Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ettringen instruction weekend

This weekend not just Ettringen climbing, but something more.
I was invited by the Dutch climbing federation (NKBV) to help with the course for trad-climbing instructors. So not just climbing, but teaching climbing as well this weekend.
And when it's about something more then just teaching how to belay it's fun! The group was motivated and ready to learn.
Together with UIAGM guide Michiel Engelsman, almost-trainee-guide Jelle Staleman, Arnoud, Sjors and Dennis we thought the group the refined skills of tradclimbing.
And where else should we go...Ettringen is perfect for such a course.
The weather was 'ok', rain on Friday, sun on Saturday and more rain on Sunday.
All 'students' are already trad climbers so I even had some time to climb as well.
Tried some beautiful cracks and even had the time to project...Flirtin' with disaster, just an 8+, but I don't understand the last moves! So if anybody can explain me how to stick the moves after the last bolt...?

And...for all who climb more often in the area here the route-updates for the topo.
You can print the PDF's and add them to the topo.

Pictures thanks to Sjors Verbrugge, René and Ernst.
If you think you're on one of the pictures in the video/on my blog, please mail me so I can sent you the picca :)


One of my interests is geology. Actually I'm more then just interested in the subject. I get 'hyper' when I talk about volcanism, and the Earth's activity underground.
Last year I was in Iceland at the time of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. This year I'm not living in Iceland anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't follow the Icelandic news anymore.
Every day I try to keep up with the language and culture and watch the Icelandic news.
And so I found this lille video about all the dust and ash erupting out of the Vatnajökull glacier.

For all journalists, photographers: if you need someone who knows quite a bit about Iceland, speaks the language and more and who is free to travel to Iceland right now, please contact me on der.steen [@] gmail.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Clean routes, no bolts...

Climbing routes on bolts or climbing routes on trad gear is a difficult ethical issue in climbing.

In some countries people only tend to climb on bolts, in some it's mixed (some area's are bolted others are clean) and in some trad is the only way to climb.

Climbing trad or bolts involves not just the issue of a 'pure' route, but also has a safety issue, an access issue, habits, quality and experience(s) of local climbers and much more.
So deciding to bolt or not is, I find, a hard decision.

To my opinion bolting routes should be avoided when it's possible to climb the route on trad gear. I even think it's even not necessary to bolt a route following modern techniques when the 'old' way of bolting is actually not really 'safe'. Climbing safety is something relative I think, and it's part of the beauty involved in the sports: it's your own personal decision to climb a route or not.

Some climbers are very active in this issue. And even chop away bolts.
In this movie a little example of a route that doesn't have to be bolted: The Doors, and 8b (French grading). Matteo Della Bordella climbs the route.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


After a week of climbing in Elbsandstein (Germany) and a hit&run to the annual Petzl meeting in Belgium I needed a 'day off'.
I woke up at 5 yesterday and was home again around 2-ish in the night. Long day...
So, updated my vegetable garden with maïs, carrots and other seeds and little plants, did some house cleaning and watched loads of short climbing movies.
Tomorrow 'work' again: the national lead competition in my home-town Bergschenhoek. Fun! But, strange after a week of outdoor climbing on scary protected sandstone :)

Soon more about my Elbsandstein adventure with a little video and some pictures.
And for now, No Pain No Spain, a video of Spanish Boreal/Petzl team-members having fun in the rocks. That rocks ;)

(Picture by Leonoor: Michel & me climbing one of the Elbsandstein pillars; Ostkante VI, RP VIIb, Chinesischer Turm, Bielatal)

Friday, May 06, 2011


It's sunny, warm and I wanted to pick up an 'old' hobby. Running.
I used to run 5 days a week next to all my other activities. But, since I live in the Netherlands again, I got a bit lazy. No dog to accompany me, no forest to run some trails.
So I decided to set myself a goal: run 24km before I go to the Alps this Summer and run the Rotterdam Marathon next April 2012.
But, it's nothing compared to what a goal one of my friends has...He just celebrated his 50th birthday and now wants to run 50 miles! (Calculate that to Kilometres...and you get 80,5 km) So what am I actually complaining about, 42 is piss easy, try to run the double distance, thats the real thing!
Now that I just wrote this down I can't go back :)
So far it's going okay, ran 10km yesterday and run about 4 times a week now at least 6km per day. And all that running next to my climbing hopefully makes me fit enough for the Alps.
Two days ago I replaced my 7-year-old Asics with beautiful, comfortable new Nike running shoes (see picture)
Next to the running I try to keep up with fitness classes like Zumba (I'm a really bad salsa dancer as I don't have any Latin American blood...), Yoga (really relaxing, would recommend it to you all) and 'Back to basic' (very tough body pump practice) in my favourite fitness school in Weesp. Fitness Center Weesp is fan of iceclimbing resulting in two A3 autographed pictures of me hanging in the fitness room. So cool! (see pictures)
From this Saturday I'll be hanging on little knots in Elbsandstein (Germany) and then hopefully working again. (Anybody suggestions for work??)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Values in my life

Today, May 4. is a special day. War memorial day.
My grandparents are the key to this day. I consider them to be the ones that actually made it possible for me to live my life as it is.
2 Minutes of silence.
Today May 4. is the day to remind the ones who are not with us anymore because of the values they had. The ones who fought for our freedom. For the values that sound so logical today.
I think it's important to remind ourselves to what freedom actually means.
As it's a bit difficult to say 'thanks' to people that are not alive anymore.
But I just want to try. That's why I wrote this little piece of text.
It's a I-can-not-translate-this-thing-into-any-language

Het lente gras in Muiden waait in de wind
Als glanzend groen zijde aan een waslijn
Stil rij ik voorbij het landschap
M'n hoofd vol
Hoe zou het zijn als ik alles dat er in mijn hoofd zit
niet meer aan mijn waslijn van waarden kan hangen.
Als ik mijn gedachtes, ideeën, plannen, moet laten waaien,
met de verkeerde wind?

Pictures: very old pictures of my granddad/grandma coloured with PS

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sweden, the video

Our mini-holiday was so relaxed...
So just made a relaxed video clip.
Most of the times we don't call our climbing trips 'holiday' as alpine/ice climbing is just hard work and at the time that we're home again we need restdays. But this time our climbing trip had other 'key words': sun, nature and fairly easy climbing :)