“I’m a man of constant progress. My life only moves forward, never in reverse. Oh, wait…” I thought as I struggled to back up my mini-van in the Las Vegas parking lot, “that’s just my broken transmission.” The taciturn mechanic needed a week and all my money to make the repairs, so with a bit of time and a lot more homelessness than normal, I let the boulders of Southern Nevada distract me.
Ten years after meeting Ethan, I met him again at the Monkey Bar boulder. He went through the classics, warming up on jugs and then crushing a few of the harder problems. He had explored the canyons further and wanted to try one of the new problems in the wash. Deep in the wash behind Kraft Mountain, just before the classic Sunny and Steep crag, sits Meadowlark, a difficult v14 boulder problem.
“You got it, man!” I shouted, wanting Ethan to succeed. It started to rain. Ethan fought through the wet conditions, making solid links on the problem.
Progressing in climbing takes time and effort. I had been able to climb through the grades quickly initially but every year climbing a little harder became more difficult. Since meeting him, Ethan had also made progress in his climbing, moving forward.
The mechanics eventually fixed my van. In the past few years, my climbing had improved significantly. I was able to hike the Monkey Bar problem that had thwarted me. I had also become good friends with Ethan. I was able to drive in reverse again. Although I don’t think I’ll need that anytime soon…
By James Lucas.
After years of contributing to the Touchstone Climbing blog, James has coaxed his van into crossing state lines, and set up shop in Colorado working for Climbing Magazine. Best of luck James!