#MoonTeam athlete, Michiel Nieuwenhuijsen, climbing at Albarracin in Spain. Albarracin has one of the best boulder areas in Spain. Within climbers, it is rated for the next best bouldering area in Europe, behind Fontainebleau.
Albarracin is well known for it's ancient sandstone blocks that are solid and situated in a forest. Michiel climbs 'The Indian Secret Garden (direct)' which is at the beginning of the video, and then 'Mufasa', both graded at 8B.
As fall is on its way, I can't help and have to think back about this beautiful cold day, early last year.
Valle Bavona is an amazing place. It is remote and located far north in the mountains in one of the large Ticino-Valleys. There are just a few small picturesque villages like Sonlerto, which is well known after dosage4. So, not much there, but it is littered with huge granite boulders and stunning lines. Most of it is not climbable, due to choss or no holds. But then there are famous climbs: Dave Graham's 'Coup de Grace', 'Kings of Sonlerto', 'Off the wagon', 'Elysium' and 'Trigonometry'. All five start lines will make your jaw drop for sure when you see them for the first time.
'Heritage' is not freestanding as other lines, but nevertheless is a stunnig line with an amazing climb. Really powerful, still subtle with the various body placements and with a great move to the lip, followed by a few interesting slab moves (especially with ice-cold fingers), a bit higher above the ground. To make it short; a real must-do. Pure fun to climb.
The walk-in-start from the original start to 'Heritage'
After completing 'Heritage' from its original start, I wanted to have a look at a proper sit-down-start. Heritage has a 'walk-in-start'. That means you take the starting holds first and place the feet afterwards. But, you can grab the same holds from sitting (on a small starter pad; no big pads or stacking pads like in the old days) and you have footholds straight underneath as well. The crux now is to bring your feet from the start footholds to the very right where you need them for the big first move. After some puzzling and some sore ab-muscles, caused by the toe hooking, I found a very nice solution,
#MoonTeam athlete, Miiguel Navarro, had an amazing day discovering the beautiful Vall de Boi, a valley in the heart of the Pyrenees, where he climbed at Cavallers bouldering. There are numerous climbing routes with different difficulties, all of which are granite.
After a frustrating 6 months, looping in circles around a seemingly reluctant to heal pulley injury, I'm just reaching the point where things are coming in to place again. After another period of rest and some slow fingerboard progression, I'm getting to the exciting point where I can think about training and pushing myself properly again.It's so easy to get in to a backwards-forwards cycle with finger injuries, especially during the problematic period when they permit you to climb, but not to your full ability. For those who enjoy pushing themselves, and have expectations of what level they expect to perform at, it can be really challenging to reign in and re-establish the perimeters of difficulty which you should be climbing within. That said, this slow progression of intensity is so important within the recovery process, and so this is a conflict which needs to be navigated one way or another.Featured in the videos, are some examples of times in which I have been recently lured astray by this very temptation to push myself at times when I probably shouldn't. Whilst success stories in themselves, I can also safely say that there were times trying these climbs where I was pushing myself beyond what was sensible, and making my finger worse as a result (spot me fiddling around with it whilst trying Chahala!). I guess we're always making compromises when trying to succeed, and perhaps in some cases getting that project done does justify the prolonging of an injury. Ultimately it all comes down to being mindful of the toll being taken on you're body and not getting carried away in the heat of the moment.It's nice now to be at a point where I can start pushing myself unhindered and get excited for lots of training and climbing in the near
"If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together“
Out of all the possible answers to the eternal question, "How to climb better?“, there is one that universally works for everybody. It is a simple tip: Climb with motivated and strong(er) people.
You can spend a lifetime on your own in the best gym or outdoor climbing area, following the best training programs, eating healthy, sleeping well - but I am convinced that it can´t compare to what is possible to achieve when you share strong team spirit and motivation with a bunch of others. Don´t get me wrong, I am capable to train alone for days, I usually enjoy it and I believe that one on one training sessions with myself are generally the best option. However, at the same time I feel blessed for always having somebody to share my passion with. Regardless of whether it was with a single partner or the whole team, these people significantly shaped me as a climber and a human being. Perhaps it is good luck, but surely it is also the outcome of my instictive quest for a relationship with others.
Climbing is presented as an individual activity but this, in general, is far from reality. Isn´t it interesting that we call Bouldering the most individual way to climb, yet at the same time, we often call it the most social way to climb? Yes, we did all those moves on our own, but reaching that final performance is strongly supported with others in numerous ways.
During last winter, a team that I was working with pushed me further than I was capable to do on my own. It was a pure example of teamwork magic and it truly inspired me to write this blog. Also, in Spring I travelled to a virgin rock location to do some bolting and it was an extremely motivational trip, as I was with a strong team of people who were full of encouragement.
I am deeply gratefull for all of this.
//Photo credit Enna Peros: