First Time at the Paradise Boulders | Skykomish | Road to V16

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that first sip of coffee in the morning. And by “coffee” I of course mean “earl grey tea,” and by “earl grey tea” I of course mean earl grey organic from Trader Joe’s mixed with one of their special non-dairy milks, aka almond mixed with cashew mixed with macadamia. I was hoping it would be hella creamy but it’s not. It’s KINDA creamy. Like, about as creamy as tap water, aka lake water, aka the rain water currently dripping from everywhere on the boat.

But (and check this out), the spiders are gone! I have no idea why. Actually I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the smoke. I haven’t seen a spider in several days (knock on formica), and I assume this has to do with the smoke but it could also just be hibernation season for them. Last time sometime around this time they also decided to peace out. I have no idea where they go for the winter. Maybe they get depressed. Maybe I’m starting to get depressed because of this fucking smoke that I constantly say doesn’t affect me but when you look outside your house to try to enjoy the view and all you see is everything ensconced in grey it starts to wear on you. Which is you why you need to focus your energy in other places. Like shoulder rehab. And meditating. And shoulder rehab.

The above photo is Barold crushing, no, mauling, one of the first V0 slabs we tried (Bunny Lebowski). We both flashed this and then we both flashed Red Fish V0 and were thinking, “Damn, we kinda crush. We’re probably gonna send V2 today and maybe even V3 and maybe even V8.” Which of course didn’t happen. After the slab we went up to the King of the Hill Boulder where we failed. I mean, failed as in didn’t complete any climbs (except Solaxsis V1). Not failed as in didn’t have a great time and didn’t learn a lot about ourselves and didn’t enjoy nature. Because all of those things we obviously did. Even though King of the Hill Slab felt like V3 to me because I had the beta COMPLETELY wrong, and even though I kinda felt like I cheated on Solaxsis V1 by not staying on the face the whole time, I’m still pretty good at taking positives from a session. And the positives here were I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be able to do the Unnamed V4 next to King of the Hill Slab fairly soon, and I’m pretty sure I might even be able to do Bushy Tail Traverse V5, since it might be a really soft V5.

You might be wondering (and I hope you’re wondering this), “Mark, what are you gonna do to take care of your shoulder?”

And my answer is: I’m moving to Guam.

Kidding.

Sort of.

No, my answer is: I don’t really know. I’m maybe going to make an appt with the doc today to hopefully get a physical therapy referral, I’m going to do eccentric strengthening exercises I find on YouTube, and I’m going to roll the shit out of it with a roller I hopefully get today at REI.

Ok I’m getting distracted this morning. I mean to blog and then I end up checking my email or trying to figure out how the whole unemployment thing is going. Also I probably shouldn’t be talking to people on WhatsApp.

What are my impressions of the Paradise Boulders, you might be wondering? I’ll tell you: First of all, know that the bridge at mile 5.5 up the forest road is closed, so you have to stop at 5.5 and hike up to 6.5 where the trail starts (you can see the boulders from the road once you get to 6.5). Second of all, know that this hike isn’t bad. It’s a one-mile hike up a shallow forest road, and it’s almost kind of nice to have a nice warm-up hike before the boulders. Third of all, know that this setting is absolutely stunning. I’ve never seen a more stunning talus field. Usually you see a talus field and you’re like, “Damn, that looks really unorganized and chaotic and I wish I was back down in the valley drinking an iced mocha.” But you see this talus field and you’re like, “Damn, was this place made for bouldering? Was my body made for bouldering? Am I a sculpted greek god who was put on this earth to send V7?”

And then you realize you’re actually 37 and your shoulder is failing and you spend the majority of your waking hours walking to grocery stores to buy Focusaid and googling “US canada border.”

Other impressions of the boulders: The approach is easy (after the mile hike). Quick walk down a trail, crossing a river that is super low right now, and then you’re basically there. Also, the Paradise boulders have TONS of stuff in the V0-V4 range, and at least according to one girl on sendage all these boulders with the exception of Nuclear Mutation V2 are ridiculously soft. Which is great, since it means I might be able to get my first V4 there. Also, lastly, Naughty Corner V7 is about one of the most beautiful blocs I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more striking boulder problem. It looks like Jehovah was bored up there one day in the sky and was like, “Damn, I got this new laser cutter bout to see what kind of shit I can dice,” and behold, a boulder was born. With perfect crimps and perfect aretes and a perfect landing and a perfect top out. Can’t wait to start projecting that thing. Gotta have your crimps on lock, though.

So yeah, I’m chilling on the boat right now. Drinking my earl grey. Just finishing my first cup (still in the Starbucks cup I’ve been rocking for a few days now which is starting to disintegrate) and probably gonna have a second. Maybe gonna have some fruit. Maybe gonna do some dishes. Maybe gonna start the day with my shoulder exercises aka some yoga aka some light meditation.

If anyone knows how to take care of a calathea plant please god let me know because mine is slowly dying and it breaks my sternum.

– Wetz