woensdag 28 februari 2018

Winter fun

In December I finished my bachelor, but instead of throwing myself immediately into another study or work, I decided to enjoy some free time and improve my winter climbing skills.
So far the winter here has been fantastic. Starting off with a bit hard times in October, it was great to escape Tromsø in November for some ice climbing in Alta. By teaming up here with Torgrim, we got to make many meters in just two weeks and thanks to this I could enjoy a steep progression curve.
Back in Tromsø there was a big bunch of powder and the skiing was great. Suddenly it felt like everything was possible to ski down, and I felt like a hero on ski's. We skied down the Rambo couloir in Katfjordeiret, a line I never thought I would manage to ski. More of that please later this season!
But first: getting some sunshine (and rock climbing) in the Costa Blanca. I was happy that despite a lot of ice climbing and skiing I somehow kept some sports climbing skills and the 7c's went down still pretty easily. Despite climbing hard, the focus was on climbing a lot and that was what happened. Rest days were filled with ridge traverses or long multipitches, climbing days were filled with loosing as much skin on the rock as possible.
Back home in the North the snow got terrible, time to escape to Alta again! After a hard first day getting used to shivering again, Torgrim and I managed to climb about 7 new lines in 5 days, all super fun.
Tastes like more and back in Tromsø I filled my days with trips to the Kroken crag, making meters and getting more and more confidence and speed. I led my first WI6 in Nordkjosboten, a beautiful steep pillar in a stunning area.
With Merrick I climbed Smorstabfossen, a icicle in Grøtfjorden that was not really formed so we had to dryool in 3 pitches to get to the ice (WI6 in guide but in these conditions M6, WI4).
Then on another beautiful day Monsterfossen saw an ascent, climbing it together with Richard. A long approach but then 4 pitches of great ice, WI5(+).
Somehow the weather stayed cold and clear, and while all the skiers were complaining about the conditions, I was having the time of my life. Grøtfjorden was up next, some alpine climbing there with Florian. Slowly my body was getting tired, but the psych was too high and the weather too good to take a break. A day to the Kroken crag I'd now call a rest day, not a training day anymore.
Then Torgrim came with the idea of climbing an unclimbed long line in Lyngen, cool! We approached in the evening and my body felt tired, but the line looked cool and Torgrims psych was infectious. After a short, cold night we started climbing early. Starting off on hard snow we managed to make fast progress, until the terrain got steeper and the snow deeper. I got scared, my body felt wasted and motivation was far away. Just under the summit after about 1300 meters of climbing we got stuck below some steep loosy rock climbing. We decided to call it a day, and after 22 hours of being on the mountain we were back at the tent. No summit, but still a new route and a great adventure!
The week after, my body felt wasted. Good timing since I had my first working week in Lyngen, cooking for Ascent Descent. A week with just cooking, eating, sleeping and skiing a bit on icy slopes. The psych for climbing was quickly coming back, and at the end of the week I was feeling strong and fit again. Ready for trying Ultima Thule on Blåmann! With big heavy backpacks Merrick and I hiked up to the wall. The climbing went slow, but it was great. Thinks worked out perfectly and we had loads of fun. Until the jetboil stopped working... We didn't had any water anymore so giving it a push was not reasonable. We bailed from halfway up the mountain, but not before promising to get back on to it later!
Now after Blamann, my body is teaching me some anatomy, making me feel all the places where muscles are. From on the beginning of March till the end of May I'll be working in Lyngen, crossing my fingers for good skiing conditions, or hoping to find some good ice/alpine climbing partners. It feels like winter has only just begun!

dinsdag 13 februari 2018

Recap 2017, prospecting 2018 (climbing-wise)

2017: The year I moved to Norway, where I finished my bachelors, stopped with the Expedition Academy, made many new friends and developed myself in countless ways. Climbing-wise a lot changed: by moving to Norway I missed out on all the National competitions. Instead, I spent all my free time hanging on some granite rock or hammering my axes in ice. I learned how to climb up cracks on Baugen, how to aid up routes on the little big wall of Blamann, I got to climb steep ice and did first ascents around Alta, I manage to climb 8a on granite (proving myself that I can climb hard on granite too) and I got second at the European Student Championships. I got psyched, I got scared and I kept on learning the whole season. My aim for myself is to become the most allround climber I can be, feeling strong on rock, ice and plastic.

In 2018 I hope to continue my learning curve, and since I have one of the best playgrounds in my backyard now with a fantastic inspiring climbing community, I think great adventures are ahead.

Hope to see you in the mountains!

Best of 2017:
- Blamann winter attempt
- 8a on granite
- Blamann summer success
- 2nd place at the European Student Championships
- Rambo couloir down on ski's (first couloir on ski's :D)
- Ersfjordtraverse
- Many many many beautiful routes in the Dolomites

Goals for 2018, list will get updated every now and then):
- Climb WI6 (done)
- Climb Blamann in winter (tried - bailed halfway)
- Ski the Godmother Couloir in Lyngen (bailed due to avalanche risk)
- Free climb Blamann in summer (done almost free)
- Climb 5 routes 8a or harder (managed 4)
- Climb Storpillaren and Stetind (Lofoten) in summer (done)
- Podium place National Championships (ended 4th...)