After a day of playing Blood Bowl (one draw, one loss) and viewing houses, I went to Stone Gardens for an evening climb.
Stone Gardens is a climbing gym near Ballard Locks in Seattle. There’s a Taco Time over the road, the Nordic Heritage Museum is just round the corner, and every building seems to be a metal cuboid that was, or will be, a warehouse.
Stone Gardens is not my favourite place to climb, because so much of it seems too hard, and the staff aren’t as volubly friendly as my regular gym. (I guess it’s bigger, so that makes it immediately more anonymous.) There are several large rooms of walls (mostly with big overhangs) downstairs, along with a weight room, and a few walls for top roping or auto belaying. Upstairs there is a smaller room with a system board and a lot more overhangs with short problems on them.
There seems to be a wide range, from V0 to V8 and above, but there’s not many V1 or V2, which means I quickly exhaust the things I have a chance of doing, and then have the exercise of frustration in attempting things I just can’t do. There’s also some strange problems, where I can manage a V2 on a wall but can’t make sense of a V1; unlike my beloved Boulder Movement in Singapore, there really doesn’t feel like much of a learning curve – just stuff you can do and stuff you can’t.
Still, there are some inspiring things to do, like watching a man hang onto a volume that shouldn’t provide any grip at all, or a woman with a Douglas fir tattooed across her tricep lever herself up a V6.
It’s cold there though, or I’m still not used to Seattle temperatures. Next week I’ll head down to Seattle Boulder Project, which is bigger, but quite a bit further away, and see how I get on there.
For now though, I’m just shattered. Perhaps it comes from this being my first climb in three weeks, but I’m absolutely exhausted. I got back and lay on the sofa for half an hour, fighting the desire to sack out there and then.
On to the next great adventure, then.