Fly Like an Egret | R2V4 #6

Waking up on my boat, indigestion, listening to the rain outside, watching the rain drip down the plexiglass. Takes me so long to get out of bed. Boat smells like farts from eating a pound of cherries last night after “dinner,” aka a spicy falafel wrap from Trader Joe’s. Trying to SORT OF fast this morning, aka you’re always fasting when you wake up, aka breakfast, aka I wish I could just instantly be teleported to Leavenworth right now so I could climb. Where would I climb? Honestly, I just want to repeat Fountainblues V0 over and over and over, savoring the silky slopers (they are somehow soft even though they’re made of granite), savoring each move, never topping out, just practicing the new foot beta I learned which makes the problem so much easier. I would argue though, and I would argue vehemently, that if you start on the bottom sloper on the arete that there’s still no WAY this problem is a V0. More like a V1. But then again my Loser Beta from before was making the problem so much harder. Now that I have the Crusher Beta the problem is so much easier. Crusher Beta. Loser Beta. Fountainblues.

I could of course GET IN MY CAR and drive to Leavenworth, aka the modern day version of teleporting, a trip that on horseback would’ve taken a week and now takes 2.5 hours, but I’m not going to do this. Unless I carpool with someone or unless I’m DEFINITELY camping there tonight, it seems wasteful. Drive all the way out there just so I can NOT send Briefs V3, get an iced coffee, and then drive all the way back? See? Wasteful. So wasteful. It makes way more sense just mope around on my boat and watch bouldering videos, like this one I was just watching from Colorado:

That arpeggio is definitely V4. At least. Probably more like V6.

OK, sorry, now for an ACTUAL bouldering video:

I actually have an ENTIRE BLOG dedicated to Pulisic. Hold up a sec, let me find the link: https://www.straightouttahershey.com/

As you can see, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. Not that I’m not obsessed with Christian Pulisic anymore, or anything Christian, really. Watching the Sheffield United vs. Chelsea game yesterday was one of the highlights of July so far, even though they lost and and even though Christian played terribly (touches were just a bit off).

But BACK TO BOULDERING. BACK TO THE ROAD TO V4.

Despite whinging a bit, I’m actually very well established on the road to V4. I feel good about it. My diet is decent. I’ve already started projecting some V4’s, most notably Serenity Now V4 at the Camp Serene boulder. Yesterday I hung out there for a few burns on my way back from the Index River Boulders, and the session went really well. It has to be one of the most fun climbs that exists, and I’ve only done the first half. I can’t imagine what stringing it all together must be like. I can’t imagine what wrapping my hippo paw around that brick at the top is going to feel like, and then reaching for the dorsal fin, and then topping out like an egret and just flying away, flying off the boulder, out over the Skykomish Valley, and beyond, beyond.

Ups and Downs | R2V4 #1

Look at it. Look how it glistens in the sun. Look at how much cooler the “4” looks at the end of R2V4 than the “3” looked at the end of R2V3. Yes, friends, we have moved onto a new chapter: V4.

Of course, this isn’t the only bouldering milestone I look forward to in the near future, nor even the only milestone I look forward to grade-wise. I’ve still only climbed ONE V3 outside at this point. I’ve only climbed ONE V2 that wasn’t a slab. So there are tons more grade milestones to achieve that don’t even involve climbing V4. Flash V2, for instance. Climb a bunch more V3’s. Flash a V3. Flash a V16. Move to Finland. Get a tattoo of a spider on my abdomen. Get a tattoo of an eye…on my neck. Get a horrible almost bowl cut mushroom thing. Get ripped as fuck. Start sport climbing. Wait a minute, no on that last one. Never start sport climbing. Sport climbing is lame.

Why is sport climbing lame? Because you have a rope…

Why is bouldering rad? Because you don’t have a rope…

I mean, that’s pretty much it, isn’t it? Sure sport climbing is probably thrilling. But, like, you’re strapped into a harness. That goes around your upper inner thighs and fits all snug. Probably causes your boxers to roll up. And then you have bolts drilled into the rock? Um, cool, that sounds totally natural. Let’s go up on that beautiful granite face and just start drilling shit into it. Awesome. Good idea. Sport climbing is totally rad.

Anyway. I actually did go climbing today. Sort of. I took my sister’s dog up to the boulders, and I tried the sit start on a V3 for like a half hour, sort of learned how to do the first move — maybe? — and then went to Serenity Now V4 where I definitely made some advances. I was able to get my left fingers into the little slot thing and actually hold the position, just hold it there, and prepare to move my right hand somewhere to stabilize myself so I could stand up. After that you’re ESSENTIALLY at the top, except that the top is still (or at least feels) several hundred yards away. What a beautiful dihedral though, right? Have you ever seen a more perfect dihedral?

Dihedral?

I would like to go climbing tomorrow. I would like to go WITH someone. This will not happen. Unfortunately.

What’s happening right now? I’m drinking black tea. And thinking about bouldering. And also thinking about not bouldering. I’m also thinking about taking my sister’s dog for a walk. And about watching Border Town. Honestly I probably won’t go outdoor, real bouldering again until Sunday evening at the earliest. Which is a bit of a bummer. But in the grand scheme of things matters not a whit.

Not a whit.

 

 

Serenity Now V4 | First Sesh | R2V3 #11

Morning, y’all.

I would normally never write a blog this early but I want to talk a little about yesterday’s sesh and if I don’t do it now I feel like I won’t do it at all. Or I’ll do it later tonight when I’m not as into it and when I’d rather just sit down and watch the latest episode of “Border Town.”

I knew it was a little bit dumb, but I did it anyway. Yesterday immediately after getting off work at 12pm I drove out to Gold Bar, where, guess what? It was raining. And then I drove to Index where, guess what? It wasn’t raining, but everything was wet. And then it started raining. And then I drove to the East Miller River Valley where, guess what? It was kinda sunny. But everything was still wet. And then it started raining briefly. And then it stopped and the sun came out but it didn’t feel like the stone was drying out anytime soon.

Now, keep in mind, folks, that I wasn’t trying to force anything. I wanted to climb but I was also content to wait until it was the right moment. And of course I COULD have driven all the way to Leavenworth, but I didn’t feel like it. Too much driving. Too many mountain passes. Too much Eastern Washington. So after the East Miller River Valley I got back in my car and started driving back towards Seattle, guided by my intuition like a moth to flame but in this case instead of flame we’re talking about moderate blocs. My intention was to check out the Camp Serene Boulder aka Zeke’s Boulder aka one of the most beautiful blocs in the great state of WA, and indeed, when I got there, it was….dry.

This was witchcraft.

The Camp Serene boulder lies just on the south side of Highway 2, a mere couple hundred feet from the highway, and is home to one of the most beautiful lines I’ve yet to lay eyes on, aka Serenity Now V4, which in the Western Washington Bouldering guidebook is graded a V5 but over the years seems to have been downgraded. Not that it really matters. I just wanted to check out this line. I actually checked it out last time I was out there, when it was completely wet, and was fascinated by it. It starts on some pretty juggy holds and then moves right into a sort of dihedral thing and is just a hot mess of sidepulls, open-palmed smears and smooth granite (or whatever its composition is). I was a bit mesmerized by it. And yesterday evening I was actually able to get on it.

My approach to starting this V4 was very different than how I’ve approached difficult (for me) boulders in the past. I didn’t try to flash it. Instead, the only thing I tried to do was THE FIRST MOVE. Aka go from being matched on a low ledge to getting my left hand up. That was it! And I could do that pretty easily. Then I got a bit stuck and “cheated,” aka sat down and looked for beta on YouTube. Of which there is an abundance. Using that beta I was able to get to the first crux, Which consists of having both hands on fairly juggy crimps and pulling your body weight up so you can get your right foot on the ledge you started on. Or your left foot. I’ve watched a ton of people do this problem, and some people go left foot, some people go right. Left foot makes a lot more sense to me, but then the hard part is releasing your left hand, bringing it across your body, and inserting it into one of the fairly tiny sidepulls in the dihedral. And then you either just stand up, or you smear your right hand on some knobby features and stand up. It LOOKS like it’s not too hard after that. But it could also be really hard. The people who I watched doing my “crux” cruised it as if it was nothing, so many the real crux is actually further up. And this is no lowball. I think you can do it with one big pad, but you gotta have some mustard once you get to the top. It would be nice to practice the topout, but without a rope that’s not an option.

So, I made some pretty good progress, and am fascinated by this line. After the sesh I just stood there looking at it for a bit. I can’t wait to go back. I have so many projects now! Fridge Center V4, Briefs V3, Rocksteadeasy V3, Serenity Now V4, and I’m sure there will be more to come.

But for now I must “go to work,” aka go to work. It’s almost that time. And tomorrow, back to the mountains. Hopefully straight to Gold Bar.