My Second V4 (Dirty Dancing, Leavenworth) || ROAD TO ACTUAL V5 LET’S GO

Hello friends,

And welcome to Where’s Wetzler, the internet’s premier website for “How to Boulder V5,” or how to not boulder V5, or how to get injured doing stupid shit like the other day when I injured my hip flexor trying a V5 dyno that was, well, pretty dumb.

I was at Leavenworth with a solid crew and we were at Barney’s Rubble in the alcove area and there were all those dumb V3’s and that one V3 that becomes a V5 if you dyno and Pablo, this semi-crusher I was with, was getting close, and I was sort of getting close and at one point I specifically remember thinking: OK, my body is done, and then I give it another go and feel my hip crunch and by the next morning couldn’t lift my leg out of my car without using my hand.

So.

Sick.

HOWEVER, despite having a hip that felt like shit I got up at 5:30am the next morning, couldn’t get back to sleep, and drove to The Washout where I was determined to try Dirty Dancing V4 if my body would allow it. To give you an idea of how determined I was let me say two things: 1) I was pretty injured, and 2) I got coffee. Why is the coffee significant? Well, because I don’t usually drink coffee. Coffee makes me insane. Coffee makes me less moral. Coffee also makes me have emotional crises. But, BUT!, one of my biggest sends ever came after waking up really early, driving to Leavenworth, and getting coffee, and the morning I wanted to try Dirty Dancing it just felt right. Coffee has been shown in studies to boost athletic performance, and I’ve certainly felt that. You feel invincible, or at least less scared, or at least like you can do more than normal. And being injured, I knew I needed every edge (pun intended given the nature of Dirty Dancing) I could get.

ANYWAY, I warmed up on Unknown V2 at The Washout, called Slam Dunk on Mountain Project, and that was fun, though I didn’t do the problem. I couldn’t quite grip the crimp just below the lip, and I also didn’t want to. I just wanted to pull on some damn stone, get the shoulders going, get the fingers going. I also did some jumping jacks. And once I was more or less warmed up I said to myself, “I’m just going to see if I can establish on the boulder. Like, I’m just going to see if I can hold myself on the wall.”

Establishing on Dirty Dancing is not easy. You either have to use a weird undercling or a high right hand and a terrible left hand crimp. But! I did establish, and then I decided to just try and see if I could bring my left foot up to the first dish, since lifting my left leg was what hurt my hip flexor.

And I was able to do that, too.

Now I was really established.

Next step, bring the right foot up to a small edge.

Reposition the hands.

Bring the left foot up.

Reposition the hands again.

Oh god, you’re getting close to the good holds now.

Bring the right foot up. Look for an edge. How did I never see that edge before? Put the right foot on it. Stand up. Now look for the good hands. There they are! Oh god, now just to get my feet up.

And I thrutch and squirm a bit and the next thing I know I’m sitting at the top of the boulder with my head between my knees feeling a bit emotional.

I’ve just sent my second V4.

I was able to enjoy the ride back to Seattle despite the ailing state of my hip. I basked in my send. I put a snus in. I watched as the clouds became thicker and darker as we (the Subee and I) approached Steven’s Pass. It started raining just before we crested Steven’s pass and despite the clouds I was able to look out over the Skykomish Valley and experience some more emotion, almost equal parts foreboding, optimism, and melancholy, but in a good way, if you can imagine that, and then we descended the curving road to 2600 feet, 1800 feet, 1600 feet, 1000 feet. When I got back to where my boat is moored in Seattle I screamed as I tried to get my leg out of the car and realized I definitely needed to use my hand to assist it every time. Now, almost a week later, I’m still using my hand, but I could probably do it without. I just got a book called A Guide to Better Movement by Seattleite Todd Hargrove and he says to NEVER MOVE INTO PAIN. Like, never make something hurt on purpose, just to test it. And I’ve gotten into a bad habit of this because I always want to test injuries and ask: Has it gotten better? Has it gotten better? Even though constantly testing it can just reinforce to your nervous system that, yes, you have pain in that area. Pain can become a habit, and you don’t want that habit.

Or at least I don’t.

So, last weekend involved a conflicted couple of days. On the one hand I injured myself (though not terribly, I don’t think), and on the other hand I sent something that meant a lot to me. I experienced that mystical experience of being alone, in the forest, climbing on granite, moving up, up, up, not as if being pulled by some invisible cord toward the sky, as some have described it, but more as if each time I moved my feet up the entire world beneath them disappeared, and the only thing that existed was where I was and the rock above me, until eventually there was no rock above me and I was sitting on the top. In other words, at one point I knew I was fairly high and probably not above my crash pad, but it was almost as if that world didn’t exist.

It was a wonderful feeling, and exactly the reason I boulder. It is an experience unlike any I’ve had in any other discipline. And even though I’ve just kind of tried, trying to describe it would be folly.

Private Lessons, First Sprints (oh, and first burns on Zelda Rails V4) || R2V5

I just went to the track and did my first sprinting since hurting my knee. It felt good to fly around the track. And then I helped a girl try to find her key that she lost while working out (specifically while doing abdominal exercies; the most notorious exercises for key loss). However, none of us found it. But it was nice to come together for a common cause, or at least it was nice for me, I have no idea if it was nice for her. God, I wanted to find that key.

But sprinting! Sprinting! Sprinting is one of my favorite activities, and one that I’ve been reticent to do since hurting my knee, since your body is basically going full tilt. But as humans we’re MADE to sprint, and we should be sprinting often. Never jog; if you jog you’re an asshole. But sprint often. Basically our ancestors spent HUGE amounts of time walking, foraging, etc, and then every once in awhile A) Running for their lives, or B) Running to take something else’s life. So walk a lot. And every once in awhile sprint. If you want to feel amazing.

In ACTUAL CLIMBING NEWS, I started taking private classes at Vertical World yesterday. Yesterday I climbed twice: once in the early afternoon for my lesson, and once in the evening with homies. The lesson went….not that well. It felt very unstructured, I didn’t feel that strong, and I just felt like a bunch of information was getting thrown at me, none of it hugely useful, and at the same time like NO information was getting absorbed. Like, it sort of felt like when you’re climbing with your way stronger friend who’s actually not you’re friend and you’re kind of nervous around. Like, you still learn stuff, but it’s kind of weird.

HOWEVER, that’s exactly the reason I paid for five lessons up front. It’s probably going to take awhile for the instructor and I to feel comfortable around each other. It’s going to take awhile for him to figure out a plan for me, or for me to demand that a plan be figured out for me. Cuz I think that’s what I want, a training plan. Like, I want a plan to get me to V7, aka V6, aka V5 — aka I still haven’t climbed V3 since coming back from injury but that’s more for lack of tryhing than not being able to do it. I have a thing where I basically only want to try things at my limit. This is something I should examine, because if I weren’t grade chasing as much I’d probably do more volume, and do more climbs just because they’re interesting. And that’s how you get better, really. When you’re having fun and climbing a ton.

Anyway.

As far as gym climbing goes I feel stronger than ever. When I’m feeling strong I usually send at least one new black and make progress on a blue. And when I feel less strong I usually send one or more new orange and make progress on a black. Blues no longer seem as intimidating as they once did. Did I say this in the last blog? I have the memory of a fish. Which I ironically just tried to fix by eating a tin of lightly smoked sardines.

Slash I had mate for breakfast this morning. And it was delicious.

And I also fasted for 15 hours today. Which was bomb.

And….

Finally, I MIGHT be climbing outside tomorrow, and if I don’t I’ll DEFINITELY be climbing outside on Sunday. And maybe even make it all the way to the storied town of Leavenworth on Sunday, where maybe I could FINALLY put down my Dirty Dancing V4 project, and maybe attempt some of my first V5’s (Pentaphobia and Alfalfa vs. Spanky amongst others). Either way, this is the time of year for Leavenworth. In a month it’ll be way too hot, and there won’t be any point in crossing the mountains, unless it’s to climb at night or unless we get a cold spell (which now that I think about it does happen quite a bit in June). It’s time to start on some new projects. And it’s time to get psyched.

Speaking of new projects, how could I forget????? I tried Zelda Rails V4 for the first time last weekend, and I felt like it almost went down! I could do the first few moves, and I could do the last few moves. But I couldn’t do the crux, which was getting to the good left hand crimp at the lip. However, since then I’ve thought about it a lot and I’ve also watched a bunch of videos, so if I’m feeling strong next sesh I think there’s a good chance it could go.

Road to V5!

Aka The Road to Index.

Aka I might need to take a nap right now.

 

On the Road Again || Road to V5

And………….we’re back.

Been awhile, right?

I’ve been working on another project, but I think I’m going to take this weekend off from that project, and also I’ve got a lot to talk about concerning my knee recovery and also the Road to V5, hence this blog. So fasten you’re (sic) seatbelts, or just your regular belts, and make sure you’re sitting down.

The first order of business I would like to discuss is that I will now officially restart the “Road to” series. Before I hurt myself it was Road to V5, and then it was Road to Recovery, and then I didn’t blog for a month, and now it’s Road to V5 again. Since for a few months I wasn’t sure exactly when I’d be able to start climbing again, and then wasn’t sure how HARD I’d be able to start climbing once I started again, I was hesitant to just pick up again with the Road to V5. I wasn’t sure if it would take me months and months just to get back to the point where V5 started seeming remotely feasible again. But now that I’ve climbed like five times outside again, I’d say it’s completely feasible (and maybe even probable).

Second order of business, I’m climbing harder in the gym than I’ve ever climbed before, sending more blacks than before, and also starting to send blues (aka one blue). Blues no longer seem like stoppers to me; they no longer seem impossible. I’ve even started to look at pinks a bit, though whites are still a ways off.

Also, I’m going to be taking private classes at Vertical World.

Also, I’m probably going to Leavenworth tomorrow.

(Also, I think one day I’ll send Kombucha V7, a line at the 5-Star Boulder in Gold Bar I’d never looked at before but actually seems fairly doable (the stopper move seems to be the first shouldery move out left).)

The third order of business is that my body is FINALLY starting to show signs of adujusting to consistent climbing. Take the last two days, for example. I climbed the last two days in the gym. I climbed pretty hard on Thursday, and not that hard yesterday (mostly because I couldn’t). And today, I don’t feel THAT WRECKED. Like, if I had climbed two days in a row a month ago the next day my knees would feel wrecked, my shoulder would feel wrecked, and my finger would feel wrecked. And today my finger feels a tiny bit wrecked, my right knee feels a bit wonky, and that’s about it. Climbing tomorrow doesn’t even seem like it’d be pushing that hard. Which is why I might go to Leavy or at least Gold Bar.

On a similar note, the fourth order of business is that my mentality has changed quite a bit when it comes to bouldering. This injury has changed me in many ways. I used to go to the gym and just throw myself at problems, getting quite frustrated. But now I’m more methodical, not only because I want to treat my body better but because I want a better chance of success. I stand at the bottom of a boulder. I look at it. I imagine myself climbing it; I suss out the beta. And if it looks somewhat doable I’ll get on it, at least to try the first move or two. Another thing I’ve also been doing at the gym is learning boulder problems in two parts, getting the first sequence and then making sure I can top it out and then linking it together. I never used to do that. Maybe I’m maturing.

Basically, the biggest thing I have in mind is: “I want to be able to boulder tomorrow.” And so I do whatever it takes to make that happen. I don’t push myself too hard. I can usually tell when my body is done. And I’ve gotten a lot better at listening to it.

The last order of business, the fifth order, is: What about V5’s? Well, that’s a good question. I haven’t really gotten on any hard outdoor blocs since I’ve been better. I’m mostly trying to resend old V1’s and V2’s and V3’s. However, I feel some V5 attempts coming soon, namely on Stinking Slopers and Gates of Fire in Gold Bar, Pentaphobia and Alfalfa vs. Spanky in Leavenworth, and a host of others. It’s all about finding something fun to project, something that suits my style or that I can become obsessed with. Something inspiring.

So what do you think? I’m one crazy, mature guy, right? Probably not. But I’m super excited to climb this spring and summer. And hope you’re excited too. And hope we see each other out there soon and stack some pads.

– Mark

Kind of Hungry, All of the Time

I think I’ve figured out the perfect diet: You just wanna be kind of hungry — all of the time. At least during the day. You definitely want to be kind of hungry during the day. Because here’s what most people do: They eat a big, carb heavy lunch, and then they spend the rest of the day chasing the dragon like a goddamn drug addict. Caffeine. More carbs. Sugar. Anything to get them back to normal! This was me, my friends. I was this person. I would eat a big lunch, maybe a Chipotle burrito, maybe a Chipotle burrito bowl, maybe a sandwich, maybe some sushi, thinking I was “healthy,” and I kind of WAS healthy, but then I’d spend the rest of the day fighting a losing battle.

Solution: Just be kind of hungry, all of the time.

How do you do that?

Don’t eat too many carbs.

It’s not rocket science. It’s not even the kind of science you’d use to make one of those baking soda and vinegar volacanoes. It’s just: How do I feel when I eat this? OK, now how do I feel when I eat that? Yesterday was a perfect example. Yesterday, despite my best intentions, turned into a “carb loading day.” I did not plan for this to happen. I was just listening to my body, and my body was saying: Put some fucking rocket fuel in me, Mark, I’m trying to blast off. So I had some veggie crisps with guacamole dip, and about 30 minutes later the tiredness set in. I spent the rest of the day chasing the dragon, its tail always just in front of me. I went to Cafe Fiore at about 4pm and I got a fucking ALMOND MILK LATTE. That’s how desperate I was. And it sort of worked, if it weren’t for the near emotional breakdown it caused about two hours later (I have a rule: Never buy airline tickets when I’m super caffeinated. So I didn’t buy airline tickets yesterday, but I did schedule a COVID vaccine. I had to do SOMETHING).

Fast forward to today, when I’ve been more vigilant about my midday carb intake. A little bit of coconut cream in the morning with my tea (trying to get away from dairy): 1 gram net carbs. An Urban Remedy matcha bar and a hop tea before physical therapy: 6g net carbs. Then, after physical therapy, “splurging,” a FocusAid by LifeAid, 9g of carbs but so much other bomb shit in it, like Alpha GPC and a slew of other nootropics guaranteed to make my spirits high and my neurons sizzle. Then, back at home, a tin of tuna mixed with harissa sauce, celery and onion. Maybe like 2-4 g carbs (I’ll have to look up the onion). So so far today I’ve had about 20g of net carbs, it’s 2pm, and I feel great. I don’t feel tired. I don’t feel sluggish. I don’t feel like the only thing I want to do is lie down. In fact, the only thing I want to do right now is drink another cup of tea and take my sister’s dog — aka the love of my life — for a walk. And then maybe come back and eat some more tuna.

Just be kind of hungry, all of the time.

Why do you think dogs have so much energy all the time? Because dogs aren’t kind of hungry, all the time — dogs are super hungry, all the time. My sister’s dog just ate and already she’s looking at me like, “You are a terrible owner. You are starving me. This is abuse.”

Dogs don’t count carbs. We count their carbs for them (unless you’re one of those asshole owners who overfeeds and never exercises your dog and your dog is obese, but I’m not really talking about you. You’re bound for hell, anyway.)

I’m not going to be one of those assholes who says to NEVER eat carbs, all I’m saying is that you’re probably eating too much of them. I challenge you, for one day, to keep track of your net carbs. Not even to limit them! Just to keep track of them. And then keep in mind according to some people the sweet spot for weight maintenance is between 100-150g a day (depending on body type, activity level, the strength of the kroner, etc). I would be surprised if you’re not surprised with the number you come up with at the end of the day. Write it down. “XXX” grams net carbs. Now stare at the number for a moment. Don’t be afraid of it. And then, “How could I have cut down those carbs a bit?” Maybe substitute the tortilla chips for some celery sticks. Maybe substitute the apple with peanut butter for celery with peanut butter. Maybe just substitute everything you eat for celery sticks, since celery has about 0g net carbs (celery has just as much fiber as it does carbs).

In conclusion, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, I’m just another dude like you who wants to feel good. And my experiments lately with trying to eat about 100g of net carbs today have led me to these findings. Maybe they’ll work for you, maybe they won’t. Except they probably will. They’ll especially work when you stop eating hamburgers and start eating more celery sticks. And when you’re just kind of hungry, all of the time.

Maximum Climbing Performance

Hello, friends.

I’m watching Chelsea v. Crystal Palace.

Christian Pulisic is playing.

It’s distracting.

Today was supposed to be day two of two rest days, but now it looks like I’ll probably climb this afternoon at SBP Poplar with Bloom and Jessa. Which is great, because I already have a couple projects there. A black with a shouldery first move, an orange I couldn’t even do the first move on, another orange that starts with a technical heel hook, a black whose sloper I slipped off like a seal trying to gain purchase on a slippery rock, and then DOWNSTAIRS, assuming the NW room hasn’t been reset, two beautiful oranges and also a volumey black.

God I hope Pulisic plays well today.

I hope.

My reservation is confirmed. I will be climbing at Poplar today.

Fuck yes.

Also: Christian Pulisic just scored.

I am trembling.

So, let’s talk about diet. Lately I’ve been adhering to a diet that I think might be sustainable for me in the long term. It’s very simple: 100g of net carbs per day. In case you’ve been living under a dietary stone, net carbs are simply grams of carbohydrates after grams of fiber have been subtracted. So, for example, if a Rebbl protein drink has 19g of carbs and 7g of fiber, you have just consumed 12g of net carbs. More startlingly, since you’ve just consumed a Rebbl brand drink, you’ve probably just consumed a large amount of inluin, which will now commence ripping a hole through your stomach lining.

Awesome.

The reason 100g of net carbs per day is a sustainable diet is because 1) IT’S NOT TOO HARD. KETO IS SO FUCKING HARD I MEAN 50G NET CARBS PER DAY? WHAT ARE YOU JUST GONNA EAT ALBACORE TUNA ALL DAY? ARE YOU JUST GONNA EAT MEAT ALL DAY? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

But 100g allows for some wiggle room.

The second reason it’s sustainable is because YOU CANNOT CHEAT. I repeat: YOU CANNOT CHEAT. Well, OK, yesterday my friend Pat and I thought of one way you could sort of cheat, and that’s with artificial sweeters, things like sucralose and aspartame and things that only deranged people would put in their bodies. You can SORT OF cheat with things like stevia and monk fruit, but stevia and monk fruit are nowhere near on the level of we’re going to poison your body as aspartame and sucralose are.

But the main reason you can’t cheat is because, for example, when you’re on the “NO REFINED SUGAR” diet, you could still eat three pounds of raisins and dates, go into diabetic shock, and not even have violated the diet.

And sugar, my friends, is the thing we need to avoid.

Sugar and carbs.

I’m not saying cut them out completely! I’m not saying that at all. But 100g of net carbs forces you to be more selective with the carbs you choose to consume. Drink a pint of juice and you’ve blown half your allowance. But eat some fresh fruit and you’re still fine, provided you don’t spend the entire day eating fruit. When you count carbs you realize that things like white rice are really not ideal, even if delicious, for their lack of nutrients. You’re more likely to spend your carbs on a sweet potato than a cup of white rice, because the sweet potato will give you so many other beautiful things.

And the rice will give you nothing.

Except diabetes.

You have diabetes right now.

Chelsea are winning 3-0, and I think I deserve another cup of black tea.

We’re going climbing in five hours. Seems like a long time. God I can’t wait to get my hands on the slopers of that black. Last time I failed so hard on it. Bloom did OK on it. Neither of us got to the next hold. Oh, and there’s the black downstairs that Jessa was trying! That one was sick. Now that my leg is feeling better I might be able to stem that. God, I love stemming. Stemming is my favorite. And then there’s the orange right next to it. I love that orange. I can’t wait to send that orange.

OK, so you’re probably wondering, “Did you get the SBP job?”

Short answer: No.

Long answer: No.

Medium answer: No, but what do you expect when you basicall convey in the interview that you don’t want the job? The question is: How do I feel not getting offered the job? That is another door that has closed. And they say that when one door closes another opens, and that is completely true. I didn’t want to do customer service. I’ve decided that the next time I do customer service will be when it’s for MY company, if I ever have a company. But customer service for someone else, someone who can chide me for not being outgoing enough (like my boss Angel at Industrial Ride Shop in Scottsdale did when I worked there during my time at ASU)? Yeah, screw that. Not doing that anymore. I don’t NEED to work a customer service job, so I’m not going to if I don’t want to.

Ginger is sleeping and she looks so peaceful. We went on a long walk this morning, about three miles. She’s getting older now so coming up the stairs from Golden Gardens at the end of the walk is hard for her.

My sister is in California, that’s why I’m taking care of Ginger.

I love Ginger.

I’m about to sit down to my third cup of tea, the Chelsea game is at half time, Christian Pulisic has scored, commercials are playing in the background, Ginger is sleeping, my tea is steeping, I’m wondering what I should eat today for maximum climbing performance, though I kind of know deep down that maximum climbing performance is going to be difficult, since I still feel kind of pumped from that last session. I was going to wait until tomorrow, but I’d rather climb today with friends than wait until tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go on a hike. Maybe. Ginger would love to go on a hike. But if we go out by Gold Bar we have to battle the traffic coming back, and I’m not thrilled about that. I guess we could stop by Starbucks and get a coffee on the way back, that’s always fun.

My computer is running low on battery and my charger is back on the boat. It’s a wonderful day to be alive. I’m so glad I’m going climbing this afternoon and have that to look forward to. I really feel like I could climb outside somewhat soon. At least lowballs.

And also the cherry trees outside right now are gorgeous.