Friday, January 31, 2014

Modding iceclimbing shoes

The annoying thing of fruitboots is that most come standard with a specific crampon. The Boreal's with Black Diamond, the Asolo with Petzl, the La Sportiva with Grivel...
So if you want to have Petzl crampons on Boreal boots (or any other combi) this is what you can do:

1. Get a couple spacer rings to figure where the bolts need to be.
2. If needed drill holes on the right places through the crampon for the right fit
3. Take the new crampons, marked and well off the boot
4. Weld the spacers in place
5. Tadaaa :)

It works much better then spacer-plates, or loose spacers. It's less weight added and they won't move (like they did apparently when I climbed the Worldcup finals last week, thats why we now got this technique fixed)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ISPO Munich 2014 - The climbing gear

ISPO 2014

Not being sponsored by a climbing hardware company gives an awkward advantage when visiting the ISPO. 
This year I was allowed to take a look at the current market with a very open mind. I even heard myself saying “I think I’d like to use that”. To a brand-manager of a brand that I formerly never even thought of looking at. 

Though, climbing is a Summer business and with the Outdoor Show in Salt Lake almost at the same time there was less innovation show then I was hoping for. 
I expected to see more innovation in harnesses for example. A lot of brands started making harnesses although it’s not their core business. For example Grivel and also Beal are more and more getting into other stuff then just ropes. 

On the first day we had quite some meetings but on the second day I took the time to walk around and take some pictures of the stuff that I found interesting. 
Of course, this is just a small collection. I didn’t focus too much on anything lifestyle-likely or anything less climbing orientated (like skiing and snowboarding or swimming). 
So the following reviews give only just a small glimpse on what you could have found on ISPO. 

Ocun came with a ‘plastic mesh’ harness, claiming better breathability compared to the current harnesses on the market. In fact is was just a piece of ‘plastic’ mesh without the fancy looking texture covering over it. Nothing new. 
Beal has now for a while harnesses that have the ‘Arc’Teryx-look’. But taking a closer look makes it rather obvious that it’s just a similar look and not the same technology. It looks rather fancy, going with the current ‘climbing fashion’ and is quite a lot cheaper then the rather overpriced Arc’Teryx harnesses. 
For as far as I saw Edelrid is still making the most comfortable harnesses on the market with their innovative 3D technology. In the first place the harness looks rather bulky but with actually wearing it you don’t even notice the bulky leg-loops. 
I was able to try the harness for a while now and even used it in the Iceclimbing Worldcup finals, where moving legs into complicated figure-of-fours is crucial. The bulkiness didn’t bother me at all, actually, I didn’t notice the harness on my body at all. 
Edelrid also came with a new rental-harness. Clear markings in the leg-loops make it obvious on wich is left and which loop is right. The small elastic in the middle of the two legloops makes it impossible to turn the loops the wrong way around. Also the two elastics on the back of the loops, connected to the hip-belt are sewn in, finishing with the problem of people taking them off, turing them upside down and so on. 
I liked the sewn-through gear-loops on the waist-belt. Sew through and thus adding strength and durability. 

Indoor Climbing
With rental-harnesses I get onto the topic of indoor climbing. 
More and more brands are making special indoor draws now. 
Petzl came with their new Djinn quickdraw. Rather fancy looking draw out of steel. 

Usually draws nowadays are made as light as possible, making concessions on durability. But draws that hang permanently in the wall dont’t need to be light. They need to be durable. And thus they’re made of steel and have thicker slings. Logical. 
I was wondering what took all brands this long to introduce their gym-draws. 
Petzl wasn’t the only one with the gym-draw.
We all know the classic Fixe quickdraw that is hanging in most gyms. 
New was the Grivel draw, the CT draw, the Singing Rock draw, Edelrid draw and even Rock Empire came with their own gym-draws. 
But still, it’s all just a draw, made out of an other kind of metal. 

Recently Mammut did a recall on their new top-anchor. They’d made an top-anchor for indoor climbing, one that you can only clip into, and can’t undo. But next to clipping in the rope, you could clip in your fingers. The sharp system could easily make a nasty cut in your finger. Not the nicest thing to happen when being pumped hanging the top of the route. They didn’t show their new version yet on the ISPO, making me guess what they’re up to now considering the development of the thing. 
For Edelrid this was an advantage. They also came with their new gym anchor. Leaving the whole theory of how an top-anchor needs to look behind, starting from scratch making a device that is new, different and definitely innovative!
The device seems to work super smoothly; taking up the rope, pushing it into the device. You don’t have to open draws, biners, screw-gates, no, just lift up the rope and lay it onto the opning of the device. Automatically the system closes, making it impossible to clip out the rope or clipping in more rope (or fingers). The base on where the rope lays is thicker then any draw on the market. With this thick surface the ropes runs super smoothly through the device minimising rope-drag, twists and curls in the rope. 
On top of that all the thing is hanging on a 3D swivel construction. Never twisted top-ropes or ropes running in an angle. 
Other funny thing they came with is the gym-draw. A full steel draw on a sling that changes colour when it gets older, giving you sign on when to change the draws. The draw itself is hung in the sling with a bolt, making it impossible to twist or side-load but still changable from the sling. 
The current leader, Fixe, has a biner with a small pin, that avoids the side-loading and twisting, but in the gyms this small pin is often missing after a while. Implementing the anti-sideload into the hanging system of the draw sounds a lot more logical. 
Another little detail was the small rubbers on the sides of the biner, protecting the wall from damage by the biner. 

As being Dutch, I think the gym-climbing is a very interesting culture. One that is growing and producing different climbers then the ones that grew up with natural rocks and outdoor activities. It’s more and more become a ‘fitness-culture’ with a majority of climbers that have never touched real rock in their whole career. 
I think in the near future we can expect more innovations playing into the gym culture. 

Ice gear
I just have to start with the icescrews here. Quite some brands have been trying to make screws that are more efficient. Connecting the draw to the screw (Grivel), having tubes to carry your screws (Petzl), making it possible to screw out the screw without disconnecting it from the rope (Petzl) and changing angles of the screw-teeth to make the whole thing go in faster. 
That last thing is something Petzl did with their new screw range. The teeth are more aggressive, the wire holds better because of the different shape and they’re even lighter. To my opinion a pretty good screw that kicks Black Diamond off the leading ice-screw position. 

Salewa actually did an even better job on the ice screw innovation. They made a screw that is rather similar to any other on the market but, the racking system, the head, the usability is incredible. After having tried it I was convinced I would trade my old Grivel, Black Diamond and (old) Petzl screws for a set of these ones. First of all you don’t need a special biner (‘Carry-tool’ or ‘Ice-clipper’) on your harness to rack your screws. That was horrible, when using different brands of screws... 
The draw is integrated on the screw so you can just clip them on your regular gear-loop. 
The problem with that was always when trying to screw in the the thing, the sling would swing and twist around. They made a metal ring around it all, making the draw always hang down. Of course because of this, it’s also possible to screw in/out without having to clip the thing off your rope. Handy for desperate climbs and clumsy clients. Then the super nice thing is the plastic head. It has a big rounded surface, so pushing the screw the first three turns goes easier then ever. Then the integrated handle is rather big, adding extra force and speed on the screw-turning action. And, another positive thing of the plastic cover; on glaciers, climbing with clients in sunny crevasses for example, you’d normally constantly cover your screw with ice. On ‘aper’ glaciers that is rather impossible to find, causing the screw to melt out. The plastic cap covers the whole screw, avoiding the melting around the metal. 
Though, I’m still a fan of using screamers, they don’t provide the things with the shock-absorbing slings. 
Another comment I heard was; “now how about when you can’t get the screw in all the way, like when touching rock, can you tie-off the sling”? No. You can’t tie off or lock the sling. But you can just place a sling or rope over the remaining piece of screw that is sticking out. Personally I think you should have placed your screws differently or use shorter screws anyway. To me it hardly (almost never) happens that I have to tie-off a screw. 

Other ice gear I saw were the new crampons, the Edelrid Beast-light won the ISPO price. 
They do exactly what the name says: technical super light crampon. The changing system looks easy. Duo, mono, bindings can all be changed in a fast way, even blonde girls (like me) can easily adjust the system. To my opinion a crampon for everyone, from beginners to pro’s. One small thing, I really like the hook that the Petzl Lynx crampons have on their side-frontpoints on the left and right, making it easy to ‘hook’ the things around rocks and technical ice. But well, thats a thing you’d only need when climbing more then M9. 

On fruitboots (or iceclimbing shoes) there isn't much new except of something very new: the Scarpa shoes are light, warm, rigid and very functional looking. Good job on designing those. They're lighter and far more functional then any shoe on the market so far. The heelhooking option, the warm inner, the stability, the versatality of being able to use different crampons... I tried them on and when you're finally in them, the twisting system with steel cable is really securing your feet in. Just waiting to get the right size. Good job on that Scarpa!

Iceaxes are becoming popular things too. They’re becoming more and more like real gadgets. CNC’d aluminium tools, fat shafts in fancy colours, multi-grip handles, and even special drytool holds. 
Trango showed two prototypes of their new dry/comp tool that looks rather similar to the Grivel tools that were already on the market. For as far as I saw they had a nice swing. Something that can’t be said for the Grivel comp tools. 

Grivel also improved their other, real iceclimbing tools and CNC’d one of those too. Making it look rather fancy but very durable. 

DMM still has the same tools. Durable, as always, but slightly too heavy and the handle is a bit too big to my opinion. (And yes, I have big hands)

Black Diamond seems to have done a good marketing work on their new tool. But in fact the old-old Fusion is still 100% better then the thing they now introduced. 
It looks fancy with the black-green shaft and handle but thats just all, basically they made them just cheaper to produce. The current Fusion has a built in hammer, the new tool doesn’t have a hammer at all. The handle has been improved slightly, by adding some extra grip in the pink-rest but the shaft is super fat, making hooks in narrow cracks impossible. And although they reduced the weight it’s still super heavy. So, although they make it look like a cool toy, it’s nothing new. Just a way to sell more Black Diamond stuff, to sell more iceaxes. Just a marketing tool.

I took a look again at the Cassin axes. The wide handle actually made it look like a rather comfortable iceaxe. Wouldn’t mind trying it out. 

Petzl didn’t change anything on their axes. The shaft is still too thin, they still haven’t changed anything on the head of the axes. So still, after half a year of full-time use they’d wear out, the head will come loose and you still have the chance on breaking the shaft. Sad, I expected more from them. 

There are a couple brands making specialised drytooling holds that we now see on the Worldcup Competitions. 
The most beautiful ones are the granite holds used in Saas Fee. 
Edelrid took a totally different approach on drytooling holds. 
They showed their stainless steel 2-way hold. Super durable, 100% sure it won’t break when taking it as ‘stein-pull’. and not much ‘waste space’ making it possible to place on any regular climbing wall. Fancy, small, durable. So clearly useable for anyone. Though, I’d use a thin plate on the wall to protect the wall for the stein-pulls. 

Other climbing stuff
Petzl introduced their new bright orange crashpads. Too bright for most costumers I think and too expensive for the others. Nothing too much special. Just a crashbad basically. 

Trango implemented a ‘screen’ into their helmet, having instant sunglasses. Funny. 

Grivel came with their new karabiner. A funny double clip system that Stevie Haston explains in a way too long video. In the video it looks like he’d been practising a lot, but when he introduced it to us on ISPO and I tried it myself I could do it first go with my eyes closed. I had to admit it actually works better then I expected. 
They expect to sell a lot of those. I’m wondering how the market will react. If they’ll believe in it or rather stay with the (maybe) nicer looking other biners like the ones from DMM, Petzl or Edelrid. 

Other stuff
Being fan of Patagonia I had to take a look at their new stuff. Rather weird for a winter fair was their introduction of the new wetsuits. Totally made of natural products. Simple, but so good that they’re so aware of environmental issues. 
Mountain Hardware won an award for their gloves. 
I was able to use MH gloves last winter (until I lost one) and was surprised by their comfort. Not as thick as the Black Diamond classic gloves, warm and very, very water proof. Next to the way, way too expensive Arc’Teryx gloves I think those are the best on the market by now. 

Being a climber I also need to use sunglasses. They more and more get functional by special lenses and comfortable textures. I’m not really a skier or boarder, but I noticed the goggles are getting better and different too, with lenses that lay onto the frame instead of in the frame, giving more visibility. The Zebra lenses used in Julbo products are auto adjusting the amount of light to protect your eyes.

Rock Empire presented their climbing jewelry. A couple years ago I’d bought some earrings in climbing town Arco. They had the shape of tiny bolts with draws. Looking at the way Rock Empire presented them I was astonished. Very fine precisely shaped draws, bolts, cams and knots. Much finer then the ones I bought. Much nicer then what I’d seen so far. Marianne: "I’d like some as present from my boyfriend ;) "

Other cool thing: the Mammut "photograph".

Having walked on my Keen Alaska boots for 1,5 years now Keen finally came with a womens version of the boot. Rather warm, nice looking and much better priced then the popular brand Sorel. Just because of the ridiculous pricing I’d never buy a pair of Sorel shoes. 

On the clothing I didn’t see much innovative. We still have the waterproofed down, the different membranes, Gore Tex and Polartec etcetera. Funny thing to see is that most brands are getting into the bigger zippers again. Zippers that work better then the too fine ones you saw the last years in the waterproof jackets. 

And next to that I saw a lot of fancy clothing stuff in the stands like Maloja. But that’s just fashion, nothing innovative on that :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Zo professioneel

...zoals De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig zei.
Onze sport, ijsklimmen werkt toe naar een  Olympische status. Daarvoor zijn wij als atleten uitgenodigd in Sochi. We zijn al een Olympisch erkende sport (nou ja, erkend, in Nedeland is alleen de heren discipline erkend) en we willen ook echt uitkomen op de spelen in de toekomst. De kracht van de sport is hoe spectaculair het er uit ziet. Saas Fee trekt er een parkeergarage vol met niet-klimmers mee die al juichend Hee Yong Park naar de top zien klimmen. Geen flauw idee hoe lastig de bewegingen zijn, ze vinden het blijkbaar gewoon mooi. En, ze betalen ervoor. Je moet entree betalen om het te mogen zien!

Wij, Dennis en ik deden ook mee in Saas Fee. Dennis won er zelfs vorig jaar. 
Dit jaar helaas niet. We hadden ook wel een hele ongelukkige voorbereiding waarbij we voor Dennis in december en januari meer ziekenhuizen van binnen hebben gezien dan klimhallen. Ondertussen is Dennis aan het afstuderen en alsof het allemaal nog niet genoeg was prikt hij zijn ijsbijl 5cm diep z'n been in door het slechte ijs in de speedklim kwalificaties. Hij kan amper op z'n been staan nu en heeft minimaal 3 weken nodig om te herstellen. 
Ondanks te slechte voorbereiding schopte ik mijn stijgijzers wel naar de finale en stond ik opeens tussen de grote groep echte professionele klimsters. Ik kan met zekerheid zeggen dat deze wedstrijd de zwaarste is uit de hele competitie. De wand, de routes, de hoogte (en dus het gebrek aan zuurstof) en het deelnemersveld was nog niet eerder zo sterk. Iedereen in de top 12 behalve ik, had in de afgelopen twee jaar al minimaal een keer op het podium gestaan. 
Ik had dit jaar nog geen enkele keer op een wedstrijdwand geklommen. In tegenstelling tot de rest van die top 12, die zo'n wand soms letterlijk in hun achtertuin hebben liggen. Op sommige stukken was het heel duidelijk dat ik het beetje achtertuin ervaring hard miste. Wat me uiteindelijk een 7e plaats opleverde. 
En ja, achteraf zeg je altijd dat je het beter had kunnen doen... 
Ik was er toch wel soort van blij mee, want ik was lang niet zo zenuwachtig als de afgelopen jaren en ik vond het zo tof om te mogen klimmen :)

Ik werd gezocht, zo bleek, door de dopingcontrole. Niet omdat ze iets vermoedden, gewoon random, en dit keer was ik aan de beurt.
Bla bla, plassen in een potje en dat een beetje overgieten in was test-bekertjes.
We kwamen in gesprek over het klimmen. Dat het wel heel gaaf was om zo van klimmen je werk te kunnen maken en de hele wereld af te reizen. Zo veronderstelden de twee sportartsen uit Servië die de dopingcontroles doen voor de UIAA. 
Ja, van klimmen je werk maken. Wat zou dat gaaf zijn, zei ik terug. Verbaasd over mijn antwoord babbelden we verder en meer en meer realiseerde ik me mijn rare positie: ik ben geen professionele klimmer. 
Na wat rondvragen kwam ik er achter dat al de twaalf klimmers waar ik het over had wel professionele klimmers zijn. Zij krijgen allemaal een salaris om mee te doen aan deze wedstrijden. Een salaris om te mogen klimmen. Stel je voor! Zelfs de Russische en Tsjechische klimsters krijgen beaald. Bizar. Nog veel vreemder; het Azerbajaanse team (die standaard als laatste en een-na laatste eindigen rond plek 70) krijgen per klimmer een vergoeding van €1000 plus alle reis en inschrijfkosten vergoed. Azerbajaan. Ja, Azerbajaanse deelnemers krijgen ook betaald. 
Vanuit onze verenging, NKBV, krijgen wij een vergoeding. Een paar mensen hebben hard gewerkt om dit voor elkaar te krijgen en wij zijn er erg blij mee, anders waren we hier niet geweest. Maar deze vergoeding is net voldoende voor het deels dekken van de kosten van een paar wedstrijden. Wanneer we naar Korea en Saas Fee zouden gaan zou het geld al op zijn. En dan betalen we ons eten en Dieselkosten nog zelf. 
En dan blijven er nog 4 wedstrijden plus Sochi over op de lijst...
In de eindranking zal je ons dus niet terug vinden, want daar hebben we het geld niet voor. We hebben niet eens een kledingsponsor die ons van warme kleding voorziet of een materiaalsponsor die ons van ijsbijlen voorziet. En zelfs als de beste bergsport prestatie van het jaar verkozen wordt, staat er niks bij over het feit dat Dennis de Worldcup in Saas Fee won en mogen we stemmen op mensen die het bijzonder doen op het NK. Zelfs door onze eigen vereniging worden we dus vergeten.
Niet dat we het niet proberen, we hebben blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, staan in magazines zoals iPhone Magazine, ik stond in de Viva400 en in kranten. We worden opgebeld en gemaild als iemand iets over ijsklimmen wil weten en om de sport te vergoten organiseren we jaarlijks een wedstrijd, die dit jaar ruim 100 deelnemers trok!
Ja, je zal me wel een grote zeur vinden dat ik dit zo schrijf. "Je moet er zelf voor zorgen", "het komt niet vanzelf", "het is crisis, er is geen geld voor dit soort dingen", "wat zeur je nou, je kan toch meedoen in Saas Fee", "het is toch mooi dat je het allemaal zelf kan"... 
Echt? En dat is het excuus? En wat nou als ik full-time kon trainen en daarmee wel op het podium kan staan...? In plaats van full-time naar een computer staren en 's avonds betaal om even te mogen klimmen in een kleine klimhal waar ik alle routes al gedaan heb. 
Kan iemand mij alsjeblieft vertellen hoe ik dat in Nederland nou eindelijk eens voor elkaar kan krijgen? Alsjeblieft?
Hoe word ik 'zo professioneel'?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saas Fee Finals

It’s Worldcup season. For a while already but I didn’t have the money to join the comps yet. 
But there was no excuse not to go the the biggest and most difficult comp of the year: Saas Fee, Swiss. 
Dennis, my boyfriend won the speed discipline last year so he had to defend his title. 
I’m more interested in the new outdoor mixed spot at my new home in Germany then the worldcup comps, but I had to support Dennis, thus had to go. 
No expectations but I knew I was rather strong, despite of the lack on training in December and January. Unlucky Dennis saw more hospitals then climbing-gyms in those two months (long story) and I had to support him there. So not much climbing for me either in the last months...
I tried to make up by running and cycling a lot in between work, hospitals and Christmas dinners and even managed to loose weight instead of gain weight. 
I also found a new tool to see how my fitness level was doing; the heart-rate belt and watch. 
Trying to understand my body I was more conscious about my nutrition, rest and my new game: heart-rate monitoring. 
With all this new information we drove to Saas Fee. 
Thursday evening I drew number 9. My starting number for the comp. 
Nervous as always (last year I was so nervous I threw up twice when waiting for my turn in the isolation zone) I was waiting for my turn. 
I was fifth to climb, so not much time to gain nervousness. Good. 
My newly bought Grivel iceaxes felt still awkward but they worked well the last weekend so I decided to try them for the comp. 
Meanwhile, waiting, listening to Rudimental to give me some relaxation and energy at the same time I watched my heart rate. Boing, boing, boing. I didn’t even had to look at my watch, the trembling hands and the active ‘boing, boing, boing’ in my dry throat said enough. 118, 121, 120, 117, 122, 123... Ah, that why I don’t have cold hands...
For some reason it felt good to know it was not just my mind but my body too reacting on the nervousness in my head. I could kind of accept it. 
My turn to climb. 
I chalked up my hands, slid in my horserinding gloves and tied in the rope. 
Here we go. 
Insecure in the ice with my long iceaxes I climbed up. Further and further. But still feeling slow. The first time since more then a year that I kicked my crampons in the hard wood of the structure. The speaker said some things about Dennis, about Dennis and me. I heard a lot of “Dennis” but had no idea what was going on...
The first time I touched the beautiful granite holds again. The first time on the worldcup again. In between all those girls who had been training and competing for months already. I felt small. 
Time out! 
Oh shit. Those six minutes went fast!
But it felt good enough for the semi’s at least. 
And it was. I was qualified 10th for the finals. 
Meanwhile I understood all the “Dennis”. 
Back on the speed wall Dennis was trying to qualify for the semi’s in speedclimbing. The brittle ice broke and he cut himself rather badly in his leg with is iceaxe. He looked all pale and had a good patch of blood on his axe, gloves and trousers. 
But he was smiling so we all thought he was okay. 
Limping towards the structure again he climbed again. And fell. Everyone was shocked. Last years winner was out!
Within a couple hours he had to be in isolation for the leadclimbing. 
The bandage around his leg was bleeding through, making his trousers look even worse. But he wanted to try. 
He limped up to the structure, tied in and was hardly able to move his right leg. Not even able to figure of four he pulled his way up, and as his friend Malcom Kent said afterwards: “You make iceclimbing look ridiculous”. “I love you too Malc” he replied sticking his middle finger to his head. And yes it did look ridiculous, doing one arm pull-ups, having the right leg stretched out hanging into nothingness when moving up. He managed to clip some draws but didn’t get very far. 

Later on the day I managed to carefully climb up to a tenth place in the speed semi-finals. Not bad for a slug like me. 
Next day. Semi’s on the lead comp. 
I woke up, walked down to the restaurant. Closed. All was dark and no-one answered the bell that I rung to ask when breakfast would be served. F*. No breakfast. I waited, until I really had to be in isolation. Still no-one to serve breakfast. 
They forgot, they forgot I asked for an early breakfast! The banana was the only energy I got that morning...
Need-to-climb-faster. That was the idea. 
My accept-that-I’m-nervous-listen-to-music-stay-in-the-cold-instead-of-in-the-warm-isolation-method worked before so I used it again. Oh, shit, but how do I use this axes to swing with! They’re drytooling things, nothing more then gardening tools to clean the weeds, compared to real iceaxes! On the last moment I decided to sharpen them as much as possible, making the blades super thin. And then the Russian coach Alexander Tolokonin, the husband of Maria Tolokonina (who also competed in the finals) showed me the half-way grip. That was the trick! I got it, it is possible to swing those gardening tools! Now I just needed to climb faster. 
Suddenly the UIAA photographer came up to me with two warm croissants, he smiled. He read my frustrated Facebook-post that morning about the missing breakfast and brought me some food! Slowly I ate half a croissant, eyes closed, enjoying the extra energy that my body needed.
Time to climb.
Not struggling at all with the altitude (so all the running did work?) I tried to speed up, making long moves and efficiently I swung the tools in the wood. Compared to most of the girls I do have a swing as I do climb outdoor ice too, and this gave me a big advantage. 
After my climb some of the girls fell out quite early. And this made me more and more excited. One more and I’d be in the finals... “YES!” I screamed when Russian climber Nataljia fell! Oh, thats mean I thought, I was not allowed to be that happy when someone fell... But I was happy. I reached the finals!
The first thing Dennis said was not “well done” but “I need to see a doctor”. He didn’t look too good. His leg still bleeding a bit. And so he limped to the doctor. She saw the wound, and told him it wasn’t that good. Looking at the amount of fat tissue coming out it was all the way in, at least 5cm. She told him it will take at least three to four weeks to heal...if it doesn’t get infected. Meaning his iceclimbing season is over... (Read his story on his website here: )
After a midday sleep I was ready for the final run. 
For some reason I was suddenly managing nervousness and lowered the sick-nervous feeling to a more healthy level. 
I did my regular mixed climbing warm-up: warm up my shoulders slowly, stretch a bit, get painful barfeys (so I don’t get them when doing the actual climbing) and get some more dynamic moves done. 
Music on level ‘extra loud’ and ready to go. I was kind of looking forward to the climb! That was a weird feeling. For the first time on a competition I actually kind of liked it...
Tricky start... I was moving slow.... Getting a bit insecure I wasn’t able to move very fast. Even the wood that I had to swing my tools into felt harder then before... “Klimmen” Dennis shouted, “klimmen”. Climb, climb he shouted, as I ordered him. Anything else, like “don’t think about your feet” or “your axes are fine” would distract me too much. “Ten seconds!” he screamed at the end. Oh shi*. I jumped for the last move and fell off, my axe still stuck in the ice barrel where I jumped off.
Hey, that was fun!
And that brought me to a 7th place. Not bad :)
Pictures thanks to pro-photographer Philippe Mooser, check his website