I went bouldering at Sisters’ Boulders this week with my-only-friend-in-the-entire-world-Jeff-Hess. I’d discovered a new bouldering area the last time I camped there (on a hike north of the boulders), and this rim rock set I’d found had potential.
So my-only-friend-in-the-entire-world-Jeff-Hess and I went back with a pry-bar and a metal brush, food, shoes, and sleeping bags. Our goal was to clean and climb as many new routes as we could in three days. And when we hiked back there, we found ANOTHER bouldering area to the east, an unclimbed area with even more potential than the first one I found.
So we went to work, cleaning and climbing. We worked in the Mules Ear and Sage and Ponderosa, scraping and digging and climbing until our fingerpads were worn out and our shoulders and forearms thrashed. When we went into town for a burger one night, a local said, “Y’all look like you got into some briars, huh?”
Or as someone I know said when I got back to Eugene, we were scraped up like “meth addicts.”
For future reference, this is what “meth addict” legs looks like:
But it was worth it. We established 44 first ascents, new routes rated between VB and V7.
The work reminded me of any hard thing: Writing, parenting, climbing, or skating.
The good skaters I know will work a trick for hours, sometimes four or five hours on that one single trick, until their shins look worse than my “meth addict” shins.
I also like how skaters will sit and wait, thinking about that trick for fifteen or twenty minutes, then they’ll go back to work for an hour or two more. Skaters have this calm before they work that might be mistaken for laziness by a casual observer.
So even though I slashed my legs a little bit, got a little bit bleedy, did a little bit of work, I spent a lot of time doing nothing during the three days. Laying on the ground staring at the sky. Watching a stick fire burn low. Closing my eyes for five minutes. Sitting in a cave.
I grew up with a skater named Cooper Wilt who became a professional, a skater who’s shins were rotten and criss-crossed with scabs, bloody and bruised and nasty. Those shins were evidence of his work, a level of work I’ve never attained in my rock climbing. Coop did work. And he became great.
And that’s a good, simple lesson for me.
If you want to see Coop Wilt’s skating, click here: