Where Are The Sasquatch Boulders (and other pertinent life questions)?

Hello, friends. That was quite the deluge last night, wasn’t it? Anytime it rains that hard I find myself thinking: OK, I live on water, and now there’s water coming from the sky. I’m surrounded by water. I’m going to drown.

Actually, I didn’t think that. I gobbled down half a wedge of brie last night and proceeded to have nightmares. But at least I slept almost a full eight hours.

ANYWAY, we’re not here today to talk about rain or fine cheeses. We’re here today to talk about one thing and one thing only: The Sasquatch Boulders. Specifically: Where are they? How do you get to them? How hard is the river crossing? What should I climb when I get there? Is there any other pertinent information I should know?

Let’s start with a photo of the river crossing from last Thursday, September 16th, 2021, when the river was at about 250 cubic feet per second:

Adi braves the raging (tranquil?) waters of the North Fork Skykomish River.

Can we talk about these colors? The azure of the sky, the brown tannins of the river, the pink of the crash pad, the vermillion greens of the forest. So, this is where I personally recommend crossing the river (Disclaimer: crossing the river is inherently dangerous and could result in injury or death. If you have any doubts, don’t do it). Not that I recommend crossing the river, per se. The guidebook (Western Washington Bouldering by Pablo Zuleta) recommends only crossing at 900 cubic feet per second or less, and having crossed at about this level last year I can second (and possibly even third) this notion by saying you wouldn’t want to cross with the river any higher. Unless maybe you have a raft. Or a zip line. But anyway, just to give you an idea of where exactly this is in case you’re planning a future trip (for next year since after last night the river is raging), here it is:

Also, pro tip: The guidebook says to wear surf booties, and I fully second this notion. Luckily, I own supple seven millimeter O’neill booties. It’s cheating, basically. When we went on Thursday Adi kept talking about how cold it was in her Chocos, while I was as comfortable as a harbor seal. So yeah, wear surf booties if you got ’em, Tevas or Aquasocks if you don’t. But don’t go barefoot.

OK, but where are these boulders exactly? If you have the guidebook or just zoomed out on the map, you’ll know they’re near the town of Index, Washington, bouldering haven but much better know for its sport/trad climbing. The parking for the Sasquatch boulders is located 2.1 miles from the Index bridge down Index-Galena Road. At about 2 miles the road will run right alongside the river. The parking is located on the left side after the road stops going along the river and becomes separted from it by a thin stretch of forest. Once you’ve parked, look for a path down a short but steep bank with a huge cable running across it and a rope that sort of won’t help you down, as it’s tied on one end to saplings. Follow this trail onto the river bed, where it will soon turn right and and head along another embankment. Follow this for about a few hundred yards until you see a path running down to the left that makes its way down this embankment. There are many of these little paths, so if you have to jump, it’s too steep and you’ve chosen the wrong one. Keep going. Once you’ve found the one that’s not TOO steep and gotten onto the actual river bed, follow the trail until you come to the river, AKA the pin I marked on the map above. Here you can sort of pick your poison. You can cross in the rapids where the water is shallower but more quickly moving, or you can cross where it’s slower and deeper. I’ve always opted for slower and deeper. But I’m not your mother.

OK, SO NOW YOU’VE CROSSED THE RIVER AND YOU’RE STOKED OUT OF YOUR GOURD. But wait, where are all the boulders? They’re in the forest, my friend. You’re almost there, but not quite. Luckily, the hard part, aka the river crossing, is over. You’re just about to climb, I promise you that. In mere minutes your hands will be caressing the granodiorite fantasies that are the starting holds of The Network V5, Yin Yang V7, Where the Wild Things Go V2, or whatever it is you want to climb.

After you’ve crossed the river and gotten situated and maybe taken some Instagram pics making a duck face with the river in the background, look for a dry creek bed heading off to your left. Follow it for 200-300 yards until you see a trail heading up the bank to your right marked by either a cairn or a log with a piece of orange hunter’s tape tied to it or both. The trail is AFTER you’ve passed the gorgeous little natural pool polished rock thing, and should be quite obvious. If you find yourself saying, That could be a trail, it probably isn’t. Once you find the trail, follow it up for a steep minute or so until it flattens out. Two minutes after that you’ll be at the boulders.

To recount real quickly: 

To get to the boulders: 

  1. Take Highway 2 towards Index, WA.
  2. Turn left on Index-Galena Road (if you’re coming from Seattle).
  3. Once you pass the bridge leading to Index keep going for two miles till you see the river.
  4. At about 2.1 miles park on the left side of the road and look for a trail going down the parking with some rope on it.
  5. Follow the directions above to get to the river.
  6. Cross it.
  7. Follow the directions above to find the trail to the boulders.
  8. Send hard.

Got it? Good.

Things you might need:

  1. Surf booties
  2. A dry bag
  3. Board shorts or swimsuit bottom
  4. Snacks
  5. Stoke

Now, I know you’re all asking: BUT MARK, WHAT DO WE CLIMB WHEN WE GET THERE? 

And the answer is easy: Giraffe V1.

And then you go home (I’m only sort of kidding).

More to come on which blocs are best later. For now I hope this post on how to get to The Sasquatch Boulders was useful. Feel free to leave any pertinent question, bouldering or otherwise, in the comments.

Happy sending.

— W

Time to Project V5?

Ladies and gentlemen. Friends. What a beautiful day here in Seattle. What a gorgeous, mild, special fall day. Except it isn’t quite fall yet. What a beautiful, sultry, clear late summer day. A great day to be alive. A great day to drink caffeine. A great day to ride the ferry from Bainbridge Island ALL the way to Seattle, to disembark, to walk up 1st Avenue, to find your car parked on 9th and Republican in Lower Queen Anne, to drive that car to Whole Foods, to get a Hop Tea, to drink it, to be merry.

In short: Day.

(OK asshole just because you’re talking on your phone doesn’t mean you get to take off your mask).

Tomorrow I am PROBABLY going climbing at the Sasquatch Boulders. If I do go, I have several goals: 1) Send Where the Wild Things Go. 2) Send Goosebumps V2. 3) Check out Sun Sail V3. And 4) Check out The Network V5, Dreamscape V7, and Yin Yang V7. Because it’s time to start projecting harder blocs. It’s time to OFFICIALLY start projecting a V5, which means I need to first FIND that V5, which means I need to go to a bunch of different V5’s and caress the starting holds and look at the line and think, Do I see myself climbing this? I’ve now sent three V4’s, and thus think it appropriate to start projecting a V5 or harder. It’s all about finding problems that inspire you. The sight of them can inspire you, or the movement can inspire you. Or even just the grade can inspire you. But it’s hard to get psyched about something — to get obsessed with something — if it doesn’t inspire you.

Slash.

Is the ferry arriving?

Why yes, turns out it is:

Well, that means it’s time for me to skedaddle. It means it’s time for me to take a long walk. It means it’s time for me to get some caffeine (Whole Foods on Westlake or Whole Foods in Interbay??????). Or do I just go to REI right now and try on climbing shoes for the fourth time?

Fare thee well, friends! We shall talk soon.

 

Back in Time // Mexico on Sunday

I’m trying to decide whether or not to go climbing right now. I’m sitting on the boat drinking a matcha latte I just got from Whole Foods and it’s delicious. Sixteen ounces, oat milk. Need I say more? Shall I say more? Would you like me to say more?

The neighbors’ devil child has been screaming all morning and it makes me want to get off the boat. I’ve thought about going bouldering today, but feel it might be too much for my shoulder (shoulder). But if I were to go bouldering, where would I go? Well, I think the choice is pretty clear: The Sasquatch Boulders. Today might be the last day the Sasquatch Boulders are climbable all season. Starting tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, and with the rain the river level will be coming up, and if the river level gets too high it will be impossible to cross. Which means you’d have to either bushwack in from Index or get in a raft and not get sucked down the rapids. Either way a somewhat dicey prospect. Put on a wetsuit and swim across, toting your belongings behind you covered in plastic? That’s also a possibility.

Another possibility is that I could go to a place called Seattle Bouldering Project today. Seattle Bouldering Project is a climbing gym (actually there are two of them) in Seattle that’s dedicated to the discipline of “bouldering.” Bouldering, in case you’re familiar, is essentially rock climbing but without ropes and never getting high enough to where a fall would be fatal. If you boulder high enough it’s no longer bouldering: It’s free-soloing. Alex Honnold, for instance, sort of “bouldered” Freerider on El Capitan, only his boulder was several thousand feet high. Most of the time when you boulder you’re only several feet off the ground. Sometimes several inches.

Or I could wait till tomorrow and NOT climb today. A dastardly prospect. A prospect.

God, I wish I had another matcha latte.

Maybe I’ll roll it out fo a bit with the foam roller.

If I don’t climb today, and I don’t climb tomorrow, I won’t be climbing for another three or so weeks. This is because on Sunday morning I’m going to Mexico. Zihuatanejo, to be exact, though we’re not actually GOING to Zihuat, we’re going to points north to go surfing. By “we” I mean I and three of my friends. We fly into Zihuat Sunday afternoon, rent a car, drive up to a surf spot called The Ranch, surf there for a few days, and then drive north to Nexpa and possibly La Ticla. I don’t know how I feel about this trip, to be honest. Sure, I’m excited. I’m excited AF. But I’m also going to miss bouldering. I’m going to miss my solo missions into the mountains. And I know it’s for the best. I know my shoulder is screaming for (politely requesting) a break like this. And now it’s going to get a break. Three weeks with no bouldering at all. What will become of my psyche? How will I live?

In other news, I slept so fucking well last night. This morning I was having the most vivid dream — I’d slept through the whole night without having to get up and pee — and it was one of those dreams where it’s not necessarily great but it’s also not really a nightmare, it’s more just realistic, and it feels like it goes on and on and on…and then you wake up. And you’re kinda bummed you woke up. You kinda wanna fall back asleep and go right back to the moment you were living right before you woke up. But then you DO get up, and you go get a matcha  latte. And all is right in the world.

I think I’m going to meditate now. And by meditate I mean sit up somewhat straight and close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I don’t know how to meditate. Is it possible to know “how” to meditate? Is there a right and a wrong way? Can you meditate while listening to Metallica? Can you meditate while letting your mind run wild thinking whatever the hell thoughts it wants. OK, OK, real quick the Back in Time Exercise. Where was I a month ago? I was here, probably climbing, or if not climbing then thinking about climbing. My friend Pat would come over the next day and we’d take the boat out. Two months ago? OK nevermind that was two months ago. One month ago the smoke was here and there was a strange woman chilling on the dock and I’d gone to visit my parents that day but I was back on the dock trying to figure out who this woman was and the air was hot and sultry and I was bored.

So basically a lot has changed.

One year ago to this day? I was in Mexico with Nate and Hunter. We were in Nexpa. We’d probably just met Doreen and Tina, the girls with whom we’d spend the rest of the trip.

Two years ago to this day? I was in Vienna.

Five years ago to this day? I might’ve been out partying and drinking too much. Or hungover.

Ten years? I was in Oaxaca, coming back from a trip in the moutains.

20 years ago. I was in high school.

30 years ago. I was in Minnesota in first grade.

40 years ago. I didn’t exist.

Fin.

Mellifluous

The mellifluous view from my sister’s window.

Hello friends and lovers, how is everyone doing this fine fall day, spring if you’re in the southern hemi? I’m doing well. I’m sitting on my boat right now and my stomach is fucked up and I smell like the Moroccan Sea Salt spray I got the other day at CVS which promises to give my hair unseemly amounts of volume. It smells very feminine though, which is confusing to say the most. Love some good volume, though. Love it.

What to talk about? Well, first we should talk about how I had a little escape yesterday to my hometown and it was wonderful. I found myself lying on the floor in my parents’ house looking at the ceiling, my mind completely blank. I was like a newborn, just gazing at the infinite multitude of contours on the ceiling. Everything felt very mellifluous, though to be fair I don’t know what that word means. When I got off the ferry I got a latte with oat milk because the girl working said it was the creamier between oat and hemp milk. And then I walked to my parents’ house, where I spent the evening doing the following things: Watching the movie Ocean’s Eight (I remember it actually being good on the plane but then for some reason my standard for movies on a plane drops like the barometric pressure in the wake of a hurricane); walking to the high school to play soccer by myself; contemplating getting McDonald’s and instead just having popcorn while watching aforementioned movie; falling asleep to an Eckhart Tolle teaching that Deepak Choprak was supposed to appear on but thankfully I fell asleep before Chopes came on.

Today I had physical therapy with a different guy than last time. I told him straight up, “I’m going to continue climbing, so if you don’t wanna work with me because of that that’s fine.”

And he was like, “…..”

And I was like, “…………..”

And he was like, “???????”

And I was like, “!!!!!!!!!!!”

And they were like, “……………………”

Fin.

No, he was actually really awesome. He said his goal was to “meet me halfway,” which was exactly what I was hoping to hear. He gave me two (2) exercises he wants me to do, one of which I’ll do right now (if you’ll excuse me). He also gave me a therapy band which, like, makes things feel more official. The only thing I wished would’ve gone differently is maybe some deep massage or maybe that ultra-sound thing, but I don’t even know if they use that anymore. That might be so 2011. Or even so 2006.

And now I’m tired. So tired. Is it because my diet was shitty yesterday?

I think there’s a decent chance I’ll go climbing tomorrow. It all hinges on if my friend Hart wants to go or not. If he does want to go we’ll probably go to the Sasquatch boulders, since the river is low again and this is definitely the last chance I’ll have to climb them before it gets rainy again. And if he DOESN’T want to go climbing tomorrow, then what will I do? I ask you: What will I do? Probably just sit around crying on my boat. I’m kidding, of course. I’m 46% kidding. No, if he doesn’t want to go then maybe I’ll go by myself or go on a hiking mission with my sister. Even though I sort of (see: completely) hate hiking.

OK it’s time to eat cuz I’m hungry af.

I love you guys.

– Wetz

First Sesh at the Sasquatch Boulders??? | R2Vi don’t even care anymore

First off, an injury update: Elbow? Doing freaking great. Shoulder? Not terrible. I was PRETTY worried about it yesterday, but it weathered the rather mild sesh and should be ready to party on Wednesday when Barold and I head back to the mountains. Middle finger on right hand? Ugh. Not doing great. In fact the first three fingers on my right hand aren’t doing great. I may have to start just using my thumb and pinky. 

And now, without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boyz and Gurlz, the SASQUATCH BOULDERS:

OK, OK, so these aren’t the Sasquatch Boulders. In fact, that’s me standing there with my crash pad and waterproof backpack on, getting ready to ford the north fork of the Skykomish River AFTER a sending spree at the Sasquatch Boulders. And by “sending spree” I mean a bunch of V0’s and one V1. And one V2 that should definitely be a V1 (Cougar Crack).

Speaking of sending sprees, here’s me on Giraffe V1. Look at that sidepull. Look at that calf flexion. Look at the moss covering everything but the holds. Barold and I both flashed this problem before heading to Goosebumps V2, which neither of us sent but both got kinda close on. It required a high left foot and trusting a small chip which in retrospect was actually really good, but I’m still learning how to trust small holds on slab, and still learning how the more you weight a chip on a slab the more secure it actually becomes. But more weight also equals scarier when your foot pops off. But LESS weight = your foot is definitely popping off. Anyway.

After Goosebumps we headed to Cougar Crack V2, both flashed it with minimal difficulty and then tried to figure out how anyone could ever think it’s V2. It reminded me a bit of Clef Crack V0 in Gold Bar, though Clef Crack is significantly harder. But maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe it was just a style of climbing that suited us perfectly. Or maybe we’re just bad at every other kind of V2.

Our last stop of the day was Where the Wild Things Go V2, located in the heart of the Sasquatch Boulders near such classics as Mr. Hollow Head V4 and around the corner from The Network V5. I hadn’t wanted to try WTWTG initially because it didn’t look that fun and also looked like it might hurt my shoulder. But it was fun as f$%k. It was great. IT was the first “roof climb” that either of use had ever done outdoors (even though it’s more of a traverse). Lots of heelhooking. Barold even threw in a DOUBLE heel hook. And though again we didn’t send this boulder either we could basically do all of the moves and just need to go back and link them together.

When we DO go back, I want to try the following: Mr. Hollow Head V4, Hollow Head Arete V5, Sun Sail V3, send Goosebumps V2, and maybe even get weird on something like Solaris V6.

Right now, though, I’m still focused on recovery more than anything. And braving the 90 degree Seattle heat. And drinking lots of matcha.

Bonus video: