Fall/winter 2015

After weeks and weeks with 35°C I could not wait for cooler temperatures! Just as these arrived, I found a red circle on my knee, where a tick had bitten me a while ago. Blood tests confirmed lyme disease and so I had to take antibiotics for a months and take it easy.

To get back in shape, we went on a couple little trips to the alps. Granite climbing is what helps me the most with body tension and pure power… And carrying a Mondo plus a normal-sized pad up and down the hills of Magic Wood for sure helps as well for overall fitness ;-p

More rainy than sunny days meant playing around on the Bruno boulder was often the best (or sometimes only) option. It was really fun to catch up with old friends like Thomasina and Cedar and try and climb various problems together… Like Supersupernova (8A) or Minisex (7C).

After more weeks of work work work work, I did a little solo trip to try to finish an old project of mine. I got pretty close but failed…I was rather disappointed when I came home empty-handed, but with some days gone by I really wouldn’t wanna miss this experience. Focusing on only this one problem, obsessing about it, dreaming of it… This really ignited a passion in me, which I kind of forgot I had. I worked full time for the last years and put a lot of heart and time into that.. Which is fine, as it’s fun and I learned so much! But I still need to get better in balancing these two worlds I live in. Because now that I felt that passion again, I really know I need both worlds. So I was really excited for the new year…

A big thanks to Anne, Reto and Valerie for the great time and incredible hospitality!

Summer 2015

Hottest summer I can remember…so we tried various things to escape the heat.

Steep and shady cliffs in the Frankenjura:

 

Red sandstone towers of the Pfalz in western Germany…The place where I started climbing and where my love for sandstone comes from! Very sparsely bolted sometimes, some camalots needed. Haven’t placed a lot of gear the last years, so fun! Did the superclassic Tuxedomoon (7c+), with a huge double dyno! The myth says Wolfgang Güllich once broke his leg on that climb…An additional bolt makes it much safer nowadays, but still exiting!

 

Alpine adventure with my dad in the Gastlosen, Switzerland: Learning the tools of the trade of mulipitch climbing. Amazed by the rock quality, so much fun to move on that smooth, clean white limestone! Definitely will be back for more:) Despite making some rookie mistakes… shoes to small, backpack too big, south face on a hot day😉

 

Bouldering in the alps…Zillertal, Austria. At least a bit cooler there;)

Chasin’ the rubbish

Fontainebleau is the destination of many climbers from all over the world, especially during the easter holidays. To minimize the impact from the legions of climbers, Black Diamond has organised a cleanup event for the past years. The goal of this event is to collect trash in the most popular sectors like Bas Cuvier or Franchard Isatis and to sensibilize climbers for a ‘clean climbing’ codex.

In my experience, most climbers  care quite a lot for the rocks, forest and nature. But even if you behave perfectly, you will have an impact on the nature and leave some traces. Therefore its really important to try and minimize your own impact and also to educate others about it…. in a nice way obviously:)

Here is a video from the event:

Black Diamond and Evolv have updated their websites with athlete biographies, if you fancy a read:

http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/athlete-bio-karalus-dorothea.html

http://www.evolvsports.com/athletes/international/dorothea-karalus/

Magic March in Fontainebleau

We had a great trip with good weather, fun with friends and obviously lots of climbing!! I seem to be back in alright shape, doing the powerful “L’art de la fugue” (8A) and my big project from 2013, “Frisson” (8A+)…which is my 50th boulder 8A and harder:) That problem evolved to be a mental game, as I already fell after the crux in 2013. This trip it didn’t gave up easily as well… After way too many times stepping off, making mistakes or just not trying hard enough, I managed to switch off my head and try with an all-or-nothing attitude. Super super happy to climb ‘Frisson’ on the last evening of the trip!

Très heureuse also about doing some high classics, like “Misericorde”, “De la Terre à la Lune” and “Super Prestat”.

Miséricorde (7C+) is the kingline of Franchard Cuisinière and was maybe the best experience of the trip. I’ve tried this high problem in previous years, but after some weird falls I was usually scared and climbed like it. This year I went there with no expectations and a relaxed mind…(and better pads…😉 Such a great feeling to grab that perfect top jug!

Back to bouldering…Sunny days in Ticino

Spot the difference: Before (CT) and after surgery (X-ray)
Spot the difference: Before (CT) and after surgery (X-ray)

After a couple months of ‘rehab-climbing’, the final X-ray for my wrist showed that everything healed fine and that the lunate bone (Os lunatum, the bone with the cyst) looks normal again. Even though I was pretty positive about the healing process before, hearing that from the doctor was a huge relief! My only souvenir is a nice ‘pirate scar’ on my wrist as a reminder that I’m not unbreakable😀

Since then I’ve started bouldering again and the wrist feels great, stable and no pain at all:) I’m only avoiding these weird huge plastic sloper and volumes in the gym where the wrist is in a very contorted position …after reading so much about wrist injuries these don’t feel ‘healthy’ anymore….

I was obviously very psyched for my first climbing trip in a year: Ticino for New Years Eve. Except the first two days we had perfect weather with a lot of sun. I got sucked into trying a bit harder problems than planned… Oh well, I had a lot of fun and seem already be in alright shape…

Back home in the frankenjura I took advantage of a single day with perfect weather and sent my first 8a boulder after the injury, the tricky ‘Barny Geröllheimer’. Very excited for the rest of 2015!!!

weeeeeho I’m back…. ! unfortunately with a bang…

Pic by @sarah_seeger: my very first day outside! Sooooo happy to be back climbing after a 7 months long break due to my #stupidwrist. Some days later, I made the most stupid mistake in my life though: Using a too short rope, which resulted in a groundfall. Luckily without severe consequences, feeling much better already. Please stay safe everyone and MAKE A KNOT IN THE OTHER END OF THE ROPE…

Life without climbing…at least for now

Climbing has always been part of my life: as a baby I slept in the stroller while my parents climbed in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and later most of our vacations were spent in one of the numerous climbing areas all over Europe. When me and my brother had the choice between hiking and climbing on the weekend, we usually choose climbing, as it meant that we could play instead of going on a “boring hike”. So from an early age on I’m used to spend a lot of time moving outside and on the rocks surrounding me and love it. This scrambling around on the rocks was always playful, not about performance/improving/grades. Our parents never pushed us in any way, they were just happy to share the experience being outside. Maybe one exception: my dad got tired of putting up topropes for me, so he promised me a set of quickdraws for my first 6b on lead:)

 

Even though a big part of my childhood was spent near the rocks, I discovered my own passion for climbing as a (performance-oriented) sport rather late, around 12 years ago. I was asked if I wanted to train with the local youth climbing team and from that day on I’ve been climbing usually four times a week. Even though I spend most of the day doing other things (university, working, friends,…), climbing has been part of every day, every daydream and influencing many of my decisions. Through all these years, I’ve never really been injured, some tweaked fingers or the usual suspect, my right shoulder, but never something which wouldn’t be fine after two weeks rest and taking it easy afterwards.

Right now it’s different story though: I’m in my 5th month without climbing. It started with a strained tendon in the wrist from a weird undercling (which should be fine by now) and more gravely, a bone marrow edema in a wrist bone (lunate). For months I didn’t had a definite diagnosis, I was told it might be just from overuse, could be caused from an intraosseous ganglion/cyst or (worst case) Kienbock’s disease (don’t google that one, trust me).
I should avoid any stress/weight/ on the wrist, which means no climbing/pull-ups/hanging of any kind. At first it wasn’t so bad to stop climbing for a while: no stress with projects/skin/bad weather and a lot more time! Working full-time plus commuting 2 hours a day means I have to organize my days pretty diligently to free some time for climbing.

After a couple of weeks though, my energy levels dropped. I put so much energy in my climbing, but get so much out of it in return! My body and mind are so used to it, I needed something else to replace it. So I did more yoga, running & biking and monkeying around one handed in the gym. Oh well, all fun, but nothing makes me feel as good as climbing… My body misses the movement on rock and my mind misses having goals to work towards. It’s a weird feeling waking up day after day without that familiar soreness from climbing and just as weird going to bed with a crowded mind… Nothing clears up my mind as well as climbing.

I’m generally a very positive person, approaching every problem with the attitude that you could solve this if you think hard enough about it / try hard enough. But with the injury there is nothing I can do about it. Just rest… and wait. And so there were days where I converted to the dark side. The dark side corrupted me with negative thinking and envisioning worst-cases and “what would’ve been if…”. Not really understanding where the injury comes from didn’t help with the trust in my body. Not knowing how long it would take to heal neither…

In the last week the situation changed, as I got a more definite diagnosis: Other examinations showed that the main cause of evil is an intraosseus ganglion grown into the bone, which basically caused a hole in the bone. I will get surgery in a couple of days to fill this hole. So relieved to have a diagnosis that makes sense but on the other hand super bummed to rest for a even more months!


The thought that helps me the most is how many years climbing has been a part of my life and how many more decades it will be. Eight months off in total (if everything heals well) sure sound A LOT, but I have to put them in the perspective of my whole life. Of course then that devilish little voice in my head keeps on telling me: “but you wanted to try this and travel there and do this and learn to do that… When are you gonna do all this?” But as I got older I have realized that I will be never able to fulfill or even try to fulfill all my dreams, even the ones which are in principle realistic. .. Time is limited. On the one hand an unpleasant thought, on the other hand I definitely find it quite comforting that I will never ever run out of dreams, ideas and goals… (Would be kind of sad if that happens, no?) I know that climbing will supply me with enough goals to work for, places to travel and people to meet for more than a lifetime. Some of these will now just have to wait a bit longer…