John Sherman

John Sherman

John Sherman is the Godfather of American bouldering. Without his broad shoulders to stand on, Daniel Woods would be toproping 5.7 right now.

Stone Master

Blog #1

Matt begged me in bootlicking nosebrowning degradation to join the 21st century and blog for DPM.  Lucky for him I'm weak, unemployed, homeless and need some extra change for single malt so I caved.  Now why I'm here is a bit of a mystery - can't call this a Pro Blog as my business card clearly states I'm an "unprofessional climber".  Moreover my zenith as a climber passed before most of the other DPM bloggers were even born.  But I can lay claim to possess something no other climber ever seen in the pages of DPM has.  A helmet and the sack to wear it.

Verm with his modified youth skateboard helmet on the FA of My Bloody Valentine.

Yes I'm the guy who wears a helmet climbing.  And not just climbing but bouldering too.  And it only took me seven concussions (that I can remember) to figure that one out.  I know what your thinking, "A helmet bouldering? What a douchebag."  Well when you ooze more sex appeal than Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston in a sevensome with Cleopatra, Ron Jeremy, Catherine the Great and Secretariat, then you have to dial back the cool some or nobody will spot you.  Hence the helmet.  But besides the obvious stud reduction benefits the helmet has other benefits.  Lack of head injuries being the obvious one.  Look-at-the-soft-shell-retard sympathy being another.  But really, what really hooked me and made helmet use second nature is the ability to put the serious consequences of a skull bongo to rest and get aggro.  Hey I might go tib/fib on this one, but at least I won't be taking meals from a sippy straw the rest of my life.  This hasn't helped my spotters though, who watch me take it that extra move off the deck wondering if they'd be better off running away like some sissy or risk being driven into the ground like a tent stake. 

These days, if I can't find a legitimate reason not to wear a helmet (I'll never get through the Harding Slot with this on), I wear one.  Which is 98% of the time.  Vanity is a weakness, not an excuse.  I'd rather be known as the Jacque Plante of Bouldering than the Muhummad Ali of Bouldering.  (Matt's lure to get me to blog - no editing!  So unlike writing for the other mags I don't have to insult my readers by explaining who Plante is.)

Has the helmet prevented any head injuries yet?  You bet.  Just a week before the the HP40 Triple Crown event in '07 I waxed off one of those car fender slopers and landed right between my friend's feet.  The would-be spotter hadn't gotten there quick enough and my head was the first thing to hit.  I bounced right back up and kept bouldering.   The next weekend I was competing with scores of other boulderers.  I was the only one wearing a helmet.  Reactions were mixed.  Got quite a few "that makes sense" comments.  And of course there was the young hard dude, masking insecurity with swagger, who threw out a facetious "nice helmet doooood."  I could only reply, "I'll see you on the podium."  Which after crushing my division is right where I was standing that evening.  Swaggerboy didn't show.

Next month - Bouldering in the Pleistocene, did reduced temps make for harder sends than today?



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