Chilling on Eastlake Ave in My Car Writing a Blog Post | Road to V4

Well ok, this is a new one for me, blogging from my car outside Seattle Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Why am I here, you ask? Why am I sitting in my car on a busy thoroughfare blogging?

The answer is simple: I needed to mix it up.

Yes, friends, I realized something this morning, something frankly disquieting. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, “almost” being the operative word, since I am not at all ashamed to admit it: My life, it would seem, is empty without bouldering.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions, let me just explain a bit. Here’s the deal: The days that I boulder feel incredibly full. I have a sense of purpose. I have a mission. I’m exploring. I’m improving myself, improving my body, and it’s almost impossible to go bouldering without making some kind of progress, however micro that progress is. For example, when Carolyn and I went bouldering the other day I didn’t send anything new. But I still made so much progress. I think I’m starting to learn, for example, how to figure out beta. Before, I had this weird mental block where I would almost try to make problems harder because if they were too easy I thought I was cheating. So I’d find what I figured was the intended beta and then stick to that no matter what because I felt like doing anything outside of that was somehow cheating. Isn’t that insane? Isn’t that absolutely, no-holds-barred, elephant dung crazy??? It is crazy. I know it’s crazy. Because the whole point of bouldering is figuring out the beta that’s gonna get you up the rock. And sometimes the beta you find will be wildly different from the “intended” beta, but everyone climbs differently, and everyone’s body is different, so “intended” beta doesn’t mean “mandatory beta.”

Basically what would happen is this: I’d find a boulder (let’s say it’s V2 in this case), find what felt like V2 beta, and then PUT BLINDERS ON TO ANY OTHRE BETA BECAUSE IF I FOUND BETA THAT MADE IT FEEL V1 I FELT LIKE I WAS CHEATING.

I’m sure some of you can identify with this. Also, there are times when the “cheating” thing is legit. If you stand start a sit start boulder, for example. If you use a detached block that’s “off,” ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC

(etc).

Anyway, we were supposed to be talking about progress. And sitting on Eastlake Ave. feeling cars whiz by.

So this figuring out of how to figure out beta is major progress. This acceptance of making it as easy as possible for me without “cheating” is huge progress and I think is going to allow me to get off the plateau I’ve been on for the past few months (and continue upward). Physically, I know I’m ready to boulder V4, V5 and maybe even harder. Technique-wise, I’m probably ready for those grades, too. But MENTALLY I’ve been stuck at about the V2, V3 level. And moving beyond that mental pleateau is one of the things I’m most excited about right now.

OK what the hell were we talking about. What is the point of this blog post. I have to pee and there are no bathroom prospects anywhere close. The Tottenham vs. Chelsea game starts in just over an hour.

OK, I remember what we were talking about. We were talking about how my life feels empty without bouldering.

Um, that’s pretty much all there is to it. On the days when I DON’T boulder I need to socialize or play the piano or do some good reading or writing if I don’t want it to feel empty. This is something I’m WORKING ON, i.e. accepting the days where I just don’t do much. I know many of you would kill to be in my position, or at least think you would kill to be in my position, because the grass is often, if not always, if not at least sometimes, more green.

If I don’t go bouldering today I won’t be going until Thursday since I can’t boulder tomorrow because I actually have plans.

I think I’m ready to be done chilling on Eastlake Ave. It’s one thing to chill on a quiet side street when you don’t have to pee and it’s quite another altogether to be on a street where the passing cars actually make your car rock side to side and a dude walks by smoking a cigarette and it drifts directly into your vehicle. I wish I was going bouldering today — and I could totally go — but my wrist and ankle will probably appreciate having a couple more days to rest.

Anyway, here’s a photo of where I am right now:

Damn, pretty sick resolution.

OK, time to go find a bathroom.

– Wetzler

 

Ups? | R2V4 #2

R2V4 is so far NOT having the gangbusters start that R2V3 did. This is because, well, bouldering progress is not always linear. I found that out the fun way yesterday. My sister’s dog and I went on a mission to find the Devil’s Club Forest Boulders in the East Miller River Valley (EMRV), and were stymied, partly because Ginger is not the talus crawler she once was, and partly because I…forgot the guidebook. Yes, you read that correctly. I committed an egregious mental gaffe. I picked up the guidebook, thinking, Gee, can’t forget THIS, and then promptly forgot it.

Blast.

It’s drizzling today — MISTING — and I have a snus in because ostensibly it will make me think better. What am I thinking about? Not bouldering V4. I’m actually thinking about — and this is quite specific — the following: whether or not there are anchorages near the city of Squamish, BC. So I guess I’m SORT OF thinking about bouldering. Indirectly. Because obviously Squamish is one of the best towns for bouldering in the world, and I would be going there because I want to boulder, and also because I’m ruminating on a pretty big sailing trip starting this fall, and Squamish would be a rad first destination to boulder and chill and maybe meet the love of my life.

Yesterday was actually a massive step back in bouldering. I couldn’t even get to the lip on Zelda Dyno V4, I couldn’t even come remotely close to starting two different V5’s (Miller Lite of the EMRV and Face Crack of the Zelda Boulders), the only thing I really climbed was the V0 or V1 arrete next to Zelda Dyno, and I just felt…generally…weak. I felt slow. I felt fat. I felt sluggish. I felt becalmed. I felt lethargic. This COULD have been because I hadn’t eaten anything all day, and because my diet the day before was awful. But I think it’s actually just my first mini plateau. There are going to be plateaus on the illustrious, yellow-bricked, gold-paved, like-approaching-the-mythical-city of-Tenochtitlan, Road to V7. Some plateaus will last longer than others. Some plateaus will be mental, some will be because you just don’t feel like climbing that much, and some will be because instead of eating healthy you’re microwaving mini-pizzas (!) and drinking non-alcoholic beer.

But, like, I also gotta live my life.

Aka as of not this Monday but the next I will be unemployed. Funemployed? You know when people make jokes that are KIND of funny but you’ve heard them so many times they more suggest a simple mind? Funemployed is kind of like that. Beware anyone who says “funemployed.” They could be a sadist.

The V4’s that are most likely to go first, hopefully sometime in the next few weeks? Month?:

Fridge Center V4

Zelda Dyno V4

Toto V4

The Real Thing V4

Serenity Now V4

God, please let me climb one of these soon. The thing is: I am patently NOT a V4 climber. I am not a V3 climber. I am not a V2 climber. I’m like a V1 climber. On a good day. On a terrible day I’m probably more like a V0 climber. V-basic climber? No, I’m a little better than that. I’m still not a crimp master. I still struggle with slopers. My foot placement is terrible. Sit starts make me want to throw a tantrum. There are so many ways I could improve my climbing. But, and here’s the thing, and this time it’s an unavoidable thing, the kind of thing that can’t be avoided, the kind of thing that, some might say, is “essential”: It takes time. It takes a lot of climbing. It takes paying your dues, even though — and let me be 14,000% clear about this — paying your dues does not have to be unfun. Paying your dues is the awesome part. Sitting at the bottom of a boulder, looking up at it, looking up at the sky, thinking, How am I going to climb this? And then one day you do climb it. And it’s glorious. Ups? Downs? Paying dues? It’s all part of the process, I suppose.