Thursday, March 12, 2015

perfect days

at first it was not that perfect... after my ascent of "insanity of grandeur" i rested for a week, then got a bad flu. after 3weeks of lay-down-time i was ready to hit the outdoors again and i had some amazing days in deep pow some 30minutes away from home. 

but then it took me some time to get back in climbing shape. i decided to work a bit on my anti-style and after quite some days of effort i finally was  fit again and was able to climb the stunning line of the new classic "il portici, 8A+" (felt hard, but it felt good to climb something harder on my anti-style). 

last week i finally tricked myself once again and was able to link the heinous start sequence of "big-cat" for the first time into the standing start... - felt finally strong again. just to get shut down on the moves two days later like a beginner... hahaha... time to get strong again... looks like i have a new project... - perfect days :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

insanity of grandeur

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"Two things I have learned about this endeavor is that most dreams will only come true with a brutal amount of hard work and determination, so it’s important to love the process as much as the intended outcome, and having good friends with a sense of humor, will make all the difference in the world". - Sonnie Trotter 

i just read this nice blog post from canadian strongman sonnie trotter. he describes what happens when you set off into the unknown and/or when you test your limits. there will be no such things as two day epics. you may have to invest a bit more, failure could be your steady partner and you never know if you will ever make it. but there is no other way to find an answer to that question then to go out and go for it. 

and these words are very true no matter if its a small granite boulder in ticino or a bit of a bigger junk of it in yosemite, or any boulder you want to do in "real" life. it is a very personal process about turning something impossible into reality, see how far you can push yourself and how far you are willing to go and how much you are willing to take... and its about discovering and climbing "the perfect beta" which makes the moves not just possible but smooth and elegant. as "i really love to master my climbing" (that one is from fred) it is this process i enjoy most. quite often even more then the actual send. and last but not least; even if its a "solo" sport and it's all about you if you punt or succeed, without some good friends i would have never climbed (all my) this boulder and the experience would just not be the same. in the long term: "happiness is only real when shared" (christopher mccandless, into the wild).

down below the (bit longer) story to the send. hope you enjoy the process ;)

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2004 fall
arriving in chironico from a summer in magic wood where i just sent "octopussy" - my first 8A-boulder, we got word from dave (graham) that there were two new great boulders down the hillside (later 101area). "einfisch" and "delusion". i wanted to try them but could not do one move. later in the day i learned i did try too low and left. i went back tried from the original start. still could not do one move. but these boulders looked amazing and the line of this lower start i tried somehow was burnt into my memory. but never would i have just dreamed of being able to climb such lines. it was light years away. even with the most optimistic approach not realistic at all. it would take too much time. i had been already too old. but the line.... the line...

2009 late fall
was back underneath the roof of the "fisch-boulder" and met there franken-under-the-radar-strong-man-markus-windisch. i joked about a low start i tried years ago to the "einfisch/keinfisch"-boulder. he then told me he had done the moves and was going big and trying to top out over "delusion of grandeur". my jaw dropped and i told him he was crazy. i set off to work on the moves of "einfisch-keinfisch" and sent this one after three sessions. i loved the moves and started to dream about this lower start again. the line looked just too good to not be climbed.

2012 late spring
after three years and a lot of "puzzle-solving" and going down on the last moves over and over again (frozen fingers...) - i did the FA of "der mit dem fels tanzt, 8C"  (still just one repetition by dai koyamada).

on the "funky-middle-part" of "der mit den fels tanzt" and "insanity of grandeur" - brilliant climbing!!! pic by

using my good form and the good startbeta i went for the straight exit over "delusion of grandeur" and was getting close on what would later become "insanity of grandeur". but then it got too warm and i had no chance to climb through the start anymore.

back in 2012 - already making good links on "insanity"

2012 fall
was back to meet up at the "fisch-boulder" with fellow strong man dai koyamada who was climbing one super hard boulder after another. i was getting super close on my "highlander-project" at sustenpass but (climbing into my highpoint) managed to ripp of my hamstrings. resulting in over eight months of rehab which were followed neatly by another three months because of a broken meniscus. needless to say that dai did not punt around and got the first ascent of this beautiful line calling it "insanity of grandeur".

two permanent anchors that fix my hamstrings to where they belong

2013 fall/winter
officially "healed" i was still scared to properly hook with my right leg (on a boulder that consists more or less just of right hooks) but i was getting back my beta again and made some good progress. but then it quickly turned too cold for me. there were a few warmer days at the start of december and gabri moroni did the second ascent.  all my respect because he started to try the very tricky start-sequence without any (video-)beta. i teached him through the moves and we had a good laugh cause he got stuck with his feet around his arms quite a few times on his first tries ;) it still took him some days (the start and middle sequence is quite morpho=hard for shorties) and that even as a 9a+ route climber. i started to ask myself some questions. would i ever make it to the top? 

before you get to the top - you have to get through the nasty start sequence
start-crux-intermediate (you have to move quite a bit on that one)

2014 spring
i got very close and could climb twice a day up to the second last move. these two last moves felt easy from two moves in but were somehow limit from the sds. then i managed to strain my right hamstring-muscles because of pulling too hard going to the lip. lucky it was not an avulsion again and needless to say that was a SCARY moment!!! so the season on this boulder was over for me but i made use of my good form at sustenpass with the first ascent of "gepresster hase". meanwhile james webb climbing everything that spring in swizzy took "insanity" down in a DAY - amazing to say at least - but i suppose thats what you do when you are really strong!!!

2014 fall
after getting my beta back and after i gained confidence in my right hamstrings again. i felt very strong and light and made quick progress but kept freezing off the last moves over a period of two month. i perfected the beta again. to get some "distraction" i went three meters to the left and climbed (and old project i brushed years ago) the standingstart to "big cat" - one of the best for sure - as all the other problems on that boulder!!! nearly all these days (most were night sessions) my friend nicolas was up there with me, climbing strong himself and giving me some much appreciated beta support and good company - great times :) 

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2015 winter - THE SEND
unusually good weather made it still possible to climb in chironico, but at the same time i could feel how my form went down. climbing for over three months at and beyond my limit slowly took its toll on my body and my mind. so it turned out to be a race against time and conditions. i went down from the lip/mantel twice and even thought the mantel felt "totally ok" climbed from a standing start it did just not feel "safe" enough to be climbed with frozen fingers and cramping forearms. i could "feel" that there had to be better beta and i already had searched for it. thanks to nico i did found better beta but still i could feel it was not "it" - not yet.

so on that last day before winter was about to hit i spent another hour on that mantel and finally found "it". it was just a matter of balance and feeling and in about one second it went from my "hate" sequence to my favorite one. this boulder really has it all: brutally powerful, very tricky, balancy and even a bit of a highball-exit. i wanted to give it a go immediately but i knew it better and for one last time i had to keep my calm. i waited for ronny to arrive for a afterwork-nightsession. with his help i did not had to carry a chalkbag (with a hot stone in it) and no head torch as well. neither did i had to worry about flying over the pads and down into the woods (what i did once on a solo mission; scary if you are all alone, especially in the middle of the night...). and as much as i like to climb alone, the presence of a friend can give you just that little bit of extra motivation. 

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so i waited. and it was totally worth it! on my second try of the day i was lucky enough to make it trough the bottom-part and i did not let go anymore. i climbed very well, not one little error (for once) and was not tired at all arriving at the first "rest" (after twenty moves). but while resting i could feel that i was not as fresh as i thought i would be but i still could feel the holds (thanks to that hot stone in the chalkbag, thanx gabri!) so i kept going. everything went great but while setting up for the move to the lip i could feel how the fingers of my left hand just started to open their grip. i panicked and pressed my thump over my other fingers forcing them to keep holding the grip. but i could feel that everything was pointing down into the pads. nevertheless i went for the lip - my body went back - i hit the lip with just three fingers - but somehow stayed on. i crossed for the match and now the fingers on my right started to open and again. i just barley made it. needless to say i was super tired. but i still could feel the holds. so i just rested for a few shakeouts, took some chalk and went for my new mantel-beta. and the mantel went very smooth, it went down perfectly as did the slabby topout into the dark... 

sitting on top of that proud boulder in the middle of the night was just THE perfect ending - another EPIC put down to rest - one more to go. and as i am not getting younger it is really time to get strong... ;)

as for the grade: compared to other problems in ticino and if you are not as strong and tall as jimmy (=myself) - i think ("soft" to stay en "vogue") 8C fits in pretty ok... ;)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

lucky guy - for once ;)

and the day after...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"+*ç%*/*"*ç%"/ - just not strong enough!!!

start-sequence of "insanity of grandeur" and "der mit dem fels tanzt"... "easy" when you are really tall... nails the shorter you  get... 

...for over two and a half months i was trying to take advantage of a very unusually warm and dry "winter-season" in chironico... but still it was too cold for me for this 30+ moves.... i was constantly freezing off the last moves of "insanity of grandeur", it was just too cold, too wet, too dry, i did have too much stress on work, not enough sleep, too much sleep, bad luck with slipping off footholds and jugs while near perfect conditions... i felt really strong over this time, could climb twice a day pretty solid into the last two moves just to come back two days later and not beeing able to climb through the start anymore. i could just not believe something went wrong all the time...!!!

...over the last two weeks i could feel like my form went slightly down... i missed the "snap", felt tired, despite two full rest days i felt not really recovered anymore... , i could feel my elbows, i could feel a pulley in the index-finger... but i kept pushing... i felt so close... so i was just "waiting" for THE PERFECT DAY.... or winter to close the season.

...and then THE DAY was here; foen-wind... 15C... and also (very important) during the night warm as well, so the stone did not cool down too much... some friends joined in, lots of pads, spotters, good vibes and lots of encouragement...

... so i sett off and managed to get through the start-part, felt still strong at the resting point on the big sloper-band, had cold fingers but could still feel the holds... (very good!!!)

after 20moves... "rest-point one". i still felt strong (a must if you want to have a chance for the lip) and could still feel my fingertips... (very important for me as well) - not so convenient as it may looks like... needs a lot of body tension as its pretty steep and sloppy...

then two moves from the lip i could feel how my fingers suddenly started to open the grip - i just barley made it to the lip... but i made it.

left hand fingers on the way to open... super close.... but i made it to the lip...  good thing there is no sound to this pic.... ;)

rest point number two. even if it looks like a very good rest... its not so convenient as well - steep and sloppy - especially after 30 more or less hard moves...

...three weeks ago i already was hanging up there, back then i felt way stronger but had so cold i just numbed out while shaking out and desperately trying to get any sensation back into my fingertips. this time it was better! i still got some sensation, i could feel the holds... but i was super tired... i got some chalk and went for the mantle... when suddenly my forearms started to cramp and in pure disbelief i could feel and see my fingers opening their grip... and i instead of a glorious top-out i was sitting on the pads...

... so today it was very simple: no more excuses anymore... i was just not strong enough!!!

one second after i went for the mantle... my forearms started to cramp and my fingers opened the grip... what sent me down to the pads...

... looking at the weather forecast i may get one last chance before it will be too cold for the next two months.... i am so tired... but i will definitely go for it... you think you have no chance? go and take it ;)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

again and again - and a little SEND to brake to routine...

going down on the last moves on "insanity"; too warm, too cold, too wet, too dry, too humid

falling from the move to the top.... next day it should finally go!!!!

back after two rest days... ready to send: perfect temps, perfectly rested, but the mantel soaking wet; cleaning the top for two hours from the moss that soaked the boulder for days - then too tired to make it through the bottom part...

then suddenly not beeing able to climb through the first moves anymore..... what else ;)

and then you can get to the lip and you can rest for minutes (not too good of a rest when you are cold and tired) and desperately try to get any sensation back into your fingers - fail to do so - and go down....

 i brushed it up some years ago, got close to send, got injured and now finally sent ;) at least i managed to send "big-cat"-standstart. Super powerful, great moves, subtle mantle at the end - full package - one of the best of the grade in ticino for sure!!! a bit a shame it's pretty morpho... but then so much more fun to climb if you are not (super) tall.... around 8A for the TALL, 8A+ for the intermediate (me), 8B for the shorties...  - and if i would try the low-start of big-cat for once not just after falling of the end of "insanity" - i think i could have a good go on the full line as well ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

night sessions - go the extra mile - last moves again...

over 10days chironico looked more or less like that - every square-milimeter of rock was WET (never seen something like this for so long in ticino) - one day we waited all day long for the rock to dry but it didn't.... so at 7pm we went north....

8PM, through the gotthardo to sustenpass; road closed... does not matter, take the walk.... thanks nico for joining in... was a great session... as always... ;)

30th of november, 0:30AM, 2'000m above sea level, SUSTENPASS, 0C, wind.... climbing up to the last move of "highlander-project" - once more. felt strong as never before - but just got this little bit too cold.... crazy... looks like it does not matter if its 15C or 0C.... just freeze off from the last two moves...

back at the car....  was a nice night out at the boulders..... ;)

few days later; chironico finally dry again... second last move on "insanity of grandeur"....

great progress on "big cat"-stand.... but going down at the mantel... too tired after 4hrs of going a muerte at "insanity"....

and well what do you do on a evening at home, 4degrees, rainy....; go stand-up-paddle... thanks for the night-paddle-out anna... what a great experience...  ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

trick yourself - and why just do nothing is best to climb 9a

great article from dave macleod!!! when you want to achieve something in life - willpower is very crucial - especially when you try to balance a job, a high climbing level and social/family life:

on a side note: just about the "cycle/walk" to work: may thats not really "the" thing to do when you want to peak (just) in sport climbing/bouldering (when you are already pretty ok with your weight anyway). how many of the top-climbers-boulderers are cardio-freaks??? lot's of biking for example will give you bigger muscles on your legs which are just for no use in hard climbing. more muscles in your legs is more weight. and this muscles in your leg you really don't need when you pull on a small crimp in a roof. and then recent studies show that many people who do cardio use this as an "excuse to eat more" - and so they eat more and more unhealthy stuff then others (non cardio's) and consequently they are heavier as well.

so the bottom line for climbing will be: avoid anything that makes you gain muscles because thats just more weight and that will take your ass down to the ground. just hang around on the couch all day long (=no muscle gain there), facebook, twitter and instagram will keep your mind busy and just eat green salad with no sauce (or just eat nothing at all). but don't forget to go climbing... you still need that!!! and your 9a route project will never feel easier... ;)

Friday, November 28, 2014

no shortcuts - don't cheat yourself

instead of a glorious send of the super classic "insanity of grandeur, 8C" (we don't take "webby-grades" too serious, do we? he's supernatural... ;) - i am back at the start again... : after falling on the second last move to the lip on "insanity" and powering through the super hard start sequence up the four times a day i knew something was "wrong" - i never ever was able to "cruise" this start sequence so many times before in a session. did i got that much stronger? well that would be nice. but honestly i don't think so (even if i feel stronger, but not THAT much stronger).

close-up from the intermediate-"hold" from which i do have to move my feet:
 before the breake it was super bad,
as it broke it got quite "juggy", making it possible to suddenly control this heinous start sequence
and changing the character of the two existing boulders way too much.
so i glued the broken part back - it's pretty heinous again... ;)

late last spring i broke a part of this not so good intermediate hold - making it better. i did not think that it was much of a difference but kept the broken part at home. obviously i was wrong and it was quite a big difference. i nearly could cross now on what was just a really bad intermediate before. so i glued the broken part back - AND got hammered. it took me another two sessions to just get through this three start moves again... and it feels as desperate and insecure as it felt before the break! then it took me another two sessions to get back one move below my highpoint. three weeks "lost" and i may will not send this season anymore. but it felt like "cheating" and "wrong" to keep climbing with the bigger hold as i knew how hard it was before. hopefully i did not loose too much time. i finally feel like the "resistance"-power is coming back again and i don't get suddenly tired anymore. it's nice to feel strong again ;)

now that rain should stop next week and if i am lucky (for once) i get a few more decent (not too cold) days and will be able to finish up "insanity" before winter hits - if i don't i don't mind too much as it's just such a brilliant piece of climbing. but then there is this "big cat" waiting on the left as well... :)

where i went down some days ago: three more moves and this nasty mantle.
epic in full swing again.... ;)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

back on track...

it was COLD up there at sustenpass - but so beautiful with snow and the road closed

nothing better then great people, great climbing and great food... :) on may way back... crazy solo session up at sustenpass. 80min hike, 3C and 60+km/h wind (flying pads).... perfect friction... but bit too cold... froze off the last move of highlander again - and then got even some good links in "fetter hase project"....

went down on the match.... after freezing off two times after the 8B part... i made it to the second last move (before the mantel) of "insanity" on my third try of the day... why not on my first try?! thanx for that great (night) session prisca and nico!!!
making good progress on "big cat" (standstart) -
 if you are tall you miss all this crazy "midget-moves" on the "mellow terrain".... what a shame ;)

2more moves on insanity... and making good progress on the "easy" (8B? for my size) super cool standstart of "big cat". so i am on that point again on going down on the last move of everything...  would be nice to finish off something before winter will def. close the season. so when this shitty weather (record rainfall in ticino the second week in a row...) would for once turn nice again i may even could send something this season - looks like mid next week the rain will finally stop... going insane or be sane is the question... ;)

had a great day with my friend jesse (check out his blog). we had a great climbing day and a great dinner at "defanti" in lavorgo (chironico) :)

giving in is not an option - no matter what... ;)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

better days to come

i got quite some feedback about my latest blog post. thanx everybody! people were wondering what the hell was going on with me. well nothing too special. you know that life can really su*k. but mostly it's about your life, cause everybody else seems to have a hell of a good time. thats what you get when you follow your "friends" on facebook, or (no i am not on fb nor on 8X.ohno). on fb (climbing) life is just so easy, all boulders are soft, everybody is super strong, everything is second go and 6A+ at max... , there are 2day epics (sic)... but yes there are also other (climbing)people out there which don't have 24/7 the greatest fun, struggle to balance work,climbing,life - and (climbing)life can really su*k sometimes... and as it is in real life there are better days to come - that's it, that's al.