“Please” aka Green Tea | Road to Recovery

Today was a red-letter day in my recovery. Why was it a red-letter day? Because today I figured out a plan to get me back to bouldering, or at least back in the direction of bouldering, and today I completed the first step of that plan, i.e. I drove out to the Reiter Foothills, parked my car, put my climbing shoes in my backpack, and walked halfway up to the boulders.

I didn’t climb, of course.

Actually one of the reasons I didn’t climb is because there was a ruby-throated tanager (I have no idea if this was the actual bird) at the trailhead that seemed to be chirping some sort of warning signal. It was as if the bird was saying, “Mark! Mark! Don’t climb Warm-Up Slab V0 without a pad! You’ll fall! You’ll fall!”

Indeed, that was sort of the plan, if I made it up to the boulders, to climb Warm-Up Slab V0, just to get my hands on the damn granodiorite. But I haven’t climbed in awhile, and the granite can be slippery, and with my knee how it is it wouldn’t take much to make the injury worse — much worse. So I held off. I hiked halfway up to the boulders in the glorious sun, and at the summit (aka summit for me), I started formulating a plan:

Step 1) Hike halfway up to the boulders.

Step 2) Hike all the way up to the boulders

Step 3) Hike halfway up to the boulders with pad on back.

Step 4) Hike ALL the way up to the boulders with pad on back.

Step 5) Hike up to boulders using semi-sketchy trail from main gate.

Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Etc.

So today I completed step 1, which felt like a fucking triumph, and it also felt like a triumph because I was bathed in sun for most of the hike, the vitamin D coursing through my belly, licking my neurons, and it just felt good to get out, even if getting out meant driving through Monroe, quite possibly my least favorite city in Washington.

On the way back I suffered a slight slip, buying some caffeinated beverages from Trader Joe’s. Oh no! A week of caffeine cleanse and now I’m back on the wagon. Aka off the wagon. Aka last night I had some GT’s Adaptogenic Tea and had trouble getting to sleep. And today I’m having green tea. Black tar heroin could be next.

Speaking of things you inject, I also decided on the hike that I’m probably going to order some BPC-157 peptides on the internet and inject them directly into my knee. This healing process is just going too slow. I mean, I walked out of a bouldering area (see: hiked) with a pad on my back FIFTEEN MINUTES AFTER ORIGINALLY HURTING MYSELF. And now three weeks later I’m seeing hiking with a pad on my back as some kind of achievement? It’s insanely frustrating. I mean, there has been improvement, but it’s at a banana slug’s pace. I’m not used to being injured like this. I’m not used to forgetting what it feels like to crush. I’m not used to not bouldering (except for the first 36 years of my life when I didn’t know what bouldering was or at the very least scorned it). I’m not used to this desperation, damnit!

So that’s why I might inject some shit into my knee.

The green tea I’m drinking tastes faintly of licorice root. The Yogi label says, “The world needs your unique gifts, don’t leave with them still inside you.” I like this saying, though it would’ve been a wicked opportunity to use a semi-colon properly, though I imagine semi-colons are a little too aggressive for a brand like Yogi. Stick to your periods and commas. And your burdock root. God, this tea is actually really good.

What’s on tap for this week? Tomorrow I have therapy at 10am, which I’m super hyped about. On Wednesday I have my appointment with sports medicine at Swedish and I’ll be damned if I don’t get some answers about my knee. Please, just tell me if you think it’s seriously injured, and if you think it’s seriously injured refer me for an MRI. If it’s not seriously injured, immediately start speaking to me in Spanish, because my brain will already be heading south in my ’97 Subaru towards Mexico, possibly with a stop in San Diego to get peptides.

Please, tell me what’s going on. Please help me.

Please.

 

 

Between the Burns | Road to V4+

IMG_4904

“People you’ve been before/that you don’t want around anymore.” — Elliott Smith

Yesterday while driving to Whole Foods I noticed I could see all the way to the Cascade Mountains. It was semi-dry in Seattle. I thought to myself, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…I wonder if it’s dry in Gold Bar. If I can see all the way to the mountains it’s probably dry. At least sort of dry.

I started driving toward the mountains and almost immediately turned around to get my phone. I thought this little setback would break me. I thought I’d cozy up on my boat and never leave it. But then I was off again on the road with the snowy peaks in the distance and hope in my heart, headed for the Camp Serene Boulder and hopefully some burns on my now long-standing project, Serenity Now V4+++++++++++++++++++ (-).

I made a mandatory stop at Safeway in Monroe and bought the following: A Kind bar (sea salt caramel), smoked salmon, and a blackberry mint Guayaki. After this I was ACTUALLY on my way, still dry in Monroe, still dry in Sultan, STILL DRY IN STARTUP, STILL DRY IN GOLD BAR and…………………………………….mostly dry at the Camp Serene Boulder.

I parked and immediately noticed the wind was screaming. Common for this type of year, I’m learning. The wind whips through the Skykomish Valley like a peregrine falcon descending upon a naked mole rat. So I began my long warmup process. When the only thing climbable is a V4 and V4 is your absolute max, you need to figure out creative ways to warm up. So I did tons of jumping jacks. I ran back and forth to the car. I ran up the hillside a bit, turned around, and sauntered back down. I did more jumping jacks. I stretched. I did some hanging, partially loading my arms and shoulders and fingers and then fully loading my arms and shoulders and fingers. And then finally, once I felt sort of warmed up, I started doing some of the first moves. I was a bit worried about my finger after the slight pulley sprain the other day. But I taped it up tight in an “X” pattern and hoped for the best.

I fell in love again with the first moves on this boulder. Straight arms on the starting ledge. Daintily place your left foot on the shelf out left. Bring your right foot up to the small edge. Reach up to the jug crimp left. Cross your right foot over to the thin but good ledge. Flag your left foot out. Deadpoint up to the far right jug crimp. Smear your left foot, right foot up on the ledge, switch the feet quickly, and dive into the corner. I’ve done these moves so many times. I honestly think I might be able to do them with my eyes closed. But then I get to the crux and everything sort of shuts down. Except lately I’ve been making micro progress. Or actually probably macro progress.

While I was resting between burns two girls showed up. They’d seen me driving by and figured they’d check out the boulder. Their names were McKenna and Karen, and we immediately started working Serenity Now a bit together, and then moved over to Insanity Later V2, which was wet but not unclimbable. I sent it after a few tries and then Karen got to the top but didn’t want to top out with the wetness and the general precariousness of being up that high. Then we chilled by Serenity Now again, and they busted out snacks, which instantly made them two of my favorite people on the planet.

I figured I’d give Serenity Now a couple more burns before having to head back to Seattle, and I got closer to getting past the crux than I’ve ever gotten on that boulder. “I want to see you send it,” Karen said. After the first burn the rain whipped into the valley and the second burn suffered. It started pouring pretty much instantly and we hightailed it out of there.

The moral of the story is this: A day I thought was going to be unclimbable turned out to be one of the most fun days I’ve had in awhile. I made progress on my project. I met some new friends. And the best part is the forecast said “rain” all week, and now I’m realizing that all you need is a dry morning, or a dry afternoon, and you can probably sneak a little climbing in.

Which is totally rad.

– Wetz

The Dark Days of Winter | Road to V4

Sit start match the little horn jug thing, right foot turned inward on the good foothold, left foot smeared. Swing right hand over to the sloper rail. Switch feet, delicately. Now, bring your left hand also to the rail. Be careful to keep your left foot on at all times. If it cuts loose you’ll swing down the slope and probably fall off. With the left foot pasted onto the foothold your right foot started on, start working your hands down the rail right until you get to a good flat ledge just before the jug. Now, get ready to cut loose, because you’re going to (“Hold on….hold on to yourself….This is gonna hurt like hell….). It’s OK, though, you’ll have at least one hand on the jug, and you can swing all day and not fall off. Go for it. Swing a bit and when you’ve regained yourself look for a good edge for your right foot down and to your right. Once your right foot is there (delicately!), swing your left foot up to the rail (DELICATELY, GODDAMNIT. WHAT DID I JUST SAY TO YOU). Now you’re ready to look off for the shark’s tooth (if you’ve never seen a shark’s tooth teleport to the 90’s and hang out with a 13-year-old kid who wears hemp necklaces). OK, ready, set, lock off. Grab the shark’s tooth with your left hand, pull yourself up, and either go straight for the finishing jug with your right or go to the mini jug beneath it and then bump up to the finishing jug. You are in control of your own destiny. You are a boulderer, so comport yourself as such. Once your right hand is on the finishing jug, bring your left hand up for a Swiss topout, hang there for a second watching the rest of your life flash before your eyes, marriage, kids, retirement, daeth, and then let yourself drop to a pad you’ve (hopefully) placed below. This problem can be done with one pad (my pad is big), as long as you’re willing to move the pad to the right away from the starting moves. The good news is that for the crux of the problem your knees are literally about six inches above the ground. Which, if you’re an insect, is a hell of a long way to fall, but your terminal velocity is also lower so you’ll be fine.

Good. Now, if you’ll just tell me what problem I’ve described, I’ll reward you with a prize. I’ll give you a hint: It’s not V4.

– Wetz

From Sandstone to Granite | The Road to V4 with your host Mark Wetzler

The ground at Salt Point State Park, California.

I am back in Seattle, back on the boat, back to freezing my ass off at night even though the heater I have right now is approximately 70 times better than last year’s. It has a thermostat, it oscillates, and it looks somewhat chic, too.

I’m going bouldering today out by Gold Bar. The weather for the next six days looks uncommonly glorious, and I plan to take advantage. I also plan to take advantage of the fact that I’ve been climbing more than normal over the past two weeks, and that I feel stronger than usual (maybe not stronger than ever. I still don’t feel like dynos would be a great idea but they don’t sound like a completely terrible idea, either. My climbing right now is probably on par with what it was back before my shoulder injury, though now hopefully with better technique and footwork).

I can’t leave for a few hours this morning due to various engagements. In about an hour I’ll go over to my sister’s to pick up my plants, and then I have a video appointment at 10am. Which means I’ll LEAVE For the boulders at around 11am. First stop? I’m not really sure. The goal for today is to send Serenity Now V4+. But I also want to climb up in the clearcut, and that could interfere with my first goal. The reason I want to climb up in the clearcut is because there are more boulders up there, I want the hike, and I also want to continue projecting Cabin Stabbin’ V4, Summer Solstice V3, and maybe even suss out the moves on No Chaser V5. There are also so many other “hard” boulders I could start trying, like: Stinkin’ Slopers V5, Midnight Lichen V4, Samurai V5, Fern Crack V3, Water V6, and Obesity V7. I am very much into the idea of trying boulders right now that are way “beyond” my ability. Because sometimes on these boulders you can do a move, or two moves, and you feel awesome about yourself and visualize yourself one day sending it. This is how it was in Red Rocks the other day with Hyperglide V4/5. I could do the beginning moves. I could get to the beginning of the face climb. And I could almost do the hard move on the face climb. Which gave me tremendous confidence, even though I didn’t really come that close to sending it. Now, for instance, if I go to Stinkin’ Slopers V5, I think there’s a very good chance I’ll at least be ABLE to do the sit start. Maybe even the first couple moves. Which means I can start projecting it. Which means I’ll be projecting V5.

Aka projecting V16.

Aka I’m back in Seattle and it’s so fucking cold and I might need to leave here soon.

Aka I need to shave.

Aka I have a slight mullet.

Aka Joshua Tree.

Aka Stem Gem V4.

Aka failing on V0-‘s.

Aka the nicest AirBnb I’ve ever stayed in in my life.

Aka once it starts raining I might need to bust out the hangboard.

Aka this black tea is making me nauseous.

OK, just had some carrots so I’m OK. Moderation is the name of the game right now, folks. Also, doing the crux on Serenity Now V4+ is the name of the game. I’ve gotten to the crux so many times. And I just kind of stand there, paralyzed. Which is why today I’m going to try a couple new things: straighten my left arm and lean out over the right-hand sidepush thing. Force myself to get my left foot up, and then right foot up even if it pushes me off the wall. Lean into the wall to the point where I’m literally lying on it. I feel like any of these three things could be critical, though mostly the first one, letting my left arm go straight and leaning more over my right hand, possibly while letting my right leg dangle.

Enough talk for now. Time to take action. It is officially 65 degrees in my boat right now. I’m wearing a bikini. I’m contemplating jumping in the lake to cool off. I’m also contemplating drinking a yerba mate right now. From Trader Joe’s.

Aka I’m going to do that.

Last Climbing Trip Before Mex | Road to V4

My sister and her son — aka my nephew — and I went on a walk this morning-

Hold on, let me start over.

I went on a walk this morning with my sister and her son, aka my nephew, to “Poo Poo Point,” a short little jaun-

OK, I don’t like that one either.

I’m sitting on my boat drinking matcha this afternoon and what’s different between right now and when I USUALLY sit on my boat is that I’m sitting outside, in the cockpit, feeling the breeze and watching my boardshorts sway in the br-

Damnit.

OK. Sitting on my boat drinking matcha. Boarshorts swaying in the breeze. Sunny. Crows cawing. Tired but feeling ok since I just jumped in the water. Maybe should jump in again to wake up even more? Mellifluous. Not very comfortable. Ducks pissed at each other. Plant looks like it’s dying. What am I gonna do tonight?

OK that’s MUCH better now that I’m sitting on the ground and instead of on that pad. Though the ground is dirty.

Why am I so TIIIIIIIIIIRED right now? I have no good food on my boat except apples and peanut butter, but I’ve already had two apples today. I have kale. What am I going to do with the kale? Eat it plain? Disgusting. Eat it with some olive oil and salt?

OK I’m ready to start.

Good afternoon, faithful Where’s Wetzler readers! My name is Mark Wetzler and I’ll be your host for this afternoon’s blog post. We’ve got a lot to talk about today, including but not limited to: Me going bouldering tomorrow, my hike today, why I feel so tired–

K, sorry, can’t do that either. Can’t do a real post.

Stephen King said: Don’t go lightly to the page. I’m going to lightly to the page right now, Stephen. Light as a feather. Light as one of the leaves on my calathea plant that’s dying. Light as my humor. Light as my right toenail which is becoming slightly ingrown. Here’s the problem with reading books on how to write: It’s like reading books on how to paint pictures. They can only take you so far. At some point you have to launch yourself off the diving board and think: OK, I’m gonna do my OWN thing now. And if people hate it then fuck ’em. I’m going to make the stuff that I know is good, that makes me happy, and if people don’t like it well then they’re the ones with no taste. You don’t tell me what’s good art. I tell YOU what’s good art. I tell you what to like. People don’t know what they like anyway until someone has already given it to them. They say, “Well, I like light comedies,” and then someone makes a horror film and they love it cuz it’s well done and someone says, “But you don’t like horror films,” and they say, “Well, I guess I like that one.”

I’m going to be a piece of shit for the rest of the day and I’ve made peace with that. Go to Whole Foods. Read Pride and Prejudice. You know what I might do tomorrow? I might go session Serenity Now V4 FRESH. I’ve never sessioned that boulder fresh before. Only after a pretty long sesh. So maybe I’ll go there tomorrow, I’ll warm up on the slab a bit, I’ll climb the V0, and then I’ll give Serenity Now some fresh burns. Give it everything I got. And maybe make it past the crux.

K just watched a few videos of people getting up Serenity Now V4 (+!). I think I can do the crux now. And by crux I mean the low crux, there’s also a fairly gnarly deadpoint up to the hold on the lip. God, I got this. I need this. Come on, Mark.

A Sesh at the Camp Serene Boulder | R2V4

OK I’ve held off on doing this for awhile, but I’m going to vent for a second about how this blog has no readers and it’s really frustrating to be churning out top-level omg on a daily basis only to get like two views. So. Frustrating. But in the past when this has happened I’ve given up, or I’ve decided everything I’ve written is shit and then I delete it all or let the domain expire or do SOMETHING that essentially makes me have to start at 0 again. So no matter what I just need to fucking stick with it. And now that no one reads this blog AT ALL it’s actually kind of freeing. I can just kind of vomit all over the keyboad and post whatever comes up. I can say fuck this and fuck that and motherfucker and not really worry about swearing because NO ONE FUCKING READS THIS BLOG, so like, it doesn’t matter right???????

EXHALE. 

Ok. I feel better now. Just give me a second, though. 

Two days ago Barold, Carolyn and I went on a mission to the Gold Bar area and as you know from a PREVIOUS post we hit up the Morpheus Boulders aka the 420 Boulders and then afterward stopped at the Camp Serene Boulder on the way back and I didn’t blog about it cuz, well, a lot went down at that boulder, and it’s an epic boulder, and it garners its own post.

But FIRST a quick history of the Camp Serene Boulder aka Zeke’s Boulder according to Pablo Zuleta’s Western Washington Bouldering (aka the guidebook):

camp serene boulder aka zeke's boulder
The Camp Serene Boulder aka Zeke’s Boulder aka tall as fuck.

In 1985, Bob Buckley cleaned the highway side of the boulder and sent Highway Crack V1 and The Arete V0. Then, in the 90’s, Bob and friends established more difficult problems like Serenity Now (a V5 in the guidebook but now widely considered a hard V4) and Climax Control V6. In 2002 the boulder appeared in an “elusive” guidebook, then was later rediscovered by Kelly Sheridan (author of Leavenworth guidebook) and friends and has (presumably) seen regular traffic since.

It’s called the Camp Serene Boulder because it has Camp Serene graffitied in big letters on the west side. It’s also called Zeke’s Boulder because it’s just down the street from Zeke’s Drive-in and across the valley from Zeke’s Wall, the huge cliff above the Clearcut Boulders in the Reiter Foothills. Also, it’s worth noting that (at least in my limited experience), this is one of the best single boulders in Washington. It’s got at least five quality lines on it, and Serenity Now V4 is one of the most iconic boulder problems in Washington. It’s also kinda highball, and epic/terrible because it lies right off highway 2, a main thoroughfare connecting Eastern and Western Washington. Anytime you go to Index or Leavenworth or Steven’s Pass, you drive by this boulder. It used to be surrounded by luscious trees, but was clearcut sometime in the last few years and now stands there bald for all to see. What a shame. But still a sick boulder.

(for a great video of the Camp Serene Boulder showcasing most of its lines, watch this beaut by Jake and Kyle Love of Badwater Bouldering)

ANYWAY, on to our session. As we were driving out to Morpheus I prepped B and C by asking, “Do you guys mind if I take a few burns on Serenity Now on the way back?”

They said that was fine.

So, we went to Morpheus and sessioned, and it was wonderful, and a good warm-up, and bla bla bla. Then, AFTER our Morpheus sesh we headed BACK to Camp Serene, where I thought I might warm up on Insanity Later V2 (even though I’d never sent it) and then go for broke on Serenity now. But, Barold and Carolyn turned out to be really psyched on all the lines on the boulder, so we started out with a few burns on Insanity Later (Barold sent it second try!!!! with only a tiny pad at the bottom. he was a man possessed) and then moved on to Highway Crack V1, which shut all of us down. It’s a gorgeous line, a sloping crack that ascends some 20 feet into the air. We all found it dastardly hard and eventually gave up, feeling a bit bad but not that bad when I later found out on Sendage Jake Love called it “the hardest V1 I’ve ever done” and rates it a V2. After this went to Serenity Now so I could give it my burns, but I was feeling weak, had trouble even GETTING to the crux, and just did the same old shit I’ve done every time when trying it, i.e. not knowing how to get my feet higher when getting to the dihedral. I’ve since re-watched the Badwater Bouldering video I linked to earlier in this post, and now I think I might be able to crack it. But that’s what always happens. The eternal optimism. Probably the reason we keep bouldering. We always think we’re going to be able to send it next sesh even though half the time we get there and get absolutely shut down.

Lastly, Carolyn and I wanted to give Insanity Later a few more tries, since we’d both made good progress at the beginning of the sesh. I hadn’t gotten to the lip yet, but I’d slipped from the crux a couple times, which is pretty high and terrifying, but the falls had been fine so I was pretty much ready to go for broke. And go for broke I did. On one of the attempts (Barold was sitting there totally ready to leave and complaining about how hungry he was) I actually TOUCHED THE LIP but bailed because I felt unstable. So I asked if I could give it one last burn even though that’s exactly what I’d said about the previous burn. I’d found a bit of micro beta for the high right foot to make it a bit more secure, and also realized that I needed to get my left hand higher after getting the feet on the crux holds. And that’s what I did. I also went faster. I chalked up and just sent it. I didn’t dilly dally before going for the crux hold. I got my right foot high, trusted it, slapped my hand up the arete, got my left foot up, slapped my left hand up once more, and then could easily grab the lip with my right hand. Wonderful.

And so that was the session. Barold and I were super hyped to get Insanity Later, and I’m sure Carolyn will send next time she’s there, but being shorter she wasn’t able to do the high right foot and will have to smear in between, which makes it much harder. But I’m sure she’ll still get it. And I’ll be back for Serenity Now V4, and someday get that, too. Someday. Like, maybe, today?

– Wetz

My First V3 Slab | R2V7

OK, first of all let’s talk about the elephant in the room: How ugly this blog is. The reason this blog is ugly is because I am very poor at manipulating WordPress themes and also because I have no patience or dedication when it comes to this. I should probably just fork over some money to get this blog professionally designed, or at THE VERY LEAST fork over a few shekels for a premium WordPress theme.

Any thoughts on how I can make this blog beautiful with minimum effort/money?????????????

Thanks. Appreciate it. I’ll turn the comments back on.

So yeah, yesterday was a momentous day because I finally sent Rocksteadeasy V3 near Gold Bar, a slab I’d been working on for months. It’s basically only one hard move (well, I turned it into two): getting your left or right foot high and then easing yourself up onto that foot with very little in the way of hands. I’d been trying this problem off and on for months. Usually I’d show up, warm-up with Warm-up Slab V0 once or twice (or thrice?????) and then give Rocksteadeasy a few burns just for posterity. Actually, at the beginning I’d show up and every time think: Today’s gonna be the day I fucking send this. And then I never would. And that finally turned into: Today’s gonna be the day I give this some good fuckin’ burns. And that turned into: Today’s gonna be the day I just give this some burns. See what happens.

There is so much to talk about. The fact that I felt like I kinda blacked out during the climb, such was my concentration. The fact that when I topped out I didn’t whoop or scream. I think when you work on something for so long and kind of know you can do it — it’s just a matter of time — you’re less “excited” when you finally do it. Granted, the satisfaction is still great. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a kind of euphoric daze. I walked slowly down the mountain and then for some reason parked my crash pad in the middle of the dirt road for about a half hour and almost took a nap on it. I guess I was just enjoying nature. But yeah, I didn’t freak out when I actually did the boulder problem. I was more just “quietly pleased.”

And I didn’t film it. But one day I’ll go back and I will.

Also something we need to talk about: My shoes. I GOT NEW CLIMBING SHOES!!!!!

They are currently sitting on the bench seat across from me looking like sexy little bumblebees. They are the…….(drum roll)…………………………………………………La Sportiva Mirua VS’s. Size 44. I liked them when I tried them on, and I think they were the perfect decision for a second climbing shoe. A great all-around shoe and about 8,000 times more high performance than the Scarpa Origins I’ve been rocking. They fit quite tight but I’m not screaming out with pain when I put them on. In fact, most of the time I put them on I just feel fucking stoked. Like, “I’m about to send hard.” Like, “My body is a machine.” Like, “When I drink green tea on an empty stomach I feel like I’m going to vomit.”

Things are pretty good for me right now on the climbing front. My shoulder is hanging in there, I’m stoked, I’ve been re-sending old projects/blocs and yesterday just sent a brand new one. The weather is getting better (for climbing). It’s less hot. And I’m basically just stoked in general. About climbing. And about other things. About my new shoes. About going to Mexico again in October (!). And about one day having a blog that doesn’t look like it was created by a 4th grader in computer science class.

Tomorrow’s post: An early review of my new shoes OR something else entirely!

Have a wonderful day.

– W

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.

 

Hellfire Burns (and Climbing Everyday) | R2V4 #16

If someone had a gun to my head today and said, “Send V4 or I’m gonna pull the trigger,” what would I do? Honestly, I don’t know if I would get in my car right now and go right to Serenity Now V4. I don’t know if that has the best sending potential. I DEFINITELY wouldn’t go to Zelda Dyno V4, since you gotta be able to rag on some decently small crimps for that one, and I don’t want to do that right now. I’d need something that I sort of have the beta on, and that’s sort of my style. Maybe The Enigma V4, at the River Boulders? Maybe Dropping the Chicken V4 up at the Devil’s Club Forest Boulders, though last time I wasn’t really even coming close to getting the first move? Maybe Fridge Center V4, though the high today in Leavenworth is supposed to be…..dear jesus…104?

Anyway, just some fun morning thoughts. I guess in the end I would realistically drive straight to Serenity Now V4, mess around on the slab a bit, maybe climb up the downclimb to warm up, and then give it a few balls-to-the-wall burns.  Like, hellfire burns. Like, scream burns. Like, pretend-you-don’t-have-a-pad burns. Like, actually take your pad away to make falling less of an option? burns. Or something like that. The question is, would the dude (I’m assuming it’s a dude) with the gun ride shotgun with me to the boulder, holding the gun to my head the whole way? Would he drive his own car? Would that car be something vaguely pathetic, like a newish Mustang? Would he be the kind of guy who wears a leather coat? And why would he care so much about me sending V4? Why wouldn’t he want to just support my progression as a climber? Or maybe he WOULD be supporting my progression as a boulderer, just in ways beyond my comprehension.

Is this the lion’s mane talking?

For the time being I’m going to do one of two things: Not write posts for awhile, until I can start climbing again. OR, ALTERNATIVELY, write posts every damn day. Because since I’m not working right now I have more time to write, and I kind of like starting the morning in this way. I get up, I prepare myself a cup of matcha bacopa lion’s mane sludge, and I pull out the laptop. I think about bouldering even if I’m not really trying to. I think about going climbing that day even though I definitely shouldn’t. Or maybe I should climb everyday. Maybe I should legitimately figure out a way to basically be climbing everyday. Like, put myself on a schedule where I’m climbing two days on, one day off, and it doesn’t matter how hard I send, it doesn’t matter how long I climb or what I climb, I just have to get out there. Though that’s a lot of driving. And I JUST froze my gym membership. Not that I really feel like climbing in a gym right now anyway. But if I DID do that, and my body were to adjust, then I’d get really damn strong, really damn quick. I’d be sending a message to my body that says, “Hey, dickweed, we’re going to be doing this (almost) everyday. So get used to it. Maybe help me out with those tendon flexors a bit? Thanks.” But instead the message I’m sending to my body right now is, “Ohhhh, are you hurt? Are you feeling bad? I’m so sorry. Take a week off. Take two. Wouldn’t want to overdo it….”

No, the answer is: overdo it. Be a gladiator. Be a warrior. Send V4.

Hella Seaweed | R2V4 #9

Chillin’ on the boat, drinking mate and listening to Polo & Pan. Just got back from Oregon/Westport yesterday and went straight to the climbing gym, where Barold and I projected a couple blacks and blues and sent a couple oranges at Seattle Bouldering Project. I was stoked because I flashed two oranges, which I’d never done before. Now, just to dispel any doubts: from my experience the problems set in the Northwest Room of SBP are not any easier than the problems anywhere else. The black we were trying yesterday felt as hard as any of the blacks anywhere else, i.e. we couldn’t do them but we could sort of get close. I could do a few of the moves on one of the blues, which has been consistent with my experience anywhere else in the gym. Where did this rumor come from that the Northwest Room is somehow easier or for “different body types?” Can someone please not enlighten me?

Now, one thing I’m going to be candid about here because I’ve always been candid with you guys and I feel like that’s the kind of relationship we’ve developed: My right hand feels fucked. Like, it’s sort of become a claw more than a hand. I can’t fully close it. I definitely can’t close the right middle finger. The second joint of my right middle finger is noticeably bigger than the one on the the left. Couple this with the on-point calluses currently on all my fingertips, and it feels a bit like I have “climbing appendages” more than hands. Which is kind of rad.

Also, I have a three-point plan for attacking this latest finger malady: 1) Eat hella seaweed, 2) Use the anti-inflammatory cream I have, 3) switch to open-handed crimps. All of these are easy to do and implemented properly could potentially yield sweeping dividends. Especially the seaweed. There’s something about eating seaweed that just makes you feel kind cool.

The other thing I’m going to do is rest. Sort of. I’m at least not going to climb “today,” aka today, and I might not even climb tomorrow since the high in Gold Bar is in the mid 80’s and the high in Leavenworth is probably in the mid 200’s. But I will have to climb sort of soon. Ideally I would not climb for the next two days, but I know that’s not going to happen. Also, in my experience the following is often true: If your body is acting up from overuse, sometimes the best thing you can do is keep going. Whenever I go on surf trips with my friend El Cazador we always surf at least twice a day and at the beginning my left shoulder is always hanging on by a thread but I just try not to push it TOO hard and my body always ends up adjusting. Like, when stressed, your body adjusts. And movement is almost always a good thing. So with my right hand right now rather than STOP CLIMBING COMPLETELY like a Donald I’m just going to take a few strategic breaks and also modify certain behaviors. Keep sessions short and sweet. Avoid crimping with my right hand when possible, and when not possible employ open-handed crimps. Search out slopers like a bloodhound. Make sure to keep moving even if I’m not climbing. Etc etc?

I feel like I’ve been on the Road to V4 for a long time now. But this is what’s going to happen. I have a FEELING that there we might be a quick jump between V4 and V5, or V5 and V6, but other than that I feel like each V-grade from now on is going to be a bit of a saga unto itself. The Road to V7 is not paved with gold. It’s more paved with swollen fingers and frustration and wondering why your’e not getting better despite the fact that you climb almost everyday. But you are getting better. You just don’t realize it. Yesterday for instance I did something I’ve seen people do in videos that I’d never done. I threw a heel hook on a hold where my hand already was so I could then move my hand. So sick. This is the kind of movement that you only learn by watching people way better than you, and it made the climb so much easier, and just made me feel really cool.

Also: the new pic from the homepage is from Cannon Beach, where Barold and I hit up a bloc we found on Mountain Project. The line in question is a V3 called Spare Change we weren’t able to send but should go next time we’re back with a pad and better beta. Sick line and thanks to whoever put it up. We started on the right, shelf-like undercling rather than the smaller one on the face. No idea if that was “right” but it was definitely more fun and allowed for more climbing.

Now it’s time to watch Chelsea play in the FA Cup, aka Christian Pulisic, aka Cha Boi!