This week is finals week here at Cal Poly. Cafes and libraries are overrun by sleepless students. Espresso seems to be at the top of the food chain. People are frantic, stressed, overwhelmed, and tired. I have spent the last three days sitting at the same table at the same cafe in an attempt to fill my brain with all there is to know about Classical Rhetorical Theory. As you can imagine, that becomes very old very fast. I spend my “spare” time occupying my mind with music, climbing media, and random plates of poetry. While on my break from studying this morning, I came across a new climbing flick produced by Louder Than 11. LT11, for those of you who don’t know, is the leading media production company in today’s climbing world. They produce the best quality movies with the top climbers. And it’s all free, “Whether you like it or not.” It has become a reoccurring trend among my close friends and I to send each other the latest and greatest flicks via email and correspond for a few minutes about how badly we want to go climbing. I genuinely look forward to these brief online interactions. We share videos, articles, and pictures to constantly remind ourselves how amazing climbing is and what it has done for us.
Anyway, LT11 released a new video about the bouldering anomaly, Daniel Woods. A couple weeks ago, Daniel Woods competed alongside some of the world’s strongest climbers in an outdoor bouldering competition in Hueco Tanks, TX. The objective of the comp is to accumulate as many “V-Points” in six boulder problems as possible. You have nine hours to do this. Let me beak that down. In order to gauge the varying difficulty levels in bouldering, climbers use what is called the “V-Scale” to assign subjective “grades” to boulder problems. The lowest of the grading scale being V0 and the highest standing proud at V15. To put the grading scale in perspective, I can count the number of climbers (in the history of climbing) that have been able to consistently climb V15 on one hand. Well, MAYBE two hands. Anyway, the goal of this annual competition is to get as many of said V-Points as possible in six boulder problems. Here’s an example. My personal best day of climbing looked like this: V7, V10, V12, V5, V7, V6. To a lot of people, this is the beginning of their warm-up circuit. But I’m proud of it. So, if I competed in the Hueco Rock Rodeo against Daniel Woods, I would have a grand total of 47 V-Points. During the 2012 Hueco Rock Rodeo, Daniel Woods was able to acquire 76 V-Points.. in six problems.. in one day. That's two V14s, a V13, two V12s, and a V11 (first try). I hope you can all appreciate what that means. Just in case you don’t, here is the LT11 video of Daniel’s BEST DAY OF BOULDERING EVER: https://vimeo.com/38347438
When I watched this video during my study break, I was at a loss for words. The feat accomplished in this video might be the most impressive piece of bouldering I have ever seen, for lots of reasons. As soon as the video ended, I hit repeat and watched it again. This pattern continued a few more times. Following the initial state of shock I seemed to be caught in, I sent the video to some friends. They immediately responded and we began to talk about climbing. We were like giddy school boys watching Michael Jordan jump over however many people he jumped over while dunking the winning dunk in the final scene of the cinematic masterpiece, Space Jam.
The first climbing movie I watched back when I started climbing four years ago was the BigUp Productions' (another leading production company) video of Chris Sharma establishing the First Ascent of Realization, the world’s first 5.15. (Video here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-200477265572892748) I remember sitting at my computer for hours watching this video over and over again. For some unknown reason, I felt like I was apart of it. I felt like I was cheering Chris on and he could somehow hear me. Weird, I know. But I was moved. Every time I sit down to watch a climbing movie, I feel like a kid again. I have always been taken back by watching people push themselves through whatever is hardest for them. Watching people utilize the deepest parts of themselves to overcome struggle is the most inspiring thing in the world to me. And as cliche as it sounds, watching that journey unfold is a big reason why I enjoy watching climbing videos. Watching individuals manifest their dreams motivates me to chase mine. It might be a bit excessive, especially because I’m talking about a climbing movie, but still. Movies tell stories and if the story is told properly, it can initiate momentum in people’s lives. That’s what happened to me this morning. I’m supposed to be studying and all I can think about is getting strong enough to climb Top Notch (V13) in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. (Top Notch is featured in this video, which happens to be my personal favorite piece of climbing media, at 1:54, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWhNtKTY9e0 This video follows Five Ten Elite Athlete Carlo Traversi through some of Colorado's most classic problems. Carlo filmed, edited, and produced this video.) My psyche is high and my motivation isn’t going anywhere. I’m ready to pursue the life I’ve always wanted. And I feel like I finally have the momentum to do it.