Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cogne > Vanoise

Our last day in Cogne today.
After some quite successful and less successful climbing days we have to get back to the drytooling again.
Which is not bad, I guess I need a bit of rest from the freezing cold. Yesterday walking up to the icefalls it was -17 C... When climbing the first pitch I could hardly get my screws and axes in the ice, it was all so brittle.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Video time

Of every memorisable thing I do I make a little video. Like a diary in moving frames.
So nothing spectacular, but it might give you a view on what I do out there :)
This one is of what we did in Korea.
The next one is Saas Fee (will be visible on Vimeo already)

Real ice in Cogne

Finally, after a whole year of horrible ice (Kandersteg, Iceland...) we wanted to climb something proper.
We heard Cogne in Italy was the only place this year that had some ice. All other areas were far too dry or warm.
So, we skip the comp in Rabenstein (which would be too far anyway) and just climb ice for 1,5 weeks.
The first day we had a proper warm-up in a-route-of-which-I-forgot-the-name-already. The ice was thin at some places but very nice to climb. Mixed in the middle, totally dry top-out and proper ice in the start. After a paper-scissor-stone game I was the one to start, I had all the proper ice pitches and the dry top-out, Dennis had one ice pitch and the snow in the middle. Lucky me :) Though, Dennis was the lucky one to climb the mixed pitch in the middle.
Today we wanted to take a look in another line that didn't look too hard but it was stuffed with climbers so we went straight for the 'Hard Ice' and the M7+ left to it. (Couloir Lillaz or something)
Dennis was the one to start today, as I started yesterday. He went into the M7+ which was pretty scary dry and full of really loose blocks to pull on. We wanted to get into the ice after that but it was all wet delaminated 'shait'. Not something I wanted to get onto. Plus I was totally frozen seconding the first pitch. My hands were so, so, so cold. Once the blood got back it felt like they were exploding and falling off and....it just was really painful :(
Thinking back I still feel sick of it.
Hopefully no that I once had it it won't come again this bad this Winter...
After that we climbed the first pitch of 'Hard Ice' figuring the second M10 pitch looked too weird, scary, loose and some ice was missing... So we bailed again (not motivated to try the A2 option on the right) The first pitch was quite a thing, harder then it looks.
The stalactite had almost formed a pillar. I recon it takes just a couple more days of good frost and then it will stand.
Tomorrow we have Tuborg on the list and then we'll head for the real stuff (harder ice and hopefully we find some proper mixed things here in the valley, suggestions are welcome)
Finally, real ice: it's all cold, hurts on your hands, is cold on your feet, painful when it hits your shoulders, shins of face, scary when it's all delaminated but all together it's still a thing I love :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Worldcup Saas-Fee pt. 2

Disappointed with the result (13th) which should be 12th, if you'd strictly follow the rules (a Russian climber should have been disqualified) I had quite an unfortunate climb: had my axe stuck in a hold, waisted quite some time there and wasn't able to fix a hold straight away, waisting more time...
Dennis did well until he popped off (tired, bad hold, bad luck)
Hopefully better next time :(

Friday, January 20, 2012

Worldcup Saas-Fee

Whoe :) Again anaother day of worldcup climbing.
Just climbed, was really slow, nervous and pretty insecure but just reached the semi's.
Dennis was quite impressive and managed almost to top the route.
Tonight speedclimbing and tomorrow semi's and hopefully finals as well...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Worldcup Korea pt. 2

I came here to be in the finals and failed. Not much more to tell then: I'm much stronger then last year but miss the right training (wall, people) to get better and do the right thing I guess.
12 & 12 in both lead and speed. Not bad, but not good enough.
Wednesday is Zoo day, and then it's time for the next cup: Saas Fee.
Really tired...need sleep...now

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Korean Iceclimbing Worldcup 2012

Finally we arrived in South Korea for the first worldcup of the season.
We arrived together with two members of the Swiss team and I just lay down in bed. A bed. A bed...a real bed.
We got our rooms, Dennis had to sleep in the guys room, and I was sleeping in the girls room. Our room was 'traditionally Korean', which means hard blankets on the floor and some sheets. No bed at all...
Luckily we had the chance to move around a bit and now I ly in one of the guys rooms together with Petra.
And that is luxury after the rice, seaweed, cold, screaming kids on the hallway and the busride (got really carsick)
Hopefully better tomorrow.
Now I need some rest :)

Monday, January 09, 2012

(N)ice, finally

Well, sort of ice.
We arrived in Kandersteg (CH) after an 'interesting' trip with a beautiful van that sometimes has 'issues'.
We joined the Festival (no ice although it's called the "Ice Festival") and today we finally climbed some real ice in Ueschinen.
As we did so much last week here a little summaray:
  • January 2nd: from Bergschenhoek to Heerjansdam and a stop in Land van Altena to get some help to fix Dennis' VW T3 Syncro (our home for the next 2 months). We drove on to Venlo and parked the car for a good night sleep.
  • January 3rd: from Venlo to Germany, somewhere during the evening the van just quit out of nothing, a Dutch truck driver dragged us with his double truck to a safer place where we got a pick-up by the ADAC (German car insurance)
  • January 4th: Thanks to the ANWB/ADAC we stood in Bergweiler at the local Lada dealer to fix the van. Around midday we were ready to go on, around 8-ish we finally arrived in Kandersteg
  • January 5th: half a climbing day: drytooling in Blausee. It was raining and wet everywhere, too hot to climb any proper ice. Though the drytooling was good, where we had trouble getting up last year was just a good training session now: we are strong :)
  • January 6th: ski-trip up to Oeschinensee and the mixed/ice routes Kraftort and Kraftwerk. My first second time outdoors on ski's, first time real snow. Quite interesting...We noticed all the fallen trees and stuff and realised only that evening that the fohn had it's impact last night: Zermatt closed, the train in Kandersteg closed, ski pistes all closed... Even the electricity went out that night for a while, when we were asleep... :)
  • January 7th: Kandersteg Ice Festival: for Dennis (speed specialist) it was a good comp, he ended up being 7th, standing on stage in between his youth heroes. I was quite unlucky. Being first to climb in the flash competition (so for me it was an onsight) got my axe stuck in the holds twice, after me the holds were big enough not to get your axe stuck and not being a speed specialist made me end up 9th... (Out of 20) just after Anna (who won the 2011 worldcup series) Though it was good to meet all those nice people again (Rolf, Urs, Erwan, Stephanie, Felicitas...) Here all the results.
  • January 8th: restday (boring!) it was dumping (snow) all day, so I made a walk to the city centre, realising everything was closed (it's Sunday) and walked back again, happy not being able to spent money in Swiss. That evening Dennis and I realised we're together for 2 years now. So we celebrated it with a good bit of Jameson and a walk in the snow.
  • January 9th: Ueschinen. We wanted to do some real mixed/drytooling so we skied up to Ueschinen. Realising again how much it hurts when your hands stay cold (hot eggs/screaming barfeys) Dennis had it...really bad. I was lucky to be in a better 'hand shape'. After a good warm-up in some M8's we climbed Power Bat both 2nd go. Getting used to finding holds in natural rock. On the way up I had some trouble with 'air', being on tension over my whole body I couldn't help it letting out some 'fresh' air. In the end fell off, landing upside down in the air Dennis belayed me down avoiding the hanging ice pillars to fall on me... We were wondering who the guy was who was racing up all the M10's and M11's, he turned out to be the speed record holder for the Eiger NF. Ah, I knew I recognised him from somewhere... On the way down I skied my first real powder and actually liked it (getting better).
  • January 10th: that is tomorrow, we'll drive to Geneva to fly to Korea on the 11th. Exciting!