One of the interesting things about being able to return to bouldering areas year on year, is the ability to see change. Change in the climbing environment. Change in the boulders. Change in the community, and of course change in yourself. For me, seeing the changes in myself, and the climbing areas often provide the most reflective moments of any trip. Ultimately this is what keeps me coming back to climbing for more.
From a performance standpoint, returning to boulders you have tried through the years and not done is always a chance to learn. It can be a satisfying moment, seeing a move which was once simply too hard, brought into possibility in a matter of moments. This realisation is without doubt one of my favourite aspects of climbing. It’s also a feeling which is only given with hard work, and an attention to the detail of the move itself. Sometimes it’s a simple thing; “I need to be stronger on pinches”. Other times it’s more subtle; “my body needs to be strong in this quite specific position which only uses this tiny muscle”. But there is always something to learn. When you return to the boulder for the 5th year, and it’s still not possible, you begin to ask more questions; “is this a technical thing?”, “do I need to spend more time on this style of hold or move?”. Finding ways to improve for these problems is what keeps me going, and brings me back to these areas. The broader problem solving aspect of how to improve can be very addictive. You constantly want to know if you’ve improved, addressed weaknesses and created new strengths. Vecchio Leone in Brione was the problem that gave me this experience on this trip to Switzerland. My ability on pinches relative to my last attempts years prior is night and day, and I suppose I have the School Room's famous problem ‘Milk It’ to thank for this. Cheers Malc.
Seeing changes in your mentality is perhaps even more satisfying than changes in physicality. Being content with spending several days on a pr
Posted: February 02, 2015
[caption id="attachment_17443" align="aligncenter" width="980"] Insantiy of Grandeur, 8C - Chironico. Pic by angelawagner.ch[/caption] Already back in 2004 I was sitting underneath this big boulder in the 101-area at Chironico. I wanted to try the newly established problems "Einfisch" and "Delusion" but unintendedly tried them from a lower (and much harder) start. I could not do one move from that lower start but also was unable to climb more then a few moves from the existing problems. But from the very moment I was hooked up by the features and the lines on that impressive boulder, it looked just too good not to be climbed. [caption id="attachment_17447" align="aligncenter" width="980"] Insantiy of Grandeur, 8C - Chironico. Pic by angelawagner.ch[/caption] In 2009 I was back and managed to send "Einfisch" - and started to have a look at that low-start again. It took a while. After a lot of puzzle-solving and many falls from the very last moves I manged to establish "Der mit dem Fels tanzt, 8C" in late spring 2012. Right after this ascent I had a look a the logical other line to this funky and powerful lowstart. Trying to exit straight over "Delusion". I made good use of my form and was getting close but injured myself pretty bad on another project. Meanwhile visiting strongman Dai Koyamda did the first asent of the line and called it "Insanity of Grandeur, 8C". After one year of rehab I was back and getting close again but then winter hit and it was just too cold. Next spring I managed to fall twice a day two moves from
Posted: December 31, 2014
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="715"] After waiting all day at Ticino for "Insanity" to dry without success; change of program: Walk up to Sustenpass, 2000m above sea level, 1st of Dezember; "Highlander-Project", 0:30AM, 0C, very windy, COLD, climbing into the last move again...[/caption] It looks like it just does not matter what i try and when i try... i can make my way up to the last move(s) of any of my lifetime projects, at -2C or at +20C... in the dry... in the wet... but just don't send... either it's too cold, i am too tired, too rested, too.... "something"... and then i suddenly start falling off the first move.... then every other move and then fighting up to the last one again... to go down on that as well... but i am working on the "something" - and i will get to that top(s)... sooner or later!!! [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="733"] "Insanity of Grandeur, 8C'ish" - You can get to the lip and still go down - Just froze off while resting and desperately trying to get any sensation back into my fingertips... - grrrrrrrrrr[/caption] I brushed it up some years ago, came close, got injured and now at least I managed to climb "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 off the end of "Insanity" - i think i could have a good go on the full line as well
Posted: May 17, 2014
And another one of the multiyear-projects down - it was one of the oldest undone projects left in Brione - happy times - could get used to that :) First Ascent of "NIKE, 8B+", Brione, Switzerland. Pic by angelawagner.ch There was a lot of rain lately and many of the visiting "cracks" escaped Swizzy or went to Mellobloco. But then weather in Swizzy is pretty unpredictable. Out of the nowhere we got a short window of crazy foen-wind that dried everything in a few hours and pleased the climbers with some of the best conditions ever!!!
Posted: January 15, 2014
After a quick 15 hour flight from Salt Lake City-Chicago-Dublin and finally Paris, the once far away magical forest of Fontainebleau was within my grasp. I love returning to an area 10 years later for its as if I had never been, everything fresh and new but still so familiar, a bit of deja vu was clearly present. We snatched up our spiffy French car and hit the road, after sussing out our living sitiuation with a good friend the time had come to attack the precious boulders. Unfortunately the ever present moisture and dew had devoured the boulders and never seemed to evaporate. Climbing in Fontainebleau is by far one of the most technical styles of rock in the world, its also extremely temperature dependent. The conditions were completely horrible, and even the thought of projecting anything above the warmup grade was out of the question. It was fun for a day or two but after 3 weeks of the continuous let down, my mind began to go a little cuckoo. Nearing the end of our France adventure, in hopes of being in the best shape ever and ready to give the full on Utahn invasion of Great Britian, the exact opposite was at hand, too much delicious pastries, wine and cheese mixed with no climbing, made for some ruff times ahead.
With the dreams of Fontainebleau behind us it was time to venture onto the next chapter. England! Sheffield!