The summer holiday 2016 was characterised not just by lots of climbing but also by pushing boundaries, learning many new things and making great tours. I was so lucky to have two months of holidays, enough time to make a small trip in Europe!
Together with Noël and José, I started the holidays in the Frankenjura (Germany). A few weeks ago was my first trip to this area and I climbed my first 7c+ (more about this trip here. This time I was really motivated to climb an 8a. The first few days I used to climb a lot and get used to the pocket climbing style of the Frankenjura. I managed to sent quite some nice 7c's and a 7c+ in the second go, so decided it was time to try a 8a. José suggested Strandcafé, and on the warmest and sweaiest day of the week I gave it a go. Despite the weather it felt doable and I finished the route in my 3rd attempt. Whooo! My first 8a!
Since it didn't felt that hard, I pushed myself into an 8a+, Verbindung. This is a combination line of the 7c+ I climbed on my first Frankenjura trip and a 7c. Also this route fell down pretty easy in the 3rd attempt, so I started dreaming of an 8b. My eye fell on Riesenslalom direkt, a long route with a mono crux and a tricky end. I managed to do the mono crux pretty fast (in the second attempt),but had some trouble with the last hard move. I fell 3 times in the last part of the route, which made this route not just physically hard but also mentally. In the end I climbed it in my 6th attempt. I am very surprised and amazed that in only one week I climbed my first 8a, 8a+ and 8b!
After the Frankenjura Noël and me headed to Bergell (Swiss), where the NSAC camping took place. After arriving there we made the plan to climb the Badille, and we went up already the same day. We first wanted to climb the Cassin route, but people there told us it was wet. We changed our mind and focused on Another day in Paradise, but heard from many others that they also planned to do that route. Not willing to queue, we decided to climb the Nordkante. Unfortunately we went wrong somewhere and didn't reached the top, but for sure it was a nice first trip in which we learned a lot.
As the weather was good, we didn't waste time in the valley and went up again to climb the fiamma. Compared to the Badille this is just sportsclimbing multipitch and we managed to climb pretty fast.
Since we had only a few days in Bergell, we had to drive to Courmayeur (Italy) for the CEAT camping after these two trips. In this week we went up to the Torino hut, bivouacked close to there and did some really nice trips. We started with the Tour Ronde (the rock face) with Rik and Jarron. The next day was 'restday' and we did the Entreve ridge. Then it was time for a big trip: the Diablo ridge with Court and Hans. The route definately deserved its name. The difficulty of the climbing is only 4c max, but it felt sometimes harder than the 8b in the Frankenjura, our rope got stuck everywhere and routefinding took ages. Hans and me were a bit slower than Noël and Court and it was dark when we reached the summit of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. As we couldn't find the way down and were tired, we had a bivouac on the top. The next day we went down to Courmayeur, but in our head were still many other peaks and climbs we wanted to do. Two days later we went up again to do some more stuff. Unfortunately bad weather made us failing to climb the Dent du Géant, but we managed to climb the rock pillar le Chandelle (even though it was ice cold). High on the wishlist was the Grand Capuchin, but tiredness forced us to go back to the valley again.
After all these adventures we continued our journey to the Ecrins (France) were some friends were staying. Here we ate a lot (all fat was gone after the mountaineering tours), slept a lot and did some sportsclimbing and long multipitches in the area. Besides climbing we went mountainbiking, rafting and canyoning. It was good fun and a relaxed two weeks to finish the holidays with.
Thanks to Noël for having all the skills and ability to enjoy all of this with me, Green Monkie : ecowear for their great organic shirts and Five Ten for their climbing shoes that are excellent for so many different kinds of climbing :D
A summary of the hardest routes I climbed:
- Riesenslalom Direkt, 8b (redpoint), Frankenjura
- Verbindung, 8a+ (redpoint), Frankenjura
- Strandcafe, 8a (redpoint), Frankenjura
- Vögeln verboten, 7c+ (2nd go), Frankenjura
- Le combat ordinaire, 7c+ (2nd go), Rue des masques
- Du cour à l'ouvrage, 7c (onsight), Mont Dauphin
- Fear Factory, 7c (2nd go), Frankenjura
- Liebe ohne chance, 7c (2nd go), Frankenjura
All other routes graded 7a or higher are on my 8a.nu account
Alpine tours and long multipitches:
- Badille (not finished, 5a+ max)
- Fiamma (via Dente par dente and the 6c on the fiamma)
- Tour Ronde (6b max)
- Entreve ridge (5a+ max)
- Diablo ridge & Mont Blanc du Tacul (4c max)
- Dent du Géant (not finished, 6a max)
- Le Chandelle (route: Bonatti-Tabou, 6b max)
- Paroi des Lys (route: Le haut dans le gaz, 7a max)
- Tête d'Aval (route: Piler Rouge Hebdo, 6b max)
- Le Ponteil (route: Rôle en dalles, 6c max)
More pictures are on my facebook via this link