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There’s only four ways to get it unravelled – Linking the two Chromosome-9a in an last lucky effort, to what it was meant to be: Meiose, La Tribune, Charmey. My first 9b.

Linking the two Chromosome-9a in an last lucky effort, to what it was meant to be: Meiose, La Tribune, Charmey. My first 9b. 

 

 
 8B done, 8B to go. Shortly after the half time in Meiose.

 

It would have been a proper ending, a typical one, for me at least. A usual one for my home projects, Charmey, Jansegg, Gastlosen. Le donjon de Naheulbeuk (9a, 120 tries in between 2007 and 2011), Les fruits du rapport (9b?, 50 tries 2010/2011) and yes, Meiose (150 tries since 2011). Some open endings.

Three days before leaving Switzerlandfor nine months in South America and at least one or two years in Germany, before leaving my home of the last nine years perhaps forever, my beloved rocks, my heart of climbing, the Jaun-Valley, I show up a last or a fore last time in Meiose. Charmey, La Tribune. My hardest project ever. Tried it at first in vain, then sliced it up in the two Chromosome routes (X and Y, both 9a) in 2012. 20 meters, twelve of them hard, 25 moves pure resistance. 8B boulder, one time clipping, one time chalking, no deep breath and then another 8B boulder. 7b+ to the top.

 

 
 Flag as hard as you can - The first crux 

 

Three days to go on this Tuesday the 17th of November. Heavy rain on Friday, winter is on the run. Three days to go and even if Thursday will still be warm and sunny it is the last time up here with proper preparation in my way: Two rest days, two proper nights, my Mayday Recovery drink. The last time up with more or less fair conditions in this late November summer. 15 to 20 degrees at the south sided wall, some little wind, shade up from 4pm. Time for only one real try. It is not easy to seek your limits in autumnal Charmey.

Three days to go and the best first try of the day ever at 2pm. I am falling one move from the freeing good one finger pocket. Writing a message to my girlfriend. I am optimistic. Two hours of rest, I nearly fall asleep. Climbing up the first three spits, clipping, climbing down. Proper redpoint.

Getting ready. Mentally. This will probably be the last real try for at least one year. I had been so close already two times, last December and this May. Five times I have been falling from this last small hold, the three-finger bench. But this time my tactics are more elaborated, I have this piece of towel full of chalk taped on my upper leg, I know, that I will have to rest my left shoulder before getting it on with the last three moves, despite my right hand tiring on a little pinch at the same time.

 

 
 To hold or not to hold - The last hard move to the one-finger-pocket in Meiose.

 

One last deep breath, then I am in. First boulder without any mistakes. I know the only way to succeed in here is the one perfect go. Kneebar, chalking, then going left. The spiky crimp, I miss the food hold you have to get to dynamically first time. I get it in a second try. Not that good! But strength is fine. The best one I will ever get, probably. Six moves on little crimps and pinches, the ones that reveal the conditions in the upper part. Are they smeary from the warmth, you can forget the whole thing right away. They are ok, not good, but it’s not winter, neither. It’s climate change. I get to the clip where you can ground ten meters deeper when your belayer is not alert. I do not worry. This is not about injury, this is about success. And Serge knows what to do for the case if: jumping backwards down the rocks. I clip the quick draw without problems. Tapping on the chalk towel, no time to reach the hand to the back. Starting the next move left, hesitating deliberately: five seconds rest for the left shoulder. Seven, eight. Never been so stable in this position. This time it’ll be close! But the right hand suffers, naturally. Then: shifting the body right, getting the intermediate, a little three finger bench, letting the body and the feet follow. My shoulder’s fine, my right forearm rather tired. I focus on the one finger pocket, I collect all speed that’s still in my, I shoot myself in his direction. I am getting in! It’s incut. This is it! This should it be! I am so pumped. Can’t hold it.

I am done. It’s over. Falling.

It would have been a proper ending. Three days from the departure. A typical. For me and for this route. Yes, I appreciate. I am not sad, I’m smiling. I will come back! This is my ticket to the climbing spots I love the most on planet earth. Perhaps next winter, holidays in Charmey.

We’re going home. I am drinking beers. I feel relieved. I haven’t sent it, but I am done with it. Now there is nine months travelling awaiting us!

Two days to go.

I still have my rope and quick draws up the cliff and despite two more degrees, a bad night on beer and just one rest day I, well, will give it one last try. Why not? I could film some more of my hard unpublished boulders, but perhaps there’s a lucky punch in there.

 

Two days later, Thursday, the 19th of November. Tomorrow comes the winter, Saturday evening we’ll be already on the ship that leads us from Venice to Buenos Aires. Step lightly. Try not to fly.

The first go in the warm air being pushed by the cold front is in vain. Five moves to the finger pocket missing.

What do we do up here? Adrian is still fucked from four tries in his 8b+ project two days ago. We’re laughing. It is a sunny way to go. To leave this piece of earth I am supposed to have spent 300 days of my life on it. I will be back, I’m 30, but I am not old, the doctor who I’ve seen for my bone oedema last year, Andreas Schweizer, said he had never seen healthy fingers like mine on this level and after 15 years of climbing. Must be my one-day-one-two-days-off rhythm. Or rather three-days-off.

I make a siesta. When I wake up, I feel it coming: storm. The light is changing. A last time bright and honey-like. The air is clear, a little fresher. Wind is on. The sun goes down. Upclimb, clip, and downclimb. Every time the same procedure. Do I have hope? Not much, a little.

It will diminish. The first 8B is not going well, I am too far from the wall, I’m not in touch. Adrian who knows me well reminded me of what I am in climbing: a last minute man. That’s true. In travelling I often finished off my projects on the last occasion. Not at home. Is this still home? Or is it travel?

There’s only four ways to get in unravelled, one is too sleep and the other is travel…

It feels like home. I am linking little mistake to little mistake. The foot hold far left, I don’t get it first try and in second one I’m badly on it. I nearly fall. Ten moves from the one finger pocket. 8A+/8B to go. I could give it up directly. In addition the next holds are a little smeary. It’s too bad to be tragic, too far away. I am feeling comic. I almost miss the clip, five seconds does it take, to get the rope into the biner. But you don’t let go a hold when you fall ten meters directly to the ground. And: My right forearm has time to relax. So much, I manage to free the left hand for a moment afterwards. Then I am going right. Adrian is shouting like crazy. And he is right. It’s crazy. I get the little bench right hand, I’m better on it than two days ago. I am in outer space, delirium. My brain is running out of oxygen. I do not think. I’m pushing. Towards the end.

Four years, 150 tries, the half of it, still 10kg heavier, totally without any chance. So much motivation for such an unrealistic goal. But this is life, yes, this is climbing. I’m not here, to succeed, nor to surrender. I want to carry on. I want to try. And smile about my almost-sendings. But this ain’t home. It’s travel, yet. The misclipped biner safed me. I am not falling. I push, dopamine rushes, and yes: I hold this fucking pocket!

I can’t believe it. This can’t be true. It is like stealing this very moment from coincidence. Up here in the hills.

There’s only four ways to get in unravelled, one is too sleep and the other is travel, one is a bandit up in the hills…

Adrian is yelling. I keep it low. I never messed it up when it was kind of over. But I don’t trust this treasure under my arms.

I don’t shout the luck out of me until I am on it: the last hold. It’s done! I’m not relieved. I liked the proper ending from two days ago. It was so nice, so typical. I’m just surprised, I’m happy. I really like this life. I really love it.

Down at the cliff, we are hugging. Adrian is my talisman on this piece of rock. The two 9a in 75min it was with him, too. I am still shouting. I can’t believe it.

Later I’m falling into the arms of Jeanne. And of my kids. They can’t know, what kind of useless thing I’ve done. But they can feel it.

There’s only four ways to get in unravelled, one is too sleep and the other is travel, one is a bandit up in the hills, one is to love your neighbour ‘till…

That’s it. Everything was in: The siesta that made the difference in preparation. The state of mind, that we would really leave, that this would really be my one and only lasting chance. The bandit style, the hazarder, who takes what he can gather from coincidence, even when it is unattended and unclear in causation. Who profits from his own mistake of being unable to properly clip the fifth spit. At last, the love for people, places, family.

And even that I know the fifth verse well, and that I know who will incorporate, I can keep smiling. We only will stay one more day in the house of Jeanne’s parents, where nothing counts, just work perhaps, security, the mothers problems.

… love your neighbour ‘till… his wife gets home.

What is it for to live your dreams when they don’t pay? 9b, so what? Why work a route when you can keep climbing 6b all life as her father does? We don’t have a too bad relationship but the sending is not worth a single question or remark for him. Not every climber is for real…

No need to care, I take my smile into my inner life for this last day. This time, this unlucky constellation that we suffered from is definitely over, finally! We’re heading on. We won’t come back.

It’s travelling, one of the ways…

 

 

As I have less and less the opportunity to climb elsewhere than in my home spots and as it is there where I am really strong, I decided to grade this route due to Logic Gradin:. the golden rule of the French scale that an onsight level of the a-grade should implicate a one-day level of the b-grade and a five-day level of the c grade. (or double effort under steady progression for each plus more.) In this logic Meiose is toughly graded, but I am aware that not everybody quotes likes this. Taking largely confirmed 9a (even by the toughest graders) like Jungle Speed, Cabane au Canada or my own, and half a grade harder, routes like Chromosome Y or Torture physique 2.0 into consideration, Meiose easily means four times the effort (150 to 10 resp. 18 tries, notably 5 years later and 10 kg lighter). If on the other hand I compare it to the only 9b I have ever been in, Via de la Capella, that is meant to be soft despite the fact that it was climbed in nine days (I think about 40 to 50 tries) by the same climber who sent the now slightly downgraded Chilam Balam directly afterwards in only five tries without downgrading it by then (deducting the difference from logic, there should be a three grades in between the two), and that (Via de la Capella) is still unrepeated, I can state, that both routes in 2011 had been way too hard for me. In Via de la Capella I could do all moves than one first try, in Meiose I needed at least two days. The have a similar structure of two 8B boulders with a bad rest (Via de la Capella) and a ten-seconds-chalk-point (Meiose) in between. But I would have to retry the first one to give a more precise opinion.

 

Compared to my own routes in boulders, it is clearly harder than Des scenes bizarres dans la mine d’or and Mediomalomania. In Drop a line the whole projecting process was much cleaner, so I assume, that both are supposed to be on the same level.

 

Meiose is not specially height dependent, but smaller climbers can’t really preclip the third bolt, as they will have problems to down climb. So they will have to clip from the beginning of the crux, which won’t be an advantage.

 

 

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