Saturday, May 29, 2010

attempting NBSL - or its all about BETA

some 3/4weeks ago i was up in magic wood for the first time of the year. it was  perfect 12-15C. it was a nice and positive atmosphere with a big group of italien friends (simone,gianluca,michele,gabri and many more) bouldering, joking and laughing all arround nearby. going back to my programm of trying my "anti-style" i retried NEWBASELINE, wonderful line with very weird and strange moves.

i allready tried it last year and just as i made good progress i was shoot down by the heat. i retried the moves and i felt really good, my body was not going back where it used to last year. and all the holds seemed to have grown a little ;) but i still found the first move really hard. due to my fat fingers which just dont fit properly in this tiny crack it never felt really good. so, together with michele we tried some diffrent beta.

he told me he tryed to use a close heel and go right hand further up. allready last year my girlfriend angela told me to try this, but it looked just impossible for me. what a BIG mistake that was. first try this year and i sticked the first move in slomotion, it felt just PERFECT ;) but i went up left hand insted of right hand. unfortunatley for michele and gabri it was not that perfect with the heel for them. thy slipped all the time of the heel while going for the intermediate hold. it looks like your shoe has to fit perfectly there - looks like i had again the perfect heel-hooking shoe with my VENOM from sportiva (what a shame they stopped producing it!!!)

no sponsors, no music, no close-up, no cutting - uncut sequence to show real bouldering and what happens after you do a new move for the first time (after 40sek). a beta-session with friends on newbaseline, magic wood. (sorry for the bad quality. its a handymovie, and it allready was getting dark)

so that was GOOD news, because now i coud also grab the second hold way better what made the second and third move easier. GREAT. i had then one go and ended up there at the razor-sharp crimp. happy with that i went back for the fish in chironico and just returned last week. windy and 12/14C it was great grip again. i managed to fall down three times on the move to the razor-crimp. that was ok, cause i knew that i had first to regain some crimp-power-endurance.

sebastian spauween doing the move to the razor-crimp, pic from his blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

what to do round4 - escape to FONT

because of this horrible weatherforecast some two weeks ago, greg an i packed spontaneously our stuff together and escaped to font, cause forecast was great there with 15C and WIND ;) 
after driving 6hours through rain it finally cleared and we coud se the stars - just right before we arrived in font. after a night spent in the infamous F1 in nemours we wook up to sunny and WIDNY weather - big smile on our faces as we entred the classic area of bas cuvier cause the friction for so late in the year was just great. unfortounatly we had no camera with us, so to make som illustrations the pics that are used here all all from the net, you will find the source right under the pics.

we played arround on the boulders got our obligate nemesis on a 5something-wurm-up and so on :) then we watched a guy, not 20anymore, obioussly a real bleausard, cause he was just flowing effortlessly through all the boulders. then we "met" at Cortomaltèse.

cortomaltèse, pic from, by michele caminati

there the bleausard tried to climb the crack in the middle of the pic above but just with left hand and then to exit straight. it looked quite hard to stand up on the "podest" and he droped down on the last moves several times. we offred him our pads cause there was a big stone in the landing. he acepted and invited us kindly to try too. i was a bit sceptical, cause he did all the other problems in the area so easy and had to struggle here - hmmmmm - but never mind, it looked cool and so we tried all together. the blausard introuced himself as philippe and as i found out at home it was Philippe Le Denmat, the opener of countless problems in the forrests of bleau and also the opener of the famous slab of  duel! aha, therefore all the boulders in cuvier looked so easy while he was gliding through them.

philippe on le duel, 8a - no pads for real men!   pic by

as he told us the problem we tried was not climbed yet, and after some changes in beta greg finally toped out first (followed by philippe and myself) and made his first first ascent in bleau. philippe sougested as a name:  tourniqueton  cause you make such a nice 180-turn when blowing the crux :) grade woud be somewhere arround font 6c, but i needed way less tries on the berezinga-carnage assis which is suggested as a font 8a - grading is just funny childish rubbish some times (well most of the time)

afterwards philippe showed us the first 7a boulder of font, the famous: l'abottoir. he showed us the originaly climbed sequence (later way easier beta was found)  with a very hard undercrossmove in the middle. powerfull and tecnical at the same time. today this beta woud be a hard 7b for sure (if you compare it to other 7a's in the area). sick what people allready climbed in 1960!!! it was verynice to have philippe with us, cause like that you get so much more insight in the history of an area. and in an area like font there is so much history sitting litteraly arround every other corner.

then i made use of the great windy conditiones and feeded with beta from greg i climbed fast through the very nice and superclassics right from l'abottoir. le carnage was first, la bérézina next and then bérézina-carnage combi assis. it was very nice for once to just climb some problems and not to try for weeks to get some single moves solved ;)

then we were allready bit tired, but wanted to visit the boulder of the famous gecko.

michele caminati IS a gecko, pic by

first time i touched the hold michele is aiming in the pic above with left hand i was shocked. it was so bad, it did not feel even close to a hold. my skin was so soft, i was just gliding over it. so we tried arround a bit on the right variation called les beaux quartiers. went bit better on that one but we both were allready too destroyed to send. after a well deserved restday (i am not 20anymore) and with better skin we were back at the gecko again. i wanted to know if i really just coud not hang on this hold or not. this time it all went way better. i did all the moves but the move into the undercling. i could just not feel it. i was very comfortable sitting on my hook but i just coud not hold this strange undercling when grabbing for it. its crazy what friction and good skin can do in font. and i can imagine on this "noholdbouldering" where some holds are not a little bit positive (and where you cant yourself really pull in) you can get frustrated because you can just slip out of this holds whenever you dont think about it. (visit uncle somebodys blog for a hint what the nohold- gecko can do to you). therefore i prefere it to try hard problems at my limit on more "positiv" holds (like the problems in the ticino, avers normally have), where you can dig deep and give all you have. but nevertheless i will be back in the winter. i want to feel what real friction feels like :)  

Sunday, May 16, 2010

what to do round3 - climb SICKhard stuff

while i was complaining about bad weather (well it really was bad most time). two guys showed great tactic abilities and made perfect use of some weatherwindows.

as by now everybody may knows, dai koyamada (beside many other hard sends) made the first repetition of dave grahams "story of two worlds" in cresciano - one of the hardest boulderproblems worldwide for sure - SICK strong.

dai in the "story", pic from his blog

then sebastian spauwen, a strong friend from the netherlands was in swizzy for a short visit. despite an ugly weatherforecast he quickly climbed in magic wood the wunderful line of "one summer in paradise" and was doing well on "newbaseline" - then he had to escape from the rain. so he went to the valais. there he made a super fast ascent of the fred nicole ULTRA classic "radja" (the worlds first 8B+). he did it in good style as he climbed the problem in the original version (skipping a chipped hold). SICK strong too!!!

sebastian on radja, pic from his blog

and yessss, weatherforecast for ticino turns finally NICE for next week. sunny, windy -->  fishtime ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

what to do – round2 – full fishproject again - getting CLOSE…

so no frankenjura, no sweeden. what then? make use on a 6h weather window (more ore less no rain) in ticino. drive down and sprint to the project. after wurming up quickly and drying the last wet hold it starts to rain again. dammmm!!! puting a pad on the exit-mantle so it stays dry. my friend greg from romania is holding an umbrella over the sensitive part of the exit which can not be protected by the pad. big thanks to him! i start on the standingstart (feeling still not ready for the sit). after two "wurmup-goes" with some minor mistakes in the funky moves i manage to climb (again) to the secondlast move. going down here for like 15times now, i tried (again) a change in beta AND the move worked then WAY smoother - YEPPPA another DETAIL (and one of the most important for the full problem) in this story of "TOO many details".

i just dont belive that i have not registred that "new" fothold before - its quite obvious! but as the (8A+) exitboulder for itself just felt not that hard at all for itself i did not search for a better beta. i just kept thinking i was too tired after the “einohrfisch”. i tried some changes in hand-beta but never was thinking about changing my feet, despite feeling bit shaky on the move all the time when i was climbing in from the deep start. what a “beginner” mistake that was!!! 20days to final BETA now, new personal record - but you never know ... :)

using my new beta on the next go i climbed for the second time to the last (really) hard move. i knew from the former arrival at that last move that i had to be 95% fresh to make it. i felt still ok this time, but hesitated a second and then missed the hold clearly.

i took a big 1h rest and spotted greg (in between showers) doing nice efforts on the beautiful electric ant "bas" (starting on the "natural" sitdown start, for which you need two mondopads because of the digging down to make this ugly, nasty hard start move of the “assis” possible)

after the rest i started again. whith the new foot beta i climbed to the last move again: felt better - no stoping this time - hit the hold hard - stayed for a second - but had not enough bodypower left to stay on - so down to the pads i went. but with this newest beta I know, that I can climb the full problem even from the sit… - if just that f**** rain woud stop.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

what to do - round1 - where to go

with one week holiday left? first i wanted to go to the frankenjura. visting friends and finish one of my personal favourite compressionmadnessboulders: RIOT ACT

jonas junker macht riot act. pic from: thelowdown

but weatherforecast was with every day rain. as i was allreay last year going down on the last move cause of rain i did not wanted to repeat that scenario. then i saw that sweeden had a nice weatherforecast. found a cheap flight too but then the forecast turned bader and for just 4 climbing-days to go all was a bit too stressed. but i will go there for sure - looks amazing:

tobi in "the office", västerfik, sweeden. pic by stefan

so there was still the question of: where to go?!

Monday, May 3, 2010

nice weather for bouldering-holidays in europe

weatherforecast for next week for europe/swizzy:

that sucks especially when you have holidays!

magic wood in prime shine this morning:

what to do????????????????????????????????????????

Saturday, May 1, 2010

First Ascent of “Einohrfisch”, 8B/+ (aka "too many details") in ticino, swizzy

A summary for those with little sparetime

After five weeks with 15+ days of trying on and off the moves on an old (to me) impossible looking project in ticino, swizzy I was finally able to solve the puzzle and sent the first part in +/- 10moves. the link into the second part is another story. its a lowball, but a nice little line for itself. The boulder requires brutal power and/or funky tricky moves on big holds with weird body positions after a crimpy start. The boulders name is “einohrfisch”. And yes it was hard for me. In terms of numbers: As grades are highly subjective i can just speak for myself. Somebody else will feel totally different, especially if one is tall, the start (crux) will be WAY easier. The moves to me feel way harder and it took me WAY mor time (despite feeling stronger now) then the ones i did on “la soucoupe” or “einfisch, keinfisch” or “riverbed” or even “nbsl” (all graded in upper 8range). so for me the grade of the new problem is in the 8B/+ range. Or in “new-school-real-softie-grades” somewhere arround 7C/+ – but that’s another story to tell.

               on the FA of "einohrfisch", pic by angela wagner

For those with a bit more time: "Einohrfisch" or how to make something impossible very possible

some three years ago i allready tried a bit around on this bit of fine swizzy gneiss in ticino but was not able to do one single move. despite beeing very lowball its a nice little line for itself with a potential highballfinish to the left. visiting this spring many personal "anti-style-boulderproblems" and other stuff i was by far not able to send in the past, i came along again by this particular piece of rock. inspired by a friend trying the moves and watching him doing them isolated i gave it a go too. that was over 5!!! weeks and some 15boulderingdays ago.

i tried my friend's beta but was not able to do more than two of the 5-6 moves. for one move i was too short to place a big toehook, for antother move my foot was just to thick (or too fat ;) to push it into a crack-hold and generally I felt i was just to weak. but the holds were there and exept the first one they were quite good too. and like bernd (zangerl) once said: if there are holds, it can be climbed. And I may ad: in severeal ways.

So simple that sounds so hard it can be in reality. There are mainly to ways to success. First one is the easiest one: just be (get) strong enough and do it. Second one is way more subtle: be creative enough and “cheat” your way up. My way normally is the second one as I am by far never that strong brutal power wise as other people bouldering in the bigger 8 grades (I barely can lock with on arm 90degree on a big jug!!!)

So I was going once more for the second way. Standing under these holds and touching them it was like with so many other boulderpuzzles in the past (the dagger, confessions, boogalagga, nbsl, natural beauty, supertussi, highlander and many others) that I was totally sure that there HAD to be (another) a solution to the puzzle. I just had to find it.

This time the process lasted over one month, 15+days and it was nearly about "too many details" (therefore the aka-name of the boulder); many not really planned nighstessions up to 11:30pm alone in the wood. several setbacks cause I coud climb the problem in two sections but not link them, so I had to start more or less from the beginning. Figuring out what I was sure was the key-beta, coming back two days later and not beeing able to repeat this moves (this scenerio several times this time). Girlfriend and friends starting to get concerned about my mental-state as I was talking at home that I finally solved the puzzle just to fail miserably under their eyes days later. Investing days to just “re-find” precisly what i had been doing as the moves felt ok. This problem was a super tricky one to me. It needed lot of precise changes of body positions to get pressure on the holds and to be finally able to do the moves that felt first totally impossible. Gripping a big juggy hold one centimeter to the left and placing a heelhook one centimeter to the right finally solved the last “open” move and was then the end of the puzzle. but the end of the puzzle ist just the beginning of linking the puzzle parts. after some more days i was able to link the first part, which is now the "einohrfisch". the whole line which exits over a hard 8th grade boulder itself is another story. its getting to warm in ticino so that has to wait till fall arrives.

I often like this proces of solving a complex 3d-boulder-puzzle (way) more than finally sending a problem. the moments when i dive deeeeep into the mikrokosmos of boulderingmoves and then finally after hours, days, weeks, ore even months when I finally have found the last little detail to the last little secret of the last little (foot)move is for me one of the greatest moments bouldering has to offer. Surley it is also nice to climb problems fast; flash, onsight them etc… but you will not even scratch the surface, you will truly miss one of the greatest experiences bouldering has to offer – the moment when something impossible becomes very possible.