Slash I’m Journaling

Monaco. 2017 (I think).

9:47am

Chilling on the boat watching Dortmund play ‘Gladbach. Just walked to QFC and got almond and coconut milk, which I’m now drinking in my earl grey. QFC is 1.7 miles away! That means I’ve already walked 3.4 miles today. Which means I get a treat. And if I don’t eat anything till 12:00 then I get another treat. Dope. Gio Reyna just drew a penalty. This earl grey is delicious.

When I got back from the boat I stretched, doing some of the mobility exercises I’ve learned from Tom Merrick. Hips are feeling pretty good. I love the foam roller. Took the theracane back yesterday which I’m stoked on. 35 bucks.

Holy shit Gio Reyna is taking a corner. Damn Jadon Sancho isn’t the top young guy anymore on Dortmund. I mean he is. He’s fucking amazing.

Going to Erica’s at 11:30am this morning to have lunch. Will be good to see Ginger. Hopefully won’t have too many carbs. Really wanna see if I have more energy after lunch if it’s a lower carb affair. Forecast looking great for Leavy tomorrow. Really wanna go bouldering. Really wanna try Dirty Dancing. Why are my wrists so crackly right now????????????

Ok time to have another cup of tea.

I’m legit slightly overweight. At least in terms of belly fat. I need to lose that so I’m not hauling that extra five pounds up the rock. OR. Even better. Turn that into muscle. What I need to focus on is my BMI. Not weight. More muscle. Less fat.

9:59am

Switching to matcha/green tea after the earl grey.

Is it warm or am I just warm from the walk? Cuz I’m chilling on the boat in just boxers and it feels so bomb. Chilled with Barold and Nate Dog at Nate Dog’s house last night. Was stoked on the movie the edge of tomorrow. God Emily Blunt is gorgeous. Rocked two snus. The burgers were amazing. Barold and Nate drank whisky.

Gio Reyna just scored. So sick. He’s 17!!!! God with Gio Reyna and pulisic and weston mckennie and tyler adams and josh sargent the USMNT is starting to look kinda sick. Though of course Berhalter will play michael bradley, who is now probably 60 years old. And felix passlack is playing. And I went to monaco once and felt so fucking cosmopolitan. God I need to get out of here.

Ok now I’m getting kinda cold.

Aka I just dribbled almond milk on my chest.

Slash why is Marco Reus not playing.

Slash why do I always think V4 is not gonna be THAT hard and then when i get there I can literally do 0 moves. What am i gonna do today? I need to do something sick. Start my new novel. start the second draft of the Dan’s Perfect Life novel. DONT WORRY ABOUT MOVING THE PLOT FORWARD. That will happen on its own. just worry about having fun. holy shit crystal palace is beating Man U. God i loveMarcus Rashford.

Need to write a thank you to B and K and the kids.

Get tarp (two tarps since one is gonna cover the boom. Clear vinyl windows?????? The reason I’m experimenting with this journal style of blog today is because I wanna figure out what works.

How sick would it be to be a 17 year old English kid playing the Bundesliga right now. Slash why is unemployment not giving me benefits. Slash why is the US becoming a third world country. Nothing works anymore. This is Russia. We’re fucked. Roads are crumbling. Corruption is rife. Inequality is insane right now. All anyone cares about is money. Fucking money.

Ok i really need to take a break from the computer.

Ok goals for climbing tomorrow if we go to Leavy:

Re-send I Heart Jugs?
Try Dirty Dancing, Pretty Girl, and at least a couple other v4’s. The RealTthing???? looks so fucking hard. Check out Clamshell Cave and Barney’s Rubble.

Party.

A Modified Bouldering Goal | R2V7 #23

camp serene boulder aka zeke's boulder
Zeke’s Boulder aka The Camp Serene Boulder. Gold Bar, WA.

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.”

“Jesus.”

“I know.”

“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…”

“Bishop?”

“God no. Red Rocks.”

“Cool.”

“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!

– Wetz

A Boring Post

Today’s post is going to be boring. Do not get excited. Nothing is going to happen. I’m going to talk about the following things for 500 to 1000 words: what I’m doing right now; my day yesterday (I did nothing); my day today (I’m not doing anything).

Let’s dive right in.

A fireplace to my right. Windows in front of me. The buzz of my parents ancient globe caller ID coming from the kitchen. The sound of the fridge. Other than that it’s completely silent. A cup of tea to my left. Black tea. The scraping sound it makes as I pull it off the coaster and then the clinking sound it makes after I take a sip and put it back on.

The stillness outside. The fog or smoke. It’s hard to tell the difference. Just the still of everything. When I’m on my boat nothing is ever still. The boat is always moving. There’s always a creak of bumper against fiberglass. The groan of a line. The sound of seagulls or crows on the boathouse next door, their talons scraping against the sheet metal. The sound of distant traffic or a train or the lockmaster coming over the loudspeaker telling someone they’re incompetent. But here it’s not just the silence, because things are pretty silent. It’s the stillness. The floor not moving beneath me. No sounds in the house. The plants outside not moving. You could be forgiven for thinking time wasn’t advancing at all.

It’s a wonderful feeling.

I got up this morning at 8am. Walrused in bed for a bit then made my way downstairs where I prepared black tea with heavy cream. Had that and then listened to classical music. Had another cup of tea. Had a handful of nuts to make sure something was in my stomach to make sure the tea didn’t make me nauseous. Moved to the piano room where I worked on Chopin’s posthumous nocturne in C sharp. Played it pretty much all the way through. Worked the parts that have been giving me trouble. I find so many similarities between working a boulder problem and working on a piano piece. The individual stanzas are the moves and eventually you string them all the way together and send it, and it’s a very personal, satisfying feeling. No one to impress. This is why I like bouldering alone. No one to impress. I dont like filming either because it takes away from the purity of it. But I do like the grades! And the guidebook! That probably somehow makes it less pure, too, but I don’t care. Sometime I’ll try bouldering without a guidebook. Just finding shit that looks fun to climb and then doing it.

After playing the piano came to the hearth room where I’m sitting now enjoying the silence. The buzz of the caller ID machine. The sound of the ferry blasting in the distance.

Keeping an eye on the clock because I have a phone doctor’s appointment at 1230 for my shoulder. What are they going to be able to do? Hopefully they give me a referral for physical therapy. Hopefully they don’t just say, “The reason your shoulder sucks ass is because you’re getting old.” I know I’m not 23 anymore. But I also know it’s possible to be 37 and have a good shoulder. To send hard blocs. To project hard blocs. To climb almost everyday. Ive figured out how to surf everyday, I should be able to climb everyday, too. And thats all I want to do. Climb everyday. And read. And play the piano from time to time.

Yesterday I took the 2:05 ferry over from Seattle and it was crazy because you couldn’t see the ferry until it was about a hundred yards from the dock. The smoke was so thick. It stayed thick pretty much all the way through the sound and then cleared a bit once we got to the island. Supposedly it’s going to clear sometime this weekend. I don’t really notice it too much. I walked up from the ferry and said hi to my parents and then did a little rehab for my shoulder, aka strengthening exercises for my pecs which hopefully will balance out the stronger shoulder and back muscles I’m getting. My shoulder feels terrible right now but I think it’s from the deep tissue massage with the therapy cane and the foam roller more than anything. Stimulating blood flow? Maybe. I probably won’t climb unless Carolyn and I somehow do an evening Gold Bar sesh. Or I do a solo Gold Bar sesh. And then tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. So maybe not climb till Saturday? My body would love me for that.

I’m going to make another cup of tea. I love tea. I love caffeine. But not too much. I’ll probably listen to classical music and maybe do some yoga and straighten up the room I stay in when I come here. I don’t want to go back to my boat. I kind of hate my boat. I just want to disappear into the hills of Scotland and forget that things like YouTube and Facebook exist. Spend my days smelling the fresh earth and food that I’ve prepared that’s straight from my garden. And of course there’s no reason I couldn’t do that. But one thing at a time. First another cup of tea.

– W

Time for a Road Trip?

I’m wondering if it’s time for a road trip. I’m wondering if it’s time to get the hell off my boat. I’m wondering if it’s time to somehow rescue the pigeon that fell into the water this morning and is now taking refuge on a log just below our dock. I’m wondering if the roller foam I got for my shoulder/body in general will actually do anything. I wonder if my shoulder is actually going to get better. I wonder if it’s all in my head and the only reason I think my shoulder hurts is because I’m bored and I don’t focus on anything else. I’m wondering how much it would be to get a cottage on a couple acres in the Italian countryside. I’m wondering if I should make tea right now. I’m wondering if I should sell SHAK right now. I’m wondering if my waste tank is actually full and, if so, when they’re gonna come pump it out? I’m wondering if I could somehow justify getting another coffee after writing this blog post (I totally can). I wonder when I’m going to climb V4. I wonder if I’m EVER going to climb V7. I wonder if it matters.

Good morning. My name is Mark. It is September 16th (Mexican independence day!) and the smoke hasn’t cleared and by god I want it to clear but I don’t really notice it causing any health problems it’s more just the gloom. I have heard people talking about it causing coughs and headaches and sore throats and all sorts of other stuff. I’m not noticing any of this. The only thing I do notice — and very seldom — is a faint smell of campfire, for some reason usually when I’m driving. And I drive a lot. When you’re unemployed and the world is your geoduck, you do a lot of driving. You go to coffee shops. You go to bookstores. You go to the grocery store. You go bouldering. And sometimes you go surfing. All of these (see: some of these) require driving. I can’t imagine getting on the bus with my crashpad. But I have gotten on the bus with my surfboard.

WHERE WOULD I GO IF I WENT ON A ROADTRIP?????????????????????????????????

Renton. Aka Bothell. Aka Woodinville. Aka I’m not going on a road trip.

Aka I might be.

Aka what most likely is going to happen is the following: I’m going to chill on my boat this morning, I’m going to go to my parents’ house to do laundry and hang out with them and wile away the afternoon playing the piano and going for walks, I’m going to climb either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or on Saturday, and then, maybe, MAYBE, I’ll get the hell out of dodge. But I’m not entirely sure.

If you’re wondering what’s up with the above photo I’ll tell you. When I was in Ushuaia in 2016 this dude named Tomas Bradley came to stay in the hostel I was staying at and, afer chilling in the common room for a couples minutes with us drinking mate, proceeded to serenade all of us with a rendition of “Si me quieres escribir,” a Spanish civil war song. Mercedes, the woman working the reception, instantly fell in love with him. I also mostly fell in love with him. And then, when I was in Buenos Aires a few weeks later, my friend Analia and I went to see him at some bar in Palermo and I was able to get this photo with him. And drink wine. And listen to his haunting (not haunting. maybe haunting?) voice.

What does that have to do with a road trip?

Wanderlust.

And now if you’re wondering about the ABOVE photo I can tell you a few things about it. First of all, guess what country it was taken in? Swaziland? Close. But not quite. I’ll give you one more guess. No, no, it’s not Sweden. But you were very close. Norway. I was there in November of 2019. It was the last solo trip I did. The last trip where I just dropped everything and said, “I’m getting on a plane. I don’t know where I’m going (well, ok, I know what country I’m going to) and I don’t know what I’m going to do there, but I’m going to go explore.” Since the pandemic has started I’ve still done this, just on a more local scale, aka all of my bouldering expeditions. Why do I like bouldering alone so much???????? This is a topic for another post. But I will say this: I like feeling like I’m alone and at large in the world and that anything could happen. I like feeling those possibilities. They make me feel alive.

Oh, and the above photo was taken in a town called Flå, where I stayed a couple nights and went to the animal park there and had a wonderful, surreal encounter with some linxes and also got to see some huge brown bears. But mostly I chilled alone in the hotel which had an abundant breakfast and was very cozy. There’s nothing like being in a warm hotel room in a Scandinavian country when it’s snowing outside. I remember the girl from the reception. She was Polish and I was so jealous of how well she spoke Norwegian. I speak Norwegian decently. I can say, “Can I get a black tea?” which makes me 37% fluent.

Speaking of black tea.

One more photo today which MIGHT inspire me to go on a road trip, aka inspire you to go on a road trip. This was taken on the island of Chiloe in southern Chile a couple years ago. It’s a boat. It’s low tide. One time I was there with my surfboard and when the tide would come in I’d go and paddle around to keep in shape. And then one time I was rinsing my wetsuit afterwards and there was a sizeable earthquake. This was Christmas day of 2016.

Why is there so much about 2016 in this blog post?

Bro, that was like four years ago. Move on.

K I’m about done for the day. Aka I’m completely done. I’m gonna go get coffee. Aka tea. Aka lie down and not watch YouTube videos.

Si me quieres escribir, ya sabes mi paradero.

– Wetz

First Time at the Paradise Boulders | Skykomish | Road to V16

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that first sip of coffee in the morning. And by “coffee” I of course mean “earl grey tea,” and by “earl grey tea” I of course mean earl grey organic from Trader Joe’s mixed with one of their special non-dairy milks, aka almond mixed with cashew mixed with macadamia. I was hoping it would be hella creamy but it’s not. It’s KINDA creamy. Like, about as creamy as tap water, aka lake water, aka the rain water currently dripping from everywhere on the boat.

But (and check this out), the spiders are gone! I have no idea why. Actually I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the smoke. I haven’t seen a spider in several days (knock on formica), and I assume this has to do with the smoke but it could also just be hibernation season for them. Last time sometime around this time they also decided to peace out. I have no idea where they go for the winter. Maybe they get depressed. Maybe I’m starting to get depressed because of this fucking smoke that I constantly say doesn’t affect me but when you look outside your house to try to enjoy the view and all you see is everything ensconced in grey it starts to wear on you. Which is you why you need to focus your energy in other places. Like shoulder rehab. And meditating. And shoulder rehab.

The above photo is Barold crushing, no, mauling, one of the first V0 slabs we tried (Bunny Lebowski). We both flashed this and then we both flashed Red Fish V0 and were thinking, “Damn, we kinda crush. We’re probably gonna send V2 today and maybe even V3 and maybe even V8.” Which of course didn’t happen. After the slab we went up to the King of the Hill Boulder where we failed. I mean, failed as in didn’t complete any climbs (except Solaxsis V1). Not failed as in didn’t have a great time and didn’t learn a lot about ourselves and didn’t enjoy nature. Because all of those things we obviously did. Even though King of the Hill Slab felt like V3 to me because I had the beta COMPLETELY wrong, and even though I kinda felt like I cheated on Solaxsis V1 by not staying on the face the whole time, I’m still pretty good at taking positives from a session. And the positives here were I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be able to do the Unnamed V4 next to King of the Hill Slab fairly soon, and I’m pretty sure I might even be able to do Bushy Tail Traverse V5, since it might be a really soft V5.

You might be wondering (and I hope you’re wondering this), “Mark, what are you gonna do to take care of your shoulder?”

And my answer is: I’m moving to Guam.

Kidding.

Sort of.

No, my answer is: I don’t really know. I’m maybe going to make an appt with the doc today to hopefully get a physical therapy referral, I’m going to do eccentric strengthening exercises I find on YouTube, and I’m going to roll the shit out of it with a roller I hopefully get today at REI.

Ok I’m getting distracted this morning. I mean to blog and then I end up checking my email or trying to figure out how the whole unemployment thing is going. Also I probably shouldn’t be talking to people on WhatsApp.

What are my impressions of the Paradise Boulders, you might be wondering? I’ll tell you: First of all, know that the bridge at mile 5.5 up the forest road is closed, so you have to stop at 5.5 and hike up to 6.5 where the trail starts (you can see the boulders from the road once you get to 6.5). Second of all, know that this hike isn’t bad. It’s a one-mile hike up a shallow forest road, and it’s almost kind of nice to have a nice warm-up hike before the boulders. Third of all, know that this setting is absolutely stunning. I’ve never seen a more stunning talus field. Usually you see a talus field and you’re like, “Damn, that looks really unorganized and chaotic and I wish I was back down in the valley drinking an iced mocha.” But you see this talus field and you’re like, “Damn, was this place made for bouldering? Was my body made for bouldering? Am I a sculpted greek god who was put on this earth to send V7?”

And then you realize you’re actually 37 and your shoulder is failing and you spend the majority of your waking hours walking to grocery stores to buy Focusaid and googling “US canada border.”

Other impressions of the boulders: The approach is easy (after the mile hike). Quick walk down a trail, crossing a river that is super low right now, and then you’re basically there. Also, the Paradise boulders have TONS of stuff in the V0-V4 range, and at least according to one girl on sendage all these boulders with the exception of Nuclear Mutation V2 are ridiculously soft. Which is great, since it means I might be able to get my first V4 there. Also, lastly, Naughty Corner V7 is about one of the most beautiful blocs I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more striking boulder problem. It looks like Jehovah was bored up there one day in the sky and was like, “Damn, I got this new laser cutter bout to see what kind of shit I can dice,” and behold, a boulder was born. With perfect crimps and perfect aretes and a perfect landing and a perfect top out. Can’t wait to start projecting that thing. Gotta have your crimps on lock, though.

So yeah, I’m chilling on the boat right now. Drinking my earl grey. Just finishing my first cup (still in the Starbucks cup I’ve been rocking for a few days now which is starting to disintegrate) and probably gonna have a second. Maybe gonna have some fruit. Maybe gonna do some dishes. Maybe gonna start the day with my shoulder exercises aka some yoga aka some light meditation.

If anyone knows how to take care of a calathea plant please god let me know because mine is slowly dying and it breaks my sternum.

– Wetz

My Favorite Mountain Town in Mexico

There are two kinds of traveler in the world and only two kinds: the kind who go to inland Mexico, and the kind who don’t. The kind who DO go to inland Mexico one can’t say enough good things about. They’re generally intrepid explorers, kind, compassionate people who’ve spent very little time in prison. They’re the kind of people who help people because they like helping people, not because they want something in return. They generally read a lot and have high IQ’s. They do fun activities like skateboard and play the piano. They have grander aspirations than just living the rat race, working 9-9, living on a prayer.

Etc, etc.

Then you have the other kind of traveler. “Um, like, I don’t DO inland Mexico.” My friend’s mom actually said these very words to me, about 15 years ago. She actually used the word “do.” She actually used the word “Mexico.” She actually used the word “inland.” She actually ended her sentence with a period in the form of the briefest of pauses, a tiny breath of air, a moment that stood suspended in time…

And I was like —

And she was like —

And they were like —

And we were all like —

Mexico.

But that was 15 years ago. It’s not like I still think about that. It’s not like I mention it from time to time in blog posts. It’s not like I sit up at night with a little voodoo doll of my friend’s mom, pretending to parade her on backroads from Guadalajara to Tlapujahua, forcing her to take in the amazing highland culture, forcing her to sit by the shores of Lago Zirahuen whilst church bells ring in the distance and the searing sound of a fresh tortilla placed on a comal can be heard. It’s not like I resent her saying this. It’s not like I have some big chip on my shoulder regarding people who only go to super touristy places and never dare to venture off the beaten path. It’s not like I’m sitting on a sailboat right now, wearing mesh basketball shorts and drinking tea from a Starbucks cup I got three days ago, counting the minutes till Chelsea play and I can watch Our Lord and Savior Christian Pulisic slice and dice defenders from Brighton en route to a opening matchday victory. It’s not like I haven’t showered today. It’s not like a don’t have a beautiful drawing of a kingfisher in my boat, expertly framed, that totally livens up the room.

In other words, it’s not like I care.

Except I totally, deeply care. In fact, this might be one of the only things I care about.

ANWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s talk about San Sebastian del Oeste, Jalisco’s premier destination nestled in the Sierra Madre Occidental, a mist-enshrouded gem of a pueblo.

Barold and I got there after a harrowing drive on backroads from San Blas that involved hotsprings and a frightening deluge which turned the arroyos into rivers and threatened to carry our little Nissan March off into the fray. Luckily, though, we made it to the main highway that goes from Puerto Vallarta to San Sebastian, gaining thousands of feet of elevation in a matter of minutes. Because here’s the thing about San Sebastian del Oeste: It’s fucking high. But it’s also quite fucking close to Puerto Vallarta. You can get there in less than two hours.

We stayed at a place called Hotel Mansion Real, which was kind of a huge mistake. It cost about $113 dollars. The room smelled musty. The banisters in the courtyard had saran wrap on them, because Mexicans have weird ideas about sanitation and COVID. And the weirdest thing: There was a sitting room connected to the bathroom where you could look out over the mountains. Why was the sitting room in the bathroom?????? Literally the only thing we wanted the room for was to be able to gaze out over the mountains, but you don’t want a toilet next to you when you’re doing that.

Luckily, there was a terrace where we could smoke cigs. Not that we were doing that. We were drinking celery juice.

The coup de grace of the whole trip was going to a restaurant I’d always wanted to go to ever since going to SS del O two years ago: Jardin Nebulosa. The reason I hadn’t gone last time I was there was because it was apparently fancy and nice and I didn’t want to go to a place like that on my own. But this time I was with Barold, so of course we went, and of course we went all out. Aka got appetizers. Aka got multiple drinks. Aka didn’t think about the price. Aka we were the only ones dining there and it was a gorgeous night as the afternoon turned to dusk and the dusk turned to night and the little lamps in the garden became illuminated and our server gave us expert attention and was good-natured and cheery and conversed at length with us about life in San Sebastian and life in general.

We started with a spread of fresh tortilla chips covered in various kinds of insects, chapulines (grasshoppers) and some kind of larvae. Then we had lamb carnitas. Then we had dessert, texturas de maiz for me and some kind of fruit cream thing for Barry. The food was delicious and the best part? When I got home and checked my bank statement — after going all out — I’d only spent 27 dollars. Que viva Mexico, carbones (sic).

Anyway, go to San Sebastian del Oeste, or rather don’t go there because you don’t do inland Mexico. Don’t stay at Hotel Mansion Real, but rather stay at Hotel del Puente if you want something budget or Boutique Villa Nogal or Galeritas if you want something high class. But don’t stay at Masion Real. Definitely eat at Jardin Nebulosa. Definitely spend most of your time at Cafe Fortin, on the plaza, a quaint AF cafe that has great coffee drinks and cheaper fare. Definitely go to the coffee finca. Definitely don’t hike up to Cerro La Bufadora unless you like hiking god hiking is the worst fucking activity in the world it’s only cool if you’re going bouldering mother of Mary.

But like, yeah.

Go to San Sebastian del Oeste.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to sitting on my boat. How is it still four hours till Chelsea play???? What’s for breakfast, salmon with eggs? Am I having salmon with eggs for breakfast???? Am I millionaire?

The answer is yes.

– Wetz

 

 

Impressions After a Year of Living on a Boat

I live on a boat.

(…..)

That’s actually the end of this post.

OK, it’s not the end of this post. It’s the start of this post.

I live on a boat.

And I’ve lived on this boat since May, 2019.

It’s now September, 2020.

Which means I’ve lived on this boat for 1 year, 4 months, which is precisely four months longer than I ever thought I’d live on this boat.

Why would I not want to live on a boat for longer than a year?

Well, let me tell you about my boat. She’s a Catalina 27 sailboat. This means she’s approximately 27 feet long ,which sounds kinda long, but when you think about it it most of the space is taken up by the cockpit in the back or is too narrow in the bow to really be habitable. Which means the habitable part is basically a little room that’s 8 ft by 8ft. I essentially live in a jail cell, though of course I can leave this jail cell whenever I want (unless it’s dark and rainy in Seattle, which it is most of the year).

Self-steering????? Sheet to tiller? Are we experts?????

And actually the fact that I live in an 8ft by 8ft jail cell and eat gruel all day and do push-ups and dream of the outside world isn’t the worst thing about living on a boat. The worst part is that I can’t…………..(a;sldkfjadl;skfjdlskfjdslkfjdslk;fjadsklfj)….I can’t……(AJSDKFJADSKJDSKFJDSKFJDSKFJDSKFJADS)….I CAN’T STAND UP. Yes, that’s correct. There’s only one tiny, tiny space on the boat where I can fully stand up. It’s literally about one square foot, right where the hatch slides into the deck. Everywhere else on the boat I have to hunch over. And if I don’t hunch over, guess what happens??????????? I’ll give you 600 guesses. Or I’ll just tell you. If I don’t hunch over, I hit my head. Which is wonderful. There’s nothing quite like hitting your head multiple times a day. Really keeps the neurons on their toes. Really keeps YOU on your toes, and by on your toes I mean cursing and hitting shit.

Barold spots land! The southern tip of Whidbey drifts into view. First land sighting in several weeks.

So I’ve kind of started off with the bad things about living on a boat (especially a small boat), but just to recap I’ll list here ALL THE SHITTY THINGS ABOUT LIVING ON A (SMALL) BOAT:

  1. I can’t stand up straight most of the time
  2. I hit my head a lot
  3. I don’t have proper heating.
  4. Doing dishes sucks ass (because the sink is the size of a quarter)
  5. The toilet smells (I’m working on fixing this)
  6. My bed is not comfortable (I sleep on a bench seat; again, something I could potentially remedy)
  7. SPIDERS (especially in September)
  8. It’s so fucking quiet (ok, this is actually a good thing)
  9. It’s so fucking beautiful (ok now I can only think of good things, which means I’m going to talk about…)

 

THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT LIVING ON A BOAT

There are lots of good things about living on a boat. Probably the biggest is that it’s so damn peaceful. I literally live on the water. I feel like I live in a park. A couple days ago some outsiders (friends of my neighbors) came to enjoy the dock and said, “It’s a little oasis here.” And you know what? They’re right. I live in an oasis in the middle of a massive city. Besides my qualms about actually being inside the boat, I love coming back to the dock. I love watching the steam rising off the water on a fall morning. I love listening to the birds. I love listening to nothing at all beside nature (and the sound of the neighbors’ kid who screams approximately 14 hours a day).

Another wonderful thing about living on a boat is the rent aka the moorage. I pay about $433 dollars a month for rent (I own the boat but pay for the slip). Which is unheard of in Seattle. I have my own (semi) beautiful space, in a BEAUTIFUL setting, for less than a third of what most people are paying. Which means I don’t have to sell my soul to Jeff Bezos just to make ends meet.

A few other great things about living on a boat:

  1. It moves. You can take your home and sail it. You can sail to islands. You can sail to faraway lands.
  2. No yard to mow?
  3. Other people think it’s cool (ok this one actually isn’t all that great)
  4. You’re close to nature all the time.
  5. You learn more about the boating world.

 

My beautiful boat after sailing up to Bainbridge Island the day I got her.

If your’e thinking about getting a boat and living on it, I would say: Do it. Absolutely do it. But realize that it’s probably not going to be as comfortable as living in a house. Probably not even close. But I will never regret the time I spent living on a boat, and it will make me appreciate so much the conveniences of being a landlubber once I become one again. Having a washer and dryer, for instance. Having a freaking stove. Having a full-sized bed. Etc. Etc.

Etc.

What’s next for me in this great boating adventure? Will I continue to live in this cell until I die?

God, I hope not.

The plan WAS to sail down south this fall. But fall is rapidly approaching and I haven’t taken any concrete steps to making this happen. Which means one of a couple things will happen: I’ll pay moorage this winter while I escape the Seattle grey to travel and possibly live in Chile. Or I’ll sell the boat. Or I’ll… actually those last two were basically the only options.

For now I’m going to forget about my boat and go climbing. Because one of the best things about having a boat is getting the hell off it onto land.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

– Wetz

My First V3 Slab | R2V7

OK, first of all let’s talk about the elephant in the room: How ugly this blog is. The reason this blog is ugly is because I am very poor at manipulating WordPress themes and also because I have no patience or dedication when it comes to this. I should probably just fork over some money to get this blog professionally designed, or at THE VERY LEAST fork over a few shekels for a premium WordPress theme.

Any thoughts on how I can make this blog beautiful with minimum effort/money?????????????

Thanks. Appreciate it. I’ll turn the comments back on.

So yeah, yesterday was a momentous day because I finally sent Rocksteadeasy V3 near Gold Bar, a slab I’d been working on for months. It’s basically only one hard move (well, I turned it into two): getting your left or right foot high and then easing yourself up onto that foot with very little in the way of hands. I’d been trying this problem off and on for months. Usually I’d show up, warm-up with Warm-up Slab V0 once or twice (or thrice?????) and then give Rocksteadeasy a few burns just for posterity. Actually, at the beginning I’d show up and every time think: Today’s gonna be the day I fucking send this. And then I never would. And that finally turned into: Today’s gonna be the day I give this some good fuckin’ burns. And that turned into: Today’s gonna be the day I just give this some burns. See what happens.

There is so much to talk about. The fact that I felt like I kinda blacked out during the climb, such was my concentration. The fact that when I topped out I didn’t whoop or scream. I think when you work on something for so long and kind of know you can do it — it’s just a matter of time — you’re less “excited” when you finally do it. Granted, the satisfaction is still great. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a kind of euphoric daze. I walked slowly down the mountain and then for some reason parked my crash pad in the middle of the dirt road for about a half hour and almost took a nap on it. I guess I was just enjoying nature. But yeah, I didn’t freak out when I actually did the boulder problem. I was more just “quietly pleased.”

And I didn’t film it. But one day I’ll go back and I will.

Also something we need to talk about: My shoes. I GOT NEW CLIMBING SHOES!!!!!

They are currently sitting on the bench seat across from me looking like sexy little bumblebees. They are the…….(drum roll)…………………………………………………La Sportiva Mirua VS’s. Size 44. I liked them when I tried them on, and I think they were the perfect decision for a second climbing shoe. A great all-around shoe and about 8,000 times more high performance than the Scarpa Origins I’ve been rocking. They fit quite tight but I’m not screaming out with pain when I put them on. In fact, most of the time I put them on I just feel fucking stoked. Like, “I’m about to send hard.” Like, “My body is a machine.” Like, “When I drink green tea on an empty stomach I feel like I’m going to vomit.”

Things are pretty good for me right now on the climbing front. My shoulder is hanging in there, I’m stoked, I’ve been re-sending old projects/blocs and yesterday just sent a brand new one. The weather is getting better (for climbing). It’s less hot. And I’m basically just stoked in general. About climbing. And about other things. About my new shoes. About going to Mexico again in October (!). And about one day having a blog that doesn’t look like it was created by a 4th grader in computer science class.

Tomorrow’s post: An early review of my new shoes OR something else entirely!

Have a wonderful day.

– W

Beam Me Up | R2V7 #A Lot

I feel weird right now. It’s 9:12am and I’m sitting on the boat. Today the only things I’ve ingested are a Spindrift (four calories) and two small swigs of Tunisian extra virgen olive oil. And now I think I’m gonna have another Spindrift.

Yesterday I climbed and it was glorious. Why was it glorious? Because my shoulder seems to be hanging in there, because I didn’t force anything, and because I climbed a beautiful boulder that I’d only ever climbed one time in my life (Beam Me Up V2).

Well, ok, it’s not completely true that everything was unforced yesterday. Lately I’ve been forcing myself to do all kinds of shit (one second while I flush the toilet on my boat; I peed this morning when I woke up and didn’t flush it and I think I need to get some kind of treatment stuff for it because it smells inordinately bad when you don’t flush every single time [god this Spindrift is so fucking good except on the can it just says spindrift maybe I’m not supposed to capitalize the “s”]), like go running, for instance. Basically I’m just trying to do what Sam Harris said in a video I watched yestereday: Get behind myself and push. Which means I’ve been meditating more, exercising more, reading more, just doing all the shit that I kinda know makes me happy, even if I don’t really want to do it. In short, I’m becoming my own parent.

BACK TO CLIMBING. THAT IS WHAT THIS BLOG IS ABOUT. I AM A CLIMBER. Actually no, I’m a boulderer. I would never call myself a climber. Climbing means you probably use ropes and all that dumb gear and you “clip in” and need someone to belay. Bouldering just means you’re kinda badass even though the shit you’re climbing is approximately four inches off the ground.

Yesterday I: Drove to the Whole Foods at Totem Lake, where I bought a: Focusaid, a large Earl Grey with heavy cream, and a Lara Bar. Then I went to Safeway in Monroe where I: bought smoked salmon and: bought water. Then I: got in my car and started eating the smoked salmon, drove up to the parking for the boulders, parked in said parking, walked up to the boulders (taking a break on the way), stretched for a bit, climbed the V0 next to Offa My Cloud V2, then climbed Offa My Cloud V2 (I might be getting the names mixed up here), then went up to the “Warm-up Slab” and climbed Warm-up Slab V0, failed several times on Rocksteadeasy V3 and said, “Fuck it, today is unfortunately not the day for Rocksteadeasy. I’m going to check out Fern Crack V3.”

So I went to Fern Crack and got completely shut down. Like, I couldn’t even do the first move. Like, I couldn’t even hold the first hold well enough to get my feet in position to do the first move.

Which kinda sucked.

But THEN I went to The Container V2, a problem Barold and I had tried wayyyyyyyyyyyyy back in the day, and I didn’t send it but I kind of figured it out and got very close to sending it and wanted to save some strength for Beam Me Up V2.

So I went to Beam Me Up. And on the fourth try, at approximately 1:32pm, on the day of our Lord Tuesday the 8th of September, twenty twenty, I sent Beam Me Up (for the second time). And THAT got me stoked. And you know what else got me stoked yesterday (well, a lot of stuff got me stoked)? The fact that I kinda fucked up my hands. The fact that I pushed myself. I used to get kind of messed up pretty much every time I went bouldering. I used to bleed pretty much every time. And I don’t even remember the last time I bled bouldering. Like, I haven’t been pushing myself that hard. But yesterday my hands and fingers were abraded. I pushed myself. And it felt great.

And my shoulder seems to be kinda decent, too.

 

I’m About to Go Running?

I think I finally understand running. I mean, I think I finally understand why people run. Like, I never understood this in the past. Running to me is one of the most boring activities a human can do. Why run when you can play soccer, when you can plan basketball, when you can do anything else that’s 6,000 times more fun and will give you more exercise than running, anyway?

But today I finally understand, and the reason I understand is because two things have come together: I’m bored as fuck, and I want to do something about it in a healthy way. And I guess there’s a third thing: I don’t have anyone to play soccer or basketball with or do anything fun with.

AKA I’m an adult.

And when you’re an adult you don’t have that many friends, at least friends available to hang out with on the the spur of the moment. When you’re an adult you gotta, like, plan ahead, because your friends have like families and wives and stuff. “Hey, man, how does Tuesday look for you?”

“Sure, man, I could probably hang out Tuesday for like a couple hours.”

Your friend plans to hang out with you from 5pm till 630pm. Sick.

But back to running.

Back to a beautiful Sunday evening, 4:40pm, sitting on the boat and I’ve actually kinda been productive today. I wrote a little fiction this morning, I went on a walk, I did some quick sprints, I meditated, did some yoga, wrote an email I’ve been putting off. Then this afternoon I tried to buy throw pillows. I actually went to two different places, Crate & Barrel and Target, and tried to buy throw pillows. I was horribly unsuccessful. They were expensive af at C&B and lame at Target, aka semi-dirty. And then I came back to the boat and took a nap. And now I’m….about to go running? Yes, I’m about to go running. For how long? I don’t know. Five minutes? Ten minutes? It really doesn’t matter; I just want to work up a sweat.

Go running and then come back and go for a swim. Or maybe go for a swim NOW while it’s hot and then go running after. Maybe go running this evening? No, if I don’t go now I’m never go to go. Go running and then reward myself with some kind of caffeinated beverage from Whole Foods. That’s the ticket.

I will blog tomorrow about how my run went. This is a promise to you. Because I feel like it could be semi life-changing. Aka I just really want an excuse to buy beverages at Whole Foods.