The Drive to Tahoe | Cali Road Trip #3

The view from the illustrious Blackjack Inn, South Lake Tahoe, California.

8:17am in the Blackjack Inn in Tahoe and the heater is blessedly on but will turn off in just a few moments. My room is small but nice and clean. The mattress is firmer than the one at the hotel in Sacramento. I look out on a beautiful hillside covered in snow. And as much as I’m scared I’ll freeze to death camping tomorrow in Bishop, that’s still the plan. The plan is to go to the Pit Campground at Bishop and, provided there are campsites, set up shop. I mean I guess this is the plan. The high tomorrow in Bishop is supposed to be 61. Which is perfect. But the low? Twenty-four. I have a sleeping bag I think is rated to around 40 degrees, and then I have a down comforter, and then of course I can just layer some clothes. Sweatpants, wool socks. Sounds pretty fun, right?

The sun has finally come out in Tahoe. The high today is JUST over freezing. What am I going to do today? I have no idea. Probably walk to a coffee shop at some point. I’m drinking a Guayaki Blackberry Mint right now. The grocery store here, Raley’s, has an insane collection of every weird beverage I like. They have all the low-calorie Guayaki options, including the 5 calorie powerhouse Lima Limon, which is (drumroll) unsweetened. They ALSO have every kind of Tejava variety you could imagine. They have the lemon variety, which until yesterday I didn’t know existed, and also an ORGANIC OOLONG VARIETY THAT OH MY GOD…I haven’t tried it but today could be the day. There’s so much to do around here. Is there anything to do around here? I could walk to the lake, walk into Nevada, maybe…go to some hot springs? Maybe….sit in my room all day and meditate? Maybe…sit in my room all day and mediate? Maybe…plan what’s coming next in my life after this road trip?

Highlights from yesterday include:

1) Buying a hat made in Canada that is 50% wool, 10% alpaca, and 40% other stuff.

2) Realizing the wool rim on the hat made my forehead itch, trying to return it, and getting shut down.

3) Getting to the chain control checkpoint just past Kyburz (what a cool name for a town), stressing that I’d have to turn around, buy chains, figure out how the hell to put them on, and then get back in line, but instead just getting waved through because I had a Subaru.

4) Finally getting into Tahoe and not having to drive in snow anymore.

5) Meeting a dude named Jake at the Rocklin Quarry Park and talking to him (the only in person conversation I’ve had on this trip longer than 30 seconds).

6) The beauty of the fresh snow near Tahoe adorning the trees and boulders.

7) Getting a grande peppermint mocha at Starbucks at like 6pm.

8) Walking to the Nevada state line, feeling a bit like I was entering the gates of hell.

9) Getting a guidebook to Bishop and gazing at all the beautiful problems that could become my first V4.

10) Walking to the lake and seeing the steam rise off it.

My mate is gone which has been me feeling a bit distressed. There’s a cafe called Free Bird that apparently serves mate but it’s three miles away and I don’t know if I’m down to walk that far. And I’m not going to drive because my car is currently frozen and the next time I get in my car will be to drive down to Bishop. I hope my surfboard is OK right now. I’m a little worried about it freezing and then thawing out. I’m just so glad the sun is out. And that I don’t have to drive back toward the pass tomorrow to go to Bishop, but rather into Nevada and then south. It’s probably time for me to put some clothes on and leave this hotel room. It’s probably time to get away from screens. It’s probably time to go for a walk and find even more mate.

 

Cold Jimmy Dean | Cali Road Trip #2

Bald Rock, CA.

8:35AM at the Fairfield by Marriott Sacramento Expo. The heat is on since the temperature in my room got into the low 60’s last night. I can hear my neighbors across the hallway constantly opening and closing their door. I think they were partying last night. At least they were across the hall, though. Their next door neighbors probably had it much worse.

I’m watching the Manchester City vs. Liverpool game and sort of waiting till 10am when REI opens to leave so I can get the Bishop Bouldering Select Guidebook. Then the plan is to go to the Rocklin Quarry Park, boulder for a bit there, and then drive to Tahoe. Two nights in Tahoe, and then on to Bishop. Part of me wishes I were just going to Bishop today. Bishop was the whole point of this trip in the first place, and I feel like I just keep putting it off. At the same time the more my body has to adjust before Bishop the better. I want to get there and at least SORT OF be able to climb. I want to at least sort of have calluses. I want to at least sort of be able to pull down.

I’m waiting till there’s a goal in this game before I allow myself to eat. I hope someone scores soon.

The granite at Bald Rock, California.

So far I have only successfully climbed three boulders on this trip. I’ve only attempted five. Which is a bit strange considering this is a “bouldering” trip. But I’ve held fast to my ideal of not forcing things. If I don’t feel like climbing I don’t, and if I don’t feel like trying a certain boulder I don’t. This means that a lot of the time I’ll get to a spot, find a V0 or a V1 I know I can do as a warm-up, then set my eyes on something hard (for me) in the V3-V5 range, and try a few moves on that. Usually if I can do just one move on a V4 I’m stoked, so the session usually ends with me pretty happy. The problem is I don’t know when I’ll be coming back to these spots, so I can’t exactly project the boulders, but that’s OK, too.

Another reason I wanted to take this trip was to get some sun. And I’ve gotten plenty of sun. So far I don’t miss being on my boat in the cold and the rain. When I go back to Seattle I have to be climbing everyday at SBP, or surfing every couple of days if I want to stay sane. Or I have to get a job. I can’t just chill on my boat.

8:56AM and I’m thinking I should pack up. The cold Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich was disgusting. Good thing it was cold though or I probably would’ve eaten the whole thing. The tea is good. The apple was good. I’m officially addicted to caffeine, and one tea is not going to be enough. I’ll need to make a stop on the way to Rocklin. I need some mate. I need something. I need to send a freaking V4. I need to get a job. I need to write more. I need to eat better. I need to figure out what I’m doing with my life.

Or something.

First Days of the Road Trip | Cali Road Trip #1

Near Madras, Oregon.

Checkout at Motel West in Bend, Oregon is at 11am today which means I only have about 15 minutes to write this post. Maybe less. I just went bouldering at the Widgi Creek area in Bend and while fun it threw in stark relief how amazing the bouldering in Washington is. Widgi Creek felt like one tiny area of the Icicle Canyon in Leavenworth, of which there are TONS of areas, and then in Leavenworth you don’t just have the Icicle but also have Tunwater and Mountain Home, too. Not to mention all the insanely good bouldering in the Skykomish Valley. Which reminds me: If I ever move away from Seattle (and I will), I only have one option: Go north. I can move to Leavenworth, Squamish, Victoria or Vancouver. These are literally the only options. But I am not allowed to move south. Which means I can never move to Bend. Which is fine.

My body was hurting after the drive yesterday. Too many hours sitting. And today I’m probably going to do it all over again because the goal is to make it to Colusa, California. But first I need to go to REI. I need to go to REI here in Bend because a) I love REI (I drive a Subaru, for Christ’s sake) and b) They might sell surfboard ding repair stuff (though they probably don’t). They also just have so many treats at REI. I love browsing REI. They’ll probably have a copy of Central Oregon Bouldering so I can read about all the boulders in this area that I have no idea exist that will probably make me eat my words in paragraph one. And then after REI I’ll get on the 97 headed south, first to Klamath Falls, and then on to California. I need to beat this cold front.

Breakfast.

Why Colusa, you ask? Well, it’s a sleepy town on the Sacramento River. It won’t be as cold there as in other places. And most importantly it has good lodging at a reasonable price. This trip might become a surf trip pretty soon. I’m not sure. I realized today that bouldering is hard. It took every fiber or strength in my body to climb a V1. So maybe I’ll just go to the coast. Maybe I won’t even make it to Bishop. Who knows.

For now though I need to make sure I’ve gotten all of my stuff out of room 241 at the illustrious Motel West. Luckily most of the stuff is still in my car. Then check out. Then go to REI. Then hit the road.

 

My Attention || Road to V4

It has come to my attention recently that I don’t know how to write. I’m often told: You’re a good writer, and I only about 30% believe this. But reading through recent blog posts I only about 5% believe this, and I’m not really sure how to change this so I more about 90% believe this. Though, to be fair, I don’t think a writer can ever get to 90%. The best a writer can get to as far as self-belief is probably somewhere around 84%.

It has been about three weeks since I’ve bouldered. Let me give you a quick update on the state of my bouldering and also what I’ve been up to since the last time I bouldered:

Current state of bouldering:

Sent three V3’s (U2, Rocksteadeasy, and Unnamed V3 at the Index River Boulders)

Sent a bunch of V2’s (among them I Heart Jugs, Beam Me Up, Magic School Bus, and Insanity Later)

Almost sent one V4 (Dirty Dancing at The Washout Boulders in Leavenworth).

 

And now, what I’ve been up to since I last bouldered three weeks ago:

Went to Mexico. Surfed better than I ever have in my life. Surfed the 6’1” Wraith (based on the Pyzel Phantom or Ghost at this point I don’t even remember and shaped by Northwest Native Parker Worthington). Ate a bunch of good food. Smoked a bunch of rollies with friends. Lounged in an air-conditioned room. Went to Mexico City. Did nothing there but drink matcha lattes and eat prickly pear fruit. Flew back home to Seattle. Thinking about climbing tomorrow (or maybe even today).

Oh, and also I might be going on a bouldering road trip starting next Saturday.

But that’s still kinda up in the air.

At this point in this blog post you’re probably wondering what I’m doing at this exact moment, since I talk about that pretty much every blog post. I’ll give you three guesses. Ok, you got it first try: I’m sitting on the boat drinking Earl Grey from Trader Joe’s out of a cup from a matcha latte I got yesterday at Whole Foods. I can’t believe you got that. You’re good.

Chelsea play in 15 minutes. I hope Christian Pulisic plays well. Then I’m having coffee with a friend and I don’t know what I’m doing this afternoon. If my COVID test I took yesterday comes back negative I COULD go climbing today at SBP with my friends Bloom and Jessa, but we’ll see. That time slot is probably all booked up anyway.

I could also just get in my car right now and drive to Serenity Now V4+ and pick up where I left off. But that sounds kind of awful.

I could go to Whole Foods and get a matcha latte.

I could use my foam roller.

I could write another blog post.

Or I could drink some mate.

The choice is clear.

-Wetz

 

Back in Time // Mexico on Sunday

I’m trying to decide whether or not to go climbing right now. I’m sitting on the boat drinking a matcha latte I just got from Whole Foods and it’s delicious. Sixteen ounces, oat milk. Need I say more? Shall I say more? Would you like me to say more?

The neighbors’ devil child has been screaming all morning and it makes me want to get off the boat. I’ve thought about going bouldering today, but feel it might be too much for my shoulder (shoulder). But if I were to go bouldering, where would I go? Well, I think the choice is pretty clear: The Sasquatch Boulders. Today might be the last day the Sasquatch Boulders are climbable all season. Starting tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, and with the rain the river level will be coming up, and if the river level gets too high it will be impossible to cross. Which means you’d have to either bushwack in from Index or get in a raft and not get sucked down the rapids. Either way a somewhat dicey prospect. Put on a wetsuit and swim across, toting your belongings behind you covered in plastic? That’s also a possibility.

Another possibility is that I could go to a place called Seattle Bouldering Project today. Seattle Bouldering Project is a climbing gym (actually there are two of them) in Seattle that’s dedicated to the discipline of “bouldering.” Bouldering, in case you’re familiar, is essentially rock climbing but without ropes and never getting high enough to where a fall would be fatal. If you boulder high enough it’s no longer bouldering: It’s free-soloing. Alex Honnold, for instance, sort of “bouldered” Freerider on El Capitan, only his boulder was several thousand feet high. Most of the time when you boulder you’re only several feet off the ground. Sometimes several inches.

Or I could wait till tomorrow and NOT climb today. A dastardly prospect. A prospect.

God, I wish I had another matcha latte.

Maybe I’ll roll it out fo a bit with the foam roller.

If I don’t climb today, and I don’t climb tomorrow, I won’t be climbing for another three or so weeks. This is because on Sunday morning I’m going to Mexico. Zihuatanejo, to be exact, though we’re not actually GOING to Zihuat, we’re going to points north to go surfing. By “we” I mean I and three of my friends. We fly into Zihuat Sunday afternoon, rent a car, drive up to a surf spot called The Ranch, surf there for a few days, and then drive north to Nexpa and possibly La Ticla. I don’t know how I feel about this trip, to be honest. Sure, I’m excited. I’m excited AF. But I’m also going to miss bouldering. I’m going to miss my solo missions into the mountains. And I know it’s for the best. I know my shoulder is screaming for (politely requesting) a break like this. And now it’s going to get a break. Three weeks with no bouldering at all. What will become of my psyche? How will I live?

In other news, I slept so fucking well last night. This morning I was having the most vivid dream — I’d slept through the whole night without having to get up and pee — and it was one of those dreams where it’s not necessarily great but it’s also not really a nightmare, it’s more just realistic, and it feels like it goes on and on and on…and then you wake up. And you’re kinda bummed you woke up. You kinda wanna fall back asleep and go right back to the moment you were living right before you woke up. But then you DO get up, and you go get a matcha  latte. And all is right in the world.

I think I’m going to meditate now. And by meditate I mean sit up somewhat straight and close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I don’t know how to meditate. Is it possible to know “how” to meditate? Is there a right and a wrong way? Can you meditate while listening to Metallica? Can you meditate while letting your mind run wild thinking whatever the hell thoughts it wants. OK, OK, real quick the Back in Time Exercise. Where was I a month ago? I was here, probably climbing, or if not climbing then thinking about climbing. My friend Pat would come over the next day and we’d take the boat out. Two months ago? OK nevermind that was two months ago. One month ago the smoke was here and there was a strange woman chilling on the dock and I’d gone to visit my parents that day but I was back on the dock trying to figure out who this woman was and the air was hot and sultry and I was bored.

So basically a lot has changed.

One year ago to this day? I was in Mexico with Nate and Hunter. We were in Nexpa. We’d probably just met Doreen and Tina, the girls with whom we’d spend the rest of the trip.

Two years ago to this day? I was in Vienna.

Five years ago to this day? I might’ve been out partying and drinking too much. Or hungover.

Ten years? I was in Oaxaca, coming back from a trip in the moutains.

20 years ago. I was in high school.

30 years ago. I was in Minnesota in first grade.

40 years ago. I didn’t exist.

Fin.

A Capital Climbing Day | Road to V4

Happiness is a homemade brush extension on a boulder you’re about to eat shit on. Photo: Carolyn.

Yesterday I went to the Index River Boulders despite the fact that I was feeling under the weather, or maybe BECAUSE I was feeling under the weather and didn’t want to spend all day wallowing on my boat. I think yesterday was a perfect example of where the phrase “under the weather” probably comes from. The day before I’d gone swimming in the semi-frigid October Lake Washington water, and then promptly taken a hot shower, and then promptly walked around with my wet hair exposed to the elements. This is supposedly a recipe for catching a cold, and that appears to be exactly what I did. Yesterday I woke up, it was cloudy and shitty and generally depressing outside, and my voice sounded like I had a bullfrog living in my larynx, and I generally felt slightly fatigued. But there’s the keyword: slightly. This felt like a quintessentially common cold to me, and so I decided to press east towards the mountains, not least because I had a hotel reservation in Leavenworth for that night.

My first step on yesterday’s fall odyssey were the boulders on the Skykomish River near Index. These boulders are sometimes called the “Boulder Drop Boulders,” since they’re right next to some kayaking feature which is apparently called a “Boulder Drop” (or something. I have no idea. I’ve never river kayaked in my life. Is it fun? It looks kind of lame. But that was exactly what I said about bouldering until I tried it). My goal when going to these boulders yesterday was 16-fold: 1) Send Unnamed V3 (around the corner from Finger Crack V3), 2) Get some good burns in on Finger Crack V3, and 3) Maybe send the River Warm-Up V0 problem. If you remember from a previous post, I ate shit on Unnamed V3 one day when Carolyn and I were there, falling all the way from the lip, barely landing on the pad and in the process rolling my ankle, slightly spraining my wrist, and almost hitting my head. So another goal was just to not do that. Bouldering by yourself with one pad is significantly different from bouldering with a bunch of homies and a bunch of pads. I’ve never really experienced the latter. One time Barold, Carolyn and I went bouldering together and had THREE PADS. Can you imagine the decadence? We were punting off highballs just for fun. Carolyn did a swan dive off French Slab V2 just to take advantage of the multitude of protection we had placed at the base of the boulder.

Long story short: I sent Unnamed V3, and it glorious. Start on the side-pull and the undercling, move left grabbing the ledge above you. Get your hands on a good sloping ledge and then get your left foot up on the ledge on the left side of the boulder, and then reach up and grab the mini-jug just before the lip. The problem is the lip is slopey, and once you’ve grabbed the lip your work is not over, because everything about the boulder wants to push you off to the right and off balance. You must fight this feeling with not a little bit of cunning and cool-headedness. Yesterday I got to the lip very easily (the tenuous slopers you chill on just before reaching for the hold below the lip are so sick, you feel like you’re gonna fall off but they hold you perfectly), but then couldn’t top out because I felt off balance. Then the SECOND time I got to the lip I took my time, got my feet figured out, and the top out was actually pretty easy. I basically just vaulted my person onto the top, which was covered in moss and leaves, not unlike a bed. And then I rejoiced in what was only the fourth V3 I’ve ever sent!!!!! The fanfare!!!!! The glory!!!!! The sponsorship deals!!!!!!! The feeling of accomplishment!!!!!!

And then I peaced out and drove to Leavenworth.

Well actually before I peaced out and drove to Leavenworth I gave Finger Crack V3 a few burns and yes, despite getting shut down, made some progress. Do I feel like it will go next session? Maybe. Do I feel like it will go in the next couple sessions? Definitely.

Fall is upon us, and the drive to Leavenworth yesterday was nothing short of orange-tinged ecstasy. I passed most of the drive in a sort of reverie induced by black tea, the happiness of sending a project, and the uncertainty of what I was going to do that night. Carolyn and I were supposed to hang out but hanging out was probably not a good idea given the current state of my health. I figured if I DID go all the way to Leavenworth though I might as well climb, and so after chilling in the Swiftwater parking lot for a second and fondling some of the jugs on Hate Rock, I decided roll on down to The Labyrinth, an area I’d never climbed before and which MIGHT be the subject for another post, or might not since I only sent two problems (one of which was a V2 flash!!!!).

But anyway, for now it’s sunny and beautiful outside, and I’m going to get out of my sweatpants and off my boat. Though actually I might chill here just a little bit longer and read Pride and Prejudice, since I think Ms. Bennett is finally about to pull her head out of her ass and tell Mr. Darcy how she feels. God, I hope so.

Did people boulder in Victorian England?

– Wetzler

The Beauty of Not Sending | Road to V4

Today’s post is sponsored by Friction Labs Gorilla Grip*, the only chalk I use when I’m getting shut down by a V2. I’ve used Friction Labs ever since I needed to order some chalk online and had no idea what kind to get so I got the kind with the coolest branding. I mean, come on, the package looks dope. It’s all blue and that gorilla has his arms crossed like, “Bro, you’re ready for V4 and if you don’t send it today I’m gonna get your head in a vice grip.” All jokes aside, of the few chalks I’ve used so far I like Friction Labs the best. And I love the chunks in the Gorilla Grip!

*Today’s post is absolutely not sponsored by Friction Labs.

Aber ich wunshe ihnen einen sehr guten Morgen, meine Freundin! ¿Cómo están todos? ¿Qué hacen? ¿Toman lattes de matcha como yo? ¿Veían el partido entre Tottenham y Man United como yo, para luego apagarlo por la tarjeta roja estúpida que le dieron a Anthony Martial, pinches culeros de mierda?

Anyway, it’s a beautiful day (it’s absolutely not a beautiful day; it’s misting outside and grey and cloudy and the sky in Seattle reminds me of a wet diaper) and I’m drinking a matcha latte on the boat that I just got at Whole Foods. I must say, I remember hemp milk being better. This actually tastes like hemp. And there’s NO sweetness, which I know is good for my health but means this matcha latte mostly tastes like hay. I got an oat milk matcha latte at Whole Foods yesterday and it was significantly better. They definitely don’t use ceremonial grade matcha.

I know all of your are reading this post for one reason and one reason only: You want to know if I went climbing yesterday. And the answer is: Sort of.

I mean, I TECHNICALLY went climbing yesterday. I hiked all the way up to the boulders at Gold Bar, warmed up on a new V0 called Mario Kart or Mario Bros or Super Mario or something like that, and then because I was feeling slightly self-conscious due to people right next to me trying Metroid Prime V6 I went to a DIFFERENT area, aka walked around The Doja muttering and remarking on all the bad landings, and then I finally ended up at The Container V2, an overhanging V2 that looks like it should be SO easy and probably is really easy once you figure out the top out, but I keep getting shut down on the thing and yesterday was no different.

But see the thing is, yesterday I didn’t even really want to send.

Why would you go bouldering, you may be wondering, if I didn’t want to send. And the answer is simple but also incredibly nuanced.

Sending, for me, is not the most important thing in bouldering. Sure, it feels GOOD to send, but bouldering for me is kind of like going fishing. I LOVE fishing, and it has nothing to do with catching anything. It’s the ANTICIPATION of catching something. That’s all it is. It’s kind of like watching soccer or hockey. If all you care about are goals, you should be watching a different sport. But if you can appreciate the movement, or a good play, or a good opportunity, then you can appreciate those sports. Similarly with bouldering, if you really want it to be fulfilling, you better just appreciate the movement and also making progress, however minute that is. There is always progress if you look at things correctly. Yesterday I SAW new boulders. I climbed ONE new problem. And I got pumped, which is always progress, because it means you’re getting stronger. Viewed correctly, a session is never wasted, especially when you’re in it to get out of the fog in Seattle and get out in nature as much as anything else.

And now I must go because I just made a last-minute reservation at Seattle Bouldering Project to climb using the guess passes they just gave all members with frozen memberships, i.e., me. Which means I’m going climbing today. And I’m gonna get pumped!

– Wetz

I Could Talk About

 

Today’s post is sponsored by Ugly Mug Cafe* on Dravis, who sold me a matcha latte this morning for $5.95 this morning and still had the gall to ask if I wanted to add a tip. Fuckers.

*Today’s post is absolutely not sponsored by Ugly Mug Cafe. The matcha latte was actually delicious and it’s my own damn fault for only tipping because I felt obligated.

Good morning! I have a wonderful post for you today. That’s actually not true. I have no post for you today. Nothing is “in store,” as they say. And actually I just found out that I need to leave the boat in 15-20 to pick up a friend, so that means this post is going to be harried, hurried, and possibly just really bad.

What could I talk about today?

Well, I could talk about how I MIGHT go climbing today. After I hang out with my home-boy today I might drive over to Index, Washington, United States of America, to try my fingertips on the elusive Unnamed V3, around the corner from such classics as Hittin’ the Rail (V5?) and Finger Crack V3. What a perfect day it would be if I did the following: hung out with my home-slice, drove to Index, day-flashed Unnamed V3, sent Finger Crack V3 in the first couple attempts, sent The Jewel V3 in the first few attempts, and then hauled my man-body up to Leggo My Ego and actually put in decent session on it. Wouldn’t that be a perfect day? I’m asking you: Would it be a perfect day.

It would be a perfect day.

I’m so alone.

What else could I talk about?

I could talk more about our sessions in Leavenworth the other day but I don’t want to do that. I could finally review the Miuras I got from La Sportiva recently that have (sort of) revolutionized my climbing (aka given me better edges and better grip but haven’t really made my technique better). I could talk about Mexico. I could talk about what I’m going to do when I get back from Mexico (maybe drive down to Bishop and camp there for a couple weeks). I could talk about the song I’m listening to right now, November, by Max Richter. I could talk about how badly I want the Canadian border to open. I could talk about how I want even more badly the Chilean border to open so I can go there after Christmas and spend January and February there before coming back from the spring climbing season (is this really how I live my life now).

Or I could talk about something else.

Part time love is the life round here

We’re never done.

What I think I’m ACTUALLY going to do though is talk about none of this. I’m going to finish listening to the James Blake song I’m listening to right now. I’m going to watch a little of the Machester City vs. Leeds United game. And then I’m going to go pick up my friend and get yet another (and another, and another, and another??????) matcha latte. And then we’re gonna come back to my boat and chill in the “sun,” aka the 67-degree misty weather.

Anyway. Maybe I’ll have more for you tomorrow. Aka I’ll definitely have more for you tomorrow. Aka I might have more for you tomorrow. Aka I smell like a girl because I got “Moroccan Sea Salt Spray” and it’s for women and the word “bombshell” shows up repeatedly in the copy.

Hair looks great, though.

– Wetzler

We All Got Our Runnins | Road to V4

Frustration after an attempt on Insanity Later V2.

I probably shouldn’t have woken up so early but on any day that I’m going climbing I’m like a kid on Christmas. The only difference between this kid and an actual kid on Christmas is that I’m getting stoked to hopefully send sic (sic) blocs (sic). Today I’m hoping to send Dirty Dancing V4, which would be my first ever V4. That’s what I’m hoping. But I’m not pinning the success of this mission on that one bloc. There are plenty of other boulders I want to try, and frankly I’m stoked to just be getting out there climbing. I’ll be stoked if I send some new V0 and V1’s. I’ll be even more stoked if I send a couple new V2’s or even a V3. And if I send a V4, then, well, you know what this blog becomes:

The Road to V5.

Anyway. Waking up on the boat. Not having earl grey but rather Trader Joe’s Chai. Which means yes, I’m having black tea, and yes, to combat the tannins I’ve mixed said black tea with some golden tea mix containing (I think) turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, and coconut creamer. It’s delicious. Is it delicious? I’m not sure. God, yesterday started off wonderfully but then finished dastardly. And then for some ridiculous reason I decided to watch the Netflix show An American Murder before bed. Big mistake. It made me feel so bad. There’s a reason I don’t watch horror movies or scary movies or even scary documentaries. I don’t see the point. I don’t see the redeeming value. They just make me feel terrible.

Left foot up to the tiny scoop hold. Left hand up to the terrible slimper. Right foot up, trying not to catch it on the undercling. That’s about all the beta I remember from Dirty Dancing V4. The high today in Leavenworth is somewhere in the mid-80’s, which is not exactly the best weather for strenuous slab climbing. But it is good weather for hanging out and enjoying the last rays of summer/early fall, and it is good for swimming, and we me might take a dip in the Wenatchee River after sessioning the Beach Forest Boulders or we we might go over to Lake Wenatchee. I’m not sure. Should I be doing a keto diet?

I don’t really know what to talk about this morning. I’m stoked to be going bouldering, that’s all. I’ve actually wondered lately why I don’t more unabashedly give my life over to bouldering. And I think it’s because I’m 37 and I just started bouldering and that, for some reason, would seem ridiculous. But on the other hand it’s all I want to do. It brings me happiness like few other activities ever have. When I’m bouldering I feel complete, and the thing is it has nothing to do with sending hard (for me) problems or making new friends. I’m just as happy bouldering alone, if not much happier. It has to do instead with the feeling of stone against skin and the feeling of body moving over stone. It has to do with presence. It has to do with listening to the sound of your breathing, and then lying there on the mat, after an attempt, listening to the sound of the forest. It has to do with turning your brain off. It has to do with some sort of connection that’s difficult to describe. And the whole fact that it’s contrived and unnecessary makes it that much more beautiful. It makes it art; and art is necessary.

It’s almost time to go and I hope I don’t drink coffee today. I hope I eat well and am positive. I hope I climb hard and that my body feels good. I hope I have a wonderful day and that today is day of improvement on all fronts, however, incremental.

Bless you all.

– Wetzler

Chilling on Eastlake Ave in My Car Writing a Blog Post | Road to V4

Well ok, this is a new one for me, blogging from my car outside Seattle Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Why am I here, you ask? Why am I sitting in my car on a busy thoroughfare blogging?

The answer is simple: I needed to mix it up.

Yes, friends, I realized something this morning, something frankly disquieting. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, “almost” being the operative word, since I am not at all ashamed to admit it: My life, it would seem, is empty without bouldering.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions, let me just explain a bit. Here’s the deal: The days that I boulder feel incredibly full. I have a sense of purpose. I have a mission. I’m exploring. I’m improving myself, improving my body, and it’s almost impossible to go bouldering without making some kind of progress, however micro that progress is. For example, when Carolyn and I went bouldering the other day I didn’t send anything new. But I still made so much progress. I think I’m starting to learn, for example, how to figure out beta. Before, I had this weird mental block where I would almost try to make problems harder because if they were too easy I thought I was cheating. So I’d find what I figured was the intended beta and then stick to that no matter what because I felt like doing anything outside of that was somehow cheating. Isn’t that insane? Isn’t that absolutely, no-holds-barred, elephant dung crazy??? It is crazy. I know it’s crazy. Because the whole point of bouldering is figuring out the beta that’s gonna get you up the rock. And sometimes the beta you find will be wildly different from the “intended” beta, but everyone climbs differently, and everyone’s body is different, so “intended” beta doesn’t mean “mandatory beta.”

Basically what would happen is this: I’d find a boulder (let’s say it’s V2 in this case), find what felt like V2 beta, and then PUT BLINDERS ON TO ANY OTHRE BETA BECAUSE IF I FOUND BETA THAT MADE IT FEEL V1 I FELT LIKE I WAS CHEATING.

I’m sure some of you can identify with this. Also, there are times when the “cheating” thing is legit. If you stand start a sit start boulder, for example. If you use a detached block that’s “off,” ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC

(etc).

Anyway, we were supposed to be talking about progress. And sitting on Eastlake Ave. feeling cars whiz by.

So this figuring out of how to figure out beta is major progress. This acceptance of making it as easy as possible for me without “cheating” is huge progress and I think is going to allow me to get off the plateau I’ve been on for the past few months (and continue upward). Physically, I know I’m ready to boulder V4, V5 and maybe even harder. Technique-wise, I’m probably ready for those grades, too. But MENTALLY I’ve been stuck at about the V2, V3 level. And moving beyond that mental pleateau is one of the things I’m most excited about right now.

OK what the hell were we talking about. What is the point of this blog post. I have to pee and there are no bathroom prospects anywhere close. The Tottenham vs. Chelsea game starts in just over an hour.

OK, I remember what we were talking about. We were talking about how my life feels empty without bouldering.

Um, that’s pretty much all there is to it. On the days when I DON’T boulder I need to socialize or play the piano or do some good reading or writing if I don’t want it to feel empty. This is something I’m WORKING ON, i.e. accepting the days where I just don’t do much. I know many of you would kill to be in my position, or at least think you would kill to be in my position, because the grass is often, if not always, if not at least sometimes, more green.

If I don’t go bouldering today I won’t be going until Thursday since I can’t boulder tomorrow because I actually have plans.

I think I’m ready to be done chilling on Eastlake Ave. It’s one thing to chill on a quiet side street when you don’t have to pee and it’s quite another altogether to be on a street where the passing cars actually make your car rock side to side and a dude walks by smoking a cigarette and it drifts directly into your vehicle. I wish I was going bouldering today — and I could totally go — but my wrist and ankle will probably appreciate having a couple more days to rest.

Anyway, here’s a photo of where I am right now:

Damn, pretty sick resolution.

OK, time to go find a bathroom.

– Wetzler