Road to V3 #3: U2

In case you missed it, R2V3’s post was a “vlog” yesterday:

That’s right: R2V3 is the next step not only in my bouldering “career,” but also in my “writing/taking video about my bouldering ‘career.'” The vlog starts off with a beautiful shot of the Bavarian village of “Leavenworth,” coupled with sing-songy German music. And then pans up to me drinking a delicious, albeit overpriced, americano from famed “J5 Roasters” in Leavenworth.

But I’m not here today to talk about climbing. Well, that’s actually the only thing I’m here to talk about, but I’m not here to talk about any aspect of it in particular. I don’t know why I say “climbing” when many “climbers” probably wouldn’t consider bouldering “climbing.” Many climbers look down upon bouldering, whereas I do the exact opposite. I have little to no desire to ever go sport climbing in my life. Maybe I will someday and maybe I’ll think, “Man, this is fucking awesome,” but if someone were to ask me tomorrow, “Mark, wanna go sport climbing?” I’d say, “Yes, but let’s leave the ropes and harnesses at home and let’s only do really short climbs on smaller rocks.” I’m all about that kind of sport-climbing.

I’ve always been drawn to sports that require minimal gear when there is a logical counterpart or “cousin” to that sport that requires more gear. For example, in the world of board sports my sport of choice is skateboarding. Minimal gear. A board. No bindings. You’re not attached to the board. Contrast that with snowboarding, where you’re ATTACHED to the board, you need chair lifts, you need to drive to the mountain, etc. etc. Thus, skateboarding to me is the “purest” of boardsports, along with maybe (aka probably) surfing. But this also applies to regular sports! Of all the regular sports the one I like most is soccer. Why? Minimal gear. For basketball you need a hoop! For baseball you need gloves and a bat and bases and an overweight umpire and chewing tobacco and 30,000 drunk fans. But for soccer you only need a ball. Goals are nice, too, but they’re very easy to improvise. Much easier to improvise than a basketball hoop.

And then we come to bouldering. Again: minimal gear. If you’re Charles Albert all you need is chalk. If you’re an old-school purist all you need are shoes (and no chalk). And if you’re a regular boulderer all you need are shoes, chalk, and a pad. Some other things are nice, too, like a brush, and a couple extra pads, but they’re by no means necessary. I’ve been having the time of your life with only one pad.

OK, and now I actually DO want to talk about climbs. About boulders. Because I’m still completely obsessed with U2 V3 from the Forest area of the Beach and Forest Boulders, and I’m dying to go back. I contemplated (very briefly) driving all the way back to Leavenworth today just to get up on this bloc. But. My body needs a rest. And I don’t want to do four and a half hours of driving just to try a boulder for 15 minutes. Also, I’ve noticed that when projecting a boulder rest days can be the most beneficial training you can do, and not for the muscle recovery but for the beta. I’ve noticed that you learn beta for a boulder not when you’re trying the boulder but when you’re resting, thinking about it. It also helps to watch videos. For example now I feel completely confident in the beta for U2 and feel like I can go back, do the start really easily (because it’s easy), get up to the undercling, and then get my right foot higher, stand up, and reach over to the slopers. That’s really the whole problem. This is what I got from watching the guy from TinyDynos do it, though he looks pretty short, so hugging the undercling the whole time might be harder for me.

I need to do laundry today. I don’t want to do laundry. Man, what I would give to be in a warm apartment or a warm house right now. But I’ll take a cold, damp boat instead.