Dogpatch Boulders

I intended to get up at six this morning and go to Dogpatch for some bouldering.

I didn’t.

I woke up at 4am, realised I was never going to go back to sleep, and, after calling my wife and kids, went to Dogpatch for some bouldering.

Dogpatch Boulders is in a big industrial unit in the middle of the Dogpatch, an area on the east side of San Francisco. It’s basically sically a large, three storey high box with no internal floors, and various large bouldering walls around the perimeter and in the middle. It’s not heated, and it’s ferociously difficult compared to Boulder Movement in Singapore.

There’s a few reasons for this. All the bolt-ons are shiny and smooth (I guess from heavy use) and the rental shoes I had were soled with that special anti-stick rubber that lasts longer by inspiring so little confidence that you never use them enough to wear them out.

Furthermore, while Boulder Movement runs on the Australian grading system (easiest climb is a 1, then 2, 3,4, etc) Dogpatch uses the Huevo grading (V0, V1, V2, etc). On a good day I can manage a 14 Australian. But to confuse things further, I can find conversion charts for roped climbing and bouldering that say different things, and so I might infer that a V1 is between 15 and 17.i didn’t know that in advance, and the nice thing about the more granular approach is that you might be able to do 3-9 but not 10, whereas being able to only do V0 feels a bit pathetic.

Oh and I’d had three and a half hours of sleep.

Put all these things together and it was a rather frustrating hour, where I’d manage the V0s with little trouble, and then be totally stumped on most of the V1s, but be able to manage a few. The walls are higher, with substantial overhangs on most of them, and so if you’re a bit weak, hungover, tired and without a friend to encourage you, it’s much tougher than anticipated.

Still, I managed a few things, and after an hour of climbing I tried on some shoes. Alas, my spade like feet were not intended for Five Ten Hiangles, which made me sad, but all the shoes for sale were a bit ratty and covered in chalk, so I’m not sure I would have wanted to drop $150 even if they had fit.

Wishing I’d worn a hoodie to go climbing, I got a car back to the hotel, packed, showered and dressed in twenty minutes, then went to the conference and fought my urge to sleep for the rest of the day.

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