The thing is, I haven’t been super motivated to climb recently. I sent my first two V6es the week before Peace Corps staging, and then I didn’t climb for two months. It sucks to feel how weak I’ve gotten so soon after that milestone, and I’ve had trouble dragging myself to the gym ‘cause I know how much bruising my ego will take once I get there.Read More
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I sure could use a few watercolor maps of my favorite Southeast crags, beautiful enough to hang on my wall but durable enough to survive the approach?” Well, now you have. Introducing: Creative Crag.Read More
There is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to them. Knowing how much music and poetry this state had inspired over the ages, I resolved as a child to one day visit the promised land and see its riches for myself.
Well, I’m finally here! Currently enthroned on a mass of sleeping bags in the back of Evan’s van. He’s been living out of it for a few months, and I got to join him on Monday. After three flights, a little turbulence, and one spilled beer, I reached Mammoth Lakes in time to end the day in a hot spring, watching my first California sunset. The next day, we headed to Way Lake for my first boulder of the West.
The approach to Way Lake is, it turns out, an actual hike. In the South, 20 minutes of mild steepness is a trek, but apparently 30 or 40 minutes up a mountain is NBD out here. We hiked up and up and up and ugh. It probably took us even longer than the average climber to reach the lake itself because a. we don’t hike and b. we kept stopping to look at all the pretty things!
I can’t believe how beautiful it is out here. Also big. My Western experience so far: everything is beautiful, and everything is big. The word that comes to mind is “magnificent.” And I’m blown away by the diversity of California’s landscapes. It’s crazy to think that people actually live in this fantastical place.
We finally made it up to Way Lake, which is currently a sad gray circle of dirt and rocks, but by the time we found our boulder and actually started climbing, the sun was pretty low in the sky.
We had oodles of fun on the Way Lake boulder as the sun began to set. I had just gotten the crux of a V5 called Beareagle when darkness hit, and after a few more burns we decided to call it quits. We maybe should have left sooner though, because trekking crash pads down a dark and unfamiliar trail in bear country with one dying headlamp and a cell phone light wasn’t really the original plan. We made it out though, obvi, and had a high-class dinner of rotini alla Ragu.
The next day, we headed to Rock Creek, a magical fairyland of water and rocks and gray logs that appear to have fallen ~*just so*~. There were aspen trees everywhere, and their rustling leaves were bright yellow and orange. Magical fairyland, y’all.
In the morning, we climbed with our new friends Melanie and Danny. I found them on Instagram a few weeks ago (follow Danny here and Mel here!), and it was great to meet the people behind the feeds. They are total crushers, full of beta and psych. I worked a V4 called Groovin’ Arête for forever, and while I never sent, I definitely learned some much-needed foot technique.
The climbing out here is really different from the stuff back home. Problems in general seem to require less power but are challenging in techy ways. I have been learning some strange-to-me toe stuff, and my biggest battle is trusting the feet.
So I never got the four, but it was a lot of fun to work. Our new pals left in the afternoon, but our ex-Athenian-now-Yosemitan Philip showed up with his friend Beth.
We had some fun on the Campground boulder and made friends with two older guys. Paul is roadtripping around the West at age 65. He chatted with us for a while about the history of Rock Creek and our generation’s duty as stewards of nature. Then he gave us beer. I didn’t catch the other man’s name, but he is British and a mountain biker. He was really into our climbing and watched for a long time, asking lots of questions and contributing psych.
Thursday was our rest day, and we ran into our Insta-friends at the Looney Bean coffee shop in Bishop. I guess there are only so many places in town for greasy folks in need of wifi. Oh hey! If you haven’t read my RootsRated review of Little River Canyon, get to it!
Today we climbed at the Buttermilks with Evan’s dirtbag friend Jeff. Jeff is six months into a one-year stay in Bishop. He wasn’t climbing but was nice enough to offer pads, beta, and a spot. He got us on some easy classics that were techy and painful but awesome. I’m learning to love crimpy highballs… one V2 project at a time.
Our skin was shot after a few hours; it hadn’t really healed from Wednesday. The rock out here is way smoother than the slopey sandstone we’re used to, but it’s still really textured and can definitely hurt. It doesn’t help when you are slapping and slipping and sliding around instead of trusting whatever tiny nonsense you have managed to smear your shoe onto… I have a lot to learn.
#Vanlife is fun so far. It would be nice to have a hot shower, but I am loving the ungodly amounts of Ramen. And pretty much everything else. <3
Oh my gosh it's been so long I'm sorry. I had midterms and tests and essays and a cold and work and articles and birthdays and then I got another cold and then I hurt my finger and then I got sick again.
I've been overwhelmed. I haven't been able to climb as much as I've wanted, although I have been out a few times since October 3rd (I'm sorryyy). And I've been stressing out about the prospect of recounting my recent climbing adventures because - There have been a few. - I keep leaving my camera places and not getting photos. - I haven't opened that Dave MacLeod book in a month. - I haven't been climbing (or eating or sleeping or studying) particularly well.
So, just to check in with my readers (I love all seven of you <3), here are some lists.
Recent sends: - Trouble (V3, Rocktown) - The Thespian (V3, HP40) - Green Machine (V4, LRC) <-- my first outdoor 4. - Seven pullups! #yes
Recent frustrations: - working during gym hours - being too sick to climb - my first tendon injury(/ies)
Season goals: - Super Mario (V4, LRC) - Croc Bloc (V5, Rocktown) - The Hobbit (V5, Rocktown)
RAPID FIRE THOUGHTS
I bought new shoes on closeout. They are Evolv Predator G2s. They are stiff and hurt a lot. I need to get my Hornets resoled but I don't know how much that costs and also I've never mailed anything that you have to put in a box. Actually I have only mailed like four things ever and they were cards.
I am in Oregon with Evan and his family. We are climbing at Smith Rock on Saturday. It will be my first time climbing not in the Southeast. Yesterday I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
A tendon in my finger is hurt. I am not climbing on crimps.
I wish I could climb more but am trying to be a grownup about it. Hypothetical hierarchy: school-work-relationships-climbing. Food is in there somewhere. Unfortunately cleaning is not.
My room is really messy that is why I said that.
I wrote a thing for my creative writing class about my mental experience when I think I might take a lead fall. Maybe I will share it with you post-workshop. I want to take lead falls at Smith. Or I think I should. The prospect actually makes me slightly nauseous.
Oh and I climbed in my first competition. It was called Boulder Bash and happened at UGA. Active climbers got first in advanced (Nick!), first in men's (Jamie! He's 14) and women's (Elaine!) intermediate, and third in women's intermediate (me!). I climbed poorly (I've been doing that lately), but it was really fun and not as stressful as I feared.
I realize the food aspect of this blog is very lacking. I will work on that. Evan and I made sushi. Here is a photo:
It was pretty good.
See you soon! Follow me on Instagram! Eat vegan and recycle!
I, like most people, love food. Specifically, healthy food that tastes good and doesn't cost oodles of money. Unfortunately, I am a beyond-broke college student, and what's affordable to some folks is oodles to me.
But fortunately, I work in a health food store. And last week, when I decided to wander the aisles during my break instead of reading/moping/napping in the café like usual, I came across Laughing Giraffe's "Snakaroons." I'd tried a vanilla one once on a climbing trip and been unable to find them since (even at Earth Fare). But there they were, smiling at me from the end of the chocolate shelf — and they were on SALE. Like, half off. Plus 20% off. So they were like…70% off? I don't think that's how that works. #math
SO I BOUGHT SOME AND I INSTAGRAMMED THEM
Anybody know how to get IG screenshots the way Buzzfeed does? They don't even look like that on my phone. But I wannaaa
Anyway, I've been snacking on these all week, and as I came closer and closer to emptying the precious bags, I thought I'd try to create my own.
(What was left of) the originals:
The version I came up with, after much trial and error and a last-ditch freeze job, is much less organic and even more fatty than the Laughing Giraffe 'roons. Basically, I started with the five basic ingredients listed on the packages:
Some of it's organic! And I got the coconut supacheap in Costa Rica. #culture #maxipali
But by the end of the thing, I had added another bag of coconut, crushed-up pecans, and cashew butter (organic! #saleshopper).
Which means they were nuttier than I was hoping for, but still delicious. Next time, I will probably try to get them to stick together without cashew butter, I'll do less agave, and I may leave out the salt altogether. Still, the pecans were a surprisingly good complement to the coconut in lieu of almonds (which we actually had, but they would have required me to walk ten feet instead of reaching into the cabinet behind me, so).
The finished candy:
The real thing on the left, my thing on the right.
Now, I won't attempt to convince you that these sweet 'n' fatty lil cocoballs are super healthy. BUT if it's these or a slice of Kroger cookie cake, your body will thank you for choosing the 'roons.