Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Song Stuck in My Head.

You ever get a song stuck in your head?

I've been listening to this song over and over to get it out of my head, but it's yet to cure it.

I find blog posts are a lot like songs replaying in my head. I think about them a lot until I finally either write it down or bang my head on the wall until my mind goes blank.

Lately I've been replaying my first meeting with Chris Sharma in my head.

He came to town to promote Dosage 1 and I went to see the movie and hear him speak after the fact. In Dosage he climbs Realization. A route he tried nearly a hundred times. I could relate to that even though I've never really committed to a route which is as involved as that. Seeing as I only boulder it was cool to imagine hiking 45 minutes up hill, doing forty some odd moves only to blow the crux over and over.

One of the main reasons I really got involved in climbing was after watching Rampage. When I saw Sharma climb it looked super fun.

After watching him climb Realization, myself and the rest of the audience were pumped. Chris had just gotten back from walking across Japan where while away he learned to play the flute. He played for a short while and at first I thought this seemed a little strange but once I realized he was quite good it was pretty cool. Needless to say we were all a little star struck.

After the show Chris stuck around to sign autographs. Myself and a friend decided we'd go up and say hi. I was going to say thanks for the show and it was pretty cool. My friend on the other hand went off the deep end.

How it went down.

Me. "Hey cool talk, congrats on the big send."

Chris "Thanks man."

Me "Looks like Squamish is going to good tomorrow. You should come up, it's going to be prime."

Chris "Really? You think it will be dry?"

Me "For sure."

Chris "Might just happen."

My friend ".... I just wanted to tell you your my hero. And you inspire me. I love you man."

Awkward silence.

Chris "Thanks man."

Well I made a run for it. Because the truth was while my friend might of aired his feelings a little too much, he was speaking what the rest of us were thinking. But in my mind he destroyed any chance of Chris seeing us as cool guys that would get to climb with him.

Well the next day I went climbing in Squamish. As I was walking by the Octagon boulder there was a huge crowd. Chris was trying an undone project while 30 people stood around and watched. I felt sorry for him. But not enough not to get into the mix. I mean a chance to see Chris climb in real life was too much to pass up. As I pushed my way through the crowd for a better vantage someone said:

"Hey Matt, get in there and spot him, the top-out's dodgy."

So I walked forward. Not only was I going to get to watch him climb but in a small way I was going to be apart of it. Man I was psyched.

Chris sent after a few more tries and even discussed beta with me as he was working it out.

Pretty cool experience. I know it seems a bit lame but if Micheal Jordan was shooting jump shots and someone said get in there and fetch rebounds for him I would jump at the chance. In a way it was very much the same with Chris.

That and he was cool about the whole thing the day before. Either that or he was thinking with all these people watching I wasn't going to tackle him and try and get a lock of his hair.

Climbing is one of the few sports where the top athletes are super accessible to the average climber.

In my travels I've been very lucky to meet and see most of the top boulderers climb that I've looked up too.

Remind me later to tell you about the time I pretended I didn't know who Fred Nicole was and got to watch him climb one of the hardest boulders in the world.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Return!

I'm back! Sorry for falling off the map. I'd like to say I've been super busy and every time I tried to write a blog something major came up, but that rings false. Lets face it. I was watching youtube videos or bad movies like "The Room".

In the last month I drove up to the Yukon for a visit, got engaged, and started school for the fall semester.

My visit to the Yukon was good. Climb-wise not so much. I wanted to check out a bunch of the climbing areas in northern B.C. along the way up to the Yukon but most of it fell through. The Ruth lake boulders were so unimpressive I didn't bother putting on my shoes. And the boulders outside Prince George were soaking wet due to a super heavy rain storm.

In the end I didn't climb until Janelle and I made it to Whitehorse.

I did manage to pull one over on Janelle by springing a sudden marriage proposal on her along the way up north. Sure we haven't been dating that long but I say why wait when you know you've met the one.

Oh on a side note if you want a trip with your girlfriend to go well it's not a bad idea to have jewelery on hand to keep spirits high.

In Whitehorse we stayed at Boréale Mountain Biking. It consist of super nice boutique yurt accommodations with really cool owners that just happen to be some of my best friends. Great hosts but be warned, people in the Yukon love food and drink so except your waist line to grow if you head up for a visit. Unless of course your biking all day or climbing regularly.

The weather in the Yukon was cold! Flat out. Everyone I talked to went on and on about having the best summer in recent memory. Too bad Janelle and I only saw rain and icy temperatures.

I did manage a few days climbing while we were up there. The Rock Gardens are worth a visit. It offers a few boulders but mostly its a single pitch crag area with most of the climbs being top ropes. I climbed all the boulders that I could find with most of them being really nice moderates. I don't know what type of rock it was but it was different from anything I've climbed on before. Sort of like granite but without crystals and with a tiny honey comb texture. Very grippy too bad there wasn't more and with big roofs!

I also managed to borrow a four by four thanks to Marsha's (owners of Boreale) mom and we got to go out to the Ibex Valley. It's a pretty bad road needing some pretty big clearance. The Audi wouldn't have made it.

Having been to the Ibex 9 years earlier I really wanted to try some of the problems that shut me down all those years ago. I learned a couple of things. One I still am the worlds worst mantler and I have better foot work so some things are easier but I need to do more dips. I manage every problem except on stupid mantles. Which I fall off about 20 times before giving up.

The Ibex is a beautiful climbing area which makes you feel completely isolated. So if you want to climb in a super exotic area it might be the place for you. Not a lot of problems. But enough for a couple of days for sure.

The trip back to Vancouver was a bit epic. It's closer to drive to L.A. then Whitehorse from Van. But in one day we saw 5 bears two moose and bison. The scenery is world class though which beats the hell out of the I5 any day.

Well now that I'm back in Van its time to get my train on. I have Hueco Tanks coming up at Christmas and this trip I'd really like to do Full Service. I know that's a lofty goal but I think it's attainable. I've been doing a weight program along with an ab routine that has been making my abs hurt for days afterwards.

I'll post photos of the bouldering up north. I left my camera cord in the Yukon so I have to wait until it gets here to finish up loading the rest of photos.

Talk to you guys again soon.