A window of opportunity. That's exactly what it was. Mother Nature smiled on the boulders of Squamish for a few days this November, and give climbers a gift of zero moisture and cool temps. The exact combination for perfect sending temperatures. Last Monday I headed up to the boulders with my friend Mike Foley, a strong Boston local who has transplanted himself to Quest University, just north of Squamish. Foley is featured in this months Dead Point Magazine. Check it out!
The Saturday before I had competed at the annual Seattle Bouldering Challenge at Stone Gardens. I think this is my 3rd time competing in this competition, and like the times before, I had a blast. I felt strong and happy, and was super psyched to be bouncing around between problems with Lizzy Asher in qualifiers. She's such a fun girl! I had qualified first for finals, which I was pretty psyched about. In finals, I finished all 4 problems, but due to a doozy of a mistake (I may have grabbed an extra hold on problem 2...ahem), I finished second to Audrey Hsu, a little beasty from Seattle. Honestly, I was pissed off with myself for making such a rookie mistake that costed me the win. But when I was driving up to the boulders on Monday, my frustrations lifted and a smile made its way to my face once again.
Bouldering OUTSIDE! In NOVEMBER! In SQUAMISH! Hurrah! I had one objective: No Troublems. Had to take that sucker down. Foley was psyched to do whatever, so I quickly dragged him over to the problem and set to work. Now, bouldering in Squamish in November during a cold snap that leaves you with dry rock has its draw backs; particularly the COLD. It was FREEZING. And windy. When we got out of the car, my crash pad blew half way across the parking lot. But, no complaints here. We were bouldering and psyched. Right away I suprised myself by quickly repeating all the moves that gave me so much trouble earlier this fall. Psyched!
I even made it to the top-out, past the hand jam section. But then..my fingers numbed out, I got scared, and I came down. Now any of you with any experience with this boulder will want to shake my shoulders and go "Vikki! NO ONE falls there!!" And those of you who don't know this problem will just have to take my word for it: No one falls there. But alas, I am not no one. I am Vikki Weldon. And I fell there. Poop. After that, my muscles felt worked, the cold seeping into my blood and slowing its movement, and I could not recover without cooling down. After a few more solid attempts, I called it a day, which I'm sure Mike was psyched about because he had just spent the last hour and a half freezing his butt off and spotting me. On to the next problem! Mike worked a sick low ball V10 whose name escapes me out in the talus for about an hour before we both gave up due to the cold. The wind was unbelievable and it seemed that all my blood was moving away from its extremeties to save my vital organs (Look at that, a practical application of my pathophysiology knowledge after almost one full year of that course. I DO learn!. The end result: walking was tough.
Anywho, we bailed. I got a tasty beverage at a coffee shop and headed back to Van to coach the kidlets. My body temperature didn't warm up until I went to bed. Brrrrrr....
Ok, fast forward 2 days. Wedneday. I skipped school (but don't tell anyone), in order to take advantage of one more day of solid weather before Mrs. Nature snapped out of it and came back with a veangance. Big Willy Stanhope was back in town for a few days between trips, and after a run-in at the gym on Tuesday night, we hooked up for another day at the boulders. The following is most definitely the single best day I have ever had bouldering in Squamish. After a bit of a warm-up, we hoofed it over to No Troublems. I brushed some holds, threw a hand warmer into my chalk bag (key!) threw on my shoes, and hopped on the problem. 1 minutes later, I was belly-bumping my way up the slab to the top. SEND! No Troublems. V9/10. My hardest problem to date. Huzzah!
NEXT: On a roll, and after a quick text message conversation with my boyfriend Ryan, who urged me to head over to my main project of the year, I quickly convinced Will (and my big bro, Chris, who showed up after the send) to head over to Worm World Low. I was feeling elated and happy and was without a care in the world. After setting up the pads just right and taking a bit of time to remember the sequence, I mummy-taped my wrist and set to work. First try, I fell at the usual spot. But felt one major difference. The sloper had texture, and my biceps seemed a wee-bit stronger. After a bit of a rest, I hoped on again and......SEND! Worm World Low. V10. My hardest problem to date. Shazam!
So there you have it. I sent my two hardest boulder problems in one day in November in Squamish with two fantastic people spotting my freezing cold butt. Thank you Will and Chris. (And thank you Mike for the spots and support on Monday.) What an amazing day. We finished it off with a session on the terrifying Ride the Lightning (V8), which Will took down in the usual Stanhope fashion, and a lap on the fun and also slightly sketchy Loose Change (V7).
After that fantastic day, I went and made a nice fool out of myself by MCing at the annual Reel Rock Tour that took place in Centennial Theatre in North Van. I'm not a crowd person, so my heart was humming into the microphone, but it was fun nonetheless!
And now I cannot wait for the next window of opportunity. I have so much to look forward to!! But for now, it's back to the gym. This weekend I'm headed to QUEBEC CITY for a Tour de Bloc competition at Delire. A wonderful early Christmas present from my favourite Villeneuves in Calgary have made this trip a possibility. Thanks Simon and Tara! I'm psyched to see my big sis with her shaved head, and to compete out East! Stay tuned for some pictures and words next weekend!