About three years ago I tried "The Dagger" for the first time. Back then, I thought I could do it pretty quick but practice showed me something different. It took me five sessions to find a beta that worked for me. Since I started to try it out in March and the conditions in Cresciano got warmer and warmer, it turned out to be a real physical and mental battle to finish it. Luckily two more sessions was enough to complete it.
At that moment, Dave Grahams sit start, "The Story of Two Worlds" (8c), seemed to be totally out of reach for me.
The next years I started to try the moves of "The Story of Two Worlds" once or twice a year just for fun, but "The Dagger" still felt really hard to me. The lower moves were possible but they felt really difficult.
At this seasons New Years Trip to Ticino, something was different and I found some crucial betas for "The Dagger". With the new tricks, my personal grade of the boulder switched from 8b+ to 8a+ and I was able to do it a few times a day.
Since the lower moves still felt pretty hard, I had to re-check my solution and found a really good lock-off heel hook for the move into the little Gaston jug from "The Dagger".
I had about five sessions this trip, two of them were really wet but I always learned something new. I was able to climb from three moves in to the top for a few times. On the last day of the trip, I was able to climb two times from the start to the last hard moves. I felt good about this, apart from being soaking wet.
Due to this highpoint I came back for a little two day solo mission on the next weekend. Expectations were high, maybe too high. I had to fight hard to even climb "The Dagger” as coming from the start felt impossible. Pretty disappointed, I went to stay at my friends’ apartment, Alfons Dornauer and Florian Schamlzl, who were in Ticino for a week. After a really funny evening with some good food and a few motivational words by my friends, I went back on the next day with no expectations. At the warm up, I realised that everything felt much better than the day before. Just before the highest temperature of the day, I reached my highpoint by falling on the last hard move. After doing “The Dagger” for so many times, I didn't think to mess it up on this move.
Back at home I was quite disappointed and took two weeks of absence from the boulder. I took everything a bit less serious and didn't train too much. When I drove back with my friend Flo, I felt extremely tired and weak, but after warming up on the upper moves I felt pretty confident to make some good efforts. This day it was rather warm and the sun shone directly on the righthand slopers, so we fixed some pads on a little tree nearby to make shade and cooler conditions. When I reached the start of “The Dagger” on this day, I felt really nervous but somehow I managed to get back in my mental bubble and I kept on going.
In the end, it turned out to be a real fight. When I reached the slab, my nerves came rushing back because it was soaking wet. I tried to calm down a little bit and after reaching the top I couldn’t believe it! Nevertheless it still felt as if there was something missing.
After a big rest, I decided to check out the moves of Dai Koyamadas’ low start. At the beginning it felt really strange and hard for the core but after some effort and trying different betas, I found a way that worked for me. I made a few good tries but somehow I always missed the little Gaston jug from "The Dagger".
As the darkness arrived, we started to put our lights on. I just wanted to make a few more tries. I sat down at the start and had strong feelings of happiness and satisfaction about my day. I started to climb and went through the first part with a really good flow and reached the start of "The Dagger" for the first time. I still felt really good and climbed through the first crux pretty solid. The last crux turned out to be a hell of a fight, yet somehow I managed to keep going. Standing in the no-hand rest on the slab, in the total darkness, was an unreal experience. My friend Flo gave me his headlamp and I continued to the top. I couldn’t believe it. I nabbed the second ascent of Dai Koyamadas’ "The story of Two Worlds” low start, (supposed to be 8c+ but with all the new betas I think it’s about an 8c). Props to Dai for the first ascent, the way he did it is much harder and I’m pretty sure it deserves the 8c+ this way!
It’s always special to climb such an iconic piece of rock. Back in the days, I couldn't even imagine to climb this problem one day.
I always had a lot of fun trying these moves together with a lot of old and new friends, even if sometimes the top out was soaked. Nevertheless, I am overwhelmed to have finished it.
Thanks to everyone who supported me on this journey.