One thing was for sure: After such great climbing in the Rocklands over six weeks there were two possibilities to go on. The first was to take a period of resting and just get over the really bad months in the Frankenjura while doing nothing! Especially doing nothing that has to do with rocks. Maybe you have some bbq, go for a bit of swimming and yes, relaxing! The alternative could have been trying to fight the bad conditions and to start a daily little war against creasy and wet rocks or boulders, tons of mosquitos, sweating during the climb and deal with the pain of sweat in the eyes and of course cool down the swollen fingers after nearly every climb which is harder than stairs.
Above: Classic bouldering in the Val di Daone
At the beginning I´ve chose the second possibility but only for the first week after South Africa. I accepted that´s definitely the wrong time for being motivated! So I switched to the chilling mode, doing only a bit of indoor climbing which is also weird when it´s outside like 32 degrees with blue sky. I had the plan just to get over that period of one month and then go on a one week trip to the Alps. This would also be the last trip during my time as a free person. It becomes serious because of starting my job as a teacher at a vocational business school.
Ah, I forgot that we´ve been once in the Zillertal for trying an 8a which is called Pressure Drop. I hate the feeling of granite which is like 30 degrees warm. No, it wasn´t fun and I don´t want to speak about that (grrrrrh).
Above: Fabian Christof on Pressure Drop 8A in the Zillertal
So the idea was to go to the Zillertal again and finish the Pressure “Flop”, go to the “Charity Boulder Meeting” and after the Charity go to Magic Wood, Zillertal or Silvretta. Things never turn out the way you expect! As we woke up in the morning and we hiked up to the problem: “It was wet, shit!” All my motivation bursts like a bubble. Fortunately a friend of us had the idea to go to Val Daone. It’s more to the south and has normally I quite solid weather situation. The only thing was that the Charity Cup took place two days later. That means driving 330km south and then the 330km back to Innsbruck and 80km to Flirsch. Let me say: “It was a great idea!” Ok, maybe I am a bit to euphoric but it was definitely the best what we could make out of it. Val Daone is a nice little area with a few granite boulders made of high quality granite. We had nice climbing day, an original Italian pizza and of course, ice cream!
Above: The Charity Cup; an 1980's theme and 'strenuous' paty night.
One day later we were psyched for Flirsch. The Charity Cup is always a really nice event where you meet some old fellows from all over Europe, climb a few enjoyable plastic boulders and have a strenuous party at night. The motto was going back to the eighties, so there was retro scenery with a lot of climbers wearing a pair of tiger leggings in combination with shrill-colored shirts. Always again a very relaxed bouldering comp and it was a pleasure to meet all the Austrian guys again. We also met Ignasi, a mate from Spain who was psyched to join us for the rest of our little trip.
Above: Fabian Christof on Charity Boulder 8A+ / 8B
After Flirsch there were four days left. Unfortunately, the weather situation wasn´t forecast that good for the next two days. One day wouldn´t have been a problem, most of us needed a rest day anyway, but no one was keen on two rest days. We checked the weather for nearly every area that would be possible to drive and we decided to go to Murg or to the Amden cave. After 180km driving to Suisse we arrived with heavy rain. Everything was wet! Ok, that Murg is wet was actually clear but we thought we had a trump: The big cave in Amden. It was also a huge mistake! Nearly every hold was soaked. Our motivation was definitely on a very low level. We drove all way back to Flirsch, arrived late at night with more rain.
Above: Fabian Christof on Charity Boulder 8A+ / 8B
Two days later the bad weather was gone and I was optimistic to climb at a cave project which I tried two years ago. Luck was on our side, the cave was dry. I was pretty surprised that it was still a project. It´s more or less the sit down start to a high 7c which is called “Skiroute 4”. The climb itself is powerful with weird heel and toe hooking. There are two possibilities to finish the roof section. You can go straight on into the Skiroute or you choose the left exit which is a bit more like a traverse to the end. I knew that the direct version was too hard for me at the moment because of a huge dyno at the link into the highball. As I did the Skiroute it has taken me many tries to stick that dyno, so the chances were not high to do that move in combination. Andi, Ignasi and I started to figure out the moves. My old solution worked well and we started to try it from the start. Ignasi found a very nice alternative for the hard toe hook sequence and did the first ascents of both variations. The left line is called “Charity Boulder” and the direct finish “Skiroute-Project”. Short time after the first ascent I was able to repeat the Charity. I was really happy to finish it this time especially as it was so close two years ago. Both of them are something around 8a+ or 8b, I don´t know!
After the Silvretta-Trip I did a short visit to Zillertal again and finished my little curse “Pressure Drop”. Although I had to fight for this problem a long time I really like the moves and the entire boulder. It´s a nice combination between body power and finger strength, mixed up with a bit technique
Above: Orange 9mm 8A / 8A+
Since we came back I spent most of my time on plastic. This has two reasons: The first is because of the shitty weather which doesn´t motivates me to go outside and the second is the new job. The work gives me a kind of new energy. Hopefully I am not misunderstood! Doing years more or less nothing else than climbing can also be frustrating sometimes. Of course, climbing is the “best” thing you can do but a little (or a bigger) change can´t be wrong. Since I have to do a regular job from Monday until Friday I am really motivated for training and after five weeks I´m feeling stronger than ever. Now the good conditions are coming to the Frankenjura and I have enough goals to get the proof if the plastic work will pays off. With doing the first ascent of “Orange 9mm” which could be hard 8a or 8a+ I started to go outside again and I am looking forward to more outdoor climbing.