Whelp, it’s been a summer of purposefully not climbing much. Decided to take a proactive approach to injury prevention instead of a usual reactive stance on injury realization. Why climb in the summer heat of the sweaty ball sack that is Salt Lake City, when you can swim in lakes and travel to mild climates for biking, hiking, and even more swimming? I have gone back home to Washington a couple of times, went mountain biking at Whistler where I saw a 15 year old kid kill it at Crankworx, and traveled south to play in slot canyons.
There was an exception to my summer off from climbing. Pace Measom, Joe Meiners, Katie Thorup and I went up to check out the high Uinta boulders. One small cluster of boulders at the base of the Stone Gardens cliff has a high concentration of surprisingly rad lines. Located above 10,000 feet, it is Utah’s summer alpine bouldering destination. The rock was fantastic, the setting beautiful, and the mosquitoes plentiful. Watch the video and get rock hard. Hope you are wearing sweatpants.
With September just around the corner (and a Leavenworth, WA bratwurst eating trip, uh, I mean bouldering trip that month), I am trying to get back in the gym to get some strength back. Those first few days, and by days I mean weeks, are quite the slice of humble pie. . . luckily I love pie. I love rhubarb pie in the summer. Anywho, the processes of sucking at bouldering can be enjoyable if approached correctly. As long as you accept that you obviously aren’t as strong as you were a few months ago and that realistically you will be strong again in time. . . then it’s all just climbing. It’s all so relative. I remember when V5, or V3, or V8 was my absolute max ability. I would sit and project V5 and try as hard as I could. Now I sit and try as hard as I can on some double-digit boulder problem and it feels like the same difficulty as that V5 in a relative manner. . . and I don’t mean that in a “it feels as easy as V5” way but as in “V5 feels as hard as V11.” We gain strength/technique/experience and increase through grades but the constant is the struggle and difficulty of the moment. The moment when I climbed a V5 at my max some years ago and the moment that I climbed a V12 last year feel exactly the same in difficulty. That’s what is so great about bouldering. The numbers change but the struggle at our limit is always the same. A dude working a V3 at his limit right next to another dude working a v10 at his is sharing, to the same degree, a struggle of pushing limits(as long as each is trying their hardest). The grade could be the same on each problem because really the difficulty is relatively the same to each person. Anyway, this is how I try to enjoy coming back from time off or injury; by recognizing that the struggle to overcome our limits is our actual motivation. Ok, you can take your boots off now because we are done walking through some deep shit. You’re welcome.