Happy boulders in January, with Basin Mountain & Mt Tom rising up behind.

Happy new year! 🐯 新年快乐

In the current revision of my life, I find myself bouldering outdoors basically as much as my body can handle without actually imploding. Last month I made the 2-hour round-trip commute to Bishop 13 days out of 31:

That's a lot of bouldering!
That's a lot of bouldering!

Last season I gave bouldering a real try for the first time, and I managed to struggled up a couple v1’s between cold swollen toes, hip injury, and general fears being outside my rope-climbing comfort zone (I’m short, all the holds are far away and bad, I’m weak and only manage to climb with cardio and technique, I don’t want to fall and break my leg, a 5-minute approach is for bums and my true passion is hiking a bag of ropes and metal deep into the backcountry, etc).

Monkey Hang v3. Leo for best spotter!
Monkey Hang v3. Leo for best spotter!

It’s been 6 weeks into my second season, and I have already climbed six v3’s??? and am working v4-5. Exciting! Shocking?? This doesn’t make any sense considering I mostly climbed moderate alpine/trad all summer, popped a finger on the kilterboard at the start of October, and continued to not really climb until mid-December. Does training even mean anything?? who knows.

A plausible contributing factor: six weeks ago, my hip spontaneously collapsed and I could barely walk for a two weeks (labral tear relapse?). No longer was I distracted with all my other hobbies, such as trail running, XC skiing, downhill skiing, the hip-intensive descent to the Gorge, and walking through the grocery store or up the stairs. Somehow, I could still boulder. I can’t explain it.

So as the gears of time clicked into place at the start of 2022 our year of Luigi, my friends carried all the pads, my stuff, and sometimes me to the Happy, Sad, or Buttermilk boulders every weekend. I used hiking poles as crutches to limp around. By the time I navigated my new insurance to re-begin physical therapy, I was already climbing 2 grades harder than I had before my injury, yet comically living in constant fear of opening a car door while standing on the icy driveway, or turning my foot the wrong way while laying in bed.

Fuzzy organism spotted at the Milks.
Fuzzy organism spotted at the Milks.

Being totally focused on 1 thing is surprisingly nice. I’m still at the low-ego new-activity stage so I don’t feel bad if I don’t succeed, I just feel good to be out of the house and able to do anything that feels normal and empowering. And it’s a lot more fun now that I’m at a level where I can project with friends (I’ve also made friends closer to my level and size in the last year, and that’s made a big difference too).

Evening Sads. 100% of the cars here were for Beefcake.
Evening Sads. 100% of the cars here were for Beefcake.

Being injured in a way that isn’t legible to others leaves me feeling pathetic a lot of the time because I need to ask simple favours from people who probably think I’m just really lazy and bothering them. When I feel too prideful and try to attempt the task myself, I get hurt and end up setting my recovery back, but asking for stuff really sucks. While rehabilitating a functionally useless wrist/hand/elbow a couple of years ago, my doctor suggested wearing a wrist brace at work, partially as a signal to others so they don’t judge me when I ask for favors or exemptions (such as declining to take notes at a meeting or move heavy objects). I think about that a lot. Aside from walking around with a limp or sometimes spontaneously collapsing, I otherwise appear totally normal. Most days, I feel lucky that I can do anything at all.

>Bishop v3 Progression

Listing here in order of send, in case you were wondering which are the easiest v3’s (and v2’s) in Bishop ;D

  1. 🥰 Pirate Booty v3 - first Bishop v3! Dec 2021
  2. 🥲 Sun Spot v2 - first Bishop v2! Jan 2022
  3. 🥰 Carrot Top v3 - sent in second session
  4. 🥰 Monkey Hang v3 - sent in third session. Went back a 4th time and it felt low-effort with the right beta!
  5. 🥰 Marty Lewis’s Ever-Changing Hairline v2 (flash)
  6. 🐮 Funky Tut v3 - put a water bottle into the summit jug as a 3D tick, is that aid??
  7. 🥰 Slap Happy v3 - I cut feet on every slap LOL but managed to stay on?? proud of this one. Jan 29, 2022.
  8. 🥰 Impulse Control v3 (flash) - this can’t possibly be v3, I can’t flash v3??

Legend
🥰 Happy Boulders
🥲 Sad Boulders
🐮 Buttermilks

>Bishop v1’s I climbed last season

For archival purposes, I combed through my whole journal for the easiest v1’s in Bishop (the v1’s I climbed last season, when I could climb no harder than v1).

  1. 🐮 Slabby v1 on Ranger Rock (Dec 2020), my first v1 in Bishop!
  2. 🐮 The Prow stand-start v1, Birthday Boulder (Jan 2021)
  3. 🐮 Green Wall Arete v1
  4. 🐮 Ay, Tut Boulder v1

…Followed by months of unsuccess attempting to climb my first v2.

>Active projects

Climb with me?? :D I usually go Sat-Sun, and a floating weekday afternoon (Wed or Th).

🥰 Happy Boulders:

  1. Bleached Bones v4
  2. Cue Ball v4
  3. Solarium v4
  4. Beer Tumor v3
  5. Son of Claudius Rufus v5
  6. Mr Happy v5

🥲 Sad Boulders:

  1. The Fang v4
  2. Mothership v4

🐮 Buttermilks:

  1. Green Wall Essential v2
  2. Iron Man v4 aka “Half Dome Traverse”
  3. Rail Problem on Roadside v3
  4. The Prow sit on Birthday v2
  5. Perfectly Chicken v5

Q: Do you want to climb at the Gorge?
A: I don’t think my hip can handle the descent right now ):

“The bouldering here is world-class. People come from all over to boulder in Bishop. I don’t think they come from all over to climb at the Gorge.” - Marco

Q: Do you want to climb at Pine Creek?
A: yeah! If it’s warm! I don’t want to be super cold if I could be beach vibes on the boulders instead: