Thoughts From an Intermediate at Bouldering

A year ago I shared this post about my experience as a beginning climber, namely one in the early stages of what has basically becoming a bouldering obsession.

What a year it’s been.

At the time I wrote that post, I…

  • still struggled on 0s and 1s
  • only dreamed of being able to climb a 3.
  • avoided overhung routes like the plague.
  • probably couldn’t even bench the bar.
  • definitely couldn’t do anything resembling a pull-up.

Anna Wendt climbs a V2 at Momentum in Lehi, Utah.

As of today, I…

  • have sent a single V4.
  • consistently project and figure out 3s.
  • spend most of my time in “the cave.”
  • regularly bench 60 pounds (which is 80% of my 3-rep max).
  • can do assisted pull-ups minus 58 pounds (which is 80% of my 1-rep max).

Anna Wendt climbs a V4 at Momentum in Lehi, Utah.

A lot of my previous post focused on how I often felt out of place physically in the gym. Not much has changed: I still feel out of place often enough and I’ve gained weight since then. But I’ve also gained the ability to climb better, smarter, harder, and longer.

I think a lot about the women and girls I see in the gym (clearly trying out the sport) who don’t have the typical, slender climber bodies. I’m nowhere near an expert climber, but I hope they can see me, someone with a big chest and dimpled, stretch-marked thighs, and realize it doesn’t matter. The size of your body ultimately has nothing to do with how hard you’ll crush it.

What does matter? That you’re willing to try at all.

Anna Wendt climbing in Rock Canyon in Provo, Utah.

Bouldering is a constant struggle of climbing high (literally and figuratively) and falling down hard. But we keep getting back up! We learn from our mistakes and we solve problems and we encourage each other as best we can.

Climbing 3+ times a week for a year now has made me physically stronger than I ever dreamed of being (truly), but more importantly, it’s helped increase my mental and emotional strength. It’s taught me to say continually say “I can’t do that yet” and “Maybe if I…” among many other cheesy, ridiculous sentiments that surprisingly keep one motivated. I go to the gym when I’m feeling happy, sad, exhausted, lost, determined, optimistic, and worthless. Those dumb fake rocks bring me true joy, as do the people I climb with.

My SO may have been the person to technically introduce me to bouldering, but my bouldering journey has been influenced most strongly by women. I shared my buddy passes time after time with my now-lifelong spotter and belay partner Taylor. I made her climb again and again until she fell in love with the sport too.

Taylor and I were already good friends, but few things solidify a relationship even further quite like hours spent together in the bouldering gym working through problems (on the walls and in our lives). Get yourself a Taylor who will take hundreds of climbing photos and force you up the wall when you’re being silly but also calm you down when it gets scary AF to go any higher (because it will).

And if I can offer one last tiny bit of advise, for life and bouldering…

 

Climb on

Because if you climb on, one day you might boulder outside for the first time and absolutely amaze yourself.

A National Park Playlist

As I prepare for my second trip to Yellowstone and my first trip to an out-of-state national park this year, I finally decided to come back to this post. Heading to a national park usually means a lot of driving, both to get there and once in the park itself, which of course means needing a lot of quality music.

Here are some of my favorites to listen to on the long drives to and around the parks. At the end you’ll find a Spotify playlist of all the specific songs mentioned.

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Thoughts From a Novice at Bouldering

La Sportiva Tarantulace climbing shoes in front of a bouldering wall at Momentum in Lehi, Utah

A few months ago I saw someone tweet this: You don’t have to be pretty like her. You can be pretty like you.

I’ve thought about it a lot since then. Literally every day. I am my own person and I should look and dress exactly how I want. I’m normally best at this when it comes to outdoor stuff. I love my outdoor clothes and gear. I feel and look like my best self when wearing four-way stretch shorts, Chacos, and obnoxiously bright T-shirts.

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My 2017 “Try New Things” Resolutions

I started this list in January… and I forgot about it until just now! So here’s an introduction and update on all the new things I’m trying in 2017.

  1. Go on a (new) hike once a month.
    • Without even trying, I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing pretty well at this!
  2. Roll my own sushi.
    • Peter and I rolled sushi for Valentine’s Day. It was awesome.
  3. Use the climbing shoes I bought last year.
    • It took a few months, but I’ve now used them a number of times. My new thing is bouldering. Expect a post on that soon!
  4. Sleep outside in southern Utah. (Somehow I’ve never slept without a tent when camping around red rock)
    • I’ve done this a handful of times now! My new favorite thing is sleeping in the bed of Peter’s beloved truck.
  5. Sleep in my hammock.
    • To happen soon. I hope.
  6. Try new dutch oven recipes.
    • I did a few dutch oven meals a few weeks ago on a quick overnight trip. I would highly recommend green enchiladas and raspberry peach cobbler. Plenty more delicious dishes to come!