Should I Get A Job? || Road to Recovery

Bit of a strange morning. Is it a strange morning? Making eggs on the boat. About to have some tea. Not Hop Tea, for a change (though I do have one in the fridge); this is Spindrift’s Half Tea & Half Lemon. Five calories, only contains carbonated water, lemon juice, and brewed black tea. As opposed to non-brewed black tea. As opposed to tea in powdered form, I guess.

Yesterday I was watching this video on the boat:

Meet Drew Ruana, crusher from (I think) Redmond who grew up climbing at Vertical World. Recently he decided to say “screw it” when it came to competitions and do more climbing outside. He then proceeded to crush almost every hard boulder in the vicinity of the Denver Area, where he currently lives. If you haven’t seen it yet check out him climbing Box Therapy V16 (!!!!!?????):

The best part of this video is undoubtedly where he stands on top of the boulder at the end yelling “Let’s go!”

ANYWAY, the reasoning I’m MENTIONING this Drew Ruana INTERVIEW is because he SAYS something in the interview that RESONATED with me (me): He said his climbing actually got BETTER from being in school and having less time to climb, since that meant when he DID have time to climb he was always full bore and super stoked.

This is exactly the situation I experienced last spring during the lockdown and also when I was working full time. BEFORE lockdown I would take the bus to SBP everyday after work and climb for a bit, and after lockdown I would VERY OCCASIONALLY make forays into the wilderness to project hard (see: easy) blocs. This was the first time I ever climbed outside. My first ever boulder outside was Car Door Traverse (the guidebook calls it a V1 but it’s definitely a V0 and in J-Tree wouldn’t even be a V0 but rather on the YDS). The trips to Gold Bar and Index and Leavenworth became a bit more frequent as the pandemic drew on, and this was also when I was at my most psyched and at my strongest. Well, I actually don’t know about most psyched (or strongest for that matter but we’ll get to that). I’ve always been pretty over the moon psyched on bouldering. But this time period was when I, for instance, hiked ALL THE WAY up to the Clearcut Boulders by Gold Bar during a downpour just to see if anything was somehow dry, took refuge under Summer Solstice V3, and even gave the first couple moves a few burns. I would never do that now. Not in a million years. Mostly because I know how far the hike is and I know that if it’s raining in the parking lot shit’s probably gonna be wet.

I guess what I’m saying is maybe I should get a job. Not to contribute to society or feel better or make money or any dumb reasons like that, but because it might make me climb harder. You see, when you have a job, it makes it all the more easy to take the all-too-hard-to-take rest days. When I’m somewhat healthy, it’s very hard for me to take rest days. Rest days feel like lost days. My Czech friend (are we still friends????? I think he had a baby. Haven’t heard from him for a while) famously said, “Rest days are part of training,” which, bless his heart, is wonderful wisdom.  Rest days are so important. Your body and tendons need time to recover. You get stronger during the rest days. But it’s also so damn hard to take them, cuz like, why rest when you could go drool over some granodiorite jewels in the East Miller River Valley or caress the handholds on a gorgeous V5 in the Icicle Canyon? Ideally I would climb every day, not long sessions, but every day. Why not? As long as you don’t push it too hard there’s no reason why you shouldn’t climb every day. But if you get a job then on your rest days you have something to do. And then when you CAN actually climb you’re so incredibly stoked.

I don’t know, friends, I’m gonna have to think about this one.

Not that I can climb right now anyway cuz the knee is still on the mend, but it’s coming along, and the physical therapist I see next week is a climber, and I’m going to threaten him — I mean, ask him, if I can start easy gym climbing soon. Just yellows and maybe some reds and the occasionally overhung, kneebar-necesitating white.

You know when you sit down to write a blog post and you completely forgot what you wanted to say? I kind of feel like that right now. I feel like there’s so much other stuff I wanted to talk about. But I guess it will have to wait till tomorrow. Until then, try hard.

– Wetz

Looking at Apartments in Leavenworth || Road to Recovery

Morning, friends! I hope everyone is doing well today. I am doing well, aka decent, aka I just got a matcha latte from Woodland Coffee with almond milk and A LITTLE BIT OF HONEY. LITTLE BIT. This must be stressed: LITTLE BIT. Except I think it was actually quite a bit.

Because it was delicious. And matcha lattes with almond milk and no sweetener are usually disgusting, unless you get them from some place like Mr. West or Iconik, in Santa Fe.

Yesterday I went to Leavenworth. I took I-90 because Stevens Pass was closed — I HATE taking I-90 to get to Leavenworth even though it’s just as fast. This is probably because I hate I-90. I don’t like Issaquah. I don’t like North Bend. I don’t want to drive through these towns. Also, I don’t appreciate having to go over TWO passes, aka Snoqualmie and Blewett. I would much rather take Highway 2 through Monroe and Sultan and Startup and Gold Bar and Index and Baring and Skykomish. And indeed, that’s what I did on the way back, because by that time Stevens was open. But on the way there I was forced to take the dreaded I-90.

The point of going to Leavenworth yesterday WAS TO LOOK AT STUDIO APARTMENTS. No, thine eyes deceive thee not. I looked at apartments yesterday in Leavenworth. And you know what??????????????? I was actually kinda stoked on them.

Were they tiny AF?

Yes.

Were they somewhat tasteless and right next to a Safeway?

Also yes.

Could I see myself living there?

Absolutely.

The apartment I was most interested in was a ground floor corner apartment. Normally I don’t like ground floor apartments, but I think that’s changed since living on the boat, since on the boat I’m so closed to the ground (water). Now it feels weird to be up high. It’s like you’re….in an apartment building. But if you’re on the ground floor it’s kinda like you’re in a house. And this apartment, since it was corner, had three windows instead of one. These rooms are basically the size of small hotel rooms. They’re tiny. But. I don’t know. Like I said, I’m kinda stoked on them.

AFTER looking at the apartments I went to get a coffee at J5. I would’ve gone to Argonaut, cuz it’s much nicer, but they were closed. So I went to the J5 right on the main drag and even though they’re not on the menu they had matcha lattes. Bonus. Plus the girl working there was super nice. And then afterward I went to the bookstore and THEY were super nice. Maybe everyone in Leavenworth is super nice. It’s a weird place because it’s so small but at the same time so touristy.

After the matcha latte I just had to, you guess it, check out some boulders. So I coaxed the groaning Subi into the Icicle Canyon and we went to check out the Fridge Boulder. The Subi waited in the parking lot, since she doesn’t really care about bouldering. I went to check out this waking dream of a boulder. The line I most wanted to look at was Fridge Center V4, since it’s a line I’d tried before. But I also looked at Fridge Left V8, and it sort of seemed doable. Some heinous slopers, but I like slopers. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground, and Fridge Center was wet. Not that I would’ve gotten on it. I would’ve wanted to. But I’m not quite ready yet.

Then I drove over Stevens Pass.

Then I stopped at the Camp Serene Boulder.

The Camp Serene boulder is one of my favorite boulders of all time. The only line I’ve done on it so far is Insanity Later V2, but I’ve tried Serenity Now V4+ about a thousand times and I’ve even given Climax Control V6 some decent go’s. Here I kind of had to pee, but I also just wanted to commune with this hulking mass of granodiorite ecstasy. I sort of got on the starting hold of Serenity Now, but even turning my foot sideways for the starting foothold kind of hurt, and I was wearing hiking shoes, and I’m just so damn out of shape. It’s gonna take a while for me to get back in shape, but desire will not be the problem. Going to the gym on a regular basis will not be a problem. Just need this ligament to heal, first.

So that was my Leavenworth outing. Full success. Saw the apartments. Could move in as early as today if I wanted to, but I’m going to think about it a little more. Since I have the boat in Seattle, I don’t feel rushed. Also, since I can’t even climb right now, I don’t feel rushed. And when I can climb I want to start in the gym first, and there’s no gym in Leavenworth. So no rush. For now it’s off to physical therapy in a little bit to see what my wonderful physical therapist has in store for me. I’m excited.

– Wetzler

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