An eerie blue light appears on the early morning horizon, and eight legs twitch with anticipation. The Water Spider is captivated by the glow and changes course. A woman with white hair has illuminated the beacon and she stands under it holding a dildo the size of 3 eggplants. She whacks the supple mass on a baker cart, and as the impact reverberates through its realistic flesh, she dispassionately wonders, “What do people even do with this thing?”
My job as Water Spider is to bring the woman with the white hair more black plastic to wrap her thousands of sex toys in, because she has exhausted her supply. There are others like her, selflessly black-wrapping fist-shaped butt plugs in order to protect the modest, heaving buckets of protein powder from a conveyor onto a cart, feverishly separating hundreds of similar shades of eyeshadows into perfect rows, all chasing arbitrary productivity goals set by the managers. The Water Spider speed-walks about a marathon by the end of the day while dodging Tokyo-drifting forklifts, keeping the area in order, and making sure everyone has what they need to do their job. The Fernley warehouse is one of the “legacy” (oldest) facilities, and is almost completely devoid of robots. Conveyors snake around much of the airspace, which gives the facility its warehouse feel, but almost all of the work is done by humans holding scanners.
THIS MUCH FUN
Moe’s Valley is the rusty, dangerous, nostalgic playground of bouldering areas. The sandstone is chossy and uncannily rust-colored, there is a dedicated corner for shitting in, dirtbikes and ATVs loudly orbit all the boulders, and sometimes teenagers show up to get real drunk and leave garbage everywhere. It is by far one of the best places this adventure has taken us to.
Located in St. George, Utah, Moe’s Valley is a travelling climber’s paradise. The Shinarump Conglomerate sandstone is soft and full of petrified wood and other old junk, which has allowed the elements to dramatically erode it into gymnastic and exciting boulder problems. The camping is free and spacious, the approach is relatively short, the setting is dreamworld space-terrain, and there are infinite first ascents waiting to be climbed. We fell in love with Moe’s, which makes my above description problematic.
Having been described as, “An echo of childhood dreams unrealized… and broccoli,” critics are calling it the fart of the century. I ripped my butt. Tore it off, threw it in the dumpster. No climbing for almost 3 months now.
One moment I’m working on this really fun, dynamic roof problem at the gym: making huge throws, working out crazy beta, getting sideways and upside-down, just enjoying the crap out of myself, and the next moment I am suffering from a debilitating gluteal tear. The crux was a huge right-hand throw from one large pinch to another, and I couldn’t quite get there, so I decide to try pulling myself over to it by adding a dynamic drop-knee to the throw. This is the moment my butt died. I was warmed up, but I guess I’m getting old and all of my soft tissues are becoming disillusioned and bitter, and detaching themselves from my skeleton. One pulled muscle, no big deal, I keep climbing on it like an IDIOT in the grips of UNIMAGINABLE HUBRIS.
This year I showed up to the Portland Boulder Rally (one of the better acronym’d events around) bright-eyed but broken-butted. Even though I couldn’t compete, this event has plenty of other draws.
Raffles: Our crew usually kills it at the raffle, and this is because we are good at raffles. How can you be good at raffles? By winning a bunch of them, doi, let’s stop asking me stupid questions.
Beer: Beer is fun to buy, but it is even more fun to sneak in in the stainless steel water bottles that come in our competitor goody bags. Also to spill on children to remind them that this world does not belong to them yet.
If you all haven’t figured it out already: I’m a reverse-bro. I train hard to have an intimidating thunder from down under six-pack, I date-raped my boyfriend into loving me, and I expect men to be pretty and smile all the time. There are about one billion other examples that I will maybe allude to as we journey together through this slightly humiliating blog post.
“Why are you a reverse-bro? Isn’t that unfair? Did you really date-rape someone? I hate you??”
First of all, yes*, of course I date-raped him, you think I’m some kind of fag? Get out of my way before I shove this Beast Ice down your throat. Secondly, yeah, reverse-broism is totes unfair. Counterpoint: so is institutionalized sexism, so… *shrug*. Lastly, I am a reverse-bro as a result of plate tectonics. Wait, no, that’s continents. I don’t know, it just happened subconsciously while I was growing up I guess. When I was a kid I would do things like get the boy’s toy in my happy meal at McDonald’s because I didn’t want to fit into a lame stereotype (also the girl’s toy always sucked).
Here is a list of slang words/climbing terms that I might use in this blog. To the dismay of some, I did not include anything about alpinism or ice climbing because I will never do those things. I included aid climbing even though I’ll probably never do that because I wanted to clear up the difference between free-climbing and free-soloing. In any case, let me know if you think there is a definition I should include that you do not see below, or if there is something you are curious about, or if you hate me and climbing and everything and I wrote it all wrong and am ruining your life.
There are legends, dark, yet compelling, that tell of a breed of curious, sinewy land-leviathans who once roamed these salty plains. With tails made of wire, eyes of broken glass, and hearts protected by tin sheaths, they were mysterious party animals. In fact, there was a cave they used to frequent and ceremoniously trash with bad graffiti, excrement, and beer bottles.
It was inside of this very cave where I found the boulder problem that became my summer project. Rumor has it this problem does have a name (Caveman v7), but my faith in humanity is preventing me from accepting that people are still naming cave problems Caveman, so I have dubbed it Lair of the Leviathan in humble tribute to the creatures whose sanctuary it was for so long.
As the river water soaks into my dirtbike boots and capillary actions itself all up into my wool socks, I feel the cold, familiar sting of The Wipeout. Unlike other rides, this is the first get off of the day so my hubris hasn’t been too marred in the wreck. Eli is waiting on the other side, and while trying to follow him across (well, into, upstream against the current, answer three riddles, fail, punch the troll, slight right up the steep loose bank of) the river, I slipped on a turkey-sized river rock. My bike looks pitiful lying in the water, and I’m embarrassed, so I quickly pick it up. Eli has rushed down and is helping me push the bike the rest of the way through the water. The bank encounter will be difficult, I realize, and shoo him away so I can just ride it out. A skeptical look is shot my way, I flop around on my bike looking like a rabid goblin, yank the throttle and make it out of the river alive. We are both impressed at this outcome.
Taco salad is a load of crap and if this were a decent world, when you ordered it what you would receive are Nachos.
There are no first ascents left in the world. Lizards have already done them all, and we are slime.
All photos that aren’t of you are just blank selfies!
If you poop in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, why did you even go to all the trouble?
Sharknado would have been slightly less unrealistic if it had been Crocnado instead, but it’s too late for that. Your happiness is your own responsibility, and the ever-dark lord has given you Sharknado 2.
Photo by Swiss Williamson, www.swisswilliamson.com
Despite the fact that real life is actually a video game, there are no cheat codes in rock climbing. OH, except one: Dynoing from the bottom to the top! Inside of any climb, you may use whatever beta suits you, and this is true at competitions, outdoors, everywhere. If you are short, you may have to use intermediate holds (like I am doing above) which adds extra moves, or resort to doing the standard moves which could be immeasurably harder for you. This is the situation I frequently find myself in, and it is not only not-cheating, but maybe more along the lines of playing Cruis’n World on the infamous “drunk as Hell in the arcade” difficulty setting.