandwich and instantly regretted it. And also sort of regretted not getting a milkshake.

But GOAL ACCOMPLISHED. First goal: send a new V2. Second goal: find more V5’s to project. That goal I didn’t accomplish. I wanted to go check out Pentaphobia at Clamshell Cave or The Dihedral at the Carnival Boulders. We did none of those things. It’s hard when you have a big group. Things always take longer than you expect. You’re not gonna spend your entire day traipsing from boulder to boulder. No one likes to traipse.

She wears short skirts I wear t-shirts.

Five V points.

Didn’t hurt my back.

Stoked on The Crack V2.

Stoked on:

Photo: Adi.

 

Time to Project V5?

Ladies and gentlemen. Friends. What a beautiful day here in Seattle. What a gorgeous, mild, special fall day. Except it isn’t quite fall yet. What a beautiful, sultry, clear late summer day. A great day to be alive. A great day to drink caffeine. A great day to ride the ferry from Bainbridge Island ALL the way to Seattle, to disembark, to walk up 1st Avenue, to find your car parked on 9th and Republican in Lower Queen Anne, to drive that car to Whole Foods, to get a Hop Tea, to drink it, to be merry.

In short: Day.

(OK asshole just because you’re talking on your phone doesn’t mean you get to take off your mask).

Tomorrow I am PROBABLY going climbing at the Sasquatch Boulders. If I do go, I have several goals: 1) Send Where the Wild Things Go. 2) Send Goosebumps V2. 3) Check out Sun Sail V3. And 4) Check out The Network V5, Dreamscape V7, and Yin Yang V7. Because it’s time to start projecting harder blocs. It’s time to OFFICIALLY start projecting a V5, which means I need to first FIND that V5, which means I need to go to a bunch of different V5’s and caress the starting holds and look at the line and think, Do I see myself climbing this? I’ve now sent three V4’s, and thus think it appropriate to start projecting a V5 or harder. It’s all about finding problems that inspire you. The sight of them can inspire you, or the movement can inspire you. Or even just the grade can inspire you. But it’s hard to get psyched about something — to get obsessed with something — if it doesn’t inspire you.

Slash.

Is the ferry arriving?

Why yes, turns out it is:

Well, that means it’s time for me to skedaddle. It means it’s time for me to take a long walk. It means it’s time for me to get some caffeine (Whole Foods on Westlake or Whole Foods in Interbay??????). Or do I just go to REI right now and try on climbing shoes for the fourth time?

Fare thee well, friends! We shall talk soon.

 

Sport Climbing at Marymoor Park

It turns out after my try hard day last Monday my body needs a break. I know what you’re thinking: real climbers don’t take breaks. Real climbers fall asleep with one hand on a quarter pad crimp. So maybe I’m just not a real climber. Cut me a little slack.

Speaking of taking breaks, yesterday I went…..sport climbing. Yes, you read that correctly. I actually went sport climbing, and led my first ever pitch. I had always heard leading was cool, and that it was significantly harder than top roping. And I would say this: the coolness factor somehow makes up for the difficulty/danger factor. What I mean is, when you lead you feel like you’re actually climbing, like you’re the one doing the work, making the progress. But when you toprope you feel that the goal has already been accomplished, and not by you. You feel as if everything has already been done, and you’re blazing no new ground. Also, I loved the first few feet before you get to the first bolt on lead, because then you’re bouldering. And actually, the climbing BETWEEN all the bolts felt like bouldering, too. So it’s like every bolt you get to you get to momentarily feel completely secure, and then between the bolts there’s a bit of thrill. Whereas with top rope there’s no real thrill at all. Or rather, there is a thrill, but it’s an empty thrill.

Either way I had a great time, and was really happy to lead for the first time. Now I just have to take it to real rock, since we were at Marymoor Park.

IN OTHER NEWS, I think I finally figured out what shoe I’m gonna get. The Tenaya Mastia. Or the Tenaya Oasi. Or the Tenaya Iati. Or the Tenaya Mundaka. Slash I have NO idea what show I’m going to get, I just know it’s gonna be Tenaya. I think — THINK — it’s gonna be the Mastia, since it’s only sale on Backcountry.com and it’s also got the raddest heel of the the Tenaya shoes and is a little more rigid than the Mundaka. It’s also supposedly just the next step in the Tenaya evolution, and also Jimmy Webb wears them when he sends Lucid Dreaming V15, so like, I should probably get them, right? I mean if Jimmy Webb can send V15 in Bishop in them then I’ll probably have no problem sending Ketron Classic V4 when I go to Bishop next time. This logic is fullproof. In fact, maybe I’ll even send my first V5 in Mastias. Wouldn’t that be something? Maybe I’ll send The Pearl in Red Rocks, or Pentaphobia in Leavenworth. Or maybe I’ll become a sport climbing machine.

Slash my back hurts and my hip flexors hurt and I don’t know what to do about it.

I think today’s post may be a bit on the short side, since I don’t really have much else to talk about.

When will I go bouldering again? Back and body permitting, probably next Wednesday. Temps are looking good for the Skykomish Valley. I don’t really have any projects I’m super jazzed on trying now that I’ve done Zelda Rails V4. Usually it takes awhile to find the next project. What I would like to do is just go send a bunch of easy routes and maybe send something a little harder, like a V3. A new V3, though. I would love to send The Jewel V3, at the River Boulders, but you need two pads for that. I guess I could always rent a pad from REI, though that seems a little kooky for some reason.

OK time to do some activities I’ve been putting off and possibly go swimming for the third time today.

– MW

My Supple Bod (and other thoughts)

OK, Where’s Wetzler blog post, take two. The first take did not feel good. I haven’t been super confident in my writing lately, but I also haven’t cared that much, either. As long as the goal is MOSTLY to have fun writing, and only secondarily to make it good, this blog is sustainable. But if the goal is ANYTHING ELSE — readership, views, to write “effective” articles — then I can’t do it for very long. I burn out. Let’s face it: I’m going to blog from now until the end of time. Even if I’m never “successful.” I’ve accepted this. Blogging for me is like going on your morning run is for you, or doing your morning yoga, or whatever the hell it is you sickos do in the morning.

That out of the way, I’d like to talk about a few things today, in no particular order (though in this exact order): my body, climbing shoes, my sesh yesterday, the possible sesh tomorrow, and whatever else comes to mind.

First things first: my sweet, supple, 38 year old bod. This is, contrary to popular belief, the only body I got, and probably the only body I’ll ever have. For most of my life I haven’t really focused on “treating my body right,” whatever that entails. Ironically (or perhaps just logically), you don’t really think about treating your body right until things start to go wrong. And boy, have things started to go wrong lately. Basically since I started bouldering things have started to go wrong. Right now the following body parts hurt: my wrist (particularly frustrating since I can’t pinpoint the cause), my fingers (especially my right middle), and my back (Oxford comma woo woo). My back I think I’ve got figured out: I’ve been doing yoga every day lately, and the up dog followed by falling from great heights to my feet at the bouldering gym (coupled with old back ailments, of course) is I think what’s caused it. The finger is pretty easy: I first hurt it pulling as hard as I could laying back on either Mr Smooth V7 or River Slab V3 at the Index River Boulders where I felt a sort of “giving” sensation. Ever since then I haven’t been able to close it all the way and it’s just felt kinda gnarly. But as long as I don’t push it too hard it doesn’t really give me too many problems. Lastly, there’s my wrist. It’s hurt for a few days now. Certain movements and rotations are particularly dastardly. And I have no idea what caused it. Could it have been the golf from the other day? Possibly. Is it getting better? Doesn’t seeem to be. Frowny face.

Luckily, I have some strategies for getting my sensuous, nearly-middle-aged-man-bod back on track:

  1. Diet

That whole attitude I had in Europe like, “Oh, I can eat whatever I want and it actually doesn’t make that big a difference”? Yeah, that was wrong. Turns out it makes a MASSIVE difference, it just took a while for the bad diet to catch up with me. After a month I felt like garbage. Now I still try to listen to what my body wants, but I nudge it in a healthier direction. I try to cut down on wheat and grains in general, since that seems to help. I try to do a little bit of intermittent fasting.

2. Yoga

I think the yoga is a good thing. Just have to take it easy on the back and in general. But yeah, I think it’s a good thing.

3. Climb less

This is a tough one, but instead of going one day on one day off I think I might need to mostly go one day on two days off, with the OCCASIONAL one day one day off. This translates to climbing about 3 times a week, which honestly is kind of a bummer. But I want to be able to try hard. And after going balls to the formica the other day at Index, for example, sending my third ever V4, I was barely able to climb yesterday after one day of rest. So yeah, might neeed to rethink the strategy. Especially since that’s what Ashima Shiraishi does.

OK, now let’s talk about climbing shoes. Last post I talked about how I went to REI to try on climbing shoes since A) La Sportiva shoes are 25% off there and B) my Miuras are just about done. I REALLY want the Solutions to be the right shoe for me, mostly so I can be like Nalle Hukkataival and possibly speak Finnish, but I just don’t think they are. But I’ve also never really thought the Miuras were, even though they were a great second shoe. After more puzzling and more research, I’ve decided I’m going to go BACK to REI today to try on the Theories and the Otakis. And let me just say the following: I think the Otakis are going to be it. Why? well, they basically have the same heel as the Solutions, but apparently they don’t ride up as high and ravage the achilles tendon. This is critical. Also, apparently they edge like a slightly damp dream, which is good for me since most of the stuff I climb is vertical. As much as I would LOVE to be a Solutions guy, I don’t know if I can hack the heel. So maybe I’ll be an Otaki guy. Hopefully today I find out.

Slash my wrist is hurting just typing this please God help me.

Um, what else were we going to talk about. Oh yeah: sesh yesterday: terrible. I got shut down by a purple. I felt weak.

Sesh tomorrow: might go rope climbing with my friend Wyatt. Basically, lead some easy stuff and maybe just learn the — not even gonna say it — better.

Lastly, whatever else comes to mind. I’ve just had two matcha lattes. My back hurts. It’s cold in the apartment where I am. I think I might just go to REI right this minute instead of waiting around any longer. And oh yeah! The USMNT plays El Salvador tonight in the first World Cup 2022 qualifier. Are you going to watch? Because you’re not a real American if you don’t.

Hope you all have a wonderful day and send something beautiful.

Sincerely,

Mark Thomas Wetzler

Trying on Climbing Shoes and My Third V4

So much to talk about tonight. So. Much. To talk. About. First of all: What is this insane pain in my wrist? Ever since playing golf the other day it feels like my wrist is half broken. Like, when I do certain movements it reminds me of when I broke my scaphoid. It’s a terrible feeling. And I have no idea what it is.

Next order of business: I’m drinking an “Organic Sparkling Yerba Mate Beverage” from Trader Joe’s right now, with “Hibiscus & Citrus Flavors.” Sixty milligrams of caffeine. I know, a little dangerous to be drinking at 8pm, but then I’m a wildman. I’m hoping to fast 16 hours from whenever I stop eating tonight till tomorrow afternoon. My hopes are high, since I was able to complete my 24 hour fast last week. I feel like I can do anything now, at least when it comes to not consuming food.

I WENT TO REI TO TRY ON CLIMBING SHOES TODAY. Yes, you read that correctly: I went to REI to try on climbing shoes this evening. Just a couple hours ago. The takeaways? The Solutions feel so damn good but they ravage my achilles tendon. I think I MIGHT be able to pull them off if only wear them for a little bit at first until they’re broken in. Maybe. Or maybe not. I LOVED the sock-like feel they have, and I loved the toe box. I noticed a massive difference between size 44 and 43.5, though. I was swimming in the 44’s and edging felt terrible, and the 43.5’s were a little too snug but edged like a dream. And also ravaged my achilles.

I also tried on the Skwama’s and didn’t like them.

And didn’t try on the Theories.

Honesly, I just wanna get the Solutions, but I’m worried about my achilles. I will lose sleep over this.

Aka mate.

Fuck I have to do yoga today still and I really don’t want to. I think it’s something like 17 minutes of hatha yoga. I don’t know what hatha yoga is. I think it’s all the yoga we’ve been doing. Today is day 14. Fourteen days straight of yoga. I feel good and can’t stop now. Slash my wrist feels terrible.

OK, so I guess we should talk about the elephant in the room. The big, beautiful, chalk-covered elephant. Yesterday was a bit of a landmark day for me climbing-wise in that I sent my third ever V4 outdoors. If you recall, my first V4 outside was Toto in Leavenworth in December of 2020, followed by Dirty Dancing (also in Leavenworth) in May of 2021, and yesterday, during my fourth session on the problem, I sent Zelda Rails V4 at the infamous Zelda Boulders in Index, Washington. Conditions were perfect. It was somehow dry. It was cold and somewhat windy. It was actually quite similar to the conditions in which I sent Dirty Dancing, though for Dirty Dancing it was even colder and windier and earlier in the morning and I was completely jacked out of my mind on an americano from everyone and their great aunt’s favorite cafe in Leavenworth: Argonaut. I’ll probably dedicate an entire post to the experience in a few days down the road but let me just say that this was the closest I’ve ever walked the line on a boulder between falling off and staying on. And when I topped out I experienced something similar to what I experienced with Dirty Dancing, i.e. overwhelming emotions and the desire to just sit in the fetal position and tremble. It also taught me a TON about projecting boulders, and hopefully I internalize it aka actually learn it. But again, I’ll probably go into this more in depth down the road a bit. Or maybe not. But probably.

As for tonight, I have to do this damn yoga. And I have my heater on. Jesus, I have my heater on. It’s getting colder. But what am I complaining about? That means fall climbing season is just getting started. And I have so many plans for fall climbing season. I want to project, amongst others, the following boulders: Obesity V7, Alfalfa or Spanky V5, Chubby Fairy V4, Twisted Tree V4, Pentaphobia V5, Piano Man V5, Miller Light V5, Diamond Engagement V6, and so, so, so, so (so) many others.

But for now it’s time to a little bit more and then stop eating. And do this damn yoga.