Let’s Talk About Crimping | R2V4 #4

Let’s talk about Machine Gun Funk V2. Let’s talk about crimping. Let’s talk about being unemployed. Let’s talk about finally sending a problem you’ve been working on for weeks. Let’s talk about avocados. Let’s talk about the EU ban on travelers from the United States. Let’s talk about the Dominican Republic. Let’s talk about fireworks. Let’s talk about ethanol-free gasoline.

Let’s talk about Leavenworth.

After a very successful Tuesday mish in Leavenworth, I headed back up the Icicle after work on Wednesday to check out the 420 Boulders. Mostly I wanted to try 420 Slab, a supposed highball bloc that in the guidebook looks picturesque. I expected to be able to send it pretty easily, but I expected it to be scary at the top. Neither of these were very true. The bottom turned out to be the hard part, and the holds at the top were pretty juggy. The bottom was so hard for me that after the first few attempts I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to send. But then I sort of figured it out: Go slow. Then there’s a beautiful jug about halfway up, and once you get to that your feet can cut loose and swing all over the place but it doesn’t really matter because both hands are matched on a granite dreamboat. From there it does get kind of high, but the holds are pretty good. If it was the other way around, if the hard holds were at the top, it would be a scary boulder. In the end one of the scariest parts ended up being the down climb, aka jump. I hadn’t scouted the down climb before sessioning it. For a bit I felt like a cat caught up a tree waiting for the fire department to get there. But then I sort of wiggled my down and made a bit of a jump to solid ground. Ankles intact. Stoked.

Then I headed to the Sword Boulders to have another go at I Heart Jugs V2. I had sessioned it on two previous occasions and not gotten that close. Watching some beta on YouTube I felt like I was doing it wrong, but the guy whose beta I was watching was pretty short, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it his way. There was a left-facing sidepull around the arrete I had to kind of lunge to, and that was the crux. Once you get that the climb lives up to its name, plenty of jugs. I taped part of my right index finger that was getting cut on the shark fin about halfway up, and that gave me some confidence. I also learned some microbeta for the shark fin: Grab it with two fingers on the sidepull, two fingers on the ledge. Cover all your bases. After that it was all footwork, and I could get the sidepull. And then it was just topping out feeling a little pumped.

Pumped is what I was. I felt great after sending a beautiful V1 slab and another non-slab V2, also one of Leavenworth’s classics. There is still so much more to climb at the Sword Boulders: Briefs V3, The Classic V2, and of course, once you start getting gnarly, The Hourglass V7. The Hourglass looks like a fun but intimidating climb. I tried the first moves on the slab just to see what it was like, but felt a little short of pads having to use most of my pad to cover the small boulder on the ground to the left that you DEFINITELY don’t want to fall on. They were half-assed attempts. But since no one was around I had to get on it. Had to see what I’m up against.

And now I’m out at Coeur d’Alene lake, enjoying some down days, gearing up for what is probably going to be another Leavy sesh starting Sunday evening. Probably camp there Sunday night. Things are getting hot in Leavenworth. It’s almost full on Gold Bar season, but Monday and Tuesday are looking rainy in Gold Bar. I’ve thought about driving down to Bend, but…is it worth it? Aren’t there a lot of hippies in Bend? Will someone force me to try to surf the river wave? Will I be handcuffed outside on a deck at a micro-brew brewery forced to drink Pale Ales? Will people make me wear Carhartts? Better to just go back to Leavenworth.

What boulders do I want to try next time I’m there?

The Rib V4

Sunny and Steep V2

The Real Thing V4

And any other V1 to V3 that looks fun.

But for now it’s time to enjoy the lake. Get some sun. Try not to get too fat before Sunday. No guarantees, though.

 

The Road to V2 Part 6: Riders on the Strom

So here’s my question: Does the word storm somehow come from the German word “Strom” which means “electricity?” Cuz like, lightning storms have lots of electricity. But obviously not, because the word for storm in German is “Sturm,” which would make (a lot?) more sense. But maybe it did come from Strom. I guess we’ll never know.

ANYWAY, I’m in the Apple Capital of the World right now, aka Wenatchee, aka Mexico, aka I’m in heaven. I called a place called La Fonda Oaxaqueña last night to get takeout and the guy answered in Spanish and so I just spoke Spanish and everything was perfect and after I hung up, walking across the parking lot of the East Wenatchee Mall, I had a strange lightness in my step. I love Mexico. I love everything about it, and I miss it. But I didn’t realize how much I miss it until being in a place that more closely resembles it. I ended up getting dinner from El Porton, whose quality I’m sure wasn’t like La Fonda Oaxaqueña, but La Fonda Oaxaqueña was closed.

Why am I talking about Mexican restaurants? I was just in LEAVENWORTH yesterday for the first time ever bouldering.

But let’s start at the beginning. First stop on the trip, Gold Bar. I tried to climb the clear cut boulders in what was essentially a downpour. Beam Me Up V2 was of course drenched, and the only thing that wasn’t drenched was part of Summer Solstice V3. Which was actually kind of ideal. I didn’t send the boulder, but I did do the first two moves (i.e. right hand out to the rail, left foot matching on the good edge), which was more than I’d done the first time. And today I’m going back. And it’s looking like it’s going to be dry. But I’m going to force myself to see some other boulders. I’m going to start in The Sanctuary this time, and try to climb The Catcher V0, Shortstop V2, and Stepping Razor V2.

The morning after Gold Bar I drove to Leavenworth, where it was sunny and cool and beautiful. I stopped and got a black tea from the espresso stand on the main drag just as you get into town. I walked along the pedestrian street. Everything was strangely serene and wonderful. I went to the public library where I could sit outside and use their internet. After getting soaked the night before, I was able to hang up my wet clothes and let everything dry out. And then I went up Icicle Canyon, where my first stop was The Sword Boulders.

Here I tried The Classic V2, once again with high hopes. This time I had the beta with me from Tiny Dynos on my phone right there. But what I didn’t realize about The Classic is that it’s kind of a highball. And it also traverses a bit from right to left, and I only have one pad. So I did the first couple moves and got to the ledge, but then didn’t have much in me for the traverse left and up to the top. So I didn’t send it.

Then I went to I Heart Jugs V2, where I had a much better time. I didn’t send this one either, obviously, since I’m somehow fated to never send V2 outdoors, but the movement was nice. The sit start was easy. The holds were great and interesting. I just couldn’t figure out what to do with my feet. This is something I really need to work. And I will work on it, today even, when I head back to Gold Bar to check out The Clear Cut Boulders again.

But first I need to fully wake up. I’m still in Wenatchee! I need to take a shower and perform minor surgery on my right big toe. I need to pack up my car. And I need to do a bit of driving.

Let’s get on some blocks!

Let’s….send it.