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.

 

Todo lo que yo sufrí | R2V4 #7

Friends. Lovers. I’ve missed you so much. I feel like we’ve been apart for quite some time now. I feel like you never want to hang out anymore. I feel like every time I say, “Babe, lets go project some sick blocs. You know you’ve been thinking about the beta for The Doja V7 (direct variation).” And she’s like, “No, I don’t want to go bouldering with you. All you talk about are ‘blocs’ and ‘micro-beta.’ Right hand up to the crimp, wedging it into the wedge. Left hand up to the tic and then mini bump up to the fin? Give me a break. Plus, what’s the hardest you’ve crushed outside, babe? Go on: Tell me: What’s the hardest you’ve crushed outside?”

You turn your eyes downward, ashamed.

“I’ve almost sent a V4…”

She spits on your feet and farts in your direction. Then the two of you get up and make brownies.

ANYWAY.

Yes, I went climbing yesterday. Yes, I know I wasn’t supposed to. My carbon emissions are off the charts. Two days in a driving ALL THE WAY up to the mountains, and ALL THE WAY BACK. Two days in a row hiking six miles roundtrip just to project some sic (sic) blocs (sic). And I mean, it’s been worth it. OBVIOUSLY it’s been worth it. Sent Beam Me Up V2. Yesterday sent another V2 called Moonlight Mile in the Que Luna boulders. Sent a V0 called Offa’ My Cloud. Sent another V0 down at the Index River Boulders called Hueco Man. Calluses are building up. Elbow feels pretty good. I feel like I’m on the ROAD TO V7. Like, I’m not just sitting by the side of the road watching men go by in their horse-drawn carriages, women in their Victorian era hats and frilly dresses. I’m actually on this road with the rest of them. I’m driving one of the damn carriages! Hell, I might even be one of the horses. I might even be one of the Victorian-era hats. I might even by a rock on the road that people stub their toes on. Either way I’m on the road — I’m not just a bystander. I’m not just standing by. Rather, I’m passing by. I’m a passerby amongst other passersby.

Todo lo que yo viví.

Todo lo que yo sufrí.

And today is a quote unquote down day. I’m going to try to not climb today. Give my fingers a rest. Too much crimping. I can’t remember the last time I woke up without swollen fingers. I should probably go back to the keto diet, but I don’t want to. I really like carbs. Plus when I was doing keto I ate so many animal products. Too many animal products. I feel better about eating corn chips than I do sausages. I feel better about fasting than I do sausages.

Ya no queda nada.

Aqui estoy sentado en mi velero, viendo como la toalla se mece en la brisa. Oigo el canto de un pájaro. Bueno, no tanto un canto ya que es un cuervo. Pienso en tomarme otro té. O en comer algo. Me pregunto que si en este mero momento preferiría estar en México. O en Chile. O en Europa. Pero ahorita no se puede ir a Europa si sos gringo. Sí se puede ir a México. México ha cerrado sus fronteras terrestres pero no las aéreas. Así que todavía se puede ir en avión.

 

First Moves on a V7??? | R2V4 #5

I haven’t written in awhile. I think this is because I got laid off/quit and have been going a bit buck wild as a result. By buck wild I of course meaning eating a bit more sugar than normal. Sleeping in till 8am. That kind of buck wild. I’m not suddenly snorting amphetamines, though part of me wants to. Seattle is so boring. Is it boring? Am I boring?

It’s raining outside and my car windows are cracked. This is because this morning it didn’t seem like rain could be in the forecast for the next 14 years. I went bouldering this morning! How is that possible? I woke up at 5:30am and was on the road by 6:06am. By 8:30 my hands were touching the beautiful granite features of Magic School Bus V2, which I sent within a few tries. I found the tall man beta first, which turned the problem into a V0/1, and then sent it with the intended beta, and apart from a spicy topout, it still felt a bit soft for a V2. If I can send a V2 within a few tries it either means A) It’s soft, B) I’m hard, or C) The Red Sox are going to win the World Series.

And now having bouldered this morning AND having watched the Chelsea game this afternoon, what else is there to do? Go to sleep so I can wake up and boulder again? Do I have anything else to live for?

Let me at least tell you about the rest of the session.

So, right before sending Magic School Bus I sent an Unknown V0 which also had a spicy topout and the whereabouts of my pad were somewhat unknown. I mean, I sort of glanced down and was pretty sure it was under me, but I was also pretty sure I wasn’t going to fall.

After these two boulders I headed up to Beam Me Up V2, which I FINALLY DID THE FIRST MOVES ON FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER A FEW DAYS AGO. OMG. But I didn’t top out. Because I got to the second half of the boulder and was kind of pumped/panting and didn’t know the beta. So today, after failing on Mr. Brightside V1 for a few tries, I went back down to Beam Me Up and was able to do the first few moves after the first few tries and, after not topping out AGAIN, thought to myself, Why is it that every time I try to read Catch-22 I give up after 50 pages? I also thought, I better learn the top part. And so I did. And it was easy. And then I gave it a send burn and sent it. And it was somewhat glorious. A long time coming. And then I got the hell out of there.

I was going to hang out in the Bricklayer area of the clearcut boulders but it was insanely crowded. Like, gym crowded. Like, Mariners Game crowded. Like, parade crowded. Like, Montlake at rush area crowded. Like, Pagliacci when they’re having a special crowded. So I headed back to the car and down to the Boulder Drop Boulders, located just a hop skip and a faceplant from the town of Index, where my goal was to A) look at Mr. Smooth V7, B) touch Mr. Smooth V7, and C) maybe even try the first move of Mr. Smooth V7. All three of which I did. And here’s the thing: I ALMOST DID THE FIRST MOVE OF MR SMOOTH V6000. Like, I think I might be able to send this boulder in the next 20 or so tries. And by 20 I mean 19. And by 19 I mean 21.

After Mr Smooth I went to the Camp Serene Boulder, where I got closer on Serenity Now V4 than I have ever gotten.

So it was a good day! But now what do I do?

R2V2P5: Beam Me Up (session 1)

I accidentally typed “R2V2,” which would stand for Road to V2, which is NOT the name of this series (it’s Road to V7), but considering the events of the past week much more fitting. Ladies and boys, I still haven’t sent V2 outdoors. But I’ve figured out which boulder it’s going to be: Beam Me Up, located in the Rubik’s Cube cluster of the Reiter foothills boulders.

Behold:

OK this isn’t a picture of the boulder. It’s just a sick picture Barold took on our first ever mission to the Reiter Foothills. Minutes after this picture was taken we spotted the elusive “Five Star Warm-Up Boulder,” where both of us got shut down by a slopey V3.

Here’s the actual boulder:

OK this isn’t really the boulder either. It’s me sitting next to it with my sock on my hand after getting shut down by it. I couldn’t do the second move. But now I think I’ve got it figured out: Move the legs to the side to get them out of the way, hug my body in closer to the wall, reach up blind to the first left handhold. Before I think I had my body too far away from the wall. Also, I need to just practice this second move till I get it, since it’s essentially the “crux” (can V2’s have cruxes?). Once you get your left hand up to the good crack you can bump it up further and then pull yourself up onto the ledge you had your hands on to start. And it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there. You’ve sent your first V2 and can move on to your first V3, aka Summer Solstice:

Look at this beautiful block. I never thought I’d have to project V3 but this is totally going to be a project for me. The first part is just moving from the fabulous first hold to the sloper. Then it’s traversing the sloper and getting to the fabulous jug on the right side of the photo. And then it’s just a couple more good holds to the top. Last time the problems were I was tired from failing on Beam Me Up, it was raining, and I didn’t put the crash pad right where it needed to be for me to just collapse onto it from the slopers. But I know I’ll make progress when I go back. Summer Solstice, I’m coming for you. How sick would it be to send Summer Solstice on or before the summer solstice? That would be a good step on the road to V7.

In other words I have TWO days off next week in addition to have Monday off for Memorial Day. So where am I going? I don’t actually know. I’ll probably try to go back to the Reiter Foothills to climb Beam Me up, and if it’s too wet keep going to Leavenworth, in which case my first V2 plans would have to radically change. Nothing highball please; I’m a huge wuss.

I’ve never been more excited to send V2. This is what I love about bouldering aka being 36 and starting bouldering. Sending V2 for me is going to be huge. I’m going to be so stoked. It’s going to be like sending V10 for most people. And then sending V3 aka Summer Solstice aka hopefully some boulder in Bend on my way down to Cali in June? Even better.

Progression is what’s so exciting. Progression. Getting stronger (even though before COVID I was way stronger but whatever).

Anyway, just wanted to give you an update on what’s going on in these down days. Dreaming of granodiorite and perfect holds.

The Road to V7, Part 4: Run for the (Foot)Hills

There is a little bouldering area just outside of Gold Bar, WA, called the “Reiter Foothills.” You probably haven’t heard of it unless you’re into riding dirt-bikes/being from Monroe. The thing about this area is the following: A few years back some people discovered that there were big-ass boulders there, and that “problems” could be found on these boulders, and that these “problems” could even be rated on the quote unquote “V scale,” and that using this scale people from all over the world (but mostly the Seattle area) could come to enjoy the grand outdoors and test their climbing mettle.

Which is exactly what my friend Barold and I did on Friday.

Some sources compare Beam Me Up to pitch 15 on the Dawn Wall.

Barold and I drove separate cars to the Reiter Foothills. We stopped at the Safeway in Monroe to stock up on provisions/people watch. I love people watching in places like Monroe because, though it’s just 40 minutes out of Seattle, the culture is completely different there. This is huntin’ culture, goddamnit. This is, “Hey baby, why don’t we go down to the that Mexican restaurant later and get a couple margaritas and some of those fajitas,” type culture. These people are real “salt of the earth” types, whatever that means. I think it mostly means they have less of a problem with eating multiple meals a week at McDonald’s and with xenophobia.

But I’m not here to judge, damnit! Who would I be to judge? I’m here to get my hands in some granodiorite holds. I’m here to get exercising while having the time of my life. I’m here to see some new blocks. I’m here to send V2, damnit.

If you read my last post you know that on this trip I fully expected to send V2. You might say I took it for granted. I even had the perfect V2 scoped out, “Beam Me Up,” located in the Rubik’s Cube cluster. I had even watched videos on how to do this boulder. I had beta. It was a (insert expletive) V2. That’s mostly the reason I fully expected to send it. I climbed V5 at the gym once, right? So V2 outdoors should be a walk in the dog park.

But I didn’t send it. In fact, I didn’t even really come all that close, in that I couldn’t even do the start.

The start of Beam Me Up is a table-sized jug that you could serve dinner for six on. The problem is it’s a sit start, and since I’m kind of tall I had to splay my feet out wide. The other problem is that the holds after the start are good but not that good. I mean, to Daniel Woods and Jimmy Webb these holds would be veritable craters that you could camp in, let alone fix your hands on. But to me they were the razorest-thin crimps. So I got my right hand up to the first little crimpy rail, and then..had no idea what to do with the left. I would just kind of collapse onto my pad like someone kicking a deflated soccer ball. I tried multiple times, and Barold even pulled up a video — SO I HAD THE BETA RIGHT THERE — and still couldn’t do it. Too weak, too slow. It was a rude awakening. It was how I might imagine it to be to fall off your bed into a Finnish lake in winter.

The only upside? I flashed the V1 next to it, “Scotty.” Woooooooooooooooooo….

L’Hotel du Chemin.

After this it started to rain, so Barold and I made our way to other boulders to check them out. I tried Summer Solstice (V3) and failed even harder. We went to climb a V0 crack and the only other people out at the boulders that day were already there. Then, after sort of bushwacking, we happened upon a beautiful V2 called “The Container.” This one was actually fun. We could actually do some of the moves. And it didn’t even matter that it was raining, because it was slightly overhanging and the holds were roughly the texture of Harrison Ford’s voice in “The Fugitive.” So at this boulder we felt a little better about ourselves. Granted, we couldn’t top out, because sending V2 just wasn’t in the cards for us, but we still had fun. Barold took some vids and pioneered the beta. I took my shirt off. The rain continued. And at some point it was time to call it quits, not so much because of the rain because both of us (or at least I) were completely wasted. Time to head back to the cars. The V2 Bombers would have to wait for their day in the sun.