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.

Questionable Shoe Purchase | Road to V7

Yeah, yeah, it’s the Road to V7, homies. As in, one day, insha’allah, I’ll climb V7. Or maybe I won’t. It doesn’t really matter at this point. All that matters is the movement. The way you touch the stone. The placement of a foot on a foothold. The crackle of a bag as you grab some tortilla chips while you listen to El Sonido on your boat at 10pm on a Monday night.

(hold on a sec while I do my daily Duolingo German).

OK done.

Today was my first time climbing in about two and a half weeks. It was pretty fun, but all I could think about was my shoulder. Has my shoulder healed? Am I ready to send V16 in Switzerland with Giuliano and the boys? Or is it going to be super hard to repeat all the V2’s and the two V3’s I’ve already done, let alone continue making progress, project more V3’s and V4’s and V5’s and beyond.

I have no idea. My shoulder felt….OK. Barold and I might go climbing tomorrow. I think it’ll be fine as long as I don’t overdo it, and by overdo it I mean as long as I don’t climb many days in a row. But I have no idea. I just went to Mexico and basically surfed 11 days straight and my shoulder hung in there. So why can’t I just climb like crazy? Why?

Speaking of climbing, you might be wondering why I’m doing Duolingo in German. I’ll tell you: It’s because I feel drawn to this language. It’s in my blood. All of my ancestors (well, almost all of them) come from Germany. Is it possible that on an instinctual level it feels comfortable for me to speak it? Or is that just woo woo hogwash? Are the Canucks going to win Game 5 tomorrow and then somehow force a Game 7? Or will Vegas take them down like the bullies they are? Is Quinn Hughes the best young player in the NHL right now?

The Skykomish river is so freakin’ low right now.

My recent trip to Mexico kind of got me excited about traveling again. But being forced to kind of hang around Seattle has also made me realize how much there is to do wherever you are. You don’t need go to faraway places for stimulation. I’ve always kinda thought you do. It’s always kinda been my answer for everything. But this morning I got up and walked to Fremont and on the way stopped to sit on a bench and look out at the ship canal, and there was just a slight tinge of fall in the air, and some leaves lying scattered on the ground, and the slightly muted light that fall brings, and it was beautiful. Why flit about the country like a fool when everything you need is in your backyard?

Well, cuz flitting is also kinda bomb, too. Slash, I’ll probably go to Chile this winter (their summer) if they open up again.

Also my life coach has me concentrating on making my boat a more habitable space. Now that I have plants there (see: friends) I actually kinda want to come back to it. To see how they’re doing. To make sure they’re OK.

Only one thing in my life is absolutely certain right now and that’s that I’m taking back the size 44.5 Scarpa Instincts I bought at REI today. I was so excited: An aggressive shoe! I’m going to be like Adam Ondra! I’m going to flash Midnight Lightning and move to Brno. But instead I got outside (you can’t try em on inside barefoot), put them on and almost started weeping. They were so tight. I could barely get my right foot in. And I know this is how badass climbers do it, I know they stretch out, but I’m just not cut out for a stress fracture in my right big toe right now because some stupid shoes are too tight.

Pies de gato?

So I’m going to take them back. And either exchange them for a less aggressive pair, or a bigger size, or maybe just keep sending my blown-out Scarpa Origins.

Anyway, that’s that. Send it.

(pardon the intermission)

Hello friends. As you may or may not have noticed it’s been awhile since I blogged. This is because I haven’t been bouldering and this blog is currently, ostensibly, dedicated to stone-wrestling. However! Do not despair, because I am not only back in the United States of America, I am also probably going bouldering pretty damn soon. Like, maybe even tomorrow. Like, I might just drive to the Camp Serene boulder tomorrow after my call with my life coach and try to send Serenity Now V4 once and for all, a prospect which terrifies me, like actually terrifies me, because once you get past the crux of this boulder (which I’ve never done), you’re, well, pretty damn high. And I don’t really know what to expect up there. I do know there is a gorgeous hold which basically looks like a brick. I do know that at the top of the boulder there’s a juggy seam which, once you grab, should make it pretty easy to top out. But I only know all of this in theory. I don’t know it in practice. I would like to know it in practice. I would like to know what it’s like to send V4.

But also, once I send V4 it doesn’t make me a V4 climber. You could give someone a basketball who’s never played the game before and tell ’em to shoot half-court shots and sooner or later they’re probably gonna sink one. Which is kind of like me projecting these V4’s right now. I still struggle with plenty of V2’s. Hell, I struggle with some V1’s. But also I feel like Serenity Now is within my wheelhouse. I feel like I’m pretty close to sending. I feel like it’s more mental than anything. And here’s the thing: I’ve never gone to this boulder fresh and just dedicated a session to trying to send Serenity Now. Like, given it my all.

Which I still might not do tomorrow because even if I do go bouldering I don’t know if I wanna just go to one boulder and have that be the whole session.

I’m sitting on my boat right now and one thing I’ve noticed since getting back yesterday evening is that the temps are starting to drop. We’re starting to get into the fall season. Leavenworth is going to be game on very, very, very (very) soon. This Saturday looks great for Leavenworth, but sadly (happily) I think I’m going surfing. Because that’s what I was doing the whole time in Mexico and I actually have surf muscles right now and I want to take advantage of them while being on the Olympic Peninsula with friends.

I hope you all have been well. Yesterday was a bit of a gnarly evening because I got back and drank a Focusaid and smoked a rollie and then had a hell of a time getting to sleep. I probably slept about five hours. If it weren’t for a wee nap around 12:30pm I would’ve been completely frazzled all day.

Friends, I’m having trouble once again finding purpose in life. I didn’t find it in my last job. It’s not completely there with bouldering or surfing. Something’s missing and I’m not sure what it is. It’s not a woman, though I would love to have a partner right now. It’s not a job, though actually it might be a job, just the right job. Maybe it’s writing? Maybe it’s blogging? Has that ever been enough? Have I ever dedicated myself in mind and soul and body to the blogging life? Maybe I should.

I’ll let you know tomorrow, or the next day, if I end up going bouldering tomorrow. I’ll let you know either way. If I don’t go tomorrow it will definitely be sometime next week. I’m thinking the Morpheus Boulders. I’m thinking the Clearcut Boulders. I’m thinking Fern Crack V3. I’m thinking Fridge Center V4 in Leavenworth. I’m thinking Fountain Blues V0 over and over and over.

Fall is coming and I’m not even mad about it!

 

Hella Sardines | R2V4 #18

Hella sardines.

I did something deviant yesterday. I bought a ticket to…..MEXICO????? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? ARE YOU GOING TO MEXICO, BRO???? YOU’RE NOT GOING TO MEXICO….

But yes, I’m going to Mexico. On August 15th. A day before my birthday. For 11 days. And everyone’s invited. Slash no one’s invited. Slash Barold might come but that’s about it. There’s a good chance I’ll be alone on my 37th birthday, though I hope I’m not ACTUALLY alone, i.e. I meet people in San Pancho, where I hope to stay.

You’re not God, dude…

Now, before everyone starts going insane and shaming me for traveling during a pandemic, at least do your research.

A couple points:

1) Alaska Airlines is taking HELLA precautions to make sure flying is safe. With their HEPA filters their air quality is comparable to what’s found in hospitals. Masks are, obviously, mandatory. You must sign a health agreement before flying. The list goes on.

2) I’m not going to Puerto Vallarta to club, guys (well, I’m not really going to Puerto Vallarta anyway but the surrounding areas). I’m not going to stand in enclosed spaces around a bunch of other people. In fact, other than in my hotel room, I don’t plan on ever being inside, ever. And I’m not going to be around a bunch of people because I don’t KNOW a bunch of people there. I know less than I do here. So I’ll mostly be on my own. Surfing, on my own, and driving around. Which is actually kinda sad. And kinda awesome.

3) I plan on getting tested when I get back. If It’s free, I’m going to do everything I can to get tested when I get back so I can put those around me at ease. And I will definitely not hang around my parents until I either a) get the results of the test or b) a suitable amount of time has passed.

Why on earth am I justifying myself to you?

Maybe I’ll delete that. Or maybe I’ll just leave it.

I’m doing a bit of the quote unquote INTERMITTENT FASTING today, aka I ate my last food at 10pm last night which means today I’m not allowed to eat till 2pm. I bought HELLA SARDINES yesterday when I was at Safeway, aka hella smoked fish and shellfish, aka smoked baby clams, smoked scallops, LIGHTLY smoked sardines, and smoked oysters. They were all on clearance for some reason, which I patently don’t understand considering 98% of people go to Safeway to buy little tins of smoked seafood.

I MIGHT climb tomorrow, because I’m probably not climbing on Thursday, and Friday Dan and I leave on our backpacking trip to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Who knows. I gotta say, I am a bit hungry right now. Two and a half hours till I can eat. What am I gonna have. Chipotle? Hella sardines? A salad from Evergreens? I mean, I gotta have something KINDA healthy. Like, I can’t break my fast with pizza. Not that that’s even THAT unhealthy. But I mean the whole reason I’m doing this is to get healthier. Get leaner. Improve healing. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

OK, I think that’s everything. There’s almost literally nothing I could tell you that would be novel. Update on the state of my fingers: They’re doing fucking great. Update on my shoulder: Slow going but slowly healing. Update on the state of my mind: Fasting is fucking awesome.

 

Rolling in the Deep (aka Dirt) | R@V$ #17

Don’t have much to report today. Sitting in my boat. Woke up at 7:58am. Cloudy outside today. Drinking my matcha bacopa lion’s mane organic “Brain Booster.” Waiting for the Chelsea v. Arsenal game which starts at 9:30am and…..blogging.

Blogging hard.

Real hard.

Does anyone blog anymore?

So remember how I was “injured” and I was going to have to, like, “stop climbing” or “take a break?” Yeah, fuck that. I think I’m just gonna keep going. Yesterday I climbed at the gym with Barold and didn’t push it hard and made sure to take my time getting ready and warming up and didn’t try anything crimpy and, most importantly, DIDN’T TRY TO SHOW OFF (99% of the time I hurt myself it’s either “showing off” or doing something differently because I know or think someone is watching which is fucking ridiculous), and I had a wonderful session. Such a good time. Flashed a really fun purple. FLASHED A BLUE, which I’d never done before, and granted it was EXACTLY my style, aka stemmy, aka leggy, aka I guarantee some people who have never climbed before in their lives could flash it, but still, I was elated. Also granted I got the beta, or the start of the beta, from some RANDOM HERO who I watched try the boulder a couple times, so it was a flash, not on sight, but still. And ALSO, Barold for the win because when I was stuck on the “crux” Barold said, “Why don’t you put both feet on there?” there being a huge Dr. Seuss hold elephant nose thing and he ACTUALLY meant put both my feet on the volume but I thought he meant put both feet on the hold so that’s what I did and then I was able to just crouch down and lift up both hands to place them on the finishing hold.

AMAZING!!!!!!!

Amazing.

Amazing?

Yesterday was actually pretty wonderful. After climbing Barold and I WASHED OFF THE FUCKING SUBARU. It was so fucking disgusting. It had bird shit all over it. I hadn’t washed it in literally several months, and because I essentially live in the wild aka a marine environment there was bird shit all over it and it looked like an anchor that’s been sitting on the bottom of the ocean gathering barnacles and waiting for a its chance to star in a Johnny Depp movie. Barold used the pressure washer while I used the brush. Months and months and months and months and fucking months of grime just dripping off. So satisfying. ESPECIALLY SATISFYING BECAUSE I have a date on Sunday and I kind of need to impress, though impress and ’97 Subaru have never been used in the same sentence before, except MAYBE one time in 1997 (and probably not even then). That being said, and I know this is a tangent, I fucking love that car. I love being able to sleep in it. I love that it has four wheel drive. And I love that it’s not a fucking Prius or some stupid car people buy who pretend to care about the environment even though THE NEW FUCKING CAR THEY BOUGHT is just another thing brought into the world, and required strip-mining to manufacture it. And then those same stupid people produce way more emissions in just about every other way, flying all over the place, consuming consuming consuming, consuming more than they need. Living in a house way bigger than they need. Filling their huge-ass recycling bin with plastic every two days, BUT OH, IT’S OK BECAUSE WE’RE RECYCLING. Um, actually it’s not ok. You’re wrecking the planet. Like, wrecking it. Like, stop consuming so much.

An.

Y.

Way.

I’ll chill now.

(I blog).

So yeah, climbed yesterday, and going climbing tonight with another friend, this time out in Gold Bar, and literally my only goal is to send Warm-Up Slab V0 as smoothly and as “fun-ly” as possible and get it on camera, and also send Regatta de Blanc V0 from as LOW A START AS POSSIBLE, aka no pad, aka lying on the dirt, aka rolling in the deep, aka Adele, aka weight loss. AND MAYBE, MAYBE I’ll try a new problem. Like maybe I’ll go look at Fern Crack V3 and if if doesn’t look too crimpy for the right hand I’ll jump on it. But we’ll see. Or maybe I’ll try to send some other random V0’s.

That is all for now. Twenty eight minutes until this soccer game starts. Time to maybe meditate for a second and maybe do some stretching.

It’s AUGUST!!!!

Hellfire Burns (and Climbing Everyday) | R2V4 #16

If someone had a gun to my head today and said, “Send V4 or I’m gonna pull the trigger,” what would I do? Honestly, I don’t know if I would get in my car right now and go right to Serenity Now V4. I don’t know if that has the best sending potential. I DEFINITELY wouldn’t go to Zelda Dyno V4, since you gotta be able to rag on some decently small crimps for that one, and I don’t want to do that right now. I’d need something that I sort of have the beta on, and that’s sort of my style. Maybe The Enigma V4, at the River Boulders? Maybe Dropping the Chicken V4 up at the Devil’s Club Forest Boulders, though last time I wasn’t really even coming close to getting the first move? Maybe Fridge Center V4, though the high today in Leavenworth is supposed to be…..dear jesus…104?

Anyway, just some fun morning thoughts. I guess in the end I would realistically drive straight to Serenity Now V4, mess around on the slab a bit, maybe climb up the downclimb to warm up, and then give it a few balls-to-the-wall burns.  Like, hellfire burns. Like, scream burns. Like, pretend-you-don’t-have-a-pad burns. Like, actually take your pad away to make falling less of an option? burns. Or something like that. The question is, would the dude (I’m assuming it’s a dude) with the gun ride shotgun with me to the boulder, holding the gun to my head the whole way? Would he drive his own car? Would that car be something vaguely pathetic, like a newish Mustang? Would he be the kind of guy who wears a leather coat? And why would he care so much about me sending V4? Why wouldn’t he want to just support my progression as a climber? Or maybe he WOULD be supporting my progression as a boulderer, just in ways beyond my comprehension.

Is this the lion’s mane talking?

For the time being I’m going to do one of two things: Not write posts for awhile, until I can start climbing again. OR, ALTERNATIVELY, write posts every damn day. Because since I’m not working right now I have more time to write, and I kind of like starting the morning in this way. I get up, I prepare myself a cup of matcha bacopa lion’s mane sludge, and I pull out the laptop. I think about bouldering even if I’m not really trying to. I think about going climbing that day even though I definitely shouldn’t. Or maybe I should climb everyday. Maybe I should legitimately figure out a way to basically be climbing everyday. Like, put myself on a schedule where I’m climbing two days on, one day off, and it doesn’t matter how hard I send, it doesn’t matter how long I climb or what I climb, I just have to get out there. Though that’s a lot of driving. And I JUST froze my gym membership. Not that I really feel like climbing in a gym right now anyway. But if I DID do that, and my body were to adjust, then I’d get really damn strong, really damn quick. I’d be sending a message to my body that says, “Hey, dickweed, we’re going to be doing this (almost) everyday. So get used to it. Maybe help me out with those tendon flexors a bit? Thanks.” But instead the message I’m sending to my body right now is, “Ohhhh, are you hurt? Are you feeling bad? I’m so sorry. Take a week off. Take two. Wouldn’t want to overdo it….”

No, the answer is: overdo it. Be a gladiator. Be a warrior. Send V4.

Bogged Down in the Mire | R2V-enlightentment

Yours truly preparing for lift-off on Hueco Man V0, one of two V0’s in the Western Washington Bouldering guidebook’s Top 100. Pictures of Barold crushing to come.

I may have to take a break from bouldering. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, I’m still planning on bouldering tomorrow (see: hiking), and yes, this is something that would injure me to my very soul (and not just my finger pulleys). The thing is: My right hand is dying. It feels kinda dead. Yesterday I was trying to crank the first move on Mr. Smooth V7 (Aka River Arete Aka V-Bizarre), and I felt something in my right index finger just kinda…pull. Like a pully? Did I fuck up my pulley?

Maybe.

And so Barold and I stopped bouldering. Not so much actually because I had possibly just injured myself, but because it was getting hot as balls at the Skykomish River Boulders and we were kind of over the whole scene, aka we had both sent Hueco Man V0, which involves a fun, frictiony first move and a rather unsettling top out, and we’d also sent an Unknown V1 that was super fun, and we’d also made significant progress on an Unknown V3 that really needs to be named because it’s a tremendous problem (is it a tremendous problem?), involving a beautiful sloping ledge and a kind of mantle/lock off thing to a gaston just below the lip that brought us unexpected amounts of joy despite our lack of sendage.

And then we went back up to the van, which was, kind of, sort of, completely, stuck. Like, the right rear wheel was just spinning. And we couldn’t move forward because a tree was blocking us. So what did we do? We smoked a rollie and chilled. And then what did we do? Well, I started stressing slightly because I had an engagement later that evening at 7:30pm at an historic Volunteer Park, and I was a bit concerned I was gonna miss that. I also started stressing a bit because I figured we might have to call Bubba’s Towing Service (name approximate) and that he would charge us an arm and a clavicle to yank the Sprinter out of the mire. I was also worried that I might use the word “mire” and that Bubba might think I was calling him a name and try to get physical (in which case I could surely outrun him).

But none of this happened. Because we did the best thing you can EVER DO WHEN CONFRONTING A DIFFICULT DECISION (caps Bubba’s):

We took a walk.

Yes, friends, it was a beautiful summer’s day, and Barold and I took a summer stroll through the forest toward Index, where Barold flagged down a passing and cyclist and demanded, “What ho, are you a local(e)?”

To which the local replied: “Yes. Why do you ask?”

To which I responded: “Kind sir, our chariot has become bogged down in the mire. We try to reverse but one of the wheels (aspirated “h”) just spins. Might you have a shovel?”

To which he responded: “Dude, hell yes I have a shovel. Let me just grab it for you real quick.”

Which he did.

Also on the walk to get the shovel, an idea occurred to Barold: Why don’t we jack up the offending tyre, put a bunch of rocks under it, no, essentially build a MOTHERF@!KING ROAD under it, and then let the tyre down and try to reverse then. Because you see the problem was that the tyre wasn’t able to gain purchase on anything, since the car was (mildly) high-centred. And so we were pretty confident that using the jack technique, and also shoveling the dirt out from behind the right front wheel (another quagmire altogether), we would be successful.

Back at the vehicle, Barold went to work jacking and I went to work shoveling. I was a modern-day laborer, getting by by the sweat of my back. I took the mound behind the front right tire and quickly reduced it to a….smaller mound. Meanwhile, Barold built what was essentially a cobblestone I-90 under the rear right tire, and we were able to give it a go. And guess what? It worked (though actually on the second attempt).

Fist bumps and even a high five abounded. The day was successful, in a type 2 sort of way.

But back to my “injury.” I believe my injury is at least partly mental, though I do believe my body is screaming for an extended break. Which is why, friends, after tomorrow’s hiking and very moderate sesh (I’ll maybe climb the Warm-Up Slab just for fun), I plan to take a week-plus off from bouldering. Yes, again you have a read correctly. A week plus. I need to start healing. I need to get back to where I was, both physically and mentally, before I went off the rails a couple weeks ago and overdid it and derailed myself both physically and mentally. I need to get my brain and body out of the mire.

Purity | R2V∞

I feel like some of the purity from my “early” bouldering days has been lost. I’m not sure why this is. I feel like the golden days of my bouldering were a couple months ago when I was making rapid progression, gaining muscle and finger strength, bolstering my head game outside, and making little trips to Gold Bar and Leavenworth whenever I could that were all the more special because I couldn’t do them that often.

Fast forward to now, when I could literally boulder every day if my body permitted it (which is of course exactly what happened the week before last). I’ve hit a sort of plateau at about V2 despite still constantly watching bouldering videos on YouTube, constantly thinking about bouldering, and still climbing quite a bit. Honestly, the best thing I could probably do for myself would be do take two weeks off. And I’ll do something similar to that soon if my right hand doesn’t figure itself out. If I continue to have finger problems on a my right hand over the next couple weeks, I’ll get out of dodge, maybe sail up to the San Juans, maybe fly down to Mexico, and take some time off. After all, bouldering is supposed to be like piano for me. Pure, only for myself. When I start stressing about grades or whether or not I’m making progress, when I start getting injured and trying to push through those injuries, some of that purity is sacrificed.

But I also think of it this way: This was bound to happen. I couldn’t continue my meteoric progression. At the rate I was going, easily from V0 to V1 to V2 and then getting a couple V3’s and starting to project V4’s it looked like bouldering V7 by the end of the summer was entirely possible, if not reasonable. But this isn’t how it works. Especially when you’re almost 37 and you’ve been bouldering for last than a year. You’re going to push it too hard. You’re going to get injured. And if you do it from an egoic place in which the only thing that matters is proving something or doing a certain grade, you’re fucked. I need to go back to Fountainblues V0 in Leavenworth and just do it over and over, savoring the slopers. I need to get back to the micro side of bouldering, the way a hold feels when you grab it. Giving each hold the love and attention it deserves, not just focusing on sends or progression. And I also have to think of it this way. I was going to have to deal with setbacks eventually, better to do it now and figure out what I’m made of. Figure out how badly I want this. Figure out if I’m capable of continuing “pure” bouldering, bouldering just for myself, for no one else, and not because it means anything, but rather expressly because it doesn’t.  Realize that the Road to V7 is not actually a road, and the destination is not actually V7. The road is actually an entire universe of valleys and forests and rivers and lakes, meadows, pitfalls, rain, sunshine, clouds. And the destination is not actually V7 but rather the feeling of my fingers touching granite, the feeling of moving perfectly from one hold to the next, the feeling of, just for an instant, my brain turning off. I haven’t forgotten what the purity is, even if I’ve momentarily lost touch with it.

First Sesh at the Sasquatch Boulders??? | R2Vi don’t even care anymore

First off, an injury update: Elbow? Doing freaking great. Shoulder? Not terrible. I was PRETTY worried about it yesterday, but it weathered the rather mild sesh and should be ready to party on Wednesday when Barold and I head back to the mountains. Middle finger on right hand? Ugh. Not doing great. In fact the first three fingers on my right hand aren’t doing great. I may have to start just using my thumb and pinky. 

And now, without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boyz and Gurlz, the SASQUATCH BOULDERS:

OK, OK, so these aren’t the Sasquatch Boulders. In fact, that’s me standing there with my crash pad and waterproof backpack on, getting ready to ford the north fork of the Skykomish River AFTER a sending spree at the Sasquatch Boulders. And by “sending spree” I mean a bunch of V0’s and one V1. And one V2 that should definitely be a V1 (Cougar Crack).

Speaking of sending sprees, here’s me on Giraffe V1. Look at that sidepull. Look at that calf flexion. Look at the moss covering everything but the holds. Barold and I both flashed this problem before heading to Goosebumps V2, which neither of us sent but both got kinda close on. It required a high left foot and trusting a small chip which in retrospect was actually really good, but I’m still learning how to trust small holds on slab, and still learning how the more you weight a chip on a slab the more secure it actually becomes. But more weight also equals scarier when your foot pops off. But LESS weight = your foot is definitely popping off. Anyway.

After Goosebumps we headed to Cougar Crack V2, both flashed it with minimal difficulty and then tried to figure out how anyone could ever think it’s V2. It reminded me a bit of Clef Crack V0 in Gold Bar, though Clef Crack is significantly harder. But maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe it was just a style of climbing that suited us perfectly. Or maybe we’re just bad at every other kind of V2.

Our last stop of the day was Where the Wild Things Go V2, located in the heart of the Sasquatch Boulders near such classics as Mr. Hollow Head V4 and around the corner from The Network V5. I hadn’t wanted to try WTWTG initially because it didn’t look that fun and also looked like it might hurt my shoulder. But it was fun as f$%k. It was great. IT was the first “roof climb” that either of use had ever done outdoors (even though it’s more of a traverse). Lots of heelhooking. Barold even threw in a DOUBLE heel hook. And though again we didn’t send this boulder either we could basically do all of the moves and just need to go back and link them together.

When we DO go back, I want to try the following: Mr. Hollow Head V4, Hollow Head Arete V5, Sun Sail V3, send Goosebumps V2, and maybe even get weird on something like Solaris V6.

Right now, though, I’m still focused on recovery more than anything. And braving the 90 degree Seattle heat. And drinking lots of matcha.

Bonus video:

 

Getting Healthy Again | R2V4 #12

“Due to a lack of gadgetry, the act of bouldering is climbing movement in its most refined state.” – John Gill in Stone Crusade: A Historical Guide to Bouldering in America by John Sherman

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. The following are techniques I have experimented/am experimenting with. Consult a medical professional before following the advice in this blog post.

When it comes to bouldering, I have been a LOT more proactive about my injuries than with other sports. Injury #1: Medial epicondylitis, aka Golfer’s Elbow, aka pain on the outside of your elbow that got so bad a few times I climbed that my arm felt dead for up to an hour after climbing. Recipe? Stop climbing for so long, self-massage, and, the most important, ECCENTRIC-EFFING-STRENGTHENING. Eccentric strengthening (in my experience) is the best thing you can do for any overuse injury, and I’ve had a lot of overuse injuries. Self massage is also good. Rest is good but if you rest forever and just go back to doing the same thing, you will re-injure it. So you also have to learn for techniques to participate in your sport without injuring yourself.

My latest malady, aka the one I’m dealing with right now, is (I’m pretty sure) an aggravation of the teres minor, a narrow shoulder muscle that makes up part of the rotator cuff. I’ve aggravated this muscle by the constant reaching required for climbing, and not reaching correctly, aka not activating my shoulders properly. And now I’m paying the ultimate price, uncertain about my climbing future for the coming weeks and months and, most importantly, uncertain whether I’ll be able to go climbing this Sunday.

But! Knowledge is power. And after scouring the internet and YouTube I’ve found TWO YouTube videos that I think are going to be the key to overcoming this injury, coupled of course with REST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (no more back to back days until I get this shit figured out. In fact, a MINIMUM of two rest days between all climbing sessions and never pushing it once I start to feel pain):

1)

As you can see, this first video is about the subscapularis release for shoulder pain. Is the subscapularis my problem? Not really sure, but whatever tender muscle I’m touching when I do this, it feels painful but great at the same time. Self-massage is real. Self-massage using a natural ant-inflammatory ointment is even realer. Come to think of it, anything with an ointment (or a balm) is about as real as it gets.

2)

It’s HARD AF to find videos on the internet with eccentric exercises for the teres minor. Why? Because most of the clowns on the internet have eccentric motion in their videos, but also concentric motion too! In my experience, if you have an overuse injury THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS MORE UNNECESSARY, CONCENTRIC MOTION. In case you’re wondering what eccentric vs concentric means here’s a perfect example: When you do a push-up, the part where you’re pushing yourself UP is the concentric motion. The part where you’re lowering yourself DOWN is the eccentric motion. With eccentric strengthening the only thing you want to do (according to the experts I’ve read) is the eccentric motion. So when doing a pushup you would use your knees and elbows or whatever you want to get back to the starting position after slowly lowering yourself down, and then lower yourself down again. And unfortunately, almost all of the videos I found on YouTube that claimed to be eccentric strengthening for the rotator cuff or teres minor ALSO INCLUDE THE CONCENTRIC MOTION. Are these people insane? Except, of course, for the video above, which only focuses on the eccentric motion. Brilliant. I’m going to try it right now. Report to come soon.

I had WAY too much caffeine today. Like, way too much. But now I’ve had a nap and feel more or less normal again. I’m going to try these exercises out, do a little more self-massage and then maybe go out grocery shopping/for yet another walk. Maybe I’ll even meditate. Maybe I’ll go to Trader Joe’s and get snacks and veg the night away. Because that’s therapy, too.

– Wetz