Sunday, July 29, 2012

Iceland Summer 2012

Day one of our Iceland trip.We made it all the way,more then 1800km from France to Denmark. We're waiting for the boat and found a perfect spot to camp :)

In between running, sea-swimming, 'WWII-crimpin', 4WD Syncro driving and being bored because of the rain, we found some internet to upload some pictures of our trip.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

RAB Sponsoring & more happiness

Today, in 48 minutes to be exact, I'll head for Germany.
It didn't go too smoothly to get here: my brother lost my house keys so I had to break into my own house to gather my stuff...And so I missed my last climbing session at my gym.

Night climbing/flying at Monte Cervino

Luckily I had a really good night session the day before. We climbed, drank whiskey, ate bbq-chocolate-bananas, slept in the 'Ger' (nomadic tent) swam in the lake in the morning, skeelered, then it was time to head for Belgium to deliver back the company car and get my new sponsor gear (new brilliant NAO, Ange, harness, Microtraxion! You'll read a review about that all soon here on my blog)

Chocolate bananas

To get my skates I took two friends to my amazing mansion (home) and there it stood, in the shed: two HUGE packages.
One labeled Five Ten and one labeled RAB.
This could only mean one thing: new stuff.
I jumped, my eyes twinkled so much they almost popped out, my smile extended to my ears and my brain was making happiness loops.

I ordered my new Five Ten shoes just in time, so I was happy to actually get them in time as well.
But the other package...that package...that was just so so nice...!

Big boxes!!

I'll explain:
RAB and Lowe Alpine (Equip) are my new sponsors.
I went to the BeNeLux office, explained the stolen bag situation and they told me they would try to help me, but weren't sure about it. I understand, it's all about budgets, time, a bit of hassle and a bit of 'not-my-concern-that-you-lost-your-bag'.
But they worked hard as they could and now I got a brand new down sleepingbag and a super lightweight bivybag all the way from RAB UK. 
Without proper sleeping/bivybag it would have been quite different in Iceland I guess. RAB is 'for the most extreme conditions' and I can say for sure: that's what Iceland is all about :)
But RAB just gave me the most epic present ever!

So now I jump around in not just the perfect downjacket ever made (RAB Neutrino) but I'll dream about the happiest things every night again in my new super warm sleepingbag.
Thanks guys!

This evening, after breaking into my own house I went to the postbox to take the last mail.
And not only RAB did something epic, Light my Fire had just sent me a new knife&flint in one and a new titanium spork! All the way from Sweden (with love).
Just in time :)
They sent me this sweet postcard:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Google map's walking tacks for Gods

My parents are cycling to Rome now. 
It's officially called a pilgrimage, but for my parents it's more a way of travelling.
I was wondering what route Google Maps would advice them.
You have a button to choose what kind of transport you'd prefer (car, public transport, walk or bike)
And for a change I chose for the walkers icon.
Maps gave me the most epic result. A route that even Jesus would be proud to walk.
I guess this is the one-and-only real pilgrimage route.

Worldcup 2013 and 2014 Olympics

...and there it is. The 2013 Worldcup schedule.

The UIAA announced the schedule for 2013 with some new things and some old things.

Old: Worldcup in Busteni (why?) I'm surprised. If you read my post about the last Worldcup there, you can understand why I'm 'slightly' surprised. (See herehere and here)

New: Worldcup in Rabenstein (Italy). The enthusiasts of the local icewall there have done a good job last years organising a fun and proper competition and for that they're rewarded with a Worldcup! Congrats!

And this year there will be a championships again. They chose Kirov (Russia) as the location. So I guess I'll have to travel there this year (better start collecting money now...)

I'm not going to join all the Worldcups in the schedule this year and climb more outdoors. The 'ultimate' climb for me is a mixed/ice route on a natural wall. The Worldcup is fun (and sometimes not), but pureness is where my heart is.

The Schedule:

January 5-6 2013, UIAA Ice Climbing Worldcup Cheongsong, South Korea

January 12 2013, UIAA Ice Climbing Youth World Championship, Saas Grund, Switzerland

January 18-19 2013, UIAA Ice Climbing Worldcup, Saas Fee, Switzerland

January 26-27 2013, UIAA Ice Climbing Worldcup, Rabenstein, Italy

February 7-9 2013, UIAA Ice Climbing Worldcup, Busteni, Romania

March 8-10 2013, UIAA Ice Climbing Worldcup and Championships, Kirov, Russia

I often have bad comments about the Russian part of the iceclimbing Worldcup.
There are too many Russians taking part and the rules seem to be bend to allow them all, the routesetters in Busteni did a bad job, the Russian judge made some really bad mistakes, it's hard to communicate with most as their foreign (non-Russian) language is limited and one Russian seemed to have a crush on me (and that was just a bit too much).
But theres one Russian who is working incredibly hard (together with others I suppose) to get iceclimbing to a higher level.
He managed to get iceclimbing to the Olympics!
For the first time ever iceclimbing will be shown as sports on the Olympic games.
Not as official Olympic sports yet, but as every sports starts like this on the Olympics, it's a good starts to something higher :)
Sochi, Russia 2014 will be the place.
Very, very, very good job Pavel Shabalin!

Meanwhile it's way too warm here to think of climbing ice.

It's sunny, warm and I'm busy with my lost luggage, the trip to Iceland, my work and yesterday evening we joined with thousands of others the Wednesday night skate. 
It all was quite slow but fun!
Totally motivated to go out skating again :)

Wednesdaynightskate with Rens, Koen, Suus and Arvid :)
Photo taken by a motorbike policeman with brown teeth.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The stolen bag

Sometimes people ask me "How do you manage to always travel and climb? It must cost you loads of money..."
I always reply that you just have to be dedicated.
I'm not a paid climber, so I suppose I'm not a pro. But I just try to work with the things I have.

I live cheap (anti-squat it's called), I don't spent money on cinemas, weekly hairdressers or manicure or parties and drinks, when I camp I often just bivouac, and I eat healthy but simple.
Rather no shower for a week and a week full of climbing then having spent money on an expensive campsite with showers and therefor having to go home early because I was out of money (or something like that).
My bivy spot in Ceüzette
I was happy last Thursday and Friday with my perfect little bivouac-spot in the forest.
Super basic, just all I needed was there: a mat, a sleepingbag, some food and water, the sun, stars and climbing :)
And that all until someone decided to ruin all my happiness...

How? Well let's start with... the start.
After we left Friedrichshafen we spent some time in Crolles.

I tasted some special beer (I never drink alcohol) enjoyed being together with Dennis again, work, bit of climbing and then I decided it was time for climbing again. 

Tipsy at Brasserie du Chardon
Dennis getting ready for an evening session at St

Climbing at the 'Pierre'
Together with the Petzl Media Crew (LaFouche, Eric and Guillaume)  I drove to Céuse (where else would I go) to film Daila and Chris.
I went climbing and they went hauling and filming :)

On my first day I found some Swedes (sweets) from Goteborg  to climb with, warmed up in what appeard to be a 7c (onsight!) Equinoxe or something (just left of the Demi Lune sector) and cooled down in the beautiful 7b's on the Un Pont sur l'infini wall which I'd done a million times already because I love them all :) They were fun to climb with and we made a climbing date for Friday again.


I went down, had dinner with the Petzl crew (thanks LaFouche) and went for my favourite spot (Ceüzette).

The next morning was Friday. Already. So much sun, heat and just 1,5 day left to climb.
I was relaxed, chilled in the sun, played some games on my phone, wished my parents good luck on their cycling trip to Rome, packed my stuff and when 'I felt like it' walked up the steep hill.
The Swedes weren't there today so I found another 'lonely' climber. Pol (or Paul?) from France, although...he looked Russian :)
He told me his granddad was Russian, thats where he got the light hair and skin colour from.
We warmed up in Lapinerie (jump!) and found Ça Cartoon way harder then 7a+.

And then it happened (sorry, don't want to talk about it as I'm still too angry)
When Dennis arrived in Ceüzette I wanted to grab my bag (the one which had my sleeping stuff). But it was not there anymore.
I was surprised. I put it just under the climbing rock, and it wasn't there. How could it be gone?
I was so astonished that the bag disappeared...
How could it be gone?
We looked everywhere. Under trees, in the bushes, under other rocks, in caves, at cars close-by... We asked around...
It was gone.
Meanwhile it was already after 20h and we were hungry.
I was so confused!
I almost forgot my climbing bag on the back of the car when we drove away.
We wanted to go to the police but noticed everything was closed...
Instead we went to the pizzaria. (If you go there try the Chef en Chausson and take a Grillet as dessert)

Chez Ligo, my favourite restaurant

Because all I had was gone... My sleepingbag, mat, stove, food, clothes... Basically all except my rope, draws, climbing shoes, chalkbag and luckily my passport, phone and wallet were also in my climbing bag!
How, how, who, what... did this really happen? Did someone really get his sick mind into stealing the things that are most essential to life: food and sleeping materials?! Did this really happen just now?
What did I miss?
I don't want to say I'm a tramp, but would you ever think of stealing the sleepingbag of someone living on the street?!

The next day after a horrible night (we had no water, just one little mat and one sleepingbag to share and it even rained...) I started the search again.
I hung up notes everywhere. On the parking, on the campsite, in the gîte. Just hoping to find back my stuff.
After a search, asking everyone and notes everywhere we gave up.
Then we met Michel en Leonoor! They spotted us when we visited the casmpsite.
So surprised to find them here!
They were so kind to invite us for dinner that evening.
We went up to Céüse to get back my draws.
The dinner was lovely. Smoked (!) trout and a good salad. Thanks again :)

Were told to go the the police office in La Saulce to put in a declaration.
I was still hoping they found the bag there.
They couldn't help me and I had to come back the next day. (Still didn't understand why she couldn't help me)
The next day the office was closed.
That Sunday I had to get back to the Netherlands as I had to work again.
So no declaration and I lost a bag worth almost €2000,-
I had to leave.
I hope the one who stole my bag will get poisoned by my food, choke in my water, get germs and rashes of my clothes, suffocate of the smell and warmth of my sleepingbag, have backproblems for the rest of his life due to my mattress, cut himself badly with my knife, will never find a woman to love because of my bewitched underwear, will loose his toes of my socks that he'll wear, burn his face on my stove, will get electrocuted by the solar panel and iPhone charger, will loose all his hair because of my brush...and eventually feel regret and give it all back...or...
Anyway... I hope I can replace all in time just before Iceland and the USA trips that will start this week (!)

Yesterday I drove down through Germany to meet my parents. Met them in a hotel in Zülpich.
A good thing, a thing to be proud of: they just started their journey to Rome. A cycling-pilgimage from the Netherlands to Rome!
We chatted when I arrived in the middle of the night and had breakfast together.
Really nice to meet them on their actual adventure and strange to say goodbye again.
I wish them all the best on their big trip to Rome.
If you want to follow their adventures, check their blog:
My dad is a fanatic photographer so you'll find a collection of very nice pictures (depending on the quality of their internet connection)

My dad getting his camera ready for the picture seen above :)

Today I'm back in the Netherlands. Fixing all the last things before Dennis and I will head for Iceland.
The stolen bag doesn't make things easier.
Hopefully I can still put in a declaration tomorrow on the Dutch embassy (as the local police, Gendarmerie, told Dennis in Crolles)

It's Dennis last week in Crolles.
Times went by so fast!
He's been in France for half a year and now it's time for Dutch studies again.
I think he can look back on amazing time at Petzl :)

Crolles (Petzl) and Grenoble by night after an evening climbing session with Dennis

Monday, July 16, 2012


OutDoor is actually more InDoor, but it's all about outdoor stuff.

Last year was our first time on the fair, and this year we knew what to expect: loads and loads of new stuff, communication, people, people and more people.

Fun though, having the chance to discover all this new gear from all around the world.

Dennis visited the Netherlands first. We had a family reunion of the Van Hoek family. After we'd socialised enough we left for Ettringen.
Unfortunately it rained. So after warming up we had to bail :(
We drove to Stuttgart to climb indoors (and outdoors) before heading to Friedrichshafen.
Stuttgart has quite a big gym it's all lead climbing (in Dutch gyms we only toprope)
Fun for a good session in the evening!

The next day the spectacle started in Friedrichshafen.
Representing Petzl for the Netherlands, visiting our sponsors and a couple of potential new sponsors, chatting with fellow climbers from all over the world and discover whats new on the market.

And this is whats new (and loads of other stuff which I missed out on or wasn't interesting enough)

1. Scirocco helmet.
The lightest climbing helmet in the World. Won the big Gold medal for the innovative design on the OutDoor fair and so so light that wearing a helmet now becomes even more comfortable then going climbing without.
Details: magnetic clip system that allows you to undo and redo the chin strap with one hand. Available in 2 sizes. Lightweight adjustable system to fit the helmet perfectly on every head. Flexible so it doesn't break but just bends when a rock would it your helmet. So after an accident your helmet is still useful. Awesome!

2. Spirit quickdraw.
The best sportsclimbing quickdraw now got even better. Lighter and more ergonomic.
The shape has slightly changed. It's now even easier to clip in the rope and unclip the draw from the bolt because of the slightly changed shape.
The colours are slightly different, just a bit fancier and the sling is lighter but properly wide to make 'pulling draws' 'comfortable'.

3. Edelrid Snipe rope.
A rope that is light, thin, easy to hande but lasts longer then any other of the same thickness.
Why? The end you tie into your harness is thicker then the actual part that runs through your belay device. A very smart new threading system allows this.

4. Black Diamond X4
Nw BD cams, with a very flexible axle, so it says even better in place. Not (yet?) in all sizes, but just form grey to green.

5. Crux X1 Assault tent
A very durable tent with dyneema fibers for extra strength in the most 'horrible' storm conditions.
Handy detail: a loop in the top of the tent to thread a sling so on less safe places to attach yourself with a rope and your harness to the rocks without having to open your tent (and loose warmth, get snow and rain inside...)

6. Rubytec Survival band.
Dutch company Rubytec makes all kind of innovative small gear that looks like a funny goodie in the fist place but then turns to be super handy. Like the solar power and wind up powered lamp that is now in a glow-in-the-dark version so you can actually find it when it's dark.
And this bracelet made of super strong dyneema rope (holds 350kg). Good for all kinds of emergency uses.

7. Clothing and more:
We saw t-shirts that cool you down when it's extremely warm (Mountain Hardwear), super sticky viaferrata gloves and very fine waterproof jackets in nice colours (Outdoor Research), super durable alpine pants and the ever best sleepingbags, and down jackets (RAB), a new lightweight alpine climbing backpack (Lowe Alpine), the every cool 'Live Simply' shirts from Patagonia, anti-fog sunglasses from Adidas eyewear, all round climbing shoes from Five Ten, new Klattermusen jackets, trousers and LOADS more.

New RAB jackets

EOCA is the European Outdoor Conservation Association. They are the united association that connects a lot of different outdoor conservation funds, clubs, companies and federations.
Respect the Mountains, of which I'm ambassador is one of them.
Every year there is an organisation that wins an award for what they do in nature conservation.
This year Respect the Mountains won the Award! Including a 20k grant to spent on the 'EnviroTrack' initiative which I wrote about before.
Congrats RTM!!!
Also Petzl donates money to the EOCA.

Oh, yes and there was fun in between: the Petzl Roc Trip party and the minibike :)

And now another week in France before we'll drive (and float) to Iceland for a month full of trad, alpine and running!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

ZONDER a documentary about Dutch freelancers

...and here it is.
The short documentary from producer Johan Kramer.
Proud :)

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ZONDER from ZONDER. | Johan Kramer on Vimeo.

Zonder (Without)

The 'Zonder' crew

This Friday was my Dutch debut on the big screen!
I play in a short documentary about "ZZPers" (zelfstandige zonder personeel, or: freelancers)
In the documentary tell a bit about of my life and story as freelancer.

Producer Johan Kramer made a documentary about 'us five' together with only freelancers. (click on his name for a really nice and funny website about Johan himself)
A whole documentary without anyone on a payroll.
It required quite a bit of organisation the guide all the 38 creative freelance minds into the same direction.
To my surprise it all went quite easy. Really fun actually.
It felt like all of us had something to share as being all freelancers. Like we understood each other.
After a month of really, really hard working and editing it's finished.
The result as a documentary of just 8 minutes. Telling the inspiring stories of Glancy, Joachim, Kees, Sylivia... and me :)

At the premiere
I expected having to arrive in my best dress, shoes and a lot of glamour but just as the film itself is pure, the premiere itself was pure as well. We had to be there as 'ourselves'. So I arrived in my favourite dress. My shins still bruised and scratched of the Ettringen climbing weekend and my hair fluffy as always.
With Sara Kroos as presenter of the day, the head of a big insurance company as sponsor of the project, Johan on stage to tell more about his ideas and us five on special chairs on the side of the big white screen to answer questions of the viewers.
Just 8 minutes but it was good. My voice, face, text, it looked like me. Like who I am.
I guess I can be a little bit proud of the result :)
After the film (it looked so good!) we had time to chat with everyone who was involved. Nice to be around everyone again and share experiences.

But it wasn't finished yet.
That evening we had Berg Bios.
We turned our local gym wall into an outdoor cinema.
A big group gathered for a climbing movie in the grass.
Dosage IV is what we watched and before the real climbing they asked me to show Zonder.
I maybe found it more exciting and scary to show myself to my fellow climbers then to watch the actual   premiere earlier that day.
Between the climbing holds my face was projected on the climbing wall. A cool and rare view :)

Screenshot from the documentary Zonder
All 'Zonder' Pictures by Louiza here

Chris Sharma on the head wall of our gym :)

Tired of all the excitement I fell asleep when Tommy Caldwell was climbing his two-in-a-day routes on the Nose in Yosemite...

Time to go home and just be together with Dennis. Who accompanied me on this memorable day.

The flowers I got from 'Zonder' and the sponsor of the movie Nationale Nederlanden

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ZONDER teaser from ZONDER. | Johan Kramer on Vimeo.