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bear by san

March 2017



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you're chasing death already. every day is gravy now.

So when I got to the gym last night, I went to check on the two unrated routes I'd climbed on Monday. One was still unrated, but the hard, overhung green one that I had thrashed up one or two moves at a time, dogging on the rope and bitching (definitely not whining. whining is against the climbing gym rules!) had been rated...


I blinked and rubbed my eyes and looked again. Nope, it still said that. It was my first 10b. And it was overhung.

So I went to do some warmup yoga and wait for The Jeff, and when he arrived I told him of my triumph and we went to look at the tag again.

It had been replaced by a blank white square.

This is about when I started to figure I must be having a really creative anxiety dream. But we climbed for a bit, and the next time we were in that corner, the tag had been replaced:



Definitely an anxiety dream. At least I wasn't pantsless.

I later told Greg, the routesetter, that somebody must have told him I got up it, so he had to downgrade. He laughed.

(I tried the route mostly because of the name: "Eating Pasta With A Spoon.")

Still, it was a 5.10. Even if it wasn't my first 5.10b. Which gave me the courage to try another, different 10a that looked pretty doable... and in fact, it was a lot easier than the green route. I still didn't do it clean--terrible slick feet, and my toes kept popping off the holds--but I think this means that I am officially a 5.10 climber now, if not somebody who can climb 5.10 clean. (I also failed on a 9, which I think I have done before, and got up another 9 only with a great deal of falling and swearing and Doing It Wrong. And then there was a bunch of easier stuff. Leave me my illusions.)

But I think I have the courage of my convictions to keep working on 10s. And I can still do a pullup! (It's reproducible! Still just one, but give me time.) I can get into bound side angle and hold a proper tree pose, and with scott_lynch spotting me, I can manage a tripod headstand--and I can do a handstand, albeit only against a wall, and I can't kick myself up to it. And I can run ten miles, and run an under 9-minute mile if wolves are chasing me and I have a tail wind. ;-)

Which means Project: Valkyrie is tentatively declared a success, and I am moving on to new goals. Which are:

Climb 5.10 clean
Run a half marathon (attempt scheduled for March--and that's where I quit, because I don't think my ankles will support longer distances.)
Proper headstand
Kick up to a supported handstand (It's mostly a courage issue. I did manage it once on the mats at the climbing gym.)


Good for you!

I can probably still kick up to a handstand - I think once you can do so co fidently it doesn't really leave you, short of injury, illness or major body changes - but I can't actually DO a handstand any more, because it hurts my wrists. It's pretty upsetting, because I've lost a capability and it's probably forever. (I think the wrist issue is tendinitis.). Here's hoping your capabilities continue to blossom for a long time to come.

Unrelated comment: so now and for at least the next couple of months I am a full time writer, nonfiction flavor. (Or at least I am writing as my main task, with a bit of imposter syndrome thrown in.) it's really surprising how many of your comments over the years are being helpful.
I don't suppose there are any kinds of handholds that would work for handstands, would there be? I mean, I find pushups a lot easier when I've got handles on the floor (y'know, like putting dumbbells down and holding on to them, rather than pushing against the floor directly). But I can't imagine any way that you could do something similar for handstands. But maybe I'm wrong?