Sunday, December 4, 2011

the art of "failure"

its OVER at sustenpass, i had a last fantastic battle but lost. spending some 25+ days over 12weeks up there, falling some 30+ times on the last move(s) after climbing an 8B+ boulder each time, spending the best swizzy-fall in the last 160years (no rain over 6weeks in the north) up there - but it was not enough - with just a little luck i could have climbed it 20times... but well i DID NOT ONCE. so failure - like in spring when i was so close on the "fisch" and then later in the year on the "highlander" as well. one year of climbing and no "results"... bummer?!
sustenpass today...
well may in terms of "points", but i don't get paid for them, so i don't need them. and so its nothing about "failure". i had some wonderful moments and good fun with good friends, with my girlfriend, my brother and all alone by myself up there. i had great days and shit days, sun, rain, snow, hail, heat, cold, night-sessions (11pm), early morning sessions (7am), great hope and disappointments as well. i made great physical progress and i feel strong as never before! and i know i have done EVERYTHING (ok, i did not stop eating chocolate ;) to make it happen. but if you really want to explore your limits, "failure" will be way more constant then "success" and it will teach you a lot. its just how it works, otherwise it was not your limit, isn't it?! so i will be back next year, even stronger and then i will end that EPIC and send these projects for warmup ;)

after understanding that it was just too cold for the "highlander" (took me over 6weeks to realise that, call me stupid or overmotivated ;) i went for the "keinschneehäschen"-project" on the left at the "traumlandwall". its so totally my compression-style - i love that moves!!! just the crux-crimp is bit small for 73kg and leaves me with bruises on my tips every time. the bit sad thing was, that it went perfectly like the "highlander" - i came super close but was unable to finish it. despite investing 5days, feeling super fit and beeing my style i still was too weak. the climbing moves remind me at "confessions" or "natural collateral" but they feel harder. so i have another HARD project up there in paradise - i am excited to say at least ;)  

here some pics from the crux-moves of the "keinschneehäschen"-project (8B+ -area ???) which shot me down on the last move(s) as everything this year...

placing the "blind" hook for move 2 - looks like a big hook - its actually shit where i need to place it

getting ready for the BIG move to the SMALL crimp

loosing the 10cm foothold right-feet while going for the half-pad-crimp (don't blow your knee!!!)

placing the BADEST hook - still wondering why my right heel stays sometimes?! 

doubleheelhook - BELIEVE that it will WORK!!!

i even did the MOVE twice on link but lost it while re-placing the feet  

yeppa, GAME OVER.... - but i WILL BE BACK!!!

i just did not wanted to give up at that project as i felt so close, but after fighting over 4hrs with this HARD 5moves my muscles nearly cramped and my skin was totally trashed. so i had to call it a day. i was tired from the walk up and down with too many pads as well.

on my way home i thought it would be perfect timing to check out the few burly moves of "sur le fil, 8B+"  - totally stupid idea considering how tired i felt ;). but to my own surprise i came super close on doing the crux-moves, and that despite feeling and being totally wasted. to make it perfect i also got an idea for a nice right exit of the line as well. i will be BACK with skin and power!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

rocking swizzy

well, not me - i keep punting, but others are rocking: that GU and DANIEL are rocking is something you can expect ;) nevertheless NICE ONE with "big paw, 8C" at chironico!!!

next one to crush was RONNY BIRCHLER, a local climber from brunnen, switzerland with whom i had many nice bouldering-sessions at sustenpass and ticino. this year he he had a very nice run, climbing faster and faster through nice and hard lines, like "red snapper, 8A+" and "pit bull, 8A+" at sustenpass. however his main interest was an ascent of the rarely repeated fred nicole classic of "le reve de faire, 8B", sustenpass.

ronny birchler made his dream come true: "le reve de faire, 8B", sustenpass. pic by

many times he was climbing through the hardest parts, but he was going down on the very last move again and again... he nearly made me crazy as he once climbed twice in the same session into the last moves and on his third go he just missed the finishing-jug by millimeters... but he finally made it happen and toped out that very nice line.

and this week he climbed through the beautiful "dulcifer, 8B" - WAY TO GO!!!

"GU" climbing the perfect line of "dulcifer, 8B". pic by

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

beginnermistake and the "schneehäschen-project"

yesterday the forecast called for milder temps at sustenpass again. so after working in the morning i quickly (2hrs drive, 40min hike) made my way up to sustenpass again. and it was compared to other days quite warm, that was great news! and as i took 3restdays since ticino i felt great and light while warming up for the "highlander".

i went for a try but while climbing into the hard part i felt like i was sliding out of every move... WTF???? i kept pushing hard and did not let go as i still felt strong. arriving at my CRUX i greased around even more on the slopey holds and finally just slipped off. after a 15min rest the same result at my second go... WTF???

just from standing around - my tips turned wet... NOT PERFECT!!!

well it was not that humid at all, but my SKIN WAS so SOFT that the "water" just started to press through under pressure. it looks like i did not used enough ANTIHYDRAHL... - what a BEGINNERMISTAKE - did not happen since many weeks and for a moment i did really got ANGRY like hell about myself - HOW STUPID i was!!! (but if i use too much antihydrahl and get too hard skin i slip off the holds as well, so also this needs to be perfectly timed...)

well, this time "too soft SKIN - WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?! may its really time to give it a breake till next year - but its just that one move.... GRRRRRRRRRRR.

gu climbing on "pitbull, 8A+" - which is climbed as a standing-start.
i found a way for a sds which climbs  not over the "pitbull-moves" but straight up - GREAT COMPRESSION STYLE!!!
the markings to the left show the holds of the "schneehäschen-project"... hold n.5 broke and is better now, between 3 and 4 was a hold i ripped totally off - harder now... may i am still too fat, too much chocolate in the system ;)

after this disappointment i went to check out the sds to "pitbull" again. its not yet climbed but on obvious project. i tried arround to find beta since a few days (was my normal after-programm after falling down twice on a day on the last moves of highlander). last week i finally found something that could work. yesterday i went all crazy and finally in the pitch-dark at around 9pm i could do ALL the moves but one (getting my feet out), but i was close on that one as well!!!

you actually don't climb the "pitbull"-moves after the sds - you climb it totally straight up (it should be possible to climb the "pitbull-moves" as well, but i like the straight-up line more). its a line/boulder of itself as you do not one move the same as in "pitbull". in the pic you see the line/holds: you start sitting with holds 1,2 (nr.2 is the starting hold of pitbull as well) - bumping up to a sidpull-pinch (3) getting left heel in and then comes a super hard and far move to an ok crimp (5) - double-heel-hook and take righthand to sidpull (4) (HARD) - hold the SWING (HARD!!!). wild compression again with a hard toehook to get hold 6... and the easy top out...

in contrast to "pitbull" i call it now the "schneehäschen-project" ;) its SUPER HARD heelhoking-compression-moves at my total span limit (easier when youre taller/harder when youre smaller then me)  - its totally my preferred "compression-style" - 6hard moves at my limit - LOVE IT and i am super HAPPY to have a NEW project which is not 15+ moves long... ;)

but it looks like this is getting really HARD and i have to try it fresh next time and not climb twice through the HIGHLANDER before - and get some HARD skin as well... ;)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

DRAMA is everything... - keep cool(d)

as i needed a break (for this year?!) from the "with-numb-fingers-missing-thelast-move-drama" from sustenpass, i went to ticino to give the "fisch-project" a session to get the moves dialed again.

to my big surprise the HARD (~8B) 4-start-moves went down on my first go of the day and i felt surprisingly solid doing them. everything went perfect for once.

the (for me) super hard start. this 4moves work sometimes pretty well and sometimes they are just impossible... and you don't really know why... they can make you CRAZY!!!
pic by

but as i have not climbed the delicate and complicated moves for a while it felt kind of "unreal" and it was like i could watch myself climbing from the outside... strange!!! arriving at the "einfisch/keinfisch"-start i was not tired at all and had not frozen fingers as well. i was even able to quickly shake out my fingers. i could not remember one try in the past on which i arrived on the start of that finishing 8A+ and was feeling as strong. i therefore knew i had a very realistic chance to top it out and went "a muerte" - 4moves later i was there on the last hard move to the lip - could not feel my fingers anymore (a nasty crimp pressed the blood out of my tips ---> COLD!!!) but i kept going - and slipped off going to the lip (totally numb fingers...) - second best TRY EVER for me! looks like sustenpass was good training!

slipped off with numb fingers while going for the edge i have with my right hand in the pic. pic by

second try of the day i started from the sds (not the laydown) and went down on the same move as on the first try again (numb fingers, but also tired this time as well). fitness IS GREAT!!!

as it seems i can do and climb whatever and wherever ---> i can climb into the last hard move(s) and go down with numb fingers... BUMMER!!! and when it is WARM i can not do the hard startingmoves anymore... but hey that was just 1afternoon... i will be back and the DRAMA can take its way in ticino again... ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011


as i first saw pics from dai in his CRAZY project back home i was blown away; WHAT A LINE!!! when i see pics like that i would like to just board a plane and go an try to climb it. 

now it looks like dai koyamada climbed his CRAZY project back home - its a real DREAMLINE!!! has a nice translation of his blog. thats nice, cause with the google-translation you are totaly lost.

pic's from dai's blog, by ikuko serata

Thursday, November 17, 2011

well... GU again...

... what else - it seems nothing can stop him... ;) this time it was two repetitions of HARD and BEAUTiFUL problems which have been put up by FRED in swizzy.

the first repetition of SUR LE FIL, 8B+ (put up some 8years ago). 

and an ascent of the amazing DULCIFER, 8B --> check out his blog at

perfect line, perfect problem: DULCIFER, 8B. pic by

and Sean McColl finished his VERY impressive swizzy-trip with an ascent of the "dagger, 8B+" and came even close of sending the "story of two worlds". check his profile here: sendage..

LOW GRAVITY DAYS in swizzy as it seems... hmmmm, but i am still waiting for the low gravity to hit for myself... but well for me its more the cold then the gravity that makes me going down... 

Monday, November 14, 2011

GU again...

while the americans are on a impressive take-down-mission in magic wood and chironico (check out "the lowdown-news" and "") GU continues to flow through whatever he jumps on.

i know its kind of boring. all my recent news are the same: gu sends one (hard) boulder after another and i just fall down every time on the last move of my project. but that just shows how different a bouldering life can be. what starts to annoy me is that i can't take advantage of that exceptional perfect fall-conditions to climb on all that other nice boulders out there when i continue to fall on that last move. so its time for me to finish up my business up there in the mountains that i can move forward!

this time gu was in the murgstal again. he even had to try for 2days this time - what an epic ;) its a very nice, classic line which got his FA by "FRED" himself some weeks ago (no name yet). should be somewhere in the 8B+ area and waits there to be climbed more often... check gu's blog for the story.

another HARD and NICE one. "gu" in the murgstal. pic by

as its "sur le fil, 8B+" another unrepeated 8B+ from fred which was put up some 8years ago...  we checked the line last week and its a nice one as well! some 3-4 super hard moves up a steep bulge and a very tiny "non-hold" as a crux-crimp. GU is on his way to get a more detailed view of that line as well... stay tuned for more...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

going CRAZY !!!

at home it was all grey with fog all over the country, driving up into the mountains the sun was pressing through the grey...

and then when you are high enough its all sunny and soooo nice up there in the mountains.

it was such a nice day again up there in the mountains, but unfortunately i was unable (again) to take advantage of the nice conditions. i am slowly going CRAZY... my fitness is getting better and better but every time someting goes wrong. since about 3weeks its most of the time about COLD fingers that stop me. this time i went down 3times (after the "ikarus-part) on the last hard move('s) of the highlander - thats CRAZY!!! for me its normal to have just one, may two "ok"-goes in a hard, longer project. i never would have thought i would be able to climb 3times a day so far (the "ikarus-part" is more ore less an 8B+ each time - but may just an 7C... i kind of totally loose it with the grades...). back at the start of october i was even faaaaaaaaaar away from beeing able to climb on a second try through the first undercling-crux. now i can do that 3times a day, with just a 10min rest... thats nice and a great level of fitness, but i don't want to climb x-times a day a hard boulder - i want to climb ONCE through that whole line!!!

-first go: i went down dryfiring off the second las move with (not too) cold fingers (no need to mention that this did not happen for years..., so WHY now?!)

slipped off... last time i did this at that move was some 2years ago - and there was more blood last time...

-second go: i had absolutely numb (COLD!!!) fingers and just slipped off in the last crux.

-third go: after a 5min rest i wanted to know if i had just rested too long for my second try and went for a third try which ended at the same position with even COLDER fingers... F*CK IT!!!

what gets more and more disappointing is, that its no longer a question of power or beta, its just about how i can avoid too cold finger-tips - and that just LAME!!! during summer that problem would be a bit less of an issue (but not too much as you can see further down the text) but then the grip is so bad that i am practically unable to climb through the first crux... so it looks like its a pretty small window of conditions (10-15C) for me.

i know that problem of cold fingers since a long time. its not just about outside temperatures, its about pressing the blood out of the fingertips on boulders longer then 10+ moves. every time when i go down in the "highlander-crux" my body is so warm i am literally sweating, just my fingertips are ice-cold.

i can remember the days back in 2005 in magic wood when i went for the FA of what would become "one summer in paradise". it was august, summer and hot and i went down for days on the very last moves with numb fingers. it was the same with "the dagger" in cresciano - i finally climbed it when it was 16C in march and everybody else was like "its impossible to climb hard in cresciano today".... and it was the same with the "fisch"-project in chironico this early spring - i went down there about 20times on the last hard moves cause i could not feel anything anymore... so how to solve that problem?!

may it would help when not so much kilos (around 72) would press the blood out of my tips.

most of the people climbing in the 8B/C - area are at least 5kg (or 10kg) lighter then me (ever trained with a 5-10kg vest - thats A LOT!!!). but i am really not into eating pizza without cheese ore just green salad without any dressing.

but NO DRESSING, dressing is evil... ;)

i really LOVE to EAT, especially desert and good food and enough of it is just too much life-qualtity for me then to climb a "+" harder... so i have to find another solution.

gives you POWER... yammmiiii ;)

the weather stays nice but its getting way COLDER up there in the mountains end of next week... and so i am going CRAZY as i don't want to wait till next years summer... arrrrghhhhhhhh!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

He did it again...

escaping from the bad weather in ticino, i recently spent some amazing days with "GU"at sustenpass. while i punted around on the "highlander-project" he did not hold back and climbed through nearly all the (hard) classics in just four days!!!

"Gu" enjoying the sun at beautiful sustenpass while topping out "warmduscher, 8A+". pic by myself ;)
click for BIG view - that was while the ticino got rained out - lucky basterds we are to have that playground for ourselves cause its not an "in-spot" and people are afraid of the 40min hike... - well THATS what they miss... ;)

two days ago he had to fight (a bit) harder for once. he needed a whole afternoon to fight trough the razercrimps and complete the forth (known) ascent (after gigax, nicole, koyamada) of "Phase 2, 8B/B+". "i took 6falls from the last move - epic"  have been his words. well yeah, how about falling over month's on the last move...?! but that shows clearly his "killerinstinkt" on the one side and his potential on the "epic"-side"... ;) check out his blog for more infos.

"Gu" makes it look easy on "Phase2, 8B/B+" before it goes HIGH for a scary topout!. sustenpass. pic by

despite he was running through all this super hard boulders it was nice to see that he still enjoyed to climb every single move. the skript was on every boulder the same: we placed the pads, he tried for some 5min the moves and then he sent - totally crazy!!! 

WAY TO "GU"!!!

here some susten-pics (screenshots) from gu's 3day rampage and THE "GU"-SENDING-MOVIE (in which i mostly played camara-boy and in which you can see me fighting HARD but fail on the epic last hard move of the "highlander-project"). 

big move on "pitbull, 8A+"

rarely climbed - but its just PERFECT - "my axis, 8A+"

fred nicole classic: "le reve de faire, 8B"

short,hard, classic - "sputnik, 8B" (and "reykjavik, 8B" the prow 2m left)

THE sustenclassic: "propellerhead, 7C+". watch the vid and you now why the name was choosen!

just another beautiful, proud line: "red snapper, 8A+"

small, but great fun moves: "marakesch, 8A/+"

following the lip, a nice 8A-variation of marakesch

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


... more and the "rescue-hold" would have had been mine...  despite cold fingers i went out left (from the position in the pic) but missed "THE HOLD" just by centimeters...

after a 20min rest, "gu" and his american friend motivated me for another try. first i did not wanted to, cause every time i tried that i was just too tired for the upper crux. but today the second try was nearly the better try, i climbed more fluent, more relaxed and the undercling-crux went even better then on the first try. arriving at the crux i switched to the "direct-crossing-beta" cause i felt that i got cold fingers again and just wanted to be faster then the cold.

second-try-beta. its faster but you need FRICTION. the crimp i am going with my right hand is the one i missed to bring my indexfinger on. pic by ikuko serata.
i crossed, hit with my right hand the crimp, but just with three fingers, my index missing (needless to say that never happend before). desperately i tried to readjust, but had too cold fingers to push harder with my left hand. so i tried to hold the swing for the last move without my index - my foot did not slip as last time - but thanks to the cold fingers i slipped of (dryfired) with my left hand before controlling the swing... down to the pads i was again.

10sek later i was up there from the standing-start, crossed, hit the crimp perfect and did the move with ease!!!

slowly i start to think i am may just too stupid for that boulder.... its getting really "unreal" - but somehow i like it... ;)


my friend Guntram Jörg or just "GU" as we call him is going totally crazy this fall. already during the last two years he did a LOT of 8A's and harder and usually super quick. it was clear that there was still some potential to be unleashed and this fall he just cut loose! 

after he spent some days at his homebase and repeated the short and super hard bernd zangerl problem "anam cara, 8C" he started to do with the 8B's what he did last years with the 8A's. climbing them in just a few tries, in some minutes - SICK!!! 

short and super hard. the masterpiece. anam cara, 8C, silvretta. pic by dominic hadwiger

when i heard from him that he climbed "vecchio leone, 8B" and "general disarray, 8B"  - two of the hardest 8B's in ticino - right after the other then i was deeply impressed. especially when you watch him climbing "general disarray" and making the crux-pinch-move looking like 6A - and i tell you that move is HAAAAAAAAAAARD!!!

here some pic's to enjoy and don' forget to watch the movies!

vecchio leone, 8B. THE perfect HARD line in brione. pic by dominic hadwiger

general disarray, 8B. another brione-gem. HARD pinch-move!

shadowfax, 8B. THE chironico-crimper-testpiece. the following move is sooooo violent - AUTSCH....

an "easy" FA in between the hard stuff. pure-addicion, 8A+, chironico.

one of the best lines in ticino. boogalagga, 8B, chironico

watch them in BIG and HD

Monday, November 7, 2011

too strong?!

... sounds stupid, but it was exactly the reason this time why i went down going for the last hard move!!!

first it was planed to go to murgstal. sustenpass had forecasted rain so the plan was to meet "gu" and his girlfriend and try a bit on "entlinge" and a new, very nice compression-line from fred nicole, called "bourgonne".

just in the minute before leaving home i checked the webcam from sustenpass and saw the road totally dry. quick check of several weatherstations and webcams and it was clear the the "foen-wind" had kicked in, and that ment: no rain and warm weather (10+C at 2000m) .... so it was clear i HAD to go to sustenpass ;) a quick call to gu (who - or course - sent "bourgonne") and off i was with angela to sustenpass again.

fighting HARD in the first cruxmove. pic is a screenshot from gu's susten-movie
arriving at sustenpass it was dry and nicely warm but still humid and rainclouds arrived from the south. after the 40min hike i quickly warmed up and went for a try. first try ended at the undercling, just greasing off... 10min rest and another shot saw me climbing into the last crux, not too cold fingers for once and still power left. i was so excited with how good i hit the last crux crimp and how much power i had left, that i pulled just too hard and high and while going for the next hold i lifted my body too high and lost the only foothold at that move....  i don't have to mention that this never happend before (in 7years) do i?!  so this time i was TOO STRONG. never thought that that could happen! going down, i chalcked up again and toped out the standing start. no foothold slipped, why should it?!  5min later it started to rain...

pic from last week when the grip was perfect! THE move i go down whatever i try. the day in the pic i could not feel the crimp anymore. this time my foot slipped off... pic is a screenshot from gu's susten-movie

on the one hand i was pleased to climb so far in pretty greasy conditions but on the other hand i really wonder what will be next. it seems i just can not climb that f**** last hard move, doesn't matter what, "something" goes wrong. what will be next?

at least the weather is incredibly good up there! can't remember a late fall like this! winter-weather seems to still hold back... so next wednesday i have another chance to mess up that final hard move...

Thursday, November 3, 2011


MASTER GRIP, PERFECT POWER as never before, started in the full sun in order to avoid cold fingers....

on the way to susten....

RESULT ----> it even started to feel "easy"... BUT i was going down twice on the last moves with ice cold, totally numb fingers... its clearly not the power anymore, may i should climb with gloves ;)

may climbing with gloves would help to avoid cold fingers.... ;) pic by

as i went down, my hole body was sweating. my hands were warm. just my finger tips ice-cold! it seems that temperature really does not make the big difference for my cold fingers. its just that its pressing all the blood out of the fingertips, what is resulting in cold, numb fingertips (i know that problem of cold fingertips for several years by now, and also in the "fisch-project" i went down several times at the very end because i was not able to feel the holds anymore).

i can't shake out my fingers to bring back the blood. so the question is how i can avoid too much pressure on the holds. well with 10kg less i would have hell of a lot less pressure on these holds - still too much "mousse au chocolat" in my system as it looks like.... 

just a lot of air says angela... ;) pic from wiki

LAST IDEA i have: i recently made a small change in beta to climb a more secure beta up there in the crux. but it seems that (because of smaller, incut holds) that this beta even takes more blood out of my tips. so i will change back to the more insecure beta in order to hopefully avoid cold fingers for another move... - its just ONE MOVE - as i feel way stronger then before, it may is even not as insecure anymore... 

right now its raining up there, but if i am very luck i will get another try next week....

and "GU" is going totally out of control up there at susten....stay tuned for more info!!!

"GU" climbing in norway. pic from

ps: my shape cant be so bad. after falling twice up there in the highlander-crux (makes 2times an ~8B+ and reclimbing the standingstart ~8A right afterwards) i quickly checked out "Reykjavik, ~8A+/8B" (the prow next to "sputnik"), a short, powerful, nice 5mover. i flashed the crux-move rather easily and i was quickly super close to send. but then the power was just off...  seems i am at everything super close, but on nothing close enough at these times... after this i was so tired, i even had problems to fold the pads together.......  so resting and going BACK...;)  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

3-2-1-.... more EPIC

the road to sustenpass is closed, you have to walk in 40min. but that also means no disturbing organ-donaters on their bikes anymore, no cars, just the mountains and you ;) the weather, conditions and scenery are truly amazing right now. its just sooooooooo nice up there and in between getting stoned by nature you can climb a little bit as well ;) so back i was at the highlander for another try...

and i managed to go down on the very last hard move (again)....

down in the pads i first really started to think its may still just this little tiny bit too hard, but up there in the crux i felt strong as never before. over 6weeks ago i already went down at that move, but by now i feel WAY stronger... BUT:

i got cold fingers (again, from trying so hard and pushing all the blood out of my fingers, may i am just to FAT!!!) but climbed further up (unlike last time) even with a feeling of grabbing around in a ice-box (scary!). then i used my "new" beta (which worked perfectly) but in the middle of the crux i had to stop and desperately started to try to shake in order to get rid of the total numbness. it kind of worked, i climbed one move up but then i lost it on the last hard move - the "restingposition" (which is in no way such a thing) just took out the power for the last move...

so the power is here and with just a liiiiiiiiiiiiitle bit less cold fingers i don't have to "wait" for my fingers to get blood into the tips again and then i WILL make it to that final few 7A-moves which will give me the fight of my life... - but i can fight hard, and i WILL!

as the winter still holds back i still hope to get that one, perfect "EPIC" try!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


most of you will know that just too well:

weather today at my free afternoon (yes it IS raining, and snow will start again soon):

weather yesterday while working:

i am glad and thankful that i have some time during the week for climbing as well (on the other hand i give up a lot of cash for that "free-time"). but with a fixed schedule at school you can't just leave your students because its nice weather at your project ;) but hey; nothing is flexible enough... (as long as you are NOT a pro-climber)

at least its going to be nice weather at the weekend again. its burning under my fingers, winter can hit every time HARD, so i just can't wait to try my "new" old beta on link at the highlander... *grrrrrrrrrrrrr*