Monday, February 28, 2011

The fun scale

Climbing is a kind of profession, commitment, technique, fitness, life-goal, lifestyle, feeling-you-can't-describe-to-your-mother-unless-she's-a-climber...and most of all it's is basically all about fun.
Now, we always grade climbs. It's a hard 5.10, easy 5.13a, a classic 6c... But how do you compare that all, not everybody can climb 6c, but it doesn't mean they're less of a climber when they can't do the route. Climbing is something personal I guess, and you can all have fun in your own 'personal way'.
So, I found the 'Fun Scale' on Kelly Cordes blog. The fun scale is about how hard the route was for you personally, doesn't use standardised gradings and tells your friends about how demanding it all was for your mind ánd body.
Here it is:

Type I Fun – true fun, enjoyable while it’s happening. Good food, good sex, 5.8 hand cracks, sport climbing, powder skiing. Margaritas.

Type II Fun – fun only in retrospect, hateful while it’s happening. Things like working out ‘till you puke, and usually ice and alpine climbing. After climbing the West Face Couloir on Huntington, Scotty and I both swore that we hated alpine climbing. The final 1,000′ was horrific – swimming up sugar snow that collapsed beneath us, roped together without protection – and took nearly as long as the initial 3,000′ from camp. On the summit, Scotty turned to me and said, in complete seriousness, “I want my mom so bad right now.” By the time we reached Talkeetna our talk of Huntington turned to, “Ya know, that wasn’t so bad. What should we try next time?”

Type III Fun – not fun at all, not even in retrospect. As in, “What the hell was I thinking? If I ever even consider doing that again, somebody slap some sense into me.” The final 1,000′ of Huntington, when I stop and think about it…but, then again, a friend climbed it the next year and had perfect conditions.

And he's right, you never know what kind of Fun you'll get in your route and "Maybe the whole goal, the path of the enlightened, is to turn Type III situations into Type I fun. Right. Anybody had any luck with that?"

Here a new video again, part 3 of the Icelandic diaries. Maybe Type 1 fun, but, we were there for Type 3+ fun and didn't find any...not really funny to find Chocolat Chaud being one big shower...

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Back home again, but not much time to write.
I'm completely broke so it's time to work after 2months of full time climbing in crappy Winter conditions...
But hey, it was fun!

And...check out my new 'for sale' page, as I have quite some things for sale :)

Here part 2. of the Iceland-video's.
Parrt 3. is also online, but I accidentally uploaded the wrong, short version...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


After quite some days of +3˚C and rain we finally get into the cold.
We're now in Akureyri (up North) heading for Kaldakinn and we'll hopefully climb some real ice today and the next days!
...and of course a little video :)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Busteni adventures 4

Finally, internet again thanks to Stephanie, who gave us the key to her room. Enough to write some e-mails and get some pictures online.
The qualifications long behind us, even the semi-finals were already yesterday. Just the finals left, but not for me...

This was our last competition of the season. We don't have the money to go to Kirov, which is the last competition of the series in the beginning of March. And even if we'd find a Millionaire today we still couldn't go as you need to get your invitation and visa in advance.

I'm questioning all I did the past year and wonder what I should do next year, train again, quit and work, study, do nothing, become fat and boring?
Looking back on the competitions this is how I feel:
  • disappointed and ashamed for not reaching the finals here in Busteni
  • disappointed and ashamed because I fell out of the speed route after 2m. of climbing in shitty ice and now see that really slow climbers are way higher in the ranking
  • disappointed because the lead-routes were made as speedclimbing routes, not a hard, technical or difficult move, just the speed counted
  • disappointed and ashamed for all the work being put to send me all the way to Romania, spend money, change flights, spend more money and then, don't reach a thing
  • disappointed and ashamed for spending a whole year on just climbing and not even reaching a top 5 ranking
  • disappointed and ashamed to see that the iceclimbing worldcup is full of women (and men) who'd never even put a single icescrew in the ice!
  • disappointed because I didn't finish my studies and don't have the feeling I get any support from my supervisor
  • disappointed and ashamed because I don't know how to explain my results back home
  • disappointed and ashamed because I don't have the feeling anybody will understand my results
  • disappointed because iceclimbing doesn't have enough countries competing to become Olympic
  • disappointed and ashamed because my results are not good enough for any proper sponsoring
  • disappointed because I don't know what to focus on for the coming year, climbing, studying, working?
  • disappointed because I don't have the feeling I can combine work, climbing and studying as money is always the biggest issue
  • disappointed because, what shall I do now, focus again on the worldcup theatre or find a normal job and work?
  • disappointed....
  • ashamed, because what made me think I'm good enough to be the climber I want to be, and ashamed, as I don't know how to explain this back home...
Sorry, I'm just not too positive about it all...
I was hoping to close the season with something better then this all.
At least it was fun around the whole Worldcup Circus. We climbed real routes and saw a bit of the world: rice in Korea, ugly people in Romania, Swiss precision (not), Italian chaos and cancellations, German friendliness, and now up to Icelandic fun?

Wild bear detection counter for today: still no bears spotted!

Here our video from the Rabenstein Icefight, again, as I noticed it didn't upload correctly the previous time. Check out the Rabenstein website with video's, photo's and more about the event!
And the Icelandic duo Robbi&Gummi made a funny little 'introductionary' video about iceclimbing and their sponsor (Marmot). They proved Marmot jackets are almost waterproof, almost...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Busteni adventures 3

Day three in Romania.
And still no climbing.
I gradually start to get trouble with my addiction (climbing) as I haven't climbed for 5 days now...
Hereby I intend to feed my addiction on another way: by being online all day on the slug-slow Romanian internet. I can tell you: it doesn't work...
This evening will be the official opening (originally planned on...yesterday) and then finally I'll climb, on Saturday.
I'm wondering how good/bad it is to take such long rest from climbing.
In case the internet completely breaks down here, the program (no idea if it's the right program) can be found here. And in case I'm climbing during an internet-wave, here you can find the live-stream.
And, because it's always good to look back on fun activities, here some video's from Lukasz for Planet Fear. (Still wondering why I'm not 'starring in the video, but hey, whatever :)

Wild bear detection counter for today: still no bears spotted...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Busteni adventures 2

What a day, again.

We figured that the e-mail from Alex was not correct...So we're having quite some stress again, rebooking flights, booking a hotel, money issues...

We decided to go for a stroll and landed at the climbing structure. Located in a ski-resort. There we spoke to some people who told us the competition would be on February 5 and 6 and not on February 4 and 5 as Alex told us.
See here the e-mail:

"We would like you to know that the competition in Busteni will be held
between 4 - 5 February 2011 (Friday & Saturday). Registration will start Thursday 3 February 2011.  Please consult Competition Program for other clarifications.  There where some differences between the program on UIAA Website (5-6  February) and Competition Website (4-6 February), that's why we want to  clarify this situation.  Best regards, Alexandru Paun IWC Busteni Organization Team" 
So we re-booked our ticket and thought it would be fine. But now we figured, on the day of our departure we'd have to climb the semi-finals and maybe the finals! Ridiculous unprofessional planning here...
We decided to loosen up a bit an visit the Count Dracula castle in a nearby town. We took a good offer for a taxi, with the taxi driver waiting for us in the town to bring us back again. And walked around in the castle belonging to the Dracula myth. (See pictures) But Dracula, turned out to be just a myth. Just a tourist attraction. We tried to check the teeth of the man in the castle, all looked normal, not spiky...
For our myth-Dracula visit we drove 42 km to the town of Bran. On the way you see the harsh, hard differences between our Europe and this Europe. Poverty, street dogs, bad roads, crappy houses, farmers with horses, men stealing branches for house-heating, and a Dacia car crash...
Back again we were tired, ready for some food, sleep and rest. Soon we'll head for 'city centre' and see what food Romania has to offer. 
...With Tim, our coach still working for us to get different tickets and solve the thing... 
Wild bear detection counter for today: n0 bears spotted...

Busteni adventures

There we are, it's early in the morning but all Romanians are already awake, so I couldn't sleep any the public kitchen is next to our bedroom...
Two days ago we got a rental car and drove to Dortmund, almost in once. Around 22:30 we really had to stop as we were both too tired to drive the car. The thing was eating petrol (Benzine) like it was candy and it 'trembled' off the road if you tried to drive 150 km/h which is an normal speed for a German highway. And thus saw our money disappear on petrol faster then the top-speed of the car.
We slept in a 'formula 1' roadside hotel (the hotels truckers use to meet up with hookers, murderers use as home and we felt like we were in a well I don't know...) It was a pretty funny combination. In the evening we cooked some food on the MacDonalds parking-lot without even thinking of going inside of the Mac and that evening we took a back-door in the Burger King to get to our Hotel bedroom...
When we arrived on the airport, there were supposed to be some lockers for our luggage, but nope, as I was already afraid of: no lockers, not a chance to store your luggage for some days... Shit...
Luckily we could store the stuff in Ferdinands car, problem solved.
And then we flew, all the way...between some drunk Dutch and a lot of ugly people.
We arrived on some ini-mini-tiny airport, welcome in Romania.
We we told to take bus 780 from somewhere close to the airport and then take the train to Busteni. Easier said then done.
Taxi, taxi, taxi louche taxi drivers whispered around us. We ignored them, bought our bus ticket for four people (no idea why she gave us four, as were are with three) and waited. And waited, waited, and waited. Until finally, quite too late, our bus arrived!
Stress! Were we going to make it to the train in time?
Some Romanian told us it would take 30 minutes, so we wouldn't make it in time we thought...
Suddenly it only took 15 minutes. I ran, ran, ran, stopped, got the right platform, ran again, Busteni I asked, yes, Busteni it was, Ferdinand and Dennis also hopped in and there we were, no train ticket, but we had the right train.
We sat down in a coupé which was already occupied by a man which we in 'Europe' would describe as burglar, the one you don't want to meet in a back-alley.
Later we met his friend, was he his friend? I don't speak a word in Romanian but I sort of understood what he said. We figured he's 50 years old and because of the knitted USA Formula one sweater he looked a bit more 'trustful'.
We bought a ticket in the train, by a man who spoke some un-understandable Italian. The normal price for a ticket, when you buy one in the train was 49,50 Lei. (about 12 Euro) so, we decided to buy three.
He wrote a something, made a ticket and meanwhile we fed him some old Dutch cheese.
He decided to make us a deal. We paid 50 Lei for one ticket, paid him 50 Lei and got 50 Lei back of the original 150 Lei. What a deal.
Later we figured from our 'trustful' friend that his daily salary was about 50 Lei. Meaning we just paid the man and extra day salary...
Our 'trustful' friend was talking about politics with the burglar and when the burglar went for a smoke he turned to us. The first things he got out in Romanian was something about Hitler.
We didn't figure straight away if he was against the thing or not.
But, when he showed the tattoo on his leg (a red flag with a skull, four stars and a Nazi cross) we were pretty sure about his Hitler support.
He kept on talking and I was about to take a picture of his beautiful (not) tattoo when we were called out, this was already Busteni! Shit, we ran out of the train, jumped out, onto the rails and ran to the train station. Gosh, lucky?
There we were, on the side of the street in the dark with big trucks driving through the little town with 80 km/h.
We walked a bit around and finally found our Romanian Mountain Hut. They knew of our arrival and had a 4p. bedroom available for us.
We went back in town, bought some cheap beer, crisps and more and after some gritstone climbing movie, we fell asleep...
And this is where we are now, early in the morning, eating our way-too-hard-old-concrete bread ready too meet Count Darcula.

And: here, two (!) new movies, of what we did outdoors next to the Worldcups. Not too much though, as there was hardly any ice :( So no Flying Circus, Twin Towers or more yet...
And one of our Rabenstein adventures. As we finally have internet, I'm happy to show you more then just a single picture. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Rabenstein and a car breakdown

Travelling for a month now, and the only thing we do is climb!
Life is good. Except when your house suddenly breaks down.
In our case our house is our van, our bed, our kitchen, our...everything. We already took out the axle in the middle of the night, tried to repair some other things, but nothing worked, the last thing it could be were the ball-bearings for the left front wheel...And for such an old car they unfortunately couldn't be here in time... Stress! As we were going to catch a flight tomorrow to be in time for the next competition in Romenia.
Luckily there is something we call 'help from heaven', or in other words the Dutch 'ADAC' (ANWB). As Dennis in insured for this unfortunate things we got a new car and the lovely van will be transported back home. So we're just in time for our flight, just in time for the next competition :)
The only thing we miss now is our kitchen and our bed and out movie-room with bass-speakers... so we'll have to sleep in a hotel or some togight and just enjoyed the slow unhealthy MacDonalds internet. It's even so bad: Vimeo is restricted, so we can't upload videos from here. Meaning our two new videos have to wait for a bit longer...
The last week we climbed together with Jelle, Marc and our iceaxes in Kandersteg and Kietal and we just climbed in Rabenstein on the icefight.
My 'head was not in a good mood', meaning I was nervous, insecure and didn't believe in my own strength. So, in the qualifications I fell pretty early. I thought I was out, but some other climbers did as bad/good as me, so I was still in. With a bit a better head, but still to slow because I felt pretty insecure and uncomfortable I climbed up to a 4th place. Not bad, but 4th feels like 'just nothing', still on stage, but not the best I could do.
Hopefully better next time... :)