The Road to V7 (part 1)

Yesterday I went on a bouldering mission on the Olympic Peninsula. This was by far my most successful boulder exploration mission so far. I found 5-10 legitimately climbable boulders, which was basically 5-10 more than I’d ever found before. They were all close to the Hamma Hamma river, the turnoff for which is a bit past the town of Brinnon. This is where the Lena Lake trailhead is, to give you a bit of reference.

Today though I’m here to talk about this summer’s goal: climbing V7. This is a massive goal, considering I just started climbing this last winter and also because the hardest thing I’ve ever climbed indoors is V4. Most people would probably read that last sentence and assume there’s no way I could send V7 by the end of this summer. And they may very well be right. Indeed, the hardest thing I’ve climbed outdoors is about V1. So clearly I have a ways to go. But what could be more fun than giving yourself a challenge that might just be impossible? Something that would be so cool to do, however improbable. For me it will be all about: climbing a shit ton, getting stronger, developing better technique, having fun, and finding the perfect boulder for me. Preferably something with a dyno. If the moons align, I might just pull it off.

The first thing I’m doing for “training” is 1) eating better, and 2) my first mini “workout.” I say “workout” because it’s only two exercises: 1) hanging from a 2×6 in my parents’ garage, and 2) doing leg lifts while hanging from a cherry tree branch in their front yard. Hopefully my hangboard from Seattle Bouldering Project will come soon. Then I can keep hanging, but while practicing a variety of holds. And the most important thing of all, of course, will be just climbing. Which is a bit difficult when you work 9-5 and all the gyms are closed.

But that’s also a really shitty excuse. There are always things to climb and always ways to train. Just eating better is a form of training. I was eating pretty well before this whole lockdown thing. But since I’ve been at my parents’ house I’ve ballooned up, mostly because I’ve been exercising less, and eating more and worse. Lots of cookies. Even pop. Ice cream, all that crap. People say to me sometimes, “You should just enjoy it. It’s all in your head. Just enjoy life.”

My answer is “no” (despite the fact that some of those were statements).

No, no, no.

I’m not going to eat the cookies or the ice cream. I’m not going to drink the pop. I’m going to get strong as fuck so I can send V7. Eating cookies does not help me along that road. It makes me feel like shit. Yes, it’s ok in moderation, but I don’t do moderation. I can’t eat just one Milano cookie. I have to have like five. So yeah: No.

Anyway, short term goal: Climb V2 next time I climb outdoors. Then climb V3. Then start projecting some V5’s. Then start THINKING about V7. Maybe go to some V7’s in the area and just look at them. Touch the rock. Feel the holds. Maybe try some of the moves. Why the hell not?

Because I’m going to do it. Unless I get laid off tomorrow and just sail to South America and kind of forget about bouldering and start surfing again, I’m going to do it.

And even if I don’t it will still be pretty awesome to try.