Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Winter training!

Yes, Summer is changing into Autumn, so time go get started with my axes again.
Yesterday evening we (Dennis and me) had our first real drytool session. So much fun!
I got a mission for this Winter. Part of the mission are the competitions in Korea, Italy, Switzerland and more... So, time to get started :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Work is boring...but good for loads of climbing!

Sometimes work is boring, stupid and you hardly get paid for all your effort...But, with this tiny bit of extra money I can climb more :)
I was sanding dolls, preparing them for a paint job. I hope to make promotion soon... ;) But they're right: work less, climb more!

*** Uhhh, Hans Boodt doesn't want me to publish anything from their company, so I was forced to remove the video...***

Goodbye Chloé...

Last Sunday I was climbing in Ettringen.
I had loads of fun, climbed my first 5.12a trad onsight and felt just good.
But, then I got a phonecall...bad news, sad news...

Chloé Graftiaux died last Saturday.
Chloé was one of the most versatile climbers, one of the best even.
She became third on the Worldcup Boulder, won iceclimbing competitions, climbed 8b+, climbed the most difficult things in the Alps, Yosimite and more...

Chloé was descending from the l'Aiguille noire de Peuterey (Mont Blanc massif) when she got dragged by a falling rock. She fell 600m.

So sad...
She was a very inspiring young girl, friendly, fun, enthusiastic, super strong and a bit crazy sometimes (like on the Saas Fee iceclimbing afterparty).

(Pictures: website Chloé and Hans van der Steen)

Friday, August 20, 2010

The last week

Loads of things going on now back in Holland.
Probably a new place to live, a new job, new thoughts and climbing ambitions.
This weekend I'll be trying to climb the cracks in Ettringen together with Kris, Roland and Jelle. Sweet!

I made some time this week to make the last clip of our Summer trip and surf the internet for some new stuff....:

New video's.
Before we started our holiday we went to "Nordwand" a movie about one of the first attempts on the Eiger northface. We watched the movie in an empty cinema due to the football match. We beoth don't like football so it was perfect timing.
An impressive movie of how two climbers live their dream and risk their lives in a time of war. The Second World War.
We both had a teardrop in our eyes in the end of the movie, just because it's so hard, beautiful, painful to watch.
You really should see Nordwand I think.

Now, theres another movie: Metanoia. Again about the Eiger. Again the northface. Different times, same passion. It's more a kind of documentary about the life of Jeff Lowe and how he came to climbing his extremely hard line on the Eiger. See the trailer of the movie here.
Hmmm, imagine being strong enough to climb that line...

But those famous climbers are not the only ones trying to get up to the summits.
Sometimes life isn't as easy as it all looks. Sometimes life tries to take away everything you have and you have to fight to get it back. Then, when you have it all back again (sort of) it's the most beautiful thing to do: climb. That is kind of what Ágúst is doing: "Going up, despite limitations" is what is website says. And that's basically what he's been doing with his life and with his climbing this Summer. Curious? Read about his adventures on his blog here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back in Holland

It's been more then a month since I was last in Holland. My home-country still feels like a holiday country: good reason to visit friends and family, but not a place to live for now.
It's been raining a lot in the Alps. It's actually raining now...
Meaning we had to bail out of our last two routes: Motorhead and Salbit SW-grat. (Both in Swiss)
For me it meant: time to go back home and time to start working. Wait for some good weather the in next months.

Motorhead, in the sector Eldorado, slab, corners on good, good granite. (Trad, of course) but as the crack turned into a slippery waterfall in the rain, we bailed out of the third pitch.

We bivouacked under some rock the right before and were quite disappointed as we'd put quite some energy in getting there. So, as the forecast was better for the next days we went for our second project: Salbit.

Some days before we decided to drive to Chamonix as the weather was bad, bad, bad. We met Roeland and he gave us the advice for the Salbit and Motorhead.
It was so good to meet Roeland. He's such an motivating factor for my climbing and my dedication to climbing. He understands what I want with my life (climbing) and is not like a parent, worried- or workaholic-friend, he just sees what I want and motivates me to live my life as I want it: full of climbing. (Thanks Roeland)

Salbit, I said. We walked up last Sunday to the Salbithütte and then the Salbit bivouac. Because of the new (2009) bridge and the bivouac-hut it was a long but good walk.
We didn't knew there was such a good bivouac hut, providing not only shelter but also a bed, sleepingbags, maps and more for at least 8 climbers just under the start of the routes.
Although it was so warm in the hut, that is was better to sleep outside on my Therm-a-Rest then on the banana-shaped-mattress in my -20ºC down sleepingbag.

We woke up at 4:30h to be in time before the next bad-weather-front would come in that midday.
Quite hard to climb the first pitches in darkness (no moon, just clouds and our Tikka headlamp) but we survived and climbed on in the morning light. The wall was full of lost gear, so Dennis sometimes had to stop to hammer out a nut. I don't have a collection of nuts (enough cams though) but after this holiday I can use my own rack...
I was trying to be faster then average. This holiday I figured I'm such a slow climber and walker. Especially compared to Dennis, and he says he's slow compared to some of his friends...
And for this line we needed some fast climbing. The guys who were in the wall yesterday only climbed the first wall when we arrived, meaning they still had about 20 pitches to go out of 30 in the afternoon...Logically they didn't make it and abseiled out.
Roeland warned us, that it would take more then 18 hours for some climbers.

We were just over half-way and had the longest pitches behind us. But it was already midday. Bad weather would come in soon we guessed, having clouds and wind around the mountain and dark-grey skies in the background. And then we still had to climb around 10-15 pitches at least, abseil down and walk back to the van. We decided now, that it was still possible to abseil down, we should do that. With a very double feeling in our stomach we went down leaving the top of the route far behind us in the clouds.

We knew it was our last route of the Summer. After a month full of beautiful climbing, this was quite a bummer. We both wanted to finish with something beautiful.

When I look back, I'm very critical and serious and see more clearly what I can do and what it is to climb trad multipitch like I did this Summer.
Dennis is an experienced climber, a better climber in trad and alpine. I'm just a sportsclimber, a boulderer accidentally "falling up" to the tops of mountain trad lines. Without Dennis guidance I guess I wouldn't have climbed the things we climbed. Though, I became more fluent, faster, better and more confident the more I climbed. On the end of the trip I had the feeling I was just getting started. Up for more, up for more serious things.

Now back in Holland I know I have to work on some things: ice/mixed climbing, stamina and fluency. I have to become faster. faster in walking, climbing, iceclimbing. So I've been running, cycling, finessing and climbing.
Though, climbing is a bit a difficult point. I need somebody to climb with. I'm fed up by going to the gym every time again and figuring that I can just only go bouldering. I need a bitch, a belaybitch. (So, if you need a belaybitch as well, please mail or call me).

Meanwhile I'm writing again and arranging all the things to have a place to live and work.
Which is actually quite hard, hard to find a cheap room or apartment, hard to find a place to work. I'm trying to find something close to Rotterdam/Barendrecht/Dordrecht/Zwijndrecht...
Suggestions and help is welcome!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Summer trip pt3.

Chamonix got one place which is always good. Not healty, but handy: MacDonalds. With free internet :) Time to post something new on my blog.
Loads has happened since my last post. The best thing was my one-midday-visit to Céüse and climbing Pic de Bure: TD+ 6a+ max (and A0) 29 pitches 600m.

We were so much into trad and multipitch mode that we decided to do a nice line on a nice wall. Not knowing that the thing was so impressive: until the last pitch you just didn't see the top of the wall and you had just a big, big, big wall beneath you. Abseiling was almost impossible (as the topo wrote, and as we figured on the way up...) so just one option: up! After 10 pitches we got quite lost and weren't sure any longer if we were on pitch 11, 12, 13, 14...or wherever on the wall...
And that's what we did in 25hrs and 30 minutes (including one bivouac on the 7th? pitch)
We were so happy we made it all the way!
Later we had a good pizza birthday party and drove to La Bérarde to get to the Dibona.
We had been lucky with the weather all the time, but now: rain, thunder and even wet snow... We had to wait for 2days before we could walk up and climb. We climbed one line (took out 3 cams, one nut and a ATC Guide) and rain again... :( So we decided to walk down again and drive to Chamonix for our last Summer days...
Dennis has to be back in Holland on the 12th/13th so hopefully some good last days here in Cham!