Boulders, pho, and self-improvement

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Alabama Sky.

Oh, my gosh. It’s been two weeks.

Life is getting hectic here in college land. Bouldering season is finally upon us, and so are midterms. And bills…always bills.

But I have gotten out a bit since my last post! Two weekends ago, we did indeed return to Horsepens, where we night bouldered, camped, and bouldered some more in a big happy group. After a long — long — battle with the Panty Shields (V3) topout, I finally sent it. It was one of those “I’ll try it just one more time, but it probably won’t happen, but I’ll kick myself if I don’t” kind of successes after three sessions and many frustration tears. And it finally went!

We also got on a really cool V3 called The Thespian. The beta is straightforward for some folks (watch this guy do it at 1:44 — just nope. NOPE.), but between Caroline, Lucy, Elaine and me, some heelhookey, toejammy, footmatchey madness occurred. I can’t wait to get the last move on this one — by the time we returned to it at day’s end, my skin was, well, not.

Some other fun/weird climbs attacked by our crew included Bum Boy (V3), Millipede (V5), Hammerhead (V5), and Lowdown (V4).  I’m reluctant to attribute sends to specific people since it’s been so long and my memory is not the greatest, but I’m ~*~pretty~*~ sure Elaine sent The Thespian, Lucy sent Bum Boy, and Evan and Nick sent Hammerhead. Caroline got her longstanding V2 proj, The Stranger, too (!), and I just remember Remi being tall.

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So tall. So low.

I didn’t get tons of photos like I said I would, but I did get a few pretty shots with my new Samsung Galaxy S5 Active (*which I love*):

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Evan bein’ burly on Hammerhead.

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Lucy bein’…really good at climbing…on Bum Boy.

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#nofilter!

So that was fun. And then this past Sunday, folks wanted to go to LRC, but it rained there, so we (Evan, Nick, Thomas, Lucy, and I) went to Mount Yonah for a pre-pour halfday instead.

I didn’t get any pictures.

Yonah is a granitey ouchfest located near Cleveland, Ga. It’s better than Shaking Rock but bereft of Horsepen’s boulder magic. It does have routes, though. And it’s only about an hour from Athens, so it’s the place to go when you don’t have all day to climb.

But let’s be honest. We hardly climbed. We took forEVer to leave Athens after a groggy Kroger meetup and an impromptu stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (they didn’t have peanut butter for their bagels! Is that not a staple among bagel condiments? But Thomas shared his almond butter ❤ #magnanimous). It was a nice relaxed morning — one of those days when you warm up for 10 minutes, chat for 15, move to another boulder, chat for another 15… it was great. We spent a few hours bouldering, but I really didn’t have it in me after an exhausting week of being a stressed-out, sleep-deprived, future-fearing college student. Lucy flashed a V4 (crusher!), which I don’t know the name of, and that’s the only thing I really worked. I got every move except the first one, which is a sit start (ugh) to a pretty-good hold that I just couldn’t make myself grab onto because I hate pain and it was pebbly which means potentially hurt-y and why am I a climber again?

Other than that, I just goofed around on juggy things and kinda-sorta practiced mantling on tiny boulders. I don’t even know what the others were working on outside of my little sleepy-eyed world. I believe the Yonah triumvirate was worked, maybe, I dunno, I was staring at a caterpillar. I took a nap kind of, and something stung my butt. I was just not feeling the whole climbing thing. Also, I didn’t bring any food.

So imagine my euphoria when we left mid-afternoon (it never rained) and ate delicious Vietnamese food at a restaurant with a decidedly Vietnamese name! (Hint: it was great.) And then we were gonna go to Stone Summit to try on shoes, but Google was wrong and they close at 5 on Sundays, so we tried on shoes at REI instead. Which was almost as awesome because Athens doesn’t have an REI and it is an amazing place, like an adventure Walmart but prettier. So like an adventure Target.

And then we went to this Chinese bakery, and it was super cute, and I couldn’t eat anything, but here is a photo of a mooncake:wpid-20140928_183414.jpg

And we were all home by 9 o’ clock.


Also, here is the ice cream I had for second breakfast yesterday:wpid-img_20141001_102359.jpg

Recipe: Slice bananas. Freeze them. Blend, with a little vegan milk if your blender is terrible or you’re a soft-serve person. Sprinkle on buckwheat for crunch and class. Cocoa powder optional (as all things are).


And I still haven’t explained the end of my no-poo adventure.  Basically, I went at it for a few months with vinegar and baking soda, and my hair definitely luxed up as I freed it from the effects of chemical shampoos. It kind of “transitioned” to being not-disgusting, but I am just too active — and Georgia is just too humid — for me to maintain the twice-a-week routine. It never smelled bad or anything, but whenever I had a rinse-only day, it dried pretty flat and just didn’t look good. And if I didn’t scrub really hard in every spot with the baking soda, it was not gonna look clean either. I dunno, maybe that’s health.

I will say, though, that the first wash after three months without shampoo left it looking the best it ever has. Seriously. It was full and shiny and beautiful until I put a cap on it and went to work for eight hours. But since then, it has never looked quite as awesome. I am back to whatever was sitting in my bathroom at home-home for now, and I’m hoping to make some sort of natural shampoo and conditioner once I get some time slash money. Then again, it’s getting cool, so I might be able to pull it off now. There is a gallon of vinegar in my bathroom cabinet…

Additionally, I have casually taken up doing yoga with Adriene in the comfort of my sister’s bedroom. I do it in there because mine is too messy. But I’m working on that, because I hope that organized surroundings will give me a sense of control over my mental chaos. That’s part of why I’m doing yoga; although I know it will help me gain balance and flexibility for climbing, the real draw for me is its emphasis on internal wellbeing. I feel a bit conflicted about it because of the culturally appropriative aspects of Western interpretations of yoga, but after reading/listening to multiple qualified parties’ thoughts on the issue, I think I can practice it while maintaining respect for the religion and culture from whence it came.

And I recently began reading 9 Out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes by Dave MacLeod. Evan insists that it will make me a better climber, and the first 50 pages have already prompted me to change my mental game. I will elaborate, you know, eventually, but for now I leave you with these words, which I am trying to keep as my longwinded training sort-of mantra:

“The ideal attitude is that failure is an absolutely integral and central part of any worthwhile endeavor…Failure can and should be relished as a psychological tool to motivate, a practical source of essential feedback for those who don’t have a coach and even the spice that makes eventual success taste so sweet when it finally comes.”

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