Saturday, August 8, 2009

Squamish Weekend

Cortney and I took a trip to Squamish a few weeks ago with most of the Seattle monkeys: Kyle, Drew, Joel, and Johnny. It was still pretty hot, but we had a lot of fun touring the forest and climbing as many cool lines as possible.

Joel and I spent a lot of time trying the Backseat, but neither of us could manage to stick the second move. For some reason I had always thought that it would be over after the first move – it’s not. Cortney came heartbreakingly close on Superfly but fell on the last move... next time. It was fun watching group sends of several classics like Sesame Street and George’s hard new addition Pain From Below (located in the woods just above This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven). In the end, Johnny was the only one who really cleaned up, with quick sends of everything, including an impressive three-try send of One Zen.

The Backseat
Cortney on Up From the Depths Johnny on One Zen Joel’s Flapper(s)The Secret Camping Spot

On Sunday, the rest of the guys went up the road to Paradise Valley, and Cortney and I stayed in Squamish to climb in the forest. Cortney made progress on Swank Stretch, figuring out all the moves quickly, but it was our third day on and she decided it would have to wait for another trip.

Later in the day, we met up with our friend and fellow Seattleite Jonah Harrison, and headed over to No Troublems. I had only tried this problem once or twice in the past, and could never get the first move. I got psyched soon after we arrived, and quickly did the moves in the roof. After a few more minutes, I got the guts to do the topout, and then set about trying to figure out the first move. Following many unsuccessful attempts, Jonah showed me some special beta and I stuck the move. As soon as I did, I went into Johnny mode, knowing that I might not get another chance to send the problem that day. I zeroed in on all the moves, executed them without any of my typical fumbles, and soon found myself wedged into the chimney at the top.

While it’s not the hardest problem around, No Troublems had always felt tough to me, and it was really great to send it on the end of my third day on. I’m always impressed by climbers like Jamie Emerson who can carefully meter their skin and muscles and climb hard for numerous days in a row, but that’s just not my style. When I’m out bouldering, I usually try to climb as many problems as possible. I can't usually avoid climbing many classic warm-ups or moderates in order to be fresh for a hard problem during the evening or the next day... I usually just circuit a lot and get trashed early, and as a result don’t get any solid climbing done on the typical Sunday. That I could climb No Troublems in the way I did gives me hope that age may actually benefit me – I’m not as strong as I used to be, even though I’m only 26, but sends like this make me feel like I’m still improving mentally. And, I met my quota: climbing one problem I haven’t done before is still enough to make my day...

Cortney on Swank Stretch Sponch! Jonah on No Troublems No Troublems

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