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.