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
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.