During the summer heat, the waves in France have been perfect for surfing and doing some other stuff you normally don’t get to do when you hang around in some dark obscure caves... ;)
Back home I was looking forward to getting in bouldering shape again for the "Highlander” project at Sustenpass. I have seen the line of "Highlander" the very first time when I was up at Sustenpass some 7years ago. The line climbs the only visible holds from the very right to the very left of a stunning, proud boulder. Back then I was not able to climb even one single move. But the line never let me go. During the following years I was able to climb the single parts of the line. Last year I was finally able to escape in the crux and top out direct. On the very last day of the season before winter I did the FA of "Deadalus, 8B+" and I knew that "Highlander" really could be possible for me as well.
Above: On the FA of "Deadalus, 8B+". "Highlander" follows the line of holds in the middle and goes out at the top very left. Pic by angelawagner.ch
While waiting for fall to kick-in I was "training" power endurance on "Highlander" and was pretty quickly climbing it twice a day from two hard moves in. Some may argue, that a 7B/C -boulder in front of an 8B/+ will not make any difference. Well then, go there and try it. You may… will think differently afterwards ;) And for me it was and still is all the difference!
Above: Discussing beta with Dai Koyamada at Sustenpass. Pic by angelawagner.ch
While climbing at Sustenpass, it was a great honor to get company from Dai Koyamada and Ikuko Serata. The two are some of the kindest people you will ever meet. And it’s absolutely amazing to watch Dai climbing. It always looks like gravity does not matter at all to him. He climbs so fast and so accurate, its pure pleasure to watch him. In just a few days up there he took down nearly every hard boulder, including the second ascent of "Deadalus, 8B+", and the FA of "Paradise lost, 8B/8B+" and the FA of "Deadalus direct, 8B+/8C".
Above: Dai Koyamada on the FA of "Deadalus, direct, 8B+/8C, Sustenpass". Pic by angelawagner.ch
After some weeks of training in the project I got in pretty good shape myself and managed to go down on the very last hard move. Afterwards I got even twice a day into the two, second last hard moves. I climbed around six times the "Ikarus-part, around 8B+ for itself). So it was only a matter of time until I would succeed on "Highlander". But somehow I did not get nice conditions anymore and despite feeling super strong I did not even got through the first crux (6moves lower then my highpoint) anymore. And as I feared, with the nice, cold temps then came also some heavy snowfall... so Susten is off. If I am very lucky I will get another week near the end of October before the "real-winter" kicks in... This project is a perfect illustration how less "I am physically able to climb that boulder" does mean. So many other things have to come together
Above: On the second-last-move of "Highlander". On the next move I went down on my best try. Pic by Ikuko Serata.
This boulder really has nothing for free for me. Already on "Deadalus" I went down with the final-jug in my hands literally just minutes before winter hit. This year in late spring I went down in the middle of the crux because of a broken foothold, now winter hit four weeks too early with me falling at the very last hard move... a real EPIC! But that seems somehow appropriate for a "Highlander" doesn't it... I just wonder what will be next?!