The Soggy Waffle Traverse | R2V4 #24

Yesterday we went to the 420 Boulders. At the Morpheus Boulders. And we thought it was going to be wet, at least I thought it was going to be wet, but we went anyway. First we went to the Car Door Boulder, home of Car Door Traverse V1, one of the easiest V1’s out there and consequently the first boulder I ever did outdoors, way back in March. We had a full-on squad yesterday! Three people and three pads! All of us with a pad on our backs, bouncing through the forest like happy little squirrels. At the Car Door Boulder we all sent Dee Dee V0, which was actually pretty fun, and then made up an extension of Dee Dee that traversed right that was even more fun that we dubbed the Soggy Waffle Traverse V0/1. I have no idea where this name comes from. Well, it was wet outside. But I don’t know what was going on in Barold’s head that prompted him to proffer such nomenclature.

After the Car Door Boulder we went to none other than the Landjager boulder, home of Girlfriend Slab V0 and Slabjager V2, both of which were completely and utterly wet. Not a problem! All of us subsequently sat down and easily cranked out the heinous first move of Miller Lite V5 and then proceeded to crush the other…..just kidding. Screw that first move on Miller Lite V5. I mean, one day I’ll probably be able to do it. And maybe I’ll even say, “Damn, that was a cool bloc.” But right now I try to do it and just think, “Man, screw this thing. This thing is not fun.”

The author testing his arete skills on French Arete V0 (V1 in the guidebook but pretty damn easy). Photo: The Barold B Photography Dream LLC.

After the approach boulders we continued on to….we continued on to…..we continued over to….we continued down the trail to….we continued UP the trail to….we decided to check out….we decided to have a look at….the 420 Boulders, which the guidebook said were “22 minutes from the parking lot.” In reality they’re about 5-7 minutes from the Landjager Boulder (which is probably about 15 minutes from the parking lot so there you go). You’ll see them on your right up a bluff and there is (currently, at least), some fluorescent green tape on a tree that marks the short trail up. You got it? Think you can get there? I include this information because FINDING boulders can sometimes be just as difficult as climbing them, and there’s nothing worse than getting super psyched to project primo granodiorite kiddie-blocs and then realizing you don’t even know where they are, or, like I did one time, traipsing all the way there, FINDING them, and then realizing you’ve forgotten the Tao Te Bouldering (aka the guidebook).

The first bloc you see when arriving to the 420 boulder is the majestic Wise Man’s Fear V6 (V5 on Mountain Project [really kinda over how there’s a different rating for everything depending if you consult the guidebook, Mountain Project, or Sendage]). After getting your breath taken away by this hunk of geologic wet dream, your eyes will inevitably be drawn to the hypnotic Diamond Engagement V6, which might even be more aesthetically pleasing despite the slight feeling you get when looking at it that you may never be able to look away, that you might just camp out in the little nook below the start holds, spending the next few years of your life shivering and soiling yourself but somehow still happy just to be in the presence of this beautiful bloc.

We were looking for easy blocs though, so we headed over to French Arete V1 and French Slab V2, which were KIND of fun but also just….kinda not. Well, ok, French Arete is legit fun. It’s a perfect arete. It’s kinda highball. It’s not contrived in the least. But French Slab V2???? What are you supposed to do on this thing? Going straight up seems like a V3 at least, and going up and then grabbing the arete is a V0. So. I don’t know. Like. Try hard?

We tried the first moves of the slab many times but were not able to get our feet up on the ice cream cone shaped hold at about shoulder height due to lack of hands up high. Our only solace was the fact that the sun came out and started roasting our dermises. I immediately took my shirt off and started flexing to take advantage of the situation. I wanted to try Dinosaur Skin V4 but was warded off by the wretched crack between the base of this boulder and the boulder that forms the landing. Do people shove stuff in there before putting pads down? Or do they just ignore it like true crushers? One day I’ll know. Either way none of us were able to go straight up on French Slab, so eventually we peaced out and walked back mostly because we were over it and also because I wanted to have strength to try Serenity Now V4 on the way back, which would be my FIRST EVER V4 if I were able to send it, but that’s a subject for another day, another post, aka tomorrow, aka sometime soon.

PARTY!!!!!!!

-Wetz

 

Let’s Talk About Crimping | R2V4 #4

Let’s talk about Machine Gun Funk V2. Let’s talk about crimping. Let’s talk about being unemployed. Let’s talk about finally sending a problem you’ve been working on for weeks. Let’s talk about avocados. Let’s talk about the EU ban on travelers from the United States. Let’s talk about the Dominican Republic. Let’s talk about fireworks. Let’s talk about ethanol-free gasoline.

Let’s talk about Leavenworth.

After a very successful Tuesday mish in Leavenworth, I headed back up the Icicle after work on Wednesday to check out the 420 Boulders. Mostly I wanted to try 420 Slab, a supposed highball bloc that in the guidebook looks picturesque. I expected to be able to send it pretty easily, but I expected it to be scary at the top. Neither of these were very true. The bottom turned out to be the hard part, and the holds at the top were pretty juggy. The bottom was so hard for me that after the first few attempts I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to send. But then I sort of figured it out: Go slow. Then there’s a beautiful jug about halfway up, and once you get to that your feet can cut loose and swing all over the place but it doesn’t really matter because both hands are matched on a granite dreamboat. From there it does get kind of high, but the holds are pretty good. If it was the other way around, if the hard holds were at the top, it would be a scary boulder. In the end one of the scariest parts ended up being the down climb, aka jump. I hadn’t scouted the down climb before sessioning it. For a bit I felt like a cat caught up a tree waiting for the fire department to get there. But then I sort of wiggled my down and made a bit of a jump to solid ground. Ankles intact. Stoked.

Then I headed to the Sword Boulders to have another go at I Heart Jugs V2. I had sessioned it on two previous occasions and not gotten that close. Watching some beta on YouTube I felt like I was doing it wrong, but the guy whose beta I was watching was pretty short, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it his way. There was a left-facing sidepull around the arrete I had to kind of lunge to, and that was the crux. Once you get that the climb lives up to its name, plenty of jugs. I taped part of my right index finger that was getting cut on the shark fin about halfway up, and that gave me some confidence. I also learned some microbeta for the shark fin: Grab it with two fingers on the sidepull, two fingers on the ledge. Cover all your bases. After that it was all footwork, and I could get the sidepull. And then it was just topping out feeling a little pumped.

Pumped is what I was. I felt great after sending a beautiful V1 slab and another non-slab V2, also one of Leavenworth’s classics. There is still so much more to climb at the Sword Boulders: Briefs V3, The Classic V2, and of course, once you start getting gnarly, The Hourglass V7. The Hourglass looks like a fun but intimidating climb. I tried the first moves on the slab just to see what it was like, but felt a little short of pads having to use most of my pad to cover the small boulder on the ground to the left that you DEFINITELY don’t want to fall on. They were half-assed attempts. But since no one was around I had to get on it. Had to see what I’m up against.

And now I’m out at Coeur d’Alene lake, enjoying some down days, gearing up for what is probably going to be another Leavy sesh starting Sunday evening. Probably camp there Sunday night. Things are getting hot in Leavenworth. It’s almost full on Gold Bar season, but Monday and Tuesday are looking rainy in Gold Bar. I’ve thought about driving down to Bend, but…is it worth it? Aren’t there a lot of hippies in Bend? Will someone force me to try to surf the river wave? Will I be handcuffed outside on a deck at a micro-brew brewery forced to drink Pale Ales? Will people make me wear Carhartts? Better to just go back to Leavenworth.

What boulders do I want to try next time I’m there?

The Rib V4

Sunny and Steep V2

The Real Thing V4

And any other V1 to V3 that looks fun.

But for now it’s time to enjoy the lake. Get some sun. Try not to get too fat before Sunday. No guarantees, though.