Friends, I feel a bit strange today. I’m not sure what it is. It might be the two days of intense physical exertion I just had, or the pound of french fries I had after yesterday’s physical exertion. Either way, I feel out of it.
But anywayyyyyyyyy, I sent V5 outside the other day.
Here’s what happened:
My friend Matt and I went to the Zelda Boulders, hoping they’d be dry. The entire Skykomish Valley was socked in but JUST before we got to Index things cleared up, and Index was gloriously sunny. Right after we parked another car pulled up, driven by a guy named Jeff who was stoked and talked to us and turned out to be a crusher. We all hiked up to the boulders together, me carrying a big pad and a little pad, the most paddage I’ve ever had on my back. There’s no better way to warm up than hauling a bunch of shit on your back up a hill.
After warming up on Open Book Corner and Roof Crack, Matt made quick work of Zelda Rails V4, using the out left beta. He wasn’t super stoked on the problem. Basically moving out left quickly kind of ruins the problem, and it also makes NOT moving out left more contrived. I gave Zelda Rails one decent burn, but then we started focusing on right variation. Matt started getting close, and that inspired Jeff to put his climbing shoes on, and he pretty quickly figured out the absolute perfect beta for it and sent it easily. After he’d done so, Matt did it, too. Or maybe Matt did it first. Honestly I don’t really remember. Either way, having Jeff and Matt figure out the perfect beta, and then making some micro adjustments for it to suit me better, was huge. After trying starting with a heel up for the first move, I went back to a toe, and then finally settled on sort of a side toe scum, which proved to be best.
On one of the attempts it felt so solid, but I made a half-assed effort at the final lunge and scraped a bunch of skin off my right hand on the way down. Then it seemed like I was making negative progress, and I wanted to give up, not only because I was making negative progress but because I was in that red zone where you’re pushing things and tired and can easily get injured. But then Matt explained that sometimes you made negative progress and that doesn’t GUARANTEE you won’t make forward progress again. And then Jeff came back, and basically told me to just sit down and do it. So that’s what I did, without a ton of rest since the previous attempt. They were talking me through the entire thing, basically rooting me on and reassuring me, and it definitely helped that Jeff said, “Just look at it and go,” right before I lunged for the lip. I wasn’t really paying attention to him, but his words definitely spurred me on. And I latched the lip and that was it.
And here’s where the BEST part comes in. After sending the problem I thought I’d just sent a really cool V4 (the movement on this thing is incredible and also a new V4 would still be huge for me). But THEN, on the drive back, Matt checked Mountain Project, where it’s listed as a V5, and somehow it’s also listed as a V5 on Sendage. Honestly, I don’t really see it. It’s definitely not harder than Zelda Rails V4, but whatever, I will absolutely take it. Your first of any grade is probably going to be soft, anyway, and upon finding out I’d just sent V5 I was elated. More than anything, it was just one of the boulders with the most satisfying movement of any I’ve sent. It’s got a slight overhang, compression, slopers, heel hooks and crimps.
So that’s it. It took me over a year to go from V4 to V5, and hopefully there are more V5’s to come in the future. And V6’s. And if I really get my act together, maybe, this summer, a V7?