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
In retrospect, it seems awfully silly; when I started climbing, I was the weakest of the weak, and I had less bodily awareness than a 12 year old boy. I could barely unscrew a peanut butter lid. I opened “pull” doors by gripping the handle with both hands and leaning back on my heels with all my body weight. I lacked the hand-eye coordination to catch a basketball from 10 feet away, and I truly could not walk a straight line. Why I expected to be some kind of rock-spider prodigy is beyond me.Read More
How was your Valentine's Day? Mine was pretty good. I went to Little Rock City and bled on things. It was a great day of trying stuff, making friends, and practicing proper tape technique. But Sunday was even more exciting because I went to a new crag!
I say "new" mostly because it is new to me, but it really is a pretty new climbing spot. I'm talking about the Hospital Boulders in Gadsden, Alabama.
Located in the middle of a neighborhood and down the street from the eponymous Mountain View Hospital, the area became open to climbers in 2012 through negotiations between the Southeastern Climbers Coalition, the Access Fund, and the (now previous) landowners. It finally became SCC property last year after a lot of fundraising to pay off the AF loan used to secure the area. (Half the boulder field, however, is still on private property — so be careful where you walk!)
I had heard the name a few times, but the Athens climbing folk don't make their way to Gadsden very often. And I don't know why not! It's like a smaller, denser, less developed Rocktown. Admittedly the rock isn't quite as amazing at in Lafayette, but it is pretty darn awesome. It's just as close to Athens as any other good climbing, and it doesn't require a pass. After passing through a dummy-locked gate*, you just park next to a barn, walk 20 feet, and climb on rocks. YAY!
There isn't a guidebook yet, but there is a topo. Many of the routes are unnamed, and oodles are waiting to be FA'd. It was really fun just climbing on whatever and not worrying about grades.
The important stuff: we climbed lots of things, I am now psyched on roofs**, and Lucy made Evan a hat.
So that was cool. But something has been bothering me about climbing lately.
It started with little plastic corners at Little Rock City. You know what I'm talking about? When you open a Clif bar, or a Lara bar, or a Luna bar, or whatever bar you are eating (because you are probably eating a bar), you rip off the upper right corner (or maybe the left one), and then it disappears.
Well, actually, no, because matter doesn't do that. You actually just dropped it in the dirt and forgot about it. And now it is just sitting there, not disintegrating because it's made of film plastic, and film plastic doesn't do that.
So there are little corners sprinkled all over boulder fields, like malignant sparkles waiting to be picked up by an observant dirtbag or choked on by an animal. And whoever dropped them probably didn't even realize it. They probably don't know their trash has taken up residence in an ecosystem which has no use for it and, in fact, is negatively impacted by its presence.
I am not a scientifically minded person. At all. I've withdrawn from two logic classes in college, and as fascinating as my geology class was, I barely passed. But I was a Girl Scout for 12 years, and if I learned one thing from Brownies about caring for the earth, it was this: you should always leave a place better than you found it.
Now, that is easy to do when you are at LRC and can stuff somebody's litter into your pocket on the walk back to the car. But climbers as a group are not doing an excellent job of cleaning up after ourselves, and we are certainly not leaving our crags better than they were before we came along. The fact that we are even interacting with the earth in our bizarre way means we are going to change it. But at the very least, we need to try harder to leave no trace — or at least a smaller one.
I am pretty new to climbing, and really to outdoorsiness in general. Most of what I know about minimizing my impact I've learned from the Internet and fellow climbers. So I am definitely not an expert. But I remember how I was when I first started climbing outside a year and a half ago: totally clueless to the impact of my new passion on the environment, but not wanting to be a part of the problem. I know there are others like me out there, and I think it's a good idea to address some basics of keeping climbing an innocent sport that doesn't destroy the planet or anger anybody.
The SCC has a nice little "crag minimal impact" flier that you can view here. A lot of it seems pretty intuitive, but there are definitely items climbers tend to overlook. Some problematic behavior I often witness (and some of which I am guilty) on bouldering trips:
1. Not staying on trails. Two words: unnecessary erosion. Another word: bad.
2. Leaving toilet paper everywhere. I know a lot of people have different opinions about what to do with toilet paper, and many folks just bury it. But considering how many people you see at the crag, and incidentally how many people do their business at the crag, the amount of toilet paper we are putting into the ground no longer seems negligible. And honestly, it doesn't seem like everyone is doing a good job of burying theirs; the fact that it is so easy to find a chossy rock with a bunch of TP wads strewn behind it is a good indicator that we should probably just pack it all away with our bar wrappers and their corners.
3. Leaving cans and bottles in fire pits. I don't know why this is a thing. A lot of people think that this is an OK thing. Maybe they are trying to make a fuel gift to future campers? But aside from the fact that aluminum and glass need some mega hot flames to burn, and the fact that cans and bottles are recyclable, and the fact that you are probably risking a fine just by bringing glass into a camp site, it seems obvious that glass and metal do not belong sitting out in nature after you have left, getting rained on/rusted/blown away/whatever. Like, they weren't there before you got there. They shouldn't be there when you leave. Right? Correct me if I am wrong and this really is a benign practice.
4. Throwing food scraps on the ground. I do this ALL THE TIME. But I recently learned that it really is important to pack everything out; even though things like apple cores are biodegradable, they take a while to break down, so much so that it's kind of a problem to just leave them in the dirt. According to Leave No Trace Dude, banana peels need a month to disintegrate, and "those bits of orange peel left behind might still be there a few years from now." Yikes.
Additionally, when lots of people leave food scraps behind, animals become habituated to it. This is a problem — I think — because they can then become dependent on humans' scraps, and/or they start eating whatever we leave behind instead of getting the nutrients they need from the food they would naturally be eating. So the reasoning here is similar to why you're not supposed to feed bread to ducks.
5. Not scrubbing off tick marks. This is more of an etiquette issue; it is pretty rude to chalk up a rock with a million lines and then just leave it like that for the next climber. For one thing, they might not want your beta. Also, tick marks are ugly. And again, that chalk wasn't there before you showed up; at least rub it out a little before you leave. I am definitely guilty of forgetting to clean my projects, but it's something I think a lot of us could work on.
6. Being obnoxious. Another etiquette issue, but an important one. When an area opens up for climbing, especially an area near civilization like Hospital Boulders or LRC, we want to be good neighbors. We don't want to have a reputation as the scruffy new kids on the block — leaving trash in the forest, letting our dogs run wild, and playing bad dubstep out of crappy iPod speakers. 'Cause climbing anywhere is a privilege, and if we are awful neighbors, it will be that much harder to open up new areas. And besides, we're better than that. Right?
So. Am I on point? Way off point? Did I forget anything super common and terrible? Am I wrong about the cans? Speak up in the comments!
*The gate was dummy-locked on Sunday. In the future, the SCC may implement a code, so make sure to check the website any time you're planning to go.
**UPDATE 1/4/2016: Just got back from my second trip to Hospital, and it turns out those mega-cool roofs are not on SCC property. Super tragic, but we steepthusiasts must stay away. :(
Let me tell you about last weekend. I woke up Friday after spending Thursday in bed with a cough. I had made plans with Elaine and Joe to climb, and when I wasn't positively dying that morning, I decided that a "little cough" was not gonna keep me out of the mountains. Sure, I sounded like a frog who'd swallowed a broken battery and found myself occasionally collapsing in a hot hacking mess, but I was fiiine. FIIINE.
(No, I wasn't.)
But we met Evan and Chris at Little Rock City, and it was a good day, and I almost sent Sternum (V5), and I FINALLY SENT PANCAKE MANTLE!!!! (Click here for an introduction to my personal Pancake Mantle saga.)
Elaine sent The Big Much (V4) and Latin for Dagger (V5), and Evan and Chris worked on Biggie Shorty (V10). And other things happened. But by 5 p.m., I was dooone. Donedonedone. Done. I walked/hacked/slowly crept like a decrepit sea hag back to the clubhouse alone, ready to trade my soul for a cup of tea. The clubhouse man was locking the door when I arrived, but he took pity on me and let me fill a styrofoam cup with hot water inside. Bless him. Then I sat crouched on the steps using my crashpad as a blanket, wearing three hats and covering my face with my gloved hands, prompting inquiries from concerned passersby who probably thought I was crying or possessed.
Eventually everybody else showed up, and I went with Evan and Elaine to this neat brewery, which I didn't appreciate because I was dying, and then we stayed in her friend's actual log cabin, which I didn't Instagram because I was dying, and when I woke up I was pretty much dead. But that wasn't gonna stop me.
I was in much worse shape physically this day, but I planned better than I had for LRC, and I sent my first V5 at Rocktown! It is called Slapper, and I owe it all to Traditional Medicinals.
I could tell you some more stuff about the trip (we met up with a bunch of Athens folks, and Nick flashed a seven and a six, and then he sprained his ankle, and I got to tape someone else up for once), but instead I leave you this gift:
A Packing List for the Sick Boulderer
Let's be honest: if you are sick, you should not be climbing. You are just gonna make yourself sicker (I was in bed for two days after Rocktown), and you're not going to climb your best. But if you are stubborn and your body has bad timing, there are a few items that will help you out.
1. A Thermos: I have been wanting to get a thermos for a while. I spent a lot of time last week researching Hydro Flasks, Stanley thermoses, and Zojirushi vacuum bottles. I didn't want to rush such an important decision! But after I finished Friday's climbing session with such a desperate need for warm liquid, I knew a thermos had become a necessity. And the most convenient option that night was whatever Walmart had to offer — which happened to be a 32 oz Stanley monster. Saturday morning, I filled it with tea and lemon and a jalapeño. All day, it was like a magical elixir of hot nourishment and sending power. OK, so I only sent the one problem, and I didn't actually climb that much. But it really improved my day! I think without it I would have been a very cranky frog.
2. Throat Coat tea by Traditional Medicinals: This is THE BEST thing for a sore throat. Honestly, I think it works best without anything added (although the lemon and jalapeño were revitalizing for me, I think my throat would have fared best without them). It also just tastes really good. And if something else is ailing you, this company has a lot of other great teas. I recommend the PMS Tea and the Breathe Easy. And the Ginger Aid. And everything else.
3. A blanket: I didn't actually have one of these, but I wished I did. Because even if you think you are going to climb as hard and as often as you do at your best, you aren't. And while you are sitting around watching your friends climb and trying to convince yourself that you feel FINE, ALRIGHT?, you are going to get cold. I had to make do with the extra fleece I had thought to bring, but there was definitely room in my pack for a rolled-up car blanket.
4. Extra TP: Really. I didn't think about this beforehand, but when you are drinking extra fluids because you are sick and dying and all, you are going to have to pee more than usual. So bring twice as much toilet paper as you usually need, because you don't want to have to ration it as the day wears on.
5. Low Expectations: You are probably not going to have much energy today. Saturday, I sent Slapper after about an hour, tried Rescue 911 (V5) twice, and then only had four burns left in me for Golden Showers (V5). But it was still a really fun day because I got to watch my friends crush, drink yummy tea, and experiment with my monster voice!
I hope these tips are helpful for any other foolhardy climbers. If you have any advice I didn't think of, leave it in the comments! <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!
After last week’s 5.11 freakout, I was determined to climb some boulders, close to the ground and far from the terror of leading.
And I did — twice!
Saturday morning, I headed to Little Rock City (at 5 a.m., on three hours of sleep, of course) with Caroline, her boyfriend Remi, and our friend Jared. We drove through lots of drizzles on the way up, but nobody mentioned it. I think we were afraid of speaking rain into being, but Soddy-Daisy pulled through. The air was humid and misty when we arrived, but besides a little moisture that quickly dried up, it was the best — and coolest — climbing weather we’ve had all summer. Although I wished toward the end of the day that I had brought a jacket, the air’s chilliness got me psyched for real fall weather and “sending temps.”
The first thing Evan asked me when I told him after the trip that Caroline and I had worked on Pancake Mantle (V2) was, “Did anybody cry?” Not this time. We only spent about 10 minutes here before moving on with a collective eye roll. Caroline and I did not send, but Jared did, and I got a leeetle farther than last time — now I can make it over the pancake, but I’m just not strong enough for the mantle. Guess I’ve got to add some pushups to my pullups.
I don't remember this problem, but it looks like Caroline maybe crushed it.
Speaking of, remember my casual goal of doing five pull-ups in the near future? Well, I did it last Thursday! So now my goal is 10, you know, eventually. But I should probably start training in other ways too — might now be the time to approach the campus board? Those funny rings hanging from the ceiling? What is a kettle ball?
Anyway, Jared and I sent Two Can Sam, one of the V3s I accurately predicted I would send before Pancake Mantle. Supposedly the beta for that climb includes a silly/painful/unnecessary hand jam in the middle, but I’m happy to say we all worked it without forfeiting our knuckle skin. Caroline basically finished the thing but got sketched out on the topout, which is pretty confusing/scary.
Remi worked Red House (V7) for a bit and encouraged the three of us to try Super Mario, LRC’s most beloved V4. It is longish and kind of overhung and traversey, and it combines several climbing styles, which makes it hard but a good study piece for learning *~*how 2 climb*~*. We worked it out of sequence, but I know we’ll all send it before the season ends.
Caroline working the middle of Super Mario
While we were in that area, scary death acorns kept falling on us from above. No one was hit, but it was a very flinch-y time. We met this older (than us) guy who was bouldering alone and had the air of someone who had climbed All The Things over several decades. He was quiet but friendly, and he gave us beta, and I didn’t ask his name because I liked the mystery of not knowing. I will just think of him as the Burl Wizard of Little Rock City. Or something.
And I found this lordly mushroom!
One of the best parts of the day was when, after much try-hard-ing, Remi sent Tennessee Thong, his first V7 in about two years. Remi’s one of those guys who used to crush really hard before life happened. Now he’s getting back into it at the big-boy level. He’s great to climb with because he’s super-encouraging, and you always learn something new from him.
Nearby, we worked Swingers (V3), which I first tried back in April and was excited to finally get on again. And it was cool to see how much stronger I’ve gotten since then! The start isn’t very nice to particularly-not-tall people, with a high right heel-toe cam and a low left smear, so Jared and Caroline weren’t psyched on it. But it’s now one of my favorite climbs at LRC, and I am pretty sure I will send it next time. It’s not the kind of climb I would ordinarily find myself enjoying — overhanging with a low start and muchas matches — but for whatever reason (I think it’s the big pulls and the oh-so-solid heel-toe cam), I love this problem. I ended up using this crazy heel hook swingy beta at the lip that made me feel like a Boulderer. It was great.
And then Remi left his phone on a rock and I lost my debit card* and made the mistake of buying gas station bean dip in a can because I craved hummus but IT’S NOT THE SAME AND IT’S NOT EVEN GOOD** and there was road construction and we didn’t get back until almost 1.
So I went to bed at 2 a.m. and got up at 4:30 for my first trip to Horsepens 40!
I’ve been wanting to go for ages, but it’s so far away that people won’t usually go for a day trip, and the camping is expensive (but worth it), so nobody wants to do that either. But I’m so glad I finally made it out there because, in Evan’s words,
It. Is. Magical.
Evan, Lucy, and I met Elaine and Matt at this enchanting boulderfield, and wow. I didn’t do any research ahead of time because I had heard so much about how amazing Horsepens is and wanted the magic to come at me full-force. That was probably a good move too, because I didn’t have any projects to get frustrated on. I was alternately enamored by how beautiful Horsepens is and despairing at my sore body and
Ripped. Up. Tips. Guess I overdid it on Saturday… I mostly stuck to slopey V0s and pretty much quit climbing around 3 p.m. Everything was just too painful, but it didn’t matter because all the climbs are interesting here, and it was wonderful just to sit and bask in the Horsepens majesty. I wish I could show you what I’m talking about, but I didn’t actually get that many photos this time around. Don’t worry, though — I will definitely have some camera loot after Boulderween (!) this October.
Sunday was much hotter than Saturday, but my hoodie did come in handy as a pillow when I took a series of afternoon lizard naps.
Evan worked the Inspect Her Gadget (V5) traverse at the start of the day, and I attempted the campus-start V4 variation. Maybe I could have stuck a move or two with a higher pain tolerance/more skin, but I quickly moved on to easier climbs.
Elaine and Lucy worked Spirit (V3), which I couldn’t even start because the first holds were so pebbly and vindictive. Everybody sent The Stranger (V2) but me, but I consoled myself with mental reminders of my bodily soreness, sleep deprivation, and lack of skin. Still, we all worked a V3 called Panty Shields. I didn’t quite top it out, but it’s a cool technical problem that I will totes send next time.
Elaine has the most photogenic beta.
I thought it was my last climb of the day until Elaine got on Earth, Wind, and Fire (V3), a slabby crackish classic that is pretty tall and pretty scary (hello, tree spot). I just had to try it. I’m still super iffy on crack techniques, but it was such a cool problem. I’m not sure why I didn’t freak out on this one, because I had definitely panicked a little on Groove Rider (V3), another high and slabby climb which I only attempted once.
Elaine crack-a-lackin' on Earth, Wind, and Fire
We all had fun on Merlin, a super fun V1 named for its resemblance to the eponymous wizard's headgear (told you this place was magical). I know it was easy, but I was proud of myself for climbing so high sans rope. And then I did it again using the arête! Honestly, the downclimb between the hat and the adjacent boulder was the scariest part.
Evan sent Popeye (V5) at the end of the day but for the most part worked “easy” stuff with the rest of us. The rock at Horsepens is special, man, and even the zeros play with your head. Everything is a challenge.
They say, in fact, that all of Horsepens is super sandbagged. I can’t say whether that’s true or not, but it’s definitely tricky to figure out beta, even on the easiest warmups. The climbing is so fun though, and the place is so beautiful. Not just the rock, but the facilities — everything is painted red and yellow and labeled with these cute signs that reminded me of Del and Marte’s place at the Obed. And there are bathrooms and showers and stages and food (marked by an all-caps declaration: “FOOD”). Oh yeah and also horses.
Oh, and guess what I just found out (like, halfway through writing this post). I’m going again this weekend!!! I know you’re not supposed to use more than one exclamation point if you want to be taken seriously on the Internet, but Horsepens deserves all the punctuation!
I’ll try to keep my skin this week, and I’ll (probably) get lots of photos this weekend. In the meantime, I’ll try to actually post something related to the “Eat” side of this blog, and when I have time I’ll update you on my hair (no more no-poo :( ).
Until then — happy sending! May the temps be ever in your favor.
*Debit card has since been recovered. In my camera bag. Post-cancellation.
**I should have known better ‘cause I did the same thing on the way back from the Obed.
Remember how in my last post, I declared Little Rock City “my second-favorite bouldering spot?” Well, my first-favorite is Rocktown*. And after shredding my fingertips and ego bouldering at LRC, I was aching to get back to Lafayette**.
So on Thursday, I posted this Facebook status:
I didn’t expect it to work; most people seem to prefer air-conditioned gym climbing to summer bouldering. But I just had to go, and I hoped against hope to entice a carful of others dying to slide on slimy slopers in the Georgia heat.
And I did! Five folks wanted in on the foolishness, and although two of them backed out to nurse injuries (:(), at 5 a.m. on Sunday, my workweek dreams came true.
And this time, I wasn’t the only girl! Sitting with me in the backseat of Elliot’s car, listening to NPR’s Radiolab and also enduring the poorly prepared coffee struggle, was Lucy, Active Climbing’s favorite 13-year-old. It was her second outdoor trip ever, and I was psyched for her to try out some of the South’s finest sandstone.
Read Lucy’s take on the trip here!
After my Pancake Mantle meltdown at LRC, I went into this trip knowing it wasn’t a day to throw myself at anything. Psych was high, but expectations were low — the right balance of attitudes for a humid day of sloper-slipping.
Still, I couldn’t just walk past my projects! So we got on Trouble (V3), Isle of Beautiful Women (V4), Screaming Church Girls (V4), and Golden Showers (V5). Lucy made quick work of Trouble, and I alllmost topped it out like, nine times, but nothing else was gonna go. So we goofed off on 1s and 2s (some of which were still not gonna go) until our tips were raw. And it was so fun! Supastrong Chris even lead the way, finding easy climbs in my (brand new!) guidebook and seeking them out.
Chris worked a V7 for a while too. That's probably kind of like us working 2s?
It was weird seeing Rocktown so empty. We ran into just two other climbing groups, and only one dog, a sweet golden retriever named Veda. I took Lucy over to the Super Mario boulder, wanting to get her on its eponymous V3 (and try out Luigi and Yoshi myself), but the area had turned into fire ant territory, and there were cobwebs all up in dem holds.
Real life desertion.
So we played on jugs some more, destroyed our tips, and left for Athens. Now Lucy and I have a girls’ trip in the works with Caroline & co., and I can’t wait to use my newly purchased group pass when the friction gets good.
Oh, and also — my hair looked awesome on Monday. Remember how I gave up shampoo in July? Well, I think my hair is finally pulling through the adjustment period. I’m active enough that I have to do the baking soda and vinegar thing pretty often, but Sunday night, I didn’t even do that because a.) my fingers hurt too much and b.) it looked...fine. And even the following night, after only a rinse in 36 very active hours and a five-hour deli shift at work, it was shiny and voluminous and not gross at all. No 'poo for the win!
*First-favorite of the places I’ve been, that is; I’ve been told Horsepens 40 is magical, and I can’t wait to see it this fall.
**Pronounced “Luh-FAY-it;” #southernswag
I hate Pancake Mantle.
If you haven't heard of it, Pancake Mantle is a V2 at Little Rock City (aka Stone Fort), my second-favorite bouldering spot. It is this goofy climb that requires you to pull yourself up onto this pancakey piece of rock and mantle/thigh-scum/desperately butt-hop to the top-out. It's like, three moves, and everybody thinks it's oh so funny and is like, "Have you tried Pancake Mantle LOL it's so funny right OMG you should do it right now DO IIIT" every time I'm at LRC.
Oh, yes. I've tried the insidious 'cake.
I'm gonna call myself a solid V3/V4 climber, but I cannot do Pancake Mantle. I've tried on four occasions, and I simply can't pull myself onto the pancake. Which I suppose isn't that surprising because I can't do a pullup on a bar either, but like, it's a V2, man. IT'S A V2.
So when I made an impromptu trip to LRC on Sunday with Evan and our friend Matt, I maybe should have passed Ole Cakey and just kept walking. But instead, I turned back to confront the enemy. And then I attacked it for thirty minutes, scraped my arm up, didn't send, and started to cry.
That's right. I cried at Pancake Mantle. "BUT IT'S A VEE TEWWW," I shudder-wept at Evan. I compared it to the myriad V3s and V4s I've worked that are "S-SO MUCH EASIER. IT'S NOT FUH-AIR. HOW IS THIS A VEE TEWWW?" I wavered between accusing the surely burly dude who probably graded this problem of taking his upper body strength for granted and not really knowing the life of a V2 climber and lamenting that I should be able to do any 2, 'cause I've been climbing for a year, man, and 2s are a thing of last July. After sitting on a rock and pouting/sniffling/breathing deeply for a while, I reluctantly moved to where the guys were working some V5 dyno and pouted over there instead. I felt better after sending Rib Cage (V3), which I'd projected before, but the feeling of Pancake Failure stayed with me.
But you know what? I need to get over it. Pancake Mantle is obviously not my style, and there are lots of problems that throwing myself at would actually be fun and productive. And although my pullup inability is definitely an obstacle to be overcome, the only reason this problem is so upsetting to me is because of that silly number.
'Cause really, in some ways the numbers are silly, and pretty subjective. Sure, V points are a good way to measure your general progress, but there's a lot more to climbing than grade-hopping. Here are some things I can do now that I couldn't do before I started climbing:
- open doors on campus with one arm instead of my entire body weight (gonna call this a V1 move)
- pour sugar with one hand on the bag and no spillage (V2)
- pick up industrial-sized bean cans with one hand (def V2)
- make it to the Kroger checkout without trading my produce basket for a buggy (V1/V2, depending on what's in season)
Also, some projects I will probably send before I get Pancake Mantle ('cause I will get it someday):
- Two Can Sam (V3, LRC)
- Swingers (V4, LRC)
- Super Mario (V4, LRC)
- Trouble (V3, Rocktown)
- Screaming Church Girls (V4, Rocktown)
- Isle of Beautiful Women (V4, Rocktown)
- Golden Showers (V5, Rocktown — I mean, maybe.)
The rest of the day was pretty nice in spite of my breakdown and the 92-degree heat. The guys had a better attitude than I did and climbed fun stuff below their grades after working Red House (V7) for a bit. The coolest part for me, though, was all the critters that were out! We saw so many caterpillars. Also, salamanders (I think), but they were camera shy.
Anyway, next time I'm at Little Rock City, I'm heading straight to my projects. I may give Pancake Mantle a few courtesy tries, but if the send isn't imminent, I'll shrug it off and move on to Super Mario.
Same photo, different bro. #sorrynotsorry
Oh, yeah! And I changed the blog name to Eat & Climb, because well duh. And now I'm domain-name legit.