Two V3’s in One Day || Road to V5

Since I haven’t written in quite awhile, I’m determined to write a post today. I’ve even made myself a cup of tea specially for this endeavor. I’m sitting in front of the laptop and all I have to do is type. All I have to do is type and not get distracted and go start watching YouTube videos or something. All I have to do is type. Type. Type. Type.

So, two days ago I went to Leavenworth. The idea was to climb on Friday, stay in a hotel in Wenatchee Friday night, climb Saturday morning, and then drive back to Seattle. And that’s what I did. I sort of had to FORCE myself to do it, because lately the inertia has been real. It’s hard for me to do anything that requires more than a half hour of driving. I wouldn’t say I’m CONTENT to sit around all day and watch YouTube videos and go on walks and do some work, but I’ve realized that flitting all over the place doesn’t make you content either, indeed makes you LESS content, so for now I’ve chosen the lesser of two evils. But I also know that I love bouldering more than anything in the world, so I was pretty sure if I hauled myself over the Cascades to Leavenworth I’d be glad I did.

And I was right.

And I climbed two new V3’s in one session, the first time I’d ever done that.



One of them, Giant Man, was a V3/4 in the guidebook, but a V3 on Mountain Project, and tall people seem to think it should even be V1 or V2. I can see the V2 rating from a physical perspective, but the danger factor definitely makes it harder to execute the moves. And I know John Sherman, when he invented the v-system, said the danger factor should not be taken into consideration when deciding the grade, but let’s face it, that’s not what’s happened in practice. Doing a V2 move 10-feet off the deck feels like doing a V3 move, or even V4. I’m all for the danger factor being taken into consideration with the grade, because I think the grade should be more holistic anyway.

Left foot out to the slightly-sloping but still good edge. Right food up to the diagonal edge. Reach the right hand over and grab the good hold just beneath the lip.

After sending Giant Man on like the third or fourth try (the V3 flash still eludes me), I went over to The Ferret V3, which I had just watched Random Crusher do before me, a dude who was at The Carnival Boulders with no pad, just his climbing shoes, chalk and dog. So I had the beta (I’d also just watched him do Giant Man [with no pad!!!]) and had the beta for that, too), which made things a lot easier. One of the hard parts of The Ferret is actually starting it out. You start on not a great edge on a slightly overhanging face, and have to do sort of a right drop knee to get your right hand out to the first hold. I then went through a forest of bumps, but most people, after latching the first hold, just reposition their feet and are able to proceed accordingly. But I’m still a bit of a novice. Not so good at figuring things out on my own. Or rather, I can figure things out on my own, but often my beta is wack and it takes me a LONG time to find the good beta.

After you get to the “ferret” hold you traverse up and left along a pretty good rail with some knobby holds on it. I did a right heel hand match at some point, but it probably wasn’t necessary. But it sure did feel cool. The top out was a bit gnarly ‘cuz there was a puddle in it, but easy once you figured out how to avoid the puddle and find the good holds.

I also did something on The Ferret that was extremely mature, and sort of had to force msyelf to do it in the moment. After I’d kind of puzzled out the start, and ALMOST sent it from the “ferret” hold (about three moves in), I figured I could probably send it from the ground up. HOWEVER, I forced myself to top it out starting from the ferret hold, and I think that move paid sweeping dividends. What could’ve easily happened if I hadn’t done this is I would’ve started at the bottom, gotten to the top out somewhat pumped, freaked out, not sent it (or fallen), and then spent subsequent attempts trying to redpoint it when all along I should’ve figured out the top out first. But what ACTUALLY happened is I topped it out from the ferret hold, and then on the very next go sent it from the ground up with relative ease.

Bam, two V3’s in one day, the first time that’s ever happened.

As a sort of dessert I then went over to The Washout Boulders, where I sent Slam Dunk V2, a boulder I’d tried in the past, in a couple tries. Slam Dunk is basically one big move from a huge ledge to a small edge just below the lip, and one thing you realize is that edge isn’t quite as good as you expect it to be. But I still sent it, and it was a great way to end the day. And by “end the day” I mean I sat there for awhile staring at Diry Dancing V4, bathed in waning afternoon sun, wondering if I should give that a go, too. It could’ve been glorious. But I didn’t; I held off, wanting to end the day on a good note.