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

 

Sh*t’s Gone Down! | R2V3 #8

So I know you guys have been sitting by your computers or tablets or whatever technological disease-boxes you have just refreshing your browsers, over and over, and over and over again while you shove Cheetos into your gaping maw, hoping for a Where’s Wetzler, Road to V3 update, and here it finally is.

And let me say this: Shit has gone down.

Like, shit that could totally affect my career as a novice boulderer.

The shit is this: My job hours recently got reduced. From the outrageous 40 that most Americans subject themselves to…to….(wait for it)………..

………….(keep waiting)…………….

………….(maybe go grab a drink from the fridge or put the kettle on or something)…………

…………(ok now wait longer just ‘cuz you’re an impatient fuck)…………………

…………(go do some hangboarding)…………………………..

…12.

That’s right: 12. I now work 12 hours a week. Starting Monday, June 15th, the year of most people in this country’s Lord two thousand and twenty, I will work 12 hours per week. Three hours a day, four days a week. Do the trigonometry.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: This means you could, like, boulder all the time, right? You’ll be climbing V7 in, like, a week, right?

Wrong.

Actually, it could mean the exact opposite for my bouldering career. Here’s why.

You see, I’ve always been a little bit addicted to freedom. But this addiction hasn’t always been good for me, because when I have freedom I don’t always know what to do with it. Aka the last 10 or so years of my life.

Enter: My recent job.

In January of this year I got a job working for a non-profit in Seattle that brings high school students from around the world to the US on J-1 visas. This was/is an office job, 9am-5pm, mostly staring at a computer screen. Right before I got this job I started bouldering, and the two complimented each other well because I could go bouldering after work. It was also especially nice when the Seattle Bouldering Project opened up their latest “project” in Fremond, aka Upper Walls. After work I would get on the bus from U-Village, get off in Fremont, and go boulder my ass off (see: watch other people send while I unsuccessfully battled V3′). The thing is, working 9-5 made me crave freedom more than ever, and I channeled that longing/rage for freedom into bouldering, and thus was starting to become pretty obsess/progress at a pretty good clip.

Then came COVID-19 and the lockdown. This temporarily threw a big wrench in my bouldering career. I was living at my parents’ house on the west side of Puget Sound, I didn’t own a crash pad, I’d NEVER bouldered outside, and so for awhile I just….kinda….you know….like…pretty much…aka mostly….aka completely….stopped bouldering. Well, I never stopped completely. But the pulse was pretty faint for awhile. I bouldered on abandoned building near where my parents live, and then I found a boulder outside the city of Poulsbo, a glacial erratic that has lines on it that are about as pretty as…..can’t think of a good analogy right now.

But eventually I started bouldering outside. I got a crash pad. I got Pablo Zuleta’s guide to Western Washington. I got Kelly Sheridan’s guide to Leavenworth, and the point is this: Working my 9-5 job gave me LASER SHARP FOCUS on one activity, and that activity was bouldering. I couldn’t do much else, especially during the lockdown and because of my job. I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t gallivant around the world as I usually do. I couldn’t go on surf trips. So all I thought about was bouldering. And it was great. It’s still great. But friends, it’s in danger. Because now I have freedom. Now I’m only going to be working 12 HOURS A WEEK. And the world is opening up again, friends. You can like, sort do shit now. You can sit outside at cafes. And pretty soon you’re going to be able to cross international borders. You’re going to be able to travel. So does this mean I’ll go back to my old ways?

I’m not sure. And actually, I’m not too worried about it. Like I’ve ALWAYS SAID, if I want to stop bouldering tomorrow, I’ll do it. I’m never going to force myself to do it. But the prospect of stopping makes me sad. I like being obsessed with it. I like getting better at it. I like spending half the day thinking about the beta for V3’s I still can’t do. And I don’t really want that to change.

So, we’ll see what happens. All you need to know for now is this: I’m going bouldering tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m going back to Leavenworth. And this time I’m actually going with a friend. We’re gonna find great V1’s and great V0’s and great slabs and maybe we’ll even try to dyno into the Wenatchee. Who knows. All I know is that the two can co-exist: My freedom and bouldering. This is an exciting new chapter. In fact, instead of being detrimental for my bouldering, it could take it to the next level.

Time will tell.

Every September 28th for the Last Five Years (#10)

Every once in a while I like to play a game. I usually play this game while sitting in a cafe, drinking the first of several macchiatos, preparing to have a nervous breakdown. What I do is I sit there with my notebook and think, Where am I today? Where am I at this exact moment? Then I think: Where was I last year at this exact moment? What was I doing? How was I feeling? Then I do the same with two years ago, three, and up until at least five, depending on how well I can remember. I use Gmail as an aid to help me figure things out. There’s no way I could do it on my own. Then when I have my list I sit back, take a sip of my macchiato, signal to the barista with a knowing wink that I’d like several more, and let out a hearty sigh.

Today (September 28, 2019): At my parents’ house on Bainbridge Island. Sitting at the computer upstairs. It was raining outside, but now has stopped. I’ve had a lot of black tea this morning. I feel, generally, pretty good.

September 28, 2018: I was in the Central Library downtown, starting a WordPress version of my critically-acclaimed blog about Christian Pulisic. About a week later I would drop everything and head to Vienna, Austra, to study German for two months.

September 28, 2017: I was probably roaming around Capitol Hill. I’d just finished interpreting a pulmonology appointment at Kaiser Permanente on Capitol Hill, and so I probably went to Trader Joe’s, got coffee, bought a Larabar, and then went down to Elliott Bay books to read some kind of philosophical book and freak out.

Gainfully employed, though!

September 28, 2016: Ahhh, now we’re getting into the fun part. I was in Mexico! In Ensenada where apparently my hotel room was 800 degrees. I was alone, driving south from Seattle. The roadtrip would take me to Cabo, and then over to the mainland, and all the way to Panama City. In Panama I would meet a German girl and fall briefly in love. We’d go to Bocas del Toro together. I’d surf! And then..and then…I’d fly to Chile.

September 28, 2015:

Manizales, Colombia. September, 2015.

I had just finished guiding a tour for El Camino Travel in Cartagena in which I had a wonderful group and also met a kindred spirit and someone I’m proud to call my friend named Jen. Jen is a wildly talented photographer. But on this particular date I was back in the Seattle area doing interpreting and probably trying to figure out what to do next. This is where things start to get a bit murky.

September 28, 2014 (five years ago): I was in Saint Vincent de Tyrosse, in Les Landes, France. I was staying in an AirBnb and tindering heavily. In fact, I even had a blog called Hot Tinder Chicks Smoking Cigs. The blog is still one of the finest online dating blogs in existence. Shortly after SV de T I moved to Seignosse and lived with a wonderful woman named Fred and her high school age daughter. I surfed often and rated Google ads online for a living. Life was pretty good.

And so yeah, that’s the last five years of my life. Or at least the last five September 28th’s. Today’s is not over though, of course. Today’s has just begun.

-W

Several Seconds too Late (#1)

I’m in Ballard. I didn’t ask to be in Ballard, and yet I’m forever finding myself there. That’s what happens when you live on the Magnolia side of the locks. You’re not going to go into Magnolia to do grocery shopping and run errands. That’s for the rich/criminally insane. If you live close to the locks you’re obviously going to cross said locks and do all of your errands in Ballard. You’re going to go to Trader Joe’s. You’re going to get the coffee samples given out by the lady who’s always gossiping about her co-workers. And then, loot in hand, you’re going to walk back to the locks along Ballard Ave, possibly stopping at Miro to get tea.

At least that’s one possibility.

There are many, many more possibilities. Some of them involve the bus. Some of them involve not getting tea. Some of them involve getting — stand by please — mate.

I have not had any mate today. Or yesterday.

But what I have had so far is green tea and black tea. The nook off the kitchen of my sister’s house is surprisingly tranquil. From it you can hear: A) the fountain from the neighbor’s yard, and B) the hum of the refrigerator in the kitchen. I don’t know which is more soothing. It also allows me to be close to my sister’s dog who likes to sit on the back stoop, surveying the yard for squirrels she can possibly murder. When she finds them she watches them intently at first, and then eventually goes sprinting after them, always arriving several seconds too late, or never having a shot in the first place since squirrels are generally in trees.

Generally. They also like power lines and fence tops.

If you’re a longtime Where’s Wetzler fan you know the following: 1) I’ve been traveling on and off for the past 10 years. I’ve visited many countries. I’ve visited many countries people don’t know are countries, like Monaco and Lichtenstein and San Marino, to name exactly three. But you also know that recently I promised someone — let’s call her my friend, let’s call her my mentor — that I would “settle down.” This meant me buying a boat in Olympia, sailing it up to Seattle, and living on it near the Ballard locks.

But fret not! I will still travel. Today for example I’m going to travel back to Trader Joe’s where I will buy more matcha/green tea cans. Yesterday I bought six. The idea was to ration them over the course of two days, but I ended up drinking all six yesterday. And then even more travels are on the horizon. Mexico in October. Vietnam in November. And I know what you’re asking yourself: Aren’t crabs just really big marine spiders? And the answer is yes, they’re probably in the same family. I would imagine they are. And someday I’ll probably get around to googling it.

And I know you’re also asking yourself: How are you going to have a blog dedicated to travel when you’re not even traveling that much, when you, Yaweh forbid, have SETTLED DOWN? And that’s a wonderful question. One to which I don’t really have an answer to yet.

I guess we’ll find out.

-W