Wednesday, January 26, 2011

6th on the Worldcup

Finally, after a year of recovering, climbing and dedication to the sports, I did it...I climbed the finals of the worldcup iceclimbing!
And I wasn't even too bad. Out of 8 who reached the finals I became 6th! With a very, very close distance to the 5th, 4th and 3th place :)
Meaning: I'm improving!
Now, we're already far away from Saas Fee again, back in Kandersteg. With enough ice this time to climb some real ice routes.
I find it difficult, sometimes scary, tiring, cold! And it's logical, we're on an iceclimbing trip so we should climb ice :)
This weekend we'll climb a competition again, Rabenstein it will be. Not a worldcup but a high-class competition with many worldcup climbers.
And then it will be Romania we'll head for. For the third worldcup of the season.
Together with Dutch climber Ferdinand Schulte we'll try to do well in Busteni.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saas Fee Worldcup Finals!

Yes, I did it!
For the first time I'm in the finals of the worldcup iceclimbing.
Just climbed the semi-finals and managed to climb further then most of the climbers.
So, around 16:15h you can watch me live...

Watch live streaming video from iceclimbing at

Friday, January 21, 2011

Saas Fee Worldcup

Day one of the Worldcup in Saas Fee.
Only the speedclimbing to go for today.

The last days we tried to do some iceclimbing, but the weather here is pretty bad for iceclimbers: too warm... Though we found some in the youth-competition area in Saas Grund, close to Saas Fee.

The lead went okay. The route was easy, but I was a bit too slow on the top, the iceblock just before the last two moves. So I just didn't top, too bad! Though, hopefully good enough for tomorrow's semi-finals.

The men (Ferdinand and Dennis for the Netherlands) will climb this midday after 13:00h.
It's all live on the worldcup website here:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weather issues

Some people just love sun, warm weather and a stroll around the village.
I just can't wait to climb again!

We have a rest day today. Which means being bored all day: baking a pie with Cheongsong-apples, reading Donald Duck, knitting Dennis' sweater, sleeping a bit, eating the pie, washing clothes, taking a shower, drying the clothes, eating more pie, reading a bit, knitting again, sleeping again, a little walk how all the ice melts away.
It's so warm here that we haven't had a chance to get our axes in the ice. Just drytooling these two days. Not that it's bad to do so, we got pretty tired of our training, but, we're in the Alps, so we want ice.
Next Friday will be the Saas Fee Worldcup competition, so soon we'll drive to Saas Fee and get ready for some hard-good-fun climbing again.
If you're online, you can follow the whole comp live on the worldcup website here: WEBCAM

Friday, January 14, 2011

Seoul, Beijing, Frankfurt and Kandersteg: from rice to nice

Today, Kandersteg, after a big week of travelling.
There was hardly any ice left, it was even so warm that we could climb in a top!
Here my report of the last days in Korea and China and the iceclimbing Worldcup...

Going abroad is always something for me. It’s a must.

Getting to know different lifestyles, cultures, people, nature, views.

Going to Korea, not just Seoul the want-to-be-Western capital but also Cheongsong, the not so rich apple-farmers region. And later we even had the chance to visit Beijing. Strange to see how two countries, almost neighbours can differ so much and both be beautiful in their own way. And that next to the climbing, the actual reason I traveled all the way.

The finals, the last and most difficult thing of a competition.

Nerves, coldness, waiting, I missed it all, just missed it. I ended as number then less then a move away from the finals.

Finals with an exciting time battle for the two strongest men: Markus and Hee Yong.

And a painful judging mistake in the womens finals.

Already in the semi-finals we were surprised of the inconsistent judging considering clipping and back-clipping draws in advantage of a Korean climber. I was told in de qualifications that I touched the edge of the wall, I was sure I didn’t touch it so didn’t worry about it. Later I noticed some people were disqualified because of touching the edges, not even using the edges. Strange...

In the finals Angelika was last to climb. She climbed impressive during the semi-finals, making us confident of her strong position. She was the winner, for sure.

She missed a clip because of the wind that blew the twist behind the wall. Therefor she climbed back a couple moves, clipped it and climbed on. Her rope tightened as the judges found she had to come down. She refused and climbed on, and at the next draw here rope was tight again, she was forced to quit her climb. Over 11minutes in a cold isolation it was her turn again after Markus just finished his route. Cold, stressed, nervous she stood there again. What a shame it was she had to wait even longer because yet another draw hung wrong on the edge of the wall. Even colder she started her climb.

She climbed, clipped and fell! At the point she was just drawn out of the route! We thought a hold broke, Angelika wasn’t too sure about it. Exhausted, disappointed, cold, angry, confused she wasn’t even in the motivation to climb again. The routesetters were not even told to check the hold afterwards.

She became 7th and Maria Tokolina from Russia took first place.

What a shame!

If we ever want to get climbing more professional we should have consistent, fair, understanding, experienced and equal judging. We shouldn’t accept the judging as it was on this competition. This doesn’t count for all judges, we know who was fair and honest and who wasn’t. Please, UIAA, for the next competition, give us fair, equal, honest, democratic, experienced, liberal, professional judges.

Just a week went as fast as a flash. Just back in Europe on our way to Kandersteg I’m daydreaming still of all the views I’ve had in Cheongsong, Seoul and Beijing.

On the airport I wondered: where do all those people live? What will they do when they’re back home from work? Will there be a husband there, a grandmother, maybe a child? What will they eat, drink? How would they dress when they’re back home? What post do they get, as much newspapers, advertisement-junkmail?

I’m interested in how people, communities and governments create life and how it differs from what I consider as ‘normal’? Going out of your own town, country, continent makes all you know just relative.

So there we are, competition long behind us (one day) and eating some strange fish, leaves, raw beef, and a soup of hot water and some rice corns.

Back in Seoul is was overwhelming to see the enormous shopping streets full of Western look-a-like stores, proppers in front of the stores, big masses of young people and that all next to little alleys full of little stands with fake North Face jackets and fish snacks.

Unfortunately there was too little time to visit the O2-gym of climber Hee Yong Park. It has a big iceclimbing wall and drytooling wall, as we should have in Europe in every gym.

Together with Stephanie we were stand strong, become stronger, we should have a long competition wall somewhere in the alps, for us to train on before the competition season starts. A 30m. wooden wall to kick our crampons in, with holds as we find then on the comps in Saas Fee, Cheongsong and Busteni. To become strong and experienced before the seasons starts instead of during the competitions.

So hereby a call to all gym/wall owners/millionaires in the Alps/Netherlands: please sponsor us with a training wall :)

Tuesday already, time to leave for our 3+23+11 hour trip to Frankfurt. Over 23 hours on Beijing airport. To our surprise we figured we can get a temporally visa for China for this short amount of time. So there we went: to Beijing. By train and subway we arrived in the centre.

The first thing we noticed was that the Chinese are far not as polite as the Koreans. No bows, but spitting on the ground, even in the shopping malls, not waiting till all left the train but already try to get in...

The second thing....waiting for the customs we saw three Saudi women and one man. The women were fully covered in a Burka. And suddenly I realised how lucky I am by being born in the Netherlands instead of Saudi Arabia... What a freedom I have...
The third thing...we walked up the stairs out of the subway and stood in front of a big temple. Waaauw, welcome to Beijing!

What we missed a bit in Korea, the classic ancient buildings, were overwhelming in China. Just all looked like in a Chinese movie. All stereotype looks I had of China are true. People really do walk in the traditional dresses (not all though) Peking-duck really is sold here, the temples are real, and it’s not as dangerous as they write in the books.

The Tianmen square was closed. But secretly we walked into the forbidden city in between some Chinese that went for a piano concert. A bit alert we suddenly stood in the forbidden city between huge walls and even bigger ancient buildings. Oh, shit, how do we get out again without being noticed?

It was cold, we walked fast looking around, walking passed the security like it as completely normal that we were there. We walked on, passed some security standing on blocks, looking over all people in not understandable Chines we were pointed at and realised it would be better to turn around...we passed a gate again, all security suddenly woke up, pointed us back, we sudden walked back, they closed the gates and we were out again, safely. Hmmm, that was actually quite easy, lets not try it again.

We didn’t feel that lucky... :)

On the way we bought some cookies and tomato juice, drank it inside the shop as it was really cold outside, even for iceclimbers it was cold and we walked on again. Without a map, but armed with a note with some chinese writing. The most important word there stood was ‘airport’. In case we got lost, we always could ask a cab to drive us to the airport again...

Suddenly we got in a big, big shopping street full of expensive clothing and jewellery. We found a MacDonals but were looking for a pizza place. With just about an hour to reach the subway again (after 10:30 the subway would stop riding, so we had to get in again before) we decided to enjoy a burger, all better then the rice, cold boiled vegetables and noodles we had the rest of the week. And much better then the weird creatures moving around on bbq sticks sold on the streets...Never seen living scorpions on sticks as food, never seen flying lizards, sea-horses, tarantulas, cockroaches and chickens-with-head-and-feet as delicacy...What is our European food actually simple compared to the Chinese market we saw (except of the Icelandic sheep-balls-in-sour, boiled lab-head-with-brain of course)

Time to go back to the airport and sleep.

We watched a episode of the ‘Doctor Who’ series and fell asleep.

On 11:50 the next day we finally had our flight, home, to Frankfurt.

My phone stolen/lost and tired we arrived. Ulrich picked us up and gave us the best meal we’d had in that week. Thank you for your hospitality!

Now, we’re almost in Kandersteg, just a kilometre to go. We’re here again. Where my iceclimbing ended in February a year ago. Time to pick up what I’d left behind.

It’s 2 ˚C, too warm for the ice, but hopefully good enough to give us a good drytool training time for the next competition.

That will be Saas Fee in more then a week time...

Let’s train, let’s get strong, let’s enjoy what we enjoy most: climbing!

Monday, January 10, 2011

10th and 10th and 12th

Things can always be better. You can always 'want' more and be disappointed. That's how I felt by not reaching the finals in lead and speed.
But, for a start of the competition season it's not bad at all!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Semi Finals!

And again, a very bad internet connection. I stole the cable from the media-tent (one internet connection for more then a hundred (!!!) media (tv, newspapers, radio...)
But nevertheless...we're both in the semi-finals!
I even managed to get to the difficult semi-finals in the speed climbing! I landed 12th after many Russians and Koreans, ranking-wise not my best result, climbing-wise my best result ever :)
Dennis was really unlucky and slipped off with the speed, meaning 'no result'...
But he wasn't too sad about it because it's already 7 'o clock (just minutes after we climbed our last route) and we've been here since 8 'o clock this morning...
So, up for the semi-finals tomorrow and hopefully even the finals!

Photo: me in the qualification route (by Dennis)

Friday, January 07, 2011


Bad internet, so not much news today :(
No fast connection means no video's...
They say there will be news every hour on the site
Hopefully more news tomorrow!

...and the Video :)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

South Korea pt.1

Aaahhh, finally there. After a long, long flight with transfer in 'friendly' Beijing we arrived en Seoul. It was pretty long to get all the way to Korea. Screaming baby for then hours, stress on Beijing airport, Dennis' culture shock with a little Chinese guy washing his willy in the sink at the men's lavatories, not having a clue about the time (night or day?). It's 8hours time difference with the Netherlands (so when it's 12:00 in the Netherlands as it is right now, it's already evening, 20:00h in Seoul)
Luckily all went really smooth in Korea. No trouble with the customs, luggage that arrived in time, and a friendly Korean women that picked us up with waving a blue sign which said "Iceclimbing Worldcup" and some sponsors.
What a service!
We got a taxi ride together with the Chinese team to our hotel. We were supposed to sleep in the Youth Hostel. But that was not 'your average youth hostel' with smudgy dormitories in a vague alley. No, it's a huge hotel with our private room, including tv, wireless, bathroom and a view over the city.
The first thing we did after we arrived: sleep. Not too long, just for a bit.
Now we just had dinner and met most of the competitors (the catering even had forks, knives and spoons, though all the food was cold...)
Tomorrow we'll go all together to Cheongsong, the town one hour from the competition site.
We still don't know if there will be any live streaming of the comp, if we have more info, we'll let you know (of course).

...and of course a little movie, just an impression...the real one will come on the end of the trip :)

Eindelijk, we zijn er. Na een hele lange vlucht zijn we moe en liggen in bed. Het is hier bijna avond en in Nederland net ochtend en daar moet ons lichaam nog een beetje aan wennen. Buiten is het licht, dat helpt.
Onderweg hadden we een schreeuwende baby. Voor alle vrouwen die nog niet zeker wisten of ze wel kinderen willen hebben...die zijn nu volledig om: geen kinderen krijgen, en al helemaal niet als ze 10uur lang zo kunnen krijsen.
Voor Dennis lange benen waren de vliegtuigstoelen weer even comfortabel als altijd en ook ik vond het heerlijk liggen/zitten (not).
Gelukkig hadden we onderweg twee keer afleiding door een warme maaltijd. Echte Chinese maaltijd, de eerste met rijst de tweede met noedels, maar goed te eten.
Bij de tweede vlucht hadden we ontbijt, we konden kiezen: westers of chinees. Ik koos Chinees, Dennis koos westers. (Ik had glazige rijst met een soort babao broodje, een ei in sojasaus en wat fruit. Dennis had een croissantje, ei, worst, en ook mag zelf uitmaken wat lekkerder was...we hadden het wel allebei opgegeten)
Voor Beijing zagen we de Chinese muur door het landschap kronkelen en verbaasden we ons over de grootte en bouwstijl van Beijing. Die stad is enorm en met alle flats en fabriekshallen zie het er uit de lucht uit als een georganiseerde chaos op een perfecte maquette. Alles strak, recht, simpel en alles, van de grond tot de huizen en de wegen had dezelfde kleur als op een simpele maquette van een nieuwe Sin City stad.
Van Beijing naar Seoul was een beetje hectisch. De Chinezen vertelden ons eerst dat we bij gate C8 moesten zijn en toen bij E8. En dan weer C8. En E8. Ondanks dat we niet het land in kwamen werden we wel een aantal keren gecontroleerd en kregen we een mooi rood stempeltje op ons ticket en willekeurig op een bladzijde in ons paspoort.
Er werd verteld dat de vlucht vroeger zou vertrekken, maar met voeger bedoelden ze eigenlijk later. Dus, al het renen was voor niks.
Dennis ervaarde de echte culture shock op de mannen WC van het vliegveld. Een oude man wipte nog net niet z'n piemel in de wasbak, want daar was hij te klein voor (uit Dennis verhaal werd niet duidelijk wie/wat nu te klein was...) en stond z'n ding uitgebreid te wassen...
In Korea verliep alles soepel. Bij de douane leverden we een briefje in, kregen weer een stempel op een andere willekeurige pagina in ons paspoort en liepen zo naar onze bagage. We verbaasden ons dat die was aangekomen.
Toen we de hal binnen liepen stonden er een aantal Koreanen met mooie bordjes te zwaaien "Iceclimbing Worldcup". Zelfs de officiele sponsoren stonden geprint op hun blauwe bordje.
Een meisje, onze leeftijd, verwelkomde ons en vertelde dat zij onze gastvrouw zal zijn in Korea. Zelf vliegt ze met KLM regelmatig naar Nederland, maar vandaag was dit haar baan. We wisselden €15,- en kregen ruim 27.000 Koreaanse Won terug.
Samen met het 3-koppige Chinese team werden we in een taxi-busje gezet naar...geen idee waar, het hotel gokten we, het zal we goed komen.
Naar het centrum van Seoul vanaf het vliegveld is een goed stuk rijden. Maar goed dat we niet zelf hoefden te rijden, want die wegen, ondanks dat ze er Amerikaans uit zien, zijn best chaotisch. Met de amerikaanse road-signs en alle belangrijke namen in het Engels geschreven onder de koreaanse tekens.
Onderweg kwamen we 1001 donsjassen tegen waar van we eerst dachten dat het misschien klimmers waren, maar later realiseerden we dat iedereen hier een 'The North Face' aan heeft. We spotten een klimhal en verschillende outdoor winkeltjes. En dat al vanuit de auto. Zou klimmen hier echt zo populair zijn?
We arriveerden bij het Youth Hostel. Youth Hostel, dat doet je denken aan een smal viezig huis in het midden van de stad vol stapelbedden en arme jonge reizigers.
Youth Hoster Korean style is een groot hotel waar we een luxe tweepersoons kamer hebben met gratis internet, tv, eigen badkamer en meer. Waauw, wat een luxe en wat een service. Ook in het Hostel werden we opgevangen door een aantal mensen, ze hadden een sleutel (kaart) voor onze kamer, vertelden wanneer het avondeten en ontbijt zou zijn en dat we morgen om half negen klaar moeten staan voor vertrek naar Cheongsong.
Ik ben benieuwd...