Adventures at the Zelda Boulders // Road to V5

For the post “Misadventures at the Zelda boulders”, one of my first outdoor bouldering missions, click here. 

Yesterday my friend Adi and I left Seattle at 8am with the plan to go to the Morpheus Boulders in the East Miller River Valley to sample some tasty blocs (see: blocs). After the obligatory stop at Whole Foods Totem Lake we were on the road, pooch in tow, braving the asphalt of Highway 2 and the Skykomish Valley. (Since I know you love hearing about what I buy at Whole Foods, I got: 1 Health Aid RecoveryAid, a Hop Tea, a matcha bar, and a sandwich. Aka some caffeine and some sustenance. Oh, and I also got an Epic Chicken Sriracha bar for some extra protein.) With Adi’s expedient driving and fairly new Ford we arrived quickly at the boulders, where, lo and behold! despite tons of cars in the parking lot (read: six) there was no one on the Car Door Boulder, aka the fun warm-up boulder, aka home of the best V0 (V1 in the guidebook) in the whole valley: Car Door Traverse. After a warm-up of jumping jacks and hooting and hollering we both quickly dispatched Dee Dee V0 and also the legendary Car Door Traverse, whose smooth granite rails we caressed with zeal.

After Car Door we headed across the path and down to the river to the also legendary Lines of Latitude V3. The river was plenty low. All deadfall had been cleared. But the boulder was also kind of……somehow…..

……

……

….wet.

I’m assuming dew?

I wanted to try the V1 “Climbing North” before trying Lines of Latitude, but it was a bit wet and scary. The top out looked particularly mossy and scary. Also the holds on the lip were not great. It’s funny, because Car Door Traverse is a V1 in the guidebook and essentially the easiest problem in the multiverse, and Climbing North, just a hop skip and a twisted ankle away, is ALSO a V1, but infinitely harder. Pablo Zuleta, what was your logic on this? Also, now that I’ve got you here, where ON EARTH do you start the V2 “Hump Day” on the Car Door Boulder. There are multiple underclings. Multiple right-facing side pulls. Is it the good underling all the way on the left?????? K, thanks.

I did send Climbing North after a few tries, and the top out was terrifying. Luckily, as soon as this was over, and after a couple failed attempts on Lines of Latitude, we got the hell out of there.

I mean like completely out of there, out of the East Miller River Valley, back to the Skykomish Valley, where after a quick lunch by the river in Index, we went to………..

….The Zelda Boulders!

It was a wonderful day in the Zelda Boulders. Light filtered through the evergreens, the smell of organic peat moss wafted about. There was one other party at the boulders, two guys and a girl, and also some lone wolf who from what I could tell climbed up one boulder, inspected the top of it for several minutes, and then left entirely. What he was up to I do not know. Adi and I were trying the arete next to Zelda Dyno V4, and then we moved to a slab that’s not in the guidebook but is on Mountain Project. I gotta say: What a fun slab. The holds were scoopy and dishy and smeary. It was a V0. Only the holds were scrubbed. Good heighth. Basically a super fun, not too hard slab.

After the slab I tried roof crack V3 for a bit and got completely shut down. Then we stemmed for a sec in the Open Book Corner, and then we made friends with the party who we’d seen coming in, the two guys and a girl. And they were rad. They were crushers. And super nice. And full of helpful beta. They were trying Zelda Rails Right V5, and I wanted to give Zelda Rails V4 a few burns since it’s a project of mine. I was feeling a bit shy but they welcome us over and I started giving it goes with the heel up beta but then they advised me to maybe try the toe on beta and showed me the EXACT PERFECT PLACE to grab the second rail with my right hand to keep my body in close to the wall. With this new microbeta I was able to get to the left hand intermediate slimper easily, and go for the bump to the good crimp below the lip.

I was ecstatic. This was huge progress for me, because this is the crux. Once you get to the good hold below (or sort of on) the lip it’s all easy from there. Reposition your feet. Send. I didn’t send yesterday but am actually confident it’ll go next time I’m there. The start with the toe on feels super secure, and grabbing the better part of the rail before the bump made a massive difference. Plus, these people were just a joy to climb with. The two dudes had already sent the V5 and the girl, Melissa, was trying it and making good progress. It was awesome to watch her body positioning as she prepared to go for the crux. It’s always awesome to watch competent climbers.

I was fairly in a state of bliss after this session. We took the long way back along Reiter Road, checking out the INSANE amounts of cars at the Index Town Walls parking and also the Clearcut Boulders parking. I’d never seen so many cars. How there were so few people at the Zelda Boulders I don’t know. But I felt fortunate. Also, it was such a gorgeous day. A great day to be out with a friend, making more friends, climbing gorgeous blocs and making progress.

And now if you’ll excuse me I have to go make a matcha latte.

 

 

Private Lessons, First Sprints (oh, and first burns on Zelda Rails V4) || R2V5

I just went to the track and did my first sprinting since hurting my knee. It felt good to fly around the track. And then I helped a girl try to find her key that she lost while working out (specifically while doing abdominal exercies; the most notorious exercises for key loss). However, none of us found it. But it was nice to come together for a common cause, or at least it was nice for me, I have no idea if it was nice for her. God, I wanted to find that key.

But sprinting! Sprinting! Sprinting is one of my favorite activities, and one that I’ve been reticent to do since hurting my knee, since your body is basically going full tilt. But as humans we’re MADE to sprint, and we should be sprinting often. Never jog; if you jog you’re an asshole. But sprint often. Basically our ancestors spent HUGE amounts of time walking, foraging, etc, and then every once in awhile A) Running for their lives, or B) Running to take something else’s life. So walk a lot. And every once in awhile sprint. If you want to feel amazing.

In ACTUAL CLIMBING NEWS, I started taking private classes at Vertical World yesterday. Yesterday I climbed twice: once in the early afternoon for my lesson, and once in the evening with homies. The lesson went….not that well. It felt very unstructured, I didn’t feel that strong, and I just felt like a bunch of information was getting thrown at me, none of it hugely useful, and at the same time like NO information was getting absorbed. Like, it sort of felt like when you’re climbing with your way stronger friend who’s actually not you’re friend and you’re kind of nervous around. Like, you still learn stuff, but it’s kind of weird.

HOWEVER, that’s exactly the reason I paid for five lessons up front. It’s probably going to take awhile for the instructor and I to feel comfortable around each other. It’s going to take awhile for him to figure out a plan for me, or for me to demand that a plan be figured out for me. Cuz I think that’s what I want, a training plan. Like, I want a plan to get me to V7, aka V6, aka V5 — aka I still haven’t climbed V3 since coming back from injury but that’s more for lack of tryhing than not being able to do it. I have a thing where I basically only want to try things at my limit. This is something I should examine, because if I weren’t grade chasing as much I’d probably do more volume, and do more climbs just because they’re interesting. And that’s how you get better, really. When you’re having fun and climbing a ton.

Anyway.

As far as gym climbing goes I feel stronger than ever. When I’m feeling strong I usually send at least one new black and make progress on a blue. And when I feel less strong I usually send one or more new orange and make progress on a black. Blues no longer seem as intimidating as they once did. Did I say this in the last blog? I have the memory of a fish. Which I ironically just tried to fix by eating a tin of lightly smoked sardines.

Slash I had mate for breakfast this morning. And it was delicious.

And I also fasted for 15 hours today. Which was bomb.

And….

Finally, I MIGHT be climbing outside tomorrow, and if I don’t I’ll DEFINITELY be climbing outside on Sunday. And maybe even make it all the way to the storied town of Leavenworth on Sunday, where maybe I could FINALLY put down my Dirty Dancing V4 project, and maybe attempt some of my first V5’s (Pentaphobia and Alfalfa vs. Spanky amongst others). Either way, this is the time of year for Leavenworth. In a month it’ll be way too hot, and there won’t be any point in crossing the mountains, unless it’s to climb at night or unless we get a cold spell (which now that I think about it does happen quite a bit in June). It’s time to start on some new projects. And it’s time to get psyched.

Speaking of new projects, how could I forget????? I tried Zelda Rails V4 for the first time last weekend, and I felt like it almost went down! I could do the first few moves, and I could do the last few moves. But I couldn’t do the crux, which was getting to the good left hand crimp at the lip. However, since then I’ve thought about it a lot and I’ve also watched a bunch of videos, so if I’m feeling strong next sesh I think there’s a good chance it could go.

Road to V5!

Aka The Road to Index.

Aka I might need to take a nap right now.

 

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….