First Time at the Paradise Boulders | Skykomish | Road to V16

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that first sip of coffee in the morning. And by “coffee” I of course mean “earl grey tea,” and by “earl grey tea” I of course mean earl grey organic from Trader Joe’s mixed with one of their special non-dairy milks, aka almond mixed with cashew mixed with macadamia. I was hoping it would be hella creamy but it’s not. It’s KINDA creamy. Like, about as creamy as tap water, aka lake water, aka the rain water currently dripping from everywhere on the boat.

But (and check this out), the spiders are gone! I have no idea why. Actually I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the smoke. I haven’t seen a spider in several days (knock on formica), and I assume this has to do with the smoke but it could also just be hibernation season for them. Last time sometime around this time they also decided to peace out. I have no idea where they go for the winter. Maybe they get depressed. Maybe I’m starting to get depressed because of this fucking smoke that I constantly say doesn’t affect me but when you look outside your house to try to enjoy the view and all you see is everything ensconced in grey it starts to wear on you. Which is you why you need to focus your energy in other places. Like shoulder rehab. And meditating. And shoulder rehab.

The above photo is Barold crushing, no, mauling, one of the first V0 slabs we tried (Bunny Lebowski). We both flashed this and then we both flashed Red Fish V0 and were thinking, “Damn, we kinda crush. We’re probably gonna send V2 today and maybe even V3 and maybe even V8.” Which of course didn’t happen. After the slab we went up to the King of the Hill Boulder where we failed. I mean, failed as in didn’t complete any climbs (except Solaxsis V1). Not failed as in didn’t have a great time and didn’t learn a lot about ourselves and didn’t enjoy nature. Because all of those things we obviously did. Even though King of the Hill Slab felt like V3 to me because I had the beta COMPLETELY wrong, and even though I kinda felt like I cheated on Solaxsis V1 by not staying on the face the whole time, I’m still pretty good at taking positives from a session. And the positives here were I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be able to do the Unnamed V4 next to King of the Hill Slab fairly soon, and I’m pretty sure I might even be able to do Bushy Tail Traverse V5, since it might be a really soft V5.

You might be wondering (and I hope you’re wondering this), “Mark, what are you gonna do to take care of your shoulder?”

And my answer is: I’m moving to Guam.


Sort of.

No, my answer is: I don’t really know. I’m maybe going to make an appt with the doc today to hopefully get a physical therapy referral, I’m going to do eccentric strengthening exercises I find on YouTube, and I’m going to roll the shit out of it with a roller I hopefully get today at REI.

Ok I’m getting distracted this morning. I mean to blog and then I end up checking my email or trying to figure out how the whole unemployment thing is going. Also I probably shouldn’t be talking to people on WhatsApp.

What are my impressions of the Paradise Boulders, you might be wondering? I’ll tell you: First of all, know that the bridge at mile 5.5 up the forest road is closed, so you have to stop at 5.5 and hike up to 6.5 where the trail starts (you can see the boulders from the road once you get to 6.5). Second of all, know that this hike isn’t bad. It’s a one-mile hike up a shallow forest road, and it’s almost kind of nice to have a nice warm-up hike before the boulders. Third of all, know that this setting is absolutely stunning. I’ve never seen a more stunning talus field. Usually you see a talus field and you’re like, “Damn, that looks really unorganized and chaotic and I wish I was back down in the valley drinking an iced mocha.” But you see this talus field and you’re like, “Damn, was this place made for bouldering? Was my body made for bouldering? Am I a sculpted greek god who was put on this earth to send V7?”

And then you realize you’re actually 37 and your shoulder is failing and you spend the majority of your waking hours walking to grocery stores to buy Focusaid and googling “US canada border.”

Other impressions of the boulders: The approach is easy (after the mile hike). Quick walk down a trail, crossing a river that is super low right now, and then you’re basically there. Also, the Paradise boulders have TONS of stuff in the V0-V4 range, and at least according to one girl on sendage all these boulders with the exception of Nuclear Mutation V2 are ridiculously soft. Which is great, since it means I might be able to get my first V4 there. Also, lastly, Naughty Corner V7 is about one of the most beautiful blocs I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more striking boulder problem. It looks like Jehovah was bored up there one day in the sky and was like, “Damn, I got this new laser cutter bout to see what kind of shit I can dice,” and behold, a boulder was born. With perfect crimps and perfect aretes and a perfect landing and a perfect top out. Can’t wait to start projecting that thing. Gotta have your crimps on lock, though.

So yeah, I’m chilling on the boat right now. Drinking my earl grey. Just finishing my first cup (still in the Starbucks cup I’ve been rocking for a few days now which is starting to disintegrate) and probably gonna have a second. Maybe gonna have some fruit. Maybe gonna do some dishes. Maybe gonna start the day with my shoulder exercises aka some yoga aka some light meditation.

If anyone knows how to take care of a calathea plant please god let me know because mine is slowly dying and it breaks my sternum.

– 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:


What Happened? (#14)

There is a time and a place for going to the little fishing hamlet of Westport, Washington. The time is almost never. But today was one of the days in which it was appropriate to go. The waves looked to be wondrous, and they were. A friend and I had one of the best surf sessions we’d had in awhile. I felt like a taller, less capable version of Kelly Slater. The waves were consistent and the wind was offshore. The traffic was light going through Tacoma and Olympia, which almost never happens. If I were religious I would say that the gods (plural) were smiling at us from their perches up on high. But I am not religious. I believe in Chopin Nocturnes and saying goodnight to the stars every night.

But that is neither here nor there.

What is here (and there)? I’m not quite sure. I’m going to Mexico on Saturday, and I’m excited about that. The flight leaves at 5am from Seattle which means we have to be to the airport around 3am, which means I’m basically not sleeping Friday night. Which is fine, because it means I’ll probably sleep more on the plane. I have aisle seats all the way there. At least on the first flight to LAX, home to Shake Shack, a company I have stock in which has been tanking recently.

Our AirBnb the first two nights in Mexico is spectacular.

Excuse the ghetto-ass embed above. But I wanted to show you how incredible this place looks. It doesn’t cost $273 a night.

Also excuse this paltry blog post today. I’m exhausted. After surfing I went to my friend’s house and drank coffee, and coffee is pretty much a life ruiner for me. It picks me up for a few moments, and then drops me like a sack of yams. Which basically meant that as I was driving back from Westport I began to slip into a state of malaise. As we were going by Sea-Tac I was ready to open the door, shove myself out, and roll. But I stayed strong. And now I’m at my friend’s house desperately blogging and getting ready to eat pozole.

The universe provides.

Speaking of the universe providing, I wonder if it will provide me with a massage in the next couple days. I desperately need one ( see: it would be a welcome luxury) and have always thought that when you really need something, the universe provides it. Like the time I went to Chile with $300 bucks and got a job at a bed ‘n’ breakfast and then at an Italian restaurant. Or the time I needed to get the metal out of my wrist and the surgeon walked into the triage room and said, “So, we’re taking all the metal out today?”

You know exactly what I’m talking about.

Or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. I feel miles apart from you today. What happened?