Between the Burns | Road to V4+

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“People you’ve been before/that you don’t want around anymore.” — Elliott Smith

Yesterday while driving to Whole Foods I noticed I could see all the way to the Cascade Mountains. It was semi-dry in Seattle. I thought to myself, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…I wonder if it’s dry in Gold Bar. If I can see all the way to the mountains it’s probably dry. At least sort of dry.

I started driving toward the mountains and almost immediately turned around to get my phone. I thought this little setback would break me. I thought I’d cozy up on my boat and never leave it. But then I was off again on the road with the snowy peaks in the distance and hope in my heart, headed for the Camp Serene Boulder and hopefully some burns on my now long-standing project, Serenity Now V4+++++++++++++++++++ (-).

I made a mandatory stop at Safeway in Monroe and bought the following: A Kind bar (sea salt caramel), smoked salmon, and a blackberry mint Guayaki. After this I was ACTUALLY on my way, still dry in Monroe, still dry in Sultan, STILL DRY IN STARTUP, STILL DRY IN GOLD BAR and…………………………………….mostly dry at the Camp Serene Boulder.

I parked and immediately noticed the wind was screaming. Common for this type of year, I’m learning. The wind whips through the Skykomish Valley like a peregrine falcon descending upon a naked mole rat. So I began my long warmup process. When the only thing climbable is a V4 and V4 is your absolute max, you need to figure out creative ways to warm up. So I did tons of jumping jacks. I ran back and forth to the car. I ran up the hillside a bit, turned around, and sauntered back down. I did more jumping jacks. I stretched. I did some hanging, partially loading my arms and shoulders and fingers and then fully loading my arms and shoulders and fingers. And then finally, once I felt sort of warmed up, I started doing some of the first moves. I was a bit worried about my finger after the slight pulley sprain the other day. But I taped it up tight in an “X” pattern and hoped for the best.

I fell in love again with the first moves on this boulder. Straight arms on the starting ledge. Daintily place your left foot on the shelf out left. Bring your right foot up to the small edge. Reach up to the jug crimp left. Cross your right foot over to the thin but good ledge. Flag your left foot out. Deadpoint up to the far right jug crimp. Smear your left foot, right foot up on the ledge, switch the feet quickly, and dive into the corner. I’ve done these moves so many times. I honestly think I might be able to do them with my eyes closed. But then I get to the crux and everything sort of shuts down. Except lately I’ve been making micro progress. Or actually probably macro progress.

While I was resting between burns two girls showed up. They’d seen me driving by and figured they’d check out the boulder. Their names were McKenna and Karen, and we immediately started working Serenity Now a bit together, and then moved over to Insanity Later V2, which was wet but not unclimbable. I sent it after a few tries and then Karen got to the top but didn’t want to top out with the wetness and the general precariousness of being up that high. Then we chilled by Serenity Now again, and they busted out snacks, which instantly made them two of my favorite people on the planet.

I figured I’d give Serenity Now a couple more burns before having to head back to Seattle, and I got closer to getting past the crux than I’ve ever gotten on that boulder. “I want to see you send it,” Karen said. After the first burn the rain whipped into the valley and the second burn suffered. It started pouring pretty much instantly and we hightailed it out of there.

The moral of the story is this: A day I thought was going to be unclimbable turned out to be one of the most fun days I’ve had in awhile. I made progress on my project. I met some new friends. And the best part is the forecast said “rain” all week, and now I’m realizing that all you need is a dry morning, or a dry afternoon, and you can probably sneak a little climbing in.

Which is totally rad.

– Wetz

Last Climbing Trip Before Mex | Road to V4

My sister and her son — aka my nephew — and I went on a walk this morning-

Hold on, let me start over.

I went on a walk this morning with my sister and her son, aka my nephew, to “Poo Poo Point,” a short little jaun-

OK, I don’t like that one either.

I’m sitting on my boat drinking matcha this afternoon and what’s different between right now and when I USUALLY sit on my boat is that I’m sitting outside, in the cockpit, feeling the breeze and watching my boardshorts sway in the br-

Damnit.

OK. Sitting on my boat drinking matcha. Boarshorts swaying in the breeze. Sunny. Crows cawing. Tired but feeling ok since I just jumped in the water. Maybe should jump in again to wake up even more? Mellifluous. Not very comfortable. Ducks pissed at each other. Plant looks like it’s dying. What am I gonna do tonight?

OK that’s MUCH better now that I’m sitting on the ground and instead of on that pad. Though the ground is dirty.

Why am I so TIIIIIIIIIIRED right now? I have no good food on my boat except apples and peanut butter, but I’ve already had two apples today. I have kale. What am I going to do with the kale? Eat it plain? Disgusting. Eat it with some olive oil and salt?

OK I’m ready to start.

Good afternoon, faithful Where’s Wetzler readers! My name is Mark Wetzler and I’ll be your host for this afternoon’s blog post. We’ve got a lot to talk about today, including but not limited to: Me going bouldering tomorrow, my hike today, why I feel so tired–

K, sorry, can’t do that either. Can’t do a real post.

Stephen King said: Don’t go lightly to the page. I’m going to lightly to the page right now, Stephen. Light as a feather. Light as one of the leaves on my calathea plant that’s dying. Light as my humor. Light as my right toenail which is becoming slightly ingrown. Here’s the problem with reading books on how to write: It’s like reading books on how to paint pictures. They can only take you so far. At some point you have to launch yourself off the diving board and think: OK, I’m gonna do my OWN thing now. And if people hate it then fuck ’em. I’m going to make the stuff that I know is good, that makes me happy, and if people don’t like it well then they’re the ones with no taste. You don’t tell me what’s good art. I tell YOU what’s good art. I tell you what to like. People don’t know what they like anyway until someone has already given it to them. They say, “Well, I like light comedies,” and then someone makes a horror film and they love it cuz it’s well done and someone says, “But you don’t like horror films,” and they say, “Well, I guess I like that one.”

I’m going to be a piece of shit for the rest of the day and I’ve made peace with that. Go to Whole Foods. Read Pride and Prejudice. You know what I might do tomorrow? I might go session Serenity Now V4 FRESH. I’ve never sessioned that boulder fresh before. Only after a pretty long sesh. So maybe I’ll go there tomorrow, I’ll warm up on the slab a bit, I’ll climb the V0, and then I’ll give Serenity Now some fresh burns. Give it everything I got. And maybe make it past the crux.

K just watched a few videos of people getting up Serenity Now V4 (+!). I think I can do the crux now. And by crux I mean the low crux, there’s also a fairly gnarly deadpoint up to the hold on the lip. God, I got this. I need this. Come on, Mark.

Slash I’m Journaling

Monaco. 2017 (I think).

9:47am

Chilling on the boat watching Dortmund play ‘Gladbach. Just walked to QFC and got almond and coconut milk, which I’m now drinking in my earl grey. QFC is 1.7 miles away! That means I’ve already walked 3.4 miles today. Which means I get a treat. And if I don’t eat anything till 12:00 then I get another treat. Dope. Gio Reyna just drew a penalty. This earl grey is delicious.

When I got back from the boat I stretched, doing some of the mobility exercises I’ve learned from Tom Merrick. Hips are feeling pretty good. I love the foam roller. Took the theracane back yesterday which I’m stoked on. 35 bucks.

Holy shit Gio Reyna is taking a corner. Damn Jadon Sancho isn’t the top young guy anymore on Dortmund. I mean he is. He’s fucking amazing.

Going to Erica’s at 11:30am this morning to have lunch. Will be good to see Ginger. Hopefully won’t have too many carbs. Really wanna see if I have more energy after lunch if it’s a lower carb affair. Forecast looking great for Leavy tomorrow. Really wanna go bouldering. Really wanna try Dirty Dancing. Why are my wrists so crackly right now????????????

Ok time to have another cup of tea.

I’m legit slightly overweight. At least in terms of belly fat. I need to lose that so I’m not hauling that extra five pounds up the rock. OR. Even better. Turn that into muscle. What I need to focus on is my BMI. Not weight. More muscle. Less fat.

9:59am

Switching to matcha/green tea after the earl grey.

Is it warm or am I just warm from the walk? Cuz I’m chilling on the boat in just boxers and it feels so bomb. Chilled with Barold and Nate Dog at Nate Dog’s house last night. Was stoked on the movie the edge of tomorrow. God Emily Blunt is gorgeous. Rocked two snus. The burgers were amazing. Barold and Nate drank whisky.

Gio Reyna just scored. So sick. He’s 17!!!! God with Gio Reyna and pulisic and weston mckennie and tyler adams and josh sargent the USMNT is starting to look kinda sick. Though of course Berhalter will play michael bradley, who is now probably 60 years old. And felix passlack is playing. And I went to monaco once and felt so fucking cosmopolitan. God I need to get out of here.

Ok now I’m getting kinda cold.

Aka I just dribbled almond milk on my chest.

Slash why is Marco Reus not playing.

Slash why do I always think V4 is not gonna be THAT hard and then when i get there I can literally do 0 moves. What am i gonna do today? I need to do something sick. Start my new novel. start the second draft of the Dan’s Perfect Life novel. DONT WORRY ABOUT MOVING THE PLOT FORWARD. That will happen on its own. just worry about having fun. holy shit crystal palace is beating Man U. God i loveMarcus Rashford.

Need to write a thank you to B and K and the kids.

Get tarp (two tarps since one is gonna cover the boom. Clear vinyl windows?????? The reason I’m experimenting with this journal style of blog today is because I wanna figure out what works.

How sick would it be to be a 17 year old English kid playing the Bundesliga right now. Slash why is unemployment not giving me benefits. Slash why is the US becoming a third world country. Nothing works anymore. This is Russia. We’re fucked. Roads are crumbling. Corruption is rife. Inequality is insane right now. All anyone cares about is money. Fucking money.

Ok i really need to take a break from the computer.

Ok goals for climbing tomorrow if we go to Leavy:

Re-send I Heart Jugs?
Try Dirty Dancing, Pretty Girl, and at least a couple other v4’s. The RealTthing???? looks so fucking hard. Check out Clamshell Cave and Barney’s Rubble.

Party.

Hellfire Burns (and Climbing Everyday) | R2V4 #16

If someone had a gun to my head today and said, “Send V4 or I’m gonna pull the trigger,” what would I do? Honestly, I don’t know if I would get in my car right now and go right to Serenity Now V4. I don’t know if that has the best sending potential. I DEFINITELY wouldn’t go to Zelda Dyno V4, since you gotta be able to rag on some decently small crimps for that one, and I don’t want to do that right now. I’d need something that I sort of have the beta on, and that’s sort of my style. Maybe The Enigma V4, at the River Boulders? Maybe Dropping the Chicken V4 up at the Devil’s Club Forest Boulders, though last time I wasn’t really even coming close to getting the first move? Maybe Fridge Center V4, though the high today in Leavenworth is supposed to be…..dear jesus…104?

Anyway, just some fun morning thoughts. I guess in the end I would realistically drive straight to Serenity Now V4, mess around on the slab a bit, maybe climb up the downclimb to warm up, and then give it a few balls-to-the-wall burns.  Like, hellfire burns. Like, scream burns. Like, pretend-you-don’t-have-a-pad burns. Like, actually take your pad away to make falling less of an option? burns. Or something like that. The question is, would the dude (I’m assuming it’s a dude) with the gun ride shotgun with me to the boulder, holding the gun to my head the whole way? Would he drive his own car? Would that car be something vaguely pathetic, like a newish Mustang? Would he be the kind of guy who wears a leather coat? And why would he care so much about me sending V4? Why wouldn’t he want to just support my progression as a climber? Or maybe he WOULD be supporting my progression as a boulderer, just in ways beyond my comprehension.

Is this the lion’s mane talking?

For the time being I’m going to do one of two things: Not write posts for awhile, until I can start climbing again. OR, ALTERNATIVELY, write posts every damn day. Because since I’m not working right now I have more time to write, and I kind of like starting the morning in this way. I get up, I prepare myself a cup of matcha bacopa lion’s mane sludge, and I pull out the laptop. I think about bouldering even if I’m not really trying to. I think about going climbing that day even though I definitely shouldn’t. Or maybe I should climb everyday. Maybe I should legitimately figure out a way to basically be climbing everyday. Like, put myself on a schedule where I’m climbing two days on, one day off, and it doesn’t matter how hard I send, it doesn’t matter how long I climb or what I climb, I just have to get out there. Though that’s a lot of driving. And I JUST froze my gym membership. Not that I really feel like climbing in a gym right now anyway. But if I DID do that, and my body were to adjust, then I’d get really damn strong, really damn quick. I’d be sending a message to my body that says, “Hey, dickweed, we’re going to be doing this (almost) everyday. So get used to it. Maybe help me out with those tendon flexors a bit? Thanks.” But instead the message I’m sending to my body right now is, “Ohhhh, are you hurt? Are you feeling bad? I’m so sorry. Take a week off. Take two. Wouldn’t want to overdo it….”

No, the answer is: overdo it. Be a gladiator. Be a warrior. Send V4.

A Breakdown of all the V4’s Currently on my Radar (Part 1) || ROAD TO V-effin’-4

I sat down a moment ago and penciled in my notepad the V4’s that are currently on my radar. They came out to 10 exactly. Here they are with a video showing each of them (when applicable), a brief description of my (insidious) relationship with them, and also the likelihood each one will go first shown with stars (1 star = not likely at all, 5 stars = will probably go real soon).

  1. Fridge Center V4

Where: Everyone’s eighth favorite canyon, “The Icicle,” also known as one of the places with the highest concentration of quality lines on the planet (see: North America [see: Washington State (see: Chelan County)}).

Relationship: I’ve tried Fridge Center V4 on a grand total of one occasion. I was almost able to get to the crux, which I assume is reaching for the fin on the left side of the bulge, and then getting your right hand to the fin on the upper right of the bulge. It was hot and I was a bit wasted from a previous session. But I made some progress and watched other crushers sending the bejeezus out of it. So I gathered beta.

Go soon? 3 stars

2. Zelda Dyno V4

Where: Everyone’s 30th favorite dyno problem is located next to everyone’s sixth and a half favorite North American whitewater “raphting” destination, aka Index, aka a place you only go if you’re A) Climbing, B) Rafting, or C) Lost. The line is about a 10 minute walk from Index “downtown.”

Relationship: Tried the dyno one one occasion for about an hour, getting fairly close (aka my hand on the top of the ledge but falling backwards and not really trying to stick it). Then tried it on another, drier occasion, but after I’d spent half a week in Idaho smoking cigarettes and eating ice cream and couldn’t even get to the lip. After sending Dyno 101 V3 in Leavy I think I can make a much better attempt at Zelda Dyno next time I go. Like, probably even send it.

Will go soon? 4 stars

3. Zelda Rails V4

Where: A hop skip and a pirouette from Zelda Dyno lies Zelda Rails V4. It’s not a highball, it’s not crimpy — it’s just a bunch of sloping rails. Landing is a bit janky but could def be climbed with two pads and maybe even one big pad (like mine).

Relationship: Never tried it. Never even looked at it, lest it shy from my lecherous gaze. Have been in the presence of other people who were sending it while I tried Zelda Dyno V4. Osmosis is real.

Go soon? 2 stars

4. The Rib V4

(that hoody style, tho)

Where: At the quote misquote Carnival Boulders in Leavenworth’s famed Icicle Canyon. About a three minute approach from the road (5 if you’re crawling on all fours with a dagger in your calf).

Relationship: I went to The Rib one hot July day, looked at it and basically crumbled. Couldn’t do the start. Couldn’t do the middle. Couldn’t do a single move on the boulder. So, like, I’ll probably day flash it next time I go there.

Go soon? 1 star

5. The Enigma V4

Where: At the Skykomish River Boulders just west (as the osprey flies) of Index. A beautiful line that involves starting on a slab and swinging around an arete and maybe some stemming and maybe some laybacking and maybe even some chemical engineering.

Relationship: Since I am a misanthrope and you need a lot of pads for this one, I haven’t really tried it. I did stand on the little shelf where you start. And I did touch the rock. And I did look at the line and imagine someone else way better than me sending it in style.

Go soon? 2 stars

Next post: The other five V4’s most likely to go soon. ONE OF THEM will probably be it. I’ve talked about this problem before and might’ve been there yesterday….