Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Tonight, at Vertical Heaven, I climbed with the typical Ventura crew: college students wearing i-pods; Prana clad bums; ten year-old loners deposited at the gym by harried mothers looking for a break. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary.
Then I met Yair.
At first, I thought he was just another Euro climber styling all the V-easy problems veeery slow, with comically precise footwork, as if to show us Amerikanskis how it's REALLY done. And he talked—alot. I almost left, hoping to climb in solitude. But as I watched him float everybody's projects (skipping holds to make them more challenging), I understood that I was in the presence of a fabled Euro-mutant. His name? Yair Kuperstein, from Israel.
Yair has a fair track record: 46th at the 2002 European Bouldering Championship, and 56th in the 2004 Championships. Yeah, yeah, I know: that's not first. Or second. Or even fifth. Still, the fact that he even competed with the likes of Malcolm Smith, Daniel Andrada, and Daniel Dulac places him in a seperate—if not transcendant—class of climbers. He laughed off his blatant cranked-ness, complaining about his "being out of shape" and "nagging injuries". I say bull-shit. This guy climbs with preternatural aplomb, and almost scary control. Yair and I will be pulling down at Lizard's Mouth on Saturday afternoon. He says he "hasn't climbed in a while", but we all know what that means.