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!

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