woensdag 13 augustus 2014

Holiday recap

Just a few more days and the summer holidays are over. Due to several reasons I didn't get to climbing outdoors nearly as much as I'd wanted, but other things in life sometimes get in the way of our desires... On the bright side, I'm paving the way to a nearby future that gives me the flexibility to climb more and achieve my goals. If that means a little less rock climbing now, I consider it a good investment. That said, I did get out a bit and in particular two days in Berdorf with Frans stand out. I finally climbed an old Nemesis that somehow slipped through my fingers on a few occasions when I tried it at the end of previous visits: the beautiful 'Kaffisdous'. It's the final 7a+ I hadn't yet climbed in Berdorf and with an easy start and a hard 12 move power endurance finish it should be right up my alley, but long story short it turned out to be a real pain in the neck to climb it. Consequently, I was very happy to do it now with Frans. Followed by an unexpectedly quick ascent of the vertical 'Tapis Roulant' 7b+ with a very fingery boulder crux on my second attempt (while putting up the quickdraws...) and an ascent of the vertical technotour 'Superschlup' 7b (generously graded 7b+ in the guide with an ambiguous definition) on my first attempt, the results of this trip are the highlights of the holiday. Other short excursions to rock unfortunately didn't give the desired results. I've been puzzled by a bit of a summer dip similar to the one I experienced last year and started to suspect that food and sleep could play a big role in it. So I made some alterations in my diet and I'll write more on that soon! Additionally I'm implementing changes in the way I train, with more attention for general fitness, injury prevention and flexibility. Also more on that soon... Now, I'll set my mind to the next year of work, getting back behind the school desks myself and I'll dream about the places I'd like to visit while saving for a van that can get me there with the dogs. Meanwhile, I'll be training my ass off to shine whenever it's time again.

donderdag 19 juni 2014

Teuto again

Here's a video of a few boulders I climbed during two visits to Teuto in the past weeks, ranging from approximately 6B to 7B. The most interesting ascent was that of 'Quicky' for sure, which was anything but quick. I tried this heinous sitstart from two terrible sidepulls quite a few times in the past two years, but never managed to even get my butt off the ground. This time I found the way to do it and it took only a few more attempts to catch the next hold. After that the climbing is much easier, about 6C boulder. I also made good progress in a very cool - archetypal Teuto - traverse project, not shown in the video. It's long, steep, crimpy and very sustained. I hope to get back on it soon and I'll try to make a video of it! First I'll be in Berdorf this weekend though. I hope it hasn't gotten too crowded there, but I fear the worst... On the other hand: enough hard potential projects left there, one must be free for sure!

donderdag 5 juni 2014

Woody upgrade

I've been off the radar for a while. Honestly I've only climbed once in two weeks time... I spent my evenings correcting exams and snacking calories rather then burning them away. But that should change now, most of the work is done! To fuel my motivation, an amazing treat arrived yesterday: a great selection of Core climbing holds hand picked for a steep woody by Core co-owner Leo himself. When I told Matt (from Flow climbing) I was quite passively looking for a good set of slopers and pinches a while ago, he immediately contacted the guys at Core Climbing. I wasn't too confident he would succeed in meeting my quite unreasonable list of demands: slopers and pinches happen to be big, heavy and therefore expensive holds and I had quite a limited budget to offer. On top of that, it isn't easy to find a suitable set of sloping holds for an over 40 degrees overhanging board. Nevertheless, Matt was very confident. And he was right: a few e-mails and photos later a hand picked selection of pinches, slopers, small footholds and shiny new allen bolts - all selected for the purpose of setting roughly seventh grade boulders on my steep woody - was sent out. So today I unpacked a huge box stuffed with brightly coloured resin, happy as a child. A big thank you to Matt and Core is in place for their great help, outstanding service and seemingly endless patience in dealing with all my wishes and questions!

The goodies packed and unpacked, plastic-junky Coen giving them a first inspection.
About the holds then. I gave them a quick try in the afternoon and I am very pleased! Some are just good enough for big powerful moves, others are barely good enough to move from at all. Leo from Core has done a superb job selecting exactly the right holds. The texture of the holds is great too, they have a very rough and natural feel. The selection consist mostly of holds from the 'geometric' range: relatively simply shaped, ergonomic training holds. The 'geometric pinches' are awesome, the 'geometric mini wedges' (the red triangles, which aren't anything near 'mini') are brilliantly awkward and the 'geometric domes' are downright terrible to hold on to, as are the 'mini slopers' from the 'core' range. They target some of my weaker grip positions perfectly: I am mostly good at pulling hard from positive edges and none of these new holds come close to being positive. This upgrade of my woody has painfully reminded my of how much I suck at climbing on slopers and amped up my motivation for training hard again. It will draw me out of my comfort zone for sure and has dramatically increased the versatility of my board (and not to mention its colourfulness). Time to lock myself in the attic again, get my butt kicked by those horrible slopers and hopefully come out a stronger climber!

And ready to use!

vrijdag 23 mei 2014

Ups and downs

I promised to write again when there's something to write about. There is - or rather has been - already a week ago. Within a day after the last rain and quite literaly in the first rays of sunlight I went back to Teuto on Thursday evening. Belayed by Matt I managed to climb 'Banane ohne Rampe' (7c+), after almost four weeks of waiting to get back on it. It was very satisfying and like often on a hard readpoint it didn't feel very hard anymore when I climbed it. It's easy to forget how often I've fallen off and discredit the accomplishment... I shouldn't though, this is my second route higher than 7c and another confirmation I've breached that ceiling!

I didn't film my ascent of Banane ohne Rampe (it was quite dark), but here's a screenshot of a video I made while working it on the previous session. The picture shows the onset of the final hard move.
Last weekend the weather forecasts were incredibly good for the Twente/NRW region and Matt and I ventured to Ith for another day of rock climbing. Matt convinced me to visit the Bisperoder Klippen, which offers lots of easy climbing and a few interesting butresses with a selection of high quality harder routes. It's a quiet area, probably because of the long approach walk: about an hour. We were told about a shorter (but tricky to find) way though and decided to give that a shot. It ended up taking us over 80 minutes of wandering, but on the way back we were much more efficient. Let's consider it an investment in future visits. And there will be a future visit: as it turned out, the weather in Ith wasn't quite as good as it was nearer to home. After a failed onsight attempt on the first serious route - 'Zingulum' 9- (7b+) - it started raining quite heavily. It didn't stop for the rest of the day and although it's overhanging, the route got very damp. I'd like to blame the conditions for not sending Zingulum, but in all honesty I felt weak the entire day. I may not have done it in good conditions either... On top of that it turned out that there is an easier sequence than the one we used. I'll go back later to give it a shot! I guess I can't expect to peak on every day outside...

But right now, I'll have to wait. My students have finished their final exams and I'm busy correcting their work for the next two weeks. I'd be surprised if there's much time left for climbing.