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;)

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…

2012 review

check out a review of my climbing year 2012 at monkeeeeeeeeee… http://monkeeclothing.com/blog/entries/231

If you are too lazy to read… here is a summary in pictures:

spring in Fontainebleau:

summer in the Frankenjura:

autumn:

winter in Ticino:

Headcrash, 8c

Projecting a hard route or boulder can be nerve-wracking and sometimes frustrating. For me, the most fun part of this process is usually the beginning, where you start figuring out the moves and try to find a solution that works for you. Doing new moves is always fun and especially the realization that you may be capable of doing a problem is quite motivating. In the next phase, you start trying to link the moves and try to work towards an eventual send. If you make progress, this is a lot of fun. With stagnation I sometimes struggle to keep the motivation up. Which is probably I climbed most of my harder problems in a few days and failed on everything I tried longer…:)

I have friends who don’t care about sending things at all and who get their satisfaction solely from trying new things. I think this is really admirable and in the last years my motivation for climbing has definitely shifted from a goal-oriented to a more process-oriented approach. After all, even if you don’t send anything, if you always had a nice day outside you are a very happy person. Once in a while I still try to stick with projects, as it is a great challenge to stay motivated in a good way. Learning how to be happy even with the smallest progress, learning how to deal with failure, evaluating what to change…it’s a bit like a research project really;)

Sometimes, projecting can be easy though. This year, after a very cool trip to Fontainebleau my motivation for bouldering was dwindling. By chance I ended up on a rope climbing crag called ‘Wasserstein’, whose central pillar is home to one of the most impressive lines of the Frankenjura, ‘Headcrash’. From the first day, I was blown away not only by the beauty of the line but also the quality of the climbing. Especially the upper part of the route climbs incredibly well, though with my non-existent endurance -this was my first day on a rope this year- I could hardly make it from bolt to bolt. The crux is lower down, after about a third of the route: An uncompromising bouldery crux consisting of only two moves revolving around a barely-there shallow pinch.
Since I had never tried such a difficult route, I could not assess whether there was any prospect of success. Thus, the ‘strategy’ was to continue trying as long as it’s fun, without any expectations. At first the progress was quite slow; it took me several days to do the first crux move and to link the upper part. After a few days (I didn’t count how many), I climbed through the crux for the first time from the start. On each of the following moves, I waited for my elbows to go into ‘chicken wing-mode’…but surprisingly I didn’t get pumped and climbed to the top!

So I could climb my by far most difficult route (my hardest route before Headcrash was an easy 8b…) … without any drama… which makes this success even more valuable for me:)

Thanks to everyone who was there with me for the great time at this peaceful spot!

 

2011: frankenjura, the alps…and the frankenjura

2011…well where did id go? busy with school, I didn’t climb as much as I would have liked to during the summer semester. I needed a break from bouldering, so I mostly went route climbing in the frankenjura, which I enjoyed a lot. Having focussed on bouldering the last years, I felt like I can (re-)learn a lot when climbing with a rope: Of course you need to get endurance, but mainly I felt like I had to (re-)learn the tactical approach: when do you clip, how often do you chalk, how fast/slow its best to climb, how warmed up you have to be to not get cold-pumped but still have dry hands,… I kind of felt like a beginner sometimes, doing stupid mistakes (like not closing my shoes properly and not noticing it until halfway up). I think I have all these tactics figured out for me in bouldering, with routeclimbing its a different story though! Nevertheless, I made progress, climbed some of my hardest routes  and had fun with it. Its quite amazing how good and varied the routeclimbing in the frankenjura is, there are many classics as well. One of my favourites one was the ‘Peacemaker’, a pretty long (for a boulderer;)), slightly overhanging crack, which has it all: a bouldery start on pockets, an easy but airy section on a big flake, some layback-climbing, a mantle into a slab, a balancy part with THE move (a cross-over into an one finger-undercling-crack, sounds horrible but feels wicked!), some crack climbing with a handjam and a scary part to the awesome topjug above the last bolt….this may sound like a multipitch, but its all condensed in 25m… the wonder of the frankenjura!

In the summer semester break did a little ‘tour des alpes’. We went to a (for us) new area, “Refugio Barbara” in Italy. Located at 1800m altitude and with several  sectors with granit boulders (amongst others the Christian Core “Kimera” and “Black Mamba”), this area sounded perfect to escape the heat of August. At first glance, the area is very reminiscent of the Chaos Canyon in RMNP, just a bit more idyllic: a beautiful meadow with browsing cows, circularly surrounded by steep slopes littered with endless boulders. Driving up the steep road we thought “This sounds too good, there has to be a catch. Maybe there is always fog in August…”. Well…the first day we thought we were just unlucky when we climbed in the middle of a cloud. But the cloud with the warm, humid air was there also the next days. Somedays, we would wake up to a view like this:

Which changed to the following view only a few minutes later:

Needless to say, 100% humidity and 30°C do not make good conditions for climbing and thus everything felt HARD! We still had fun and definitely want to go back there! For the rest of the trip, we visited some other areas in the swiss and austrian alps. The heat and the rain followed us for most of the time, but well, this is summer in europe I guess.

Then came my favourite time of the year: the golden october in the frankenjura… I was very excited for it and had many ideas what to try, but I hurt my finger a bit and retreated to climbing on slopers in the gym and working a lot at university… there are surprisingly little non-crimpy boulder-problems in the frankenjura, its not at all only pockets (as you might have heard)…