We climbed in the huge land for a couple weeks with Canmore as basecamp.
Being Dutch and being a climber is a fairly strange combo.
As sports climber we have a gym in every city. Within 40km you can find a gym, wherever you are in the Netherlands.
Most have exotic names like 'Yosemite', Delfts Bleau (like in Fontainebleau), Monk, Mountain Network (for a series of climbing gyms) or llike my home-gym: Monte Cervino.
Others are just called: De Klimmuur (The Climbingwall).
They all have the same set-up: a bar where you can drink high quality coffee and a good beer after your climbing session. And a diverse sanded wall full of coloured epoxy holds.
This is great! It gets me strong and it's addictive.
No wonder we have a super strong National team for lead and bouldering.
But being an iceclimber and desperately wanting to be an Alpine climber makes it all a different story.
I live below sea-level. And the only ice around is indoor and very very horizontal. The Dutch soil is mainly sand and our highest sand-hill (Vaalserberg 322m) isn't even worth a climb.
I only have one person close to me who is super passionate about ice and Alpine climbing. He happens to be my boyfriend.
The flatness of my home country had sent most alpinists away. Most of them are UIAGM guides living in the Alps.
So far I haven't found a way to earn enough money, live in the Alps and still find enough time to train and climb.
So. That's what I have to work with.
My lack of real Alpine experience was what hit me back in Canada.
I wanted to be fast, fluent and smooth on anything.
But in reality I found myself struggling with the altitude, the rock and the whole group dynamics.
Straight after the Worldcup season (which is basically Sportsclimbing with iceaxes) I flew to Canada. No time to work on the totally different kind of Alpine fitness. And I'd just recovered from a pretty bad flu.
Of course. These are all excuses.
"Are you just a big whiner" one wrote as comment on my blog after reading the same excuse before.
To all of you who think I am; yes, maybe I am. Now try to get to where I am.
Thank you for your pity.
The disappointment in my own abilities made me try to forget about the whole experience.
Dennis told me climbing should be for yourself. It should be fun, passionate, beautiful.
He's right, though, I don't want to let go. I don't want to be the weekend warrior, the full time office worker with a hobby. I just want to do what I love. I want to climb. Everywhere, every time.
Discover, learn, feel, experience life and the world through climbing.
That is what brought me to where I am now and I believe it will get me to the climbing in my dreams.
I have this desperate panicking feeling in my stomach with 'a little voice' saying "help". I want to train more, I want to get better, I need to be in the Alps.