Covered in snow
During the worst climbing winter since men do climb I can send in four days four boulders between 8A and 8B on a brand new spot right next to Fribourg. And by now I am even getting close to sending my ultra project…
What do you do, when you find yourself in the darkest winter since men do record the darkness of winters? And what do you do, when it is the most humid winter for more than 20 years, too? You stay at home. It is the best thing to do about.
But what do you do, when you are in addition a fanatic climber? Who doesn’t like gyms? Yes, the only thing you can do, is to get depressive. Depression keeps you down and calm (it is actually the sense of depression). And yes, I have seen climbers becoming nearly depressive this winter. Because, actually most of the time all our casual spots were wet. And as the sun didn’t show up that much, they stayed wet as well.
But, as usually, there was hope. I couldn’t be sure, but up at our latest discovery, the Cousimbert, climbing might have been possible. This new spot is only 10km from Fribourg on a barely unspectacular woody hill-mountain that doesn’t look at all as it would bear some really nice sandstone boulders. But since last year we knew, that it did. And throughout summer we started brushing and climbing and rasped our skin away, as the grip even with 20° is still enormous. We counted the potential of lines in our minds and only stopped when we had passed 100. And we waited for the cool and dry autumn weather, to finally attack the really hard problems. And I don’t know since which year the last autumn was the wettest one, but it has to be some years at least and thus unfortunately climbing was impossible at the Cousimbert.
So when in the end of February after many days in the Minimalomania project in Lindental and three weeks of Catalunya I forced my way up to the boulders through nearly one meter of snow, I didn’t know what was awaiting me. Icicles and icy gloss everywhere? Sit starts one meter above the normal level? A merciless cold that makes your finger skin break at the first rock contact?
There was of course snow on everything that’s not an overhang. But all the rest was dry. Perfectly dry. The forest was white and absolutely silent, the rock – normally rather brown-orange – was glimmering bluish and the first contact with it revealed to me for the first time in a long climbing live the real meaning of the word “grip”. Extremely coarse sandstone at minus four degree in the air and about zero on the rock surface…
Especially on my favorite boulder with its natural roof out of roots and several finishing jugs right below, I could try all of the projects from last summer. Some of them – especially Underclass poem – I had worked for at least 15 days and they seemed inhumanely hard. At least to a human like me. I wasn’t sure to ever send it.
Two days later I then sent it. My body had stocked the moves perfectly in mind and now the grip was good and I was strong enough. It even didn’t feel very hard. Nevertheless it isn’t probable that others will find it easier than 8A+/8B, rather 8B. And all the other projects fell quickly as well. Within four climbing days in one week I could redpoint Drop a class (8A), Walden (8A/8A+) and Roots in the basement (8A+). All of them really nice lines with everything in them from big moves, jumps, small holds and technical food combinations.
And as I started to work again on the sit start of Underclass poem, unfortunately the frost took his toll. The most important food hold broke. In the video you can watch what is left over. I couldn’t glue it back, as it was too cold, so I tried it with the mini version and it worked. Retrospectively I was lucky, because now, the sit start is quite hard as well. It should be about 8A/8A+ and is the perfect prelude to the stand start. 15 moves and more than 5 meters straight up and another two meters top out option, great rock, nearly never wet and exactly the right difficulty for me to transfer my route climbing performances to bouldering. Two days before writing these lines, I already fell in the middle of the hard stand start sequence. So let’s see… :)