Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bouldering 2015

       For any climbing narcissist seeking to assuage their desperate need for ego recognition, Facebook provides a far more efficient spray-device than a blog. So prodigious a spray-device is Facebook, I routinely chicken out of posting on it. Of course, I could paint a noble picture of my self and claim this is because Facebook violates the ancient taboo against bragging, or that my ego structure is so Buddha I have no need of simulating my territory to the map of Facebook, or that action is all that counts in this life, but that would be a lie, only to mask the fact that I am another person ruled by fear, prevented from posting by my own introversion and social anxiety disorder. 
      So this blog it must be, a smaller, more obscure nozzle to release the great tensions of the ego. "Pee-marking" is what I call it on Kigsblog-- gaining attention online for a move of climbing you have executed. Giving in to the irresistible urge to claim credit for an act of climbing, a first ascent, or even a second first ascent. To matter, for an instant, in the eyes of others, before geological time subducts the climb you have proudly done into an eroded, toxic miasma of the future.

Nome Alaska ice climbing
Great mud mounding action this year, climbing on frozen tailings
     Always bouldering... three days a week, four, all year round. Wandering in a dream state, executing little yoga moves on loose rock. Kind of an odd behavior really... A child lost in his imagination. humming softly to himself as he imagines a great abyss under his feet. I am Walter Bonatti stemming a dihedral on the Jorasses, with the soft ground one foot away. In the summer, rock shoes, in the winter, crampons and ice tools. It takes a fervent imagination, but if you can sustain the illusion, the rewards include a reduction of stress, freedom from lower back pain, and abundant adrenalin, as suddenly the child snaps into reality to find that the ground has become much further away in reality.
Nome Alaska climbing
James on the Orange Wall (5.10a) at Engstroms Mountain
       I hereby officially claim during the 2015 bouldering season that I spread urine on every square inch of rock within a twenty mile radius of Nome. That is, executed or repeated any and all climbing moves which might within an error range of three YDS grade levels be deemed a V0 or easier, (that leaves an awful lot of harder problems left for YOU to claim) at Anvil Mt., the Windmill Boulders, the Sunset Boulders, the Penny Boulders, the awesome Penny Crags, King Mt., and Engstroms Mt., in multiple visits, in continuous circuits, by car, snow-machine, or ski.  MARK!  MARK!  Can't anyone smell this? Look what I can do!
Nome rockclimbing
James on his "first trad lead," the fun Chimney Route (5.5) at Engstroms
        No. The weather and the tides will wash away the scent of your climbing. New climbers will come and lay their pee-marks over yours. You have bolted no sport lines, you have published no guidebooks, you have left the crags the way they were. Others will post on multiple websites and lay down a golden sheen over these pitiful squirts. There will be no recognition, no ego-satisfaction. Narcissus is forced to get up from the side of the pond and just go climbing, despite the will of the Gods that he be cursed for an eternity to dote on his own profile.
climb Nome
The big bouldering news of 2015 was the long-awaited send of the Courtyard Arete (5.10b) at Windmill Rocks, a high-ball with a treacherous landing. Many was the time I fondled the creaky flakes of the last move, but backed off, as in the photo above. This year, the Courtyard was filled with an extra padding of drifted snow, ten feet thick. Sure felt good to crank off that last move!

      Now there is only the next move: a patch of toe rubber oozing off the hold as the areoles of lichen crumble underfoot. A centimeter of chrome moly steel cammed into an icy crack in the schist. The blue of the ocean hoving into view as you struggle to get your foot up so you won't have to look like a noob and use your knee at the top of the crag. And now you're about to break your leg and crack your skull and lie paralyzed dying in the cold as you realize you did not bring a cell phone. It was all meaningless and pointless. The only reason to climb was to climb. There was nothing to say about it all along.

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