Ethan Pringle - Pro Blog 4

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1/29/07

Well, I just got back from the beach in Pacifica, Linda Mar, after a couple hours of surfing (and getting pounded by outside sets) and feel wasted. The days I have been surfing in the last week have brought forth relatively good conditions, with waist to head high waves and an offshore breeze flowing almost all day. What more could I ask for (a less crowded line-up, a new wetsuit and booties, skills like my seasoned surf partner and once off the couch, 5.13 climber Jino)? Surfing Is really good cross-training for climbing, but sometimes I think I just gain weight, because my body craves a lot of fat so I can stay warm in the frigid water. Oh, well.

This weekend I made a trip up to Yosemite to boulder with my friend Scott Cory. On Saturday, I awoke at the ripe hour of 5:30 a.m. to get an early start on picking up Scotty and getting to the Valley. After stopping in Livermore to meet Scotty, we continued up Hwy 120 and got a call from Randy Puro, just after passing Oakdale. Randy was still in Berkeley and after hearing of my pre-dawn start he said, "Dude, what are you doing?"

The Berkeley crew, normally consisting of Randy, Courtney, Paul, and Lynn, are some of the only people religiously making trips to the Valley to develop new areas and clean and climb hidden gems in well-established areas. As psyched as they might be, they usually never show up to the Valley before noon, even for day trips. But sure enough, the way Randy drives, he made it to the Valley only an hour after we did. Scotty and I parked in the now iced over parking lot of camp 4. My plan was too work on the dominator (a classic Camp 4 testpiece originally climbed from the stand by Jerry Moffat, and from the sit only by Chris Sharma and Tim Clifford second). Scotty, having never bouldered in Yosemite, was to get the grand tour. I wanted to climb Dominator from the sit, as it's the more obvious start, but would be psyched to do it from the stand since there were three or four moves I had not yet done at all. We ended up just climbing on the wine boulder all day. Scotty got sucked into trying the classic jump-start Stick It, which wasn’t much of a jump for him at 6’2”, but couldn’t get past the second move, which involves a scrunchy high-step.

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It's funny how my mentality can go from, "This climb is God damn impossible!" To: "Ok, I could see myself doing this one day ... " To: "I think I could do this right now!" in just a few attempts. So after a long process, hours of figuring out Beta, taking breaks to rest, and trying again and again, I had it all figured out. And, finally, linked it from the stand with the last light of day. I was just too tired to link the sit.

Randy, having worked on the Dominator for a number of years, was doing the move he rarely did, this time with ease. And after Scotty and I left Camp 4 to go have dinner in the cafeteria, Randy sent via lantern. Congrats!

We also met a couple of psyched boulders from Fresno, Jacob and Joe, who had enjoyed reading my blog! Heck yeah! Jacob was super psyched to show us his new cave problem he had cleaned and climbed that I will have to get on next time.

After Dinner we made the 50-foot trek to the mountain room, a bar/lounge that is warmed by fire. Scotty and I made S'mores — you know, Graham cracker, marshmellow, and chocolate sandwiches — and watched Shawn White kick everyone’s ass in a re-run of last years’ winter X-Games. I swear it’s rigged.

The plan was to stay for the weekend but after the all night rain on Saturday night, it was just too wet, and I was way to sore anyway.

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2/4/07

What a horrible day yesterday. I knew it was going to be bad. I saw it coming the day before, like a storm brewing on the horizon.

I was a little tired from not getting enough sleep, and a little delirious from being sick when we picked up our friends at Berkeley Iron Works at 8:30 a.m.. The first thing I did was open the top corner of the car door into my forehead. I must’ve looked funny as hell, because the three teenagers in the back seats couldn’t hide their giggles. I didn’t even know it was bleeding until about 20 minutes into the drive when a drop of blood dripped off of my forehead and onto my eyelash. We arrived early to Rocknasium, a little gym in Davis (that actually brought Beth Rodden into the climbing world). Rocknasium was hosting its annual “Crankin’ the New Year” Comp which I had won the year before and had gotten some cash for (which may or may not have influenced my decision to attend this time around).

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A symptom of my sickness, at the moment at least (it changed from day to day), was having violent sneezing fits every five minutes that left my eyes watering and my sinuses extremely itchy. So I had to carry around a box of tissues with me during the comp, in case the sneezing came unexpectedly — which it did often. My sinus cold kept getting worse as the day went on. By the time finals rolled around, I was half asleep and felt like crap. I somehow managed to climb to the top, as fellow competitor Simon Bankurt did, without so much involuntary campusing, but was too pumped to clip the final draw, which the judges said didn’t matter. They ended up giving us both the full first place prize and a good thing, too, because we figured out Simon spends five bucks a day on coffee. (And I thought my avocado habit was bad.) After the comp, we went to Pluto’s for dinner and Ben and Jerry’s for desert. And after that, I felt like puking, but I didn’t. I’m looking forward to going back next year. Hopefully, I will feel better.

—Ethan Pringle