Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ice/dry week in the Netherlands

Okay, not what you'd expect in the Netherlands but, yes, as the title says, last week was all about drytooling and iceclimbing!
For my work I had to go to Voerendaal, a little village close to Heerlen in the South of the Netherlands. Living close to Rotterdam driving to Heerlen is what we call 'going aboad' as it's so far away (sort of).
And thus we (Dennis & me) went together for a little 'holiday'.
The first day was work: guiding/teaching/coaching teambuilding games together with Sjaak Ruivenkamp. It was a fun and motivating day.
The next day we were invited at Snowworld. A big (the biggest of the Netherlands) indoor snow hall. National teams from all over the world gather here for their Summer ski-training.
But as I can't ski (really this day was the third time I ever stood on those things) I wasn't there for skiing. We were invited for another thing: iceclimbing! Snowworld has the brilliant idea to build an indoor iceclimbing wall and exploit it commercially. (Yes there is already another iceclimbing wall in the Netherlands, but it's not really popular for certain reasons)
The idea for the next years is to just have it as a wall for groups, students and occasional iceclimbers but if possible, for the future there are ambitious ideas to increase the structure and make it suitable for worldcup competitions!
To get a better idea about how to build a wall, what snow and ice to use, how thick it has to be, how high, how wide, how easy or difficult, how strong, what materials...they invited us. They'd even build a little wall as test to see if the ice, structure and idea could actually work out.
We took our tools and conquered the little wall. (See video)
And later we went to ski, snowboard, eat, ski, snowboard, eat, climb and ski some more. Alltogether we'd spent a whole day in the cold and got used to it. Yes, I guess we're ready for Winter climbing now!
And with the iceclimbing on that day we went on to Fliegerhorst, Venlo. On September 18. they have an 'open day' and we are invited to give an iceclimbing/drytooling demo. The Fliegerhorst mountaineers are a very friendly and warm group of people so we said yes to the demo :)
Now that we were 'abroad' already it was logical to do a stopover in Venlo. Pierre drove all the way to the Fliegerhorst to welcome us and show us the drytool wall.
We drank tea, took lunch, discussed climbing and most of all...we tooled. (In Dutch terms) they have a very descent wood wall with wooden holds and more. Good enough to get you strong for Winter climbing. I realised I still have a long way to go to be fit enough for the Winter. I had difficulties with figure-of-four's and long moves :) But this is a start. You can never start soon enough I guess.
On September 18. I'll be there again for the demo. You're all welcome to watch and try!

Pictures: Dennis and me climbing in Snowworld/Fliegerhorst
Video: iceclimbing in Snowworld Landgraaf (ps. I know, the music is bad, that was a reminder for how the music was in the Snowworld restaurants...)

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