Last summer I took a break from routes for a solid month. It was an interesting transition and in the end I learned so much - both in my body and my mind. It was refreshing, it was something different for me and also I think it really helped improve my climbing. Now I'm about a week into another month of boulders. I'm slowly remembering all of the little tricks that I picked up last summer, and re-embracing my respect for this discipline. Bouldering is f*cking hard - by nature, which is rad, because I think it is an incredible tool to improve.
Campusing and gym excersises are effective for building power but I've never felt more snappy than I did when finished my campaign in Rocky Mountain National Park last year. I'm hoping that this little bouldering mission will leave me feeling more prepared for a few of my route climbing goals later this spring and summer. And furthermore it's always more enjoyable to be outside in the sun, with good people, climbing some beautiful blocs as opposed to being stuck in the dusty garage, training day after day (which, as you surely know, I actually love).
Last week I journeyed to the Buttermilks of California for my first visit. Certainly one of the most beautiful climbing venues in the country, I've seen images of towering granite eggs on this hillside for my entire climbing life. I walked away with a couple victories but for the most part the Buttermilks kinda crushed me. It was a great reminder. The specific kind of power and strength, resilient skin, try hard, and even simply fearlessness over pads that bouldering requires is very different than sport climbs. In the moment I suffered a little 'butt-hurted-ness' but in the end it was the perfect ass kicking that I needed. Thank you Buttermilks.
I definitely still had fun... Problems like 'Checkerboard' V8 (and Checkerboard right V9), 'High Plains Drifter' V7, 'Seven Spanish Angels' V6, 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' V12, 'Saigon Direct' V9, 'Maze of Death' V12, 'Flyboy Direct' V8 and 'Hunk' V2, among others, left lasting impressions on me. It would be a lie to say that I altogether loved the climbing there, but the gems are truly one of a kind. Hopefully the season will give me another shot at Bishop before the heat settles... although with temperatures already in the low 80's in Vegas it's not looking terribly optimistic..
Back in Vegas I have been lugging pads out on the daily. 'Power Slave' V12 was a rad little snappy crimp problem with awesome rock. 'Hungry Hungry Hippos' V12 exploited a few of my weaknesses (notably compression, damn it's hard to squeeze!) but I battled my way through it, and lastly, 'Abaddon' V12 was at the very limit of my reach so I was super stoked to take home a send on this problem. There are many more boulders here that will no doubt offer up a challenge over the next few weeks. Bouldering! Power! Hooray! wish me luck....