……… || R2V6

The Road to V6 continues. And as I stated in a previous post: It’s probably going to be a long road. Well, no, actually I hope to send a V6 this summer, and possibly even a V7. And maybe even a V8. And while we’re at it let’s just throw in The Method V12, my lifetime bouldering accomplishment goal. The Method, if you’re not familiar, is located at The Apron Boulders in Squamish, BC. It involves a face/slab climb up to an undercling and then some tricky moves on slopers to get to the top. It’s a coveted problem, mostly just because of how cool it looks. It’s not some thuggy one mover where you’re cranking on a roof and then throwing a heel 15 feet above your head. It’s a combination of delicate and powerful, sharp and smooth, yin and yang, day and night, good and evil.

I’m having my second serving of collagen this morning. That’s right, in an effort to mitigate soft tissue injuries, I’m back on the collagen. My poison picked this time is by Ancient Nutrition and is formulated for joint mobility. It’s got several types of collagen, including one only found in eggshell membrane. I’ve been taking it for a few days now, and I must say I….don’t feel a huge difference. But I might feel some difference. And it’s only been a few days. (Ed’s note: I’ve climbed the last two days [yesterday was a baby sesh, albeit], and I don’t feel THAT sore. Would that have been possible without the collagen? Do I have tendonitis in 57% of all of my tendons?)

I need to go to Whole Foods and get a matcha bar.

The plan is to climb tomorrow in Gold Bar/Index, though I’m not sure exactly where. I’m done (at least for right now) saying, “OK, I’m gonna go here and I’m gonna give it everything I have on X boulder.” Instead I’m back in “intuition mode,” where I drive out to Gold Bar and MAYBE walk up to the Clear Cut Boulders. Or maybe I do something on the Warm-Up Boulder. Or maybe I try something on the Five-Star Boulder. Or maybe I go all the way to Index and go the River Boulders, or the Zelda Boulders, etc etc. No real plan, really, just a guy with two tri-panel crashpads and a pair of Miuras. Though I think, I THINK, that I need to start trying to haul both pads up to the Clear Cut boulders. It’s only an extra 15 pounds, and the amount of protection it provides is ridiculous. When you’ve only got one pad you’re limited on the boulders you can really try hard on. Not that I ever try hard.

But let’s say I DID try hard on a couple boulders tomorrow. Just for fun. These boulders might be:

Cabin Stabbin’ V4

Serenity Now V4+

Road to Zion V5

Sobriosity V6

Ryan’s Problem (Climax Control) V6

The Engineer V-whatever

I don’t really see myself trying too hard on any boulders other than these. The most probably are Cabin Stabbin’ and Serenity Now, and the least probable is either Road to Zion or The Engineer, since I have it in my head that any fall from up top on The Engineer results in catastrophe.

But whatever.

For NOW, I’m going to drive over to my parents’ house to pick up the queen bed frame so I can get ready for my move to Blaine!

Oh yeah and my friend Matt and I are probably driving to Alaska on Sunday.

…….

– Wetz

 

 

I Flashed a Pink || R2V6

I thought yesterday’s cup of tea was an anomaly, that I was off caffeine for good. But today, as if in a trance, I found myself putting the kettle on, pulling the teabag out of the box, putting it in the cup, waiting for the familiar gurgle (or ALMOST gurgle since I never let the water boil), and then pouring the steaming hot liquid onto the tea leaves  — and even glancing at my clock to see what time it was so I don’t let it steep too long!

This could easily snowball into my caffeine consumption from before, basically going from grocery store to grocery, cafe to cafe, all day buying caffeinated products.

And I don’t want that to happen.

WE don’t want that to happen.

You’re probably wondering about the title of this post.

“Ha, good one Mark. Nice clickbait,” you may have said.

But no, yesterday at SEATTLE BOULDERING PROJECT POPLAR, I actually flashed a pink. This means that I established on the starting holds and then maneuvered my way up to the boulder to the top, where I delicately placed both hands on the finishing hold, held them for the requisite time, and then delicately climbed back down.

I am not a liar.

Here’s the thing, though: I didn’t get THAT much satisfaction from it. I didn’t put any work into it. I didn’t suss out the beta a bunch beforehand. I didn’t look at the moves. I just got on it and climbed, and it happened to be exactly my style (aka a stemmy problems where you basically don’t need arms) and then a few seconds later found myself at the top. Sure, I was STOKED, I mean obviously — but it didn’t give me the satisfaction that a black I’d been working on for the past half hour before and wasn’t sure if I was gonna get gave me. Because you see the black I actually had to work for, whereas the pink was a proverbial stem in the park/bouldering gym.

Anyway, other than that I don’t have much to report, but I’m going to keep talking for a bit anyway, as I’m wont to do.

What else could I talk about.

It’s sunny here today in Seattle, so that’s nice.

I just shaved my beard and so feel like a spring hen.

After this I think I’m gonna go to Whole Foods and get a matcha bar, and then MAYBE run the Howe stair climb.

I really wish I had some honey for this black tea.

I literally check the status of my Nexus application every day. It’s so dumb. It could be another two months before they process it, and yet I check every day.

Slash am I going to Pembina, North Dakota?

I do actually want to do a bit of traveling this summer. Here are the destinations I’d like to visit, in order of how badly I’d like to visit them:

  1. Alaska — I’m yearning to go back. Haven’t been back in a long time.
  2. Quebec — I’m yearning to go back. And to boulder in Les Laurentides. And talk to monolingual French speakers.
  3. Sweden — I mean, how awesome would it be to spend midsummer in Scandinavia jumping over a fire with some kind of crown of woven sweetgrass braided into your hair?
  4. German/Europe — I kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinda wanna go to Europe. But, like, not that bad. So I probably won’t. Not too high on the list. So freaking far.

And then of course there’s Squamish. I hope to spend a LOT of time in Squamish this year. Like, a decent amount. Like, a little bit. Like, I hope to get up there at least a couple times.

My reading material last night as I lay in bed was the Squamish Bouldering guidebook, by Marc Bourdon. It’s not exactly Dostoyevsky, but it it moves me in the same way and drives me to contemplate life. There are so many quality problems there I want to get on, and I’m convinced in the next couple weeks the weather’s gonna turn and it’s gonna be scorching hot in Leavy and even too hot in Gold Bar and everyone’s gonna flock to Squamish and I’m gonna be there, happy as a damn razor clam, alternating between sleeping in my car/tent and commuting back to my cottage on the border in Blaine. It’s going to be wonderful, and I hope to see you there. We’ll climb V0’s — we’ll climb V2’s! Hell, we may even climb a V5. And by V5 I of course mean V6, since that’s the title of this series (for now!). In fact, I already have figured out the V6 we’re going to climb. It’s called Lounge Act, and it’s in the Easy Chair area. And I better see you there. And you better try it with me. And then afterward we’ll go celebrate with a cup of tea.

– Wetz

Results Back From the MRI || R2V6

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, waking up on the boat. Putting the kettle on for the first cup of tea in…almost a week??????????

That’s right, I’ve been off caffeine completely for almost a week, and I’m about to have a cup of black tea. Why, you ask? Why would I go back to caffeine when my life is so great off it? Well, I love tea. And also: I have like six tea bags that are going to get stale if I just leave them sitting in the box on my boat. Also: I love caffeine. Also: I love tea. Also: it’s raining.

I’m actually PAYING ATTENTION to the steep time this morning, something I never do. It’s 8:04am, which means the tea has another minute. And the funny part is everything I’m typing right now you probably won’t even read, because I’ve discovered it takes me a little bit to get into the “writing mode,” and the stuff I write at the beginning is usually me getting into the mode and usually gets axed. But who knows, maybe this’ll make the cut.

Let’s talk about CLIMBING, since that’s ostensibly what this series (Road to V6) is about. Or actually let’s not talk about climbing quite yet. Let’s talk about my day. It’s currently raining as I type these words sitting on the boat. It’s supposed to rain most of today and then ease off sometime in the evening, and tomorrow’s supposed to be nice. Thank god. Tomorrow is even supposed to be somewhat dry in Gold Bar, and I thought about going to the Camp Serene boulder to finally hopefully put down Serenity Now V4+, but if I climb today that won’t happen. Because I’m thinking of doing a gym session today. I’m thinking about it. Only if my friend Jessa can climb, and if not, well, actually I’ll still probably go.

Ok I’m gonna grab the cup of tea and take my first sip of caffeine in almost a week.

Stand by.

I’m a little worried the tannins are going to make me nauseous. Maybe I should get something in my stomach.

Chia seeds?

Two raw, shiitake mushrooms, that’s what I’ve settled on.

OK, here goes.

Oh man, the first sip was anticlimactic. I still had some shiitake residue in my mouth and that interfered with the taste of the tea. Plus I have lemon in the tea and that interferes with the taste, too. Basically, it all got messed up. I was expecting that to be much more satisfying.

Dang it.

We’ll have to talk about something else.

OK, that sip was better.

Ah! Yes! I remember what this blog was supposed to be about in the first place. It’s supposed to be about the MRI I had the other day, and how the results supposedly came back “normal.” In case I didn’t mention it I had an MRI of my low back the other day, and was waiting to hear back about the results. When I found out yesterday they were “normal” I was a bit confused, mostly because I’d like to go over the results and look at the images with someone who knows what they’re talking about rather than just get a seemingly auto-generated message in my MyChart. But also, what if the MRI results ARE normal? What does that mean? Well, it could mean that the back pain I’ve been “having” is actually all in my head.

One theory I have this:

I damage a disk (or something) back in September of 2021. 

I experience the symptoms of that acute injury until a surf trip in November, by the end of which the symptoms are basically gone. 

I come back to WA and start climbing again, and the symptoms “come back.”

Except they don’t come back, because the bulging disc is actually better, but my body has LEARNED pain patterns and associates pain with climbing and falling in bouldering and assumes that these things should still hurt. 

It becomes a completely psychosomatic ailment. 

Terrible theory?

Possibly. But that’s currently my best theory so far.

Runner up theories: 1) There’s a hairline fracture that would take a specialist to detect and not just my primary care doctor who may be the only person who’s seen the results. 2) There’s another more obscure problem (like something wrong with a facet joint) that requires a specialist to detect. 3) I don’t actually have a spine.

This last theory is in beta testing, and will tested today in the form of a pink with an undercling start at SEATTLE BOULDERING PROJECT and also maybe this one blue where you can break the beta and dyno. If I don’t send either of these boulders or at least make crazy good progress, we might have to assume number three is true.

Though of course spineless doesn’t refer to physical prowess but rather to moral character, and in the department of the latter I consider myself adequate.

Anyway.

Did you see this video of Yves Gravelle?

No, you didn’t, you sinner.

Canadian French is so often maligned, and it’s so awesome. Screw “Metropolitan” French. I’ll take Quebecois French any day of the month.

He also has almost no accent in English, which makes it so much radder that they did that video in French.

Time for a spring bouldering trip to Les Laurentides?

Mais la la.

Fait que…

OK, it’s looking like I’m going to gym climb today. And maybe work out a bit. Why the hell not.

And maybe I’ll actually post this blog post, even though I talk about very little. And then in a couple hours come back and edit the shit out of it. Or take it down.

Party.

– Wetz

 

Gaze of the Grasshopper Pt. 1 || R2V6

Four hundred and fourteen dollars of pending charges on my new Air Canada credit card.

A cup of black tea, the water still quite hot.

A rainy, chilly day.

But good weather in the forecast.

At least good for climbing.

I have acupuncture today, and I’m excited. My back, all things considered, is actually feeling quite good. I’ve been eating decent, taking turmeric pills, doing a shit ton of yoga, and also doing my physical therapy somewhat regularly.

Yesterday we went to Leavenworth.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And even though I didn’t send anything, I felt MUCH better than the the session at Mad Meadows the other day. Like, much better. Like, I actually felt kinda good. Like, I actually almost felt like a person. Like, I got shut down by Alfalfa or Spanky V5 but made a bit of progress on it. Like, Fountainblues V0 felt really hard for me. Like, I flashed my first ever V3, but it was bitter sweet cuz it was a terrible, terrible problem (Unknown V3 at Forestlands, #63 in the guidebook), that probably shouldn’t have been V3. But I’ll take it. It’s not on Mountain Project, so there’s no one to dispute it.

After Forestlands and Alfalfa or Spanky (God I love that first move) we went to the Beach Forest area and I wanted to try The Savage Act V5 and The Terrible V7, but my body was feeling kinda gnar. But then on the walk back I crossed Highway Dos and checked out the Gaze of the Grasshopper boulder, which features the eponymous V4 that Harlow Huber calls V2/3. WHATVER the grade is, it’s an epic boulder and has three or four good-looking lines ranging from V3 to V6. And actually I hope Gaze of the Grasshopper is soft, because on both Mountain Project and Sendage it’s a V4 (V4- on MP) which means if/when I do send it I can claim another V4. Which would be nice, cuz I feel like I haven’t sent anything hard lately.

Oh, climbing. How one day you can feel so bad and the next day so good.

Or vice versa.

In completely unrelated news (though actually very related), my move to Blaine has gotten delayed till June 2nd. This means I won’t be ALMOST Canadian till June, which is actually good cuz Squamish doesn’t really start getting dry till June. It’s also good cuz May is an AMAZING month in Leavenworth, and I wanna do at least 2-3 more trips there this month and ideally camp in my car a bit and send hella V4’s and maybe even some 5’s and…….

and……

and….

and….

…..maybe even a 6?

Is that too much to ask?

Is that demanding?

I’ve started strength training again, aka dead lifts and L-sits and pushups. And bench with free weights. I love deadlifts. I use a kettle ball to do them, and just pick it up and put it down again. It’s primal and simple and awesome. My diet has been decent lately, not great but decent, and, and I’ve learned that I NEED to rest at least two days after a hard climbing sesh. Preferably three. Or four. I think once my body gets used to climbing again I’ll be able to get away with no more than two days rest and maybe even one day’s rest and OCCASIONALLY two days in a row, but damn, your body needs to get used to climbing outside. Like, you need calluses, and you need to be used to pulling. And somehow pulling outside is very different from pulling in the gym.

Tesla. La Croix. Cortado.

God I just want to send V6.

Aka V5.

Aka V4.

Aka Gaze of the Grasshopper.

I Need a Proj: R2V6

I need a proj.

Like, a proper proj.

I need the kind of proj where you go back time after time and obsess about the moves and learn the moves perfectly and start obsessing over micro beta — like, what if I turned my thumb over slightly there? Or, what if I brought my left foot in slightly here?

The kind of proj where you make incremental progress, that’s perfectly at your limit — or actually perfectly just beyond your limit, that forces you to become a better climber so you can reach that limit.

The kind of proj you want to just sit next to and breathe in the air.

That’s the kind of proj I’m looking for.

Because it’s been too long. That’s the way it was with U2 V3, that’s the way it was with Toto V4, and Dirty Dancing V4 and even Zelda Rails V4. But I haven’t had a project like that in awhile, and I’m desperate for one.

So here are a few I’m thinking could be some candidates, just based on the amount of moves they have or watching people try them on YouTube or in real life or how aesthetically striking they are:

Slingblade V6, Leavenworth

Dope line that’s not super long and can either involve a huck to a rail or some tricky bicycle/outside flag beta that lets you crimp your way to the rail, and then after that a somewhat tenuous topout.

Slice of Cake Right Variation V7, Leavenworth

I love underclings, and this one starts off with a sick undercling. Plus the top must be about V3, since the problem was V3 before the big flake broke, creating the undercling. Or did that flake have lots of bomb footholds that made it V3? I don’t know. Either way, the problem looks sick.

Black Slabbath V7, Squamish

Oh wait, this one’s in the rockfall closure area under the Grand Wall. Bummer.

Sobriosity V6, Kombucha V7, Five Star Arete V6, Gold Bar

I’m lumping these three together because I think I could do them all (with some projecting of course) and because they’re all on the 5-Star Boulder in Gold Bar, and they’re all majestic problems. Like, the kind of problems where you look at them and get goose pimples a bit. Like, the kind of problems where you look at them and get gooseBUMPS a bit. Like, the kind of problem (Kombucha) where you look at it and your left shoulder hurts just contemplating the first move.

The Engineer V7, Index

Not putting the V9 guidebook grade in here, because I’ve heard it’s about V6 physically. The thing about projecting this one is….are you gonna project it and take a bunch of falls from way up high? Because that doesn’t sound very fun. But are you gonna project it on top rope? Maybe. I don’t know the answer to these questions. All I know is it’s one of the sickest blocs in Washington and it’s on my lifetime tick list and I need to get on it soon.

Other candidates: Water V6 (Gold Bar), World’s Best V7 (Gold Bar), The Doja V7 (Gold Bar), Road to Zion V5 (Gold Bar), Mosserati V7 (Skykomish), Metroid Prime V6 (Gold Bar), and probably some in Leavenworth, too (and hopefully in Squamish!!!)

Right now my proj is to rest. I climbed in Leavy yesteryore and got absolutely THRASHED. Consolations from the sesh: gonna have some bomb callus buildup in a few days; sent a new V3; re-sent my first V3 (U2) for the first time; and still had some fun despite feeling hecka weak and getting thrashed. This project will see me resting AT LEAST two days, but ideally three. Because I just read an interview with Katie Lamb who recently sent The Penrose Step V14, Washington’s hardest bloc, and she said she often rests FIVE days when she’s projecting something.

We should all be more like Katie.

Slash I am not a volume climber.