It has been a diverse last three weekends. My partner and I have switched our focus (laser at it may seem) from sport climbing to bouldering, mostly due to a very wet local crag/s. The winter season here in the PAC NW has bled into spring and the reprieve from the rain is on delay. We have had to either drive south or east to escape its watery clutches and after a good stint of Smith Rock climbing we decided to try our hand at seeing how weak we truly are. Enter: Leavenworth bouldering.
My arm injury is now almost a thing of the past and with that in mind I have tried (somewhat hesitantly) to start training power, although it’s pretty daunting when I’m reluctant to add weight to any of the exercises I do. I’ve been mostly relying on getting stronger during our climbing trips. It seems as though the gym is a sorry excuse for the dynamic compression lines of the Bavarian themed east.
Our first trip to Leavenworth was just a day trip and it was just as well because the finger tips were shredded in a matter of warm ups. My main goal was to start projecting The Practitioner (or Prac to the super hip bouldering locals). I thought that maybe it would be a somewhat obtainable goal given the amount of time we would be spending here (three weekends in a row) but I learned the hard way that stepping out of a sport climbing routine and into a hard bouldering routine is majorly difficult (for me anyway). I watched as several people flaunted their power in front of my week little eyes and climber after climber stuck moves I could only dream of sticking. In short The Practitioner shut me down cold. I was able to do all of the moves with the exception of one and to this day have still not done it (crux move to a wide pinch). Ruth on the other hand has been dominating everything she sets her mind to. Before this trip she had done a V.4. Now she has done several V.4’s, flashed her first V.5 and sent her first V.6!! My eyes are popping out of my head as I write this. She never ceases to amaze me with her constant progression.
I ended our first trip with a big fat zero on the scoreboard, but had tried a lot of new things which is always fun (Bedroom Bully, Practitioner, Trickle of Silence, Monarch, Prism).
The second trip we had Ruth’s son Cameron along for the ride, a sturdy and rather cute little three year old who relished rolling in the dirt, taking big slams while walking, and collecting (and through no fault of his own torturing) bugs. I had the pleasure of repeating a few boulders I had done long ago and all in all we both climbed a bunch and still got to incorporate some good family time into the mix.
Now, coming off of our last and final trip to Leavenworth I am finally fully intrigued and invested in some amazing projects out there. It took a few weeks but I feel in the groove now (and sadly too late). I still have not sent anything noteworthy but the projects just keep coming. I pawed at the first move of Abstraction, still could not stick the crux move of Prac, nearly grabbed the sloper crux dyno move on a randm little turd called Musk, had an AMAZING first session on Turbulence just falling short of gathering the commitment I needed to send, and fell off the last hard moves on Sorrow Bird. Good god, how much more defeat and failure can I withstand? Well, I guess I won’t be hanging around long enough to find out. But even in failure some valid victories have been tasted. All of this sampling of hard problems has really inspired and motivated me to spend some more time in Leavenworth, which is a meager 2hr 15min drive from my house! I’m already altering some plans for October to cater to a demand for more bouldering. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that some early season sends on the rope will expedite this growing intrigue. I certainly want to achieve some very high goals on the rope this season but now I am also thinking the same could be done on the boulders. One of my biggest weaknesses is succeeding at both disciplines so the next challenge becomes finding a way to excel at both.