31 août 2010

One "summer" in paradise.

I just spent almost one month in magic wood ( Avers, Switzerland ) where I’d been a couple of times before.
Magic wood is a well known area for hard bouldering become famous thanks to lines such as Chris Sharma’s “Never Ending Story” aka “ Die Unendliche Geschichte”. The climbing there has been exploding ever since and Magic became a world class area.

The first time I went there was 3years ago when some friends convinced me to go. On my first peek I just fell in love with the area and the crimpy style of climbing which suits 100% my style. After a 8days trip last year I decided it would be great to spend more time there and I had the occasion to spend around 30 days in the forest this year thanks to Haroun Souirji who’s currently shooting sequences all over Switzzy for his new ( and first ) long movie.
The movie will be about the climbing in Switzerland and will contain footage from all the most famous areas there. I therefore had the occasion to go to magic and shoot with him.

It was a new experience for me to be the target of his camera and having to do all the sequences many times which I must admit got me bored some times but I guess it’s what it takes to be on a bouldering movie. It also got me really tired some times that I had to take 2 rest days in a row in order the grow back the precious skin.

I first went to magic in July for about 10 days where we had a really good time climbing with Antoine, Dan, Jan , Clemens and Andy the Finnish phenom.
I did my first 8B that trip, “Dark Sakai” which was put up by Andy and which I grabbed the second ascent pretty quickly. I was really happy to enter into this new level which seemed unreachable a few years ago.
Unfortunately I couldn’t spend more time there as Haroun had an appointment in Belgium so we headed back to our country with only one thought in our minds: coming back to finish unfinished business which meant for me this amazing 5 moves line through a vertical wall named “Steppenwolf” I did get close to stick the last sloper a few times but hot weather and rain didn’t help me reach that goal.

On the 4th of August we were heading down there again with the hope of meeting new people and shooting great moments. After stacking up in the super market in France ( yes Swiss is really expensive ) we finally got there and met the rain…

I think I’ve never seen that much rain there on that month supposed to be the nicest in the year… The 10 first days it rained almost 6 days leaving me no chance of achieving the Steppenwolf which already takes 2-3 days to dry because of the moss on top of the boulder which keeps the water and flows down over the top out part up to the very first move…
With the constant rain we figured I could be nice to check out some other area and on recommendation of Anthon an other finish strong guy ( so many strong climbers there…) we headed down to Chironico. We were welcomed by a huge rain like we’d never seen before…
The syke was definitely taking a big hit there… Fortunately on the next morning it didn’t look that bad and we decided to head for the boulders which were to our astonishment dry…

I was climbing with Martin a strong German guy I first met in last November when he did his first 8a in magic. It was cool that he came down with us to Chironico so I wouldn’t be alone to climb.

We set our sights on the “Komilator” a really nice 8a at the entrance of the area. I started working it and felt pretty good but then a tricky heel hook was making me pass a hard time… trying over and over again without any success. I finally decided not to try to stat the move but just throw my right and up to this crimpy arête. I threw up and ripped off and was like “yeah that makes sense” but that was before I noticed my bleeding finger with a piece of skin ripped off… Bad luck was definitely upon me. I taped it and kept on trying but when I was about to try again a big rain started and forced us to take shelter under the blocs… After 30 minutes everything was wet so were we and our pads… We decided to get out of there and go back to magic.
Back in magic weather was still not so good but we could still climb and I started trying this 8B called “one summer in paradise” that I had already tried most of the moves because they’re common to some other stuff. I quickly got to the very last moves but then a lack of flexibility to throw my heel to the right shut me down. After trying with that wrong beta I found a really easy new one but had no more skin to try. I went back the day after and sent it first try. That really freed me because I’d been in the woods for 10 days and had sent nothing yet…

The weather then got better and we could climb under good conditions. I’d been climbing a lot with Martin and his friends just arrived from Germany Juliane and Stefan really strong climbers. Juliane was trying the first part of the never ending story a line that I’d never climbed and that I’d given so many tries with no success.
It was really cool to have people working it and giving me the motivation to try it again.
Ater a few tries I made the ascent offering me one more boulder in the 8th range in the day after sending free for all in the morning. I finished the day by climbing a 7c+ and made one of my best days ever.

Unfortunately things can switch from best to worse and back at the camping a Spanish friend of mine Carlos announced me the decease of Chloé Graftiaux who was a really good friend to me since I started training with her and doing my first European youth cup. I think she’s been one of the reasons why I progressed so much in my climbing few years ago then we kind of lost each other when she went living in France. Then it’s again thanks to her that I won the Belgium lead championship in March. I therefore had no more syke to climb and spend 3 days without doing anything.
Then we had some more rain and Martin and his friends left so did Haroun and I decided to stay more with my friend Clovis.
I was able to do some problems around 8a – 8a+ and got the syke back especially onto Steppenwolf that I couldn’t wait to try.

I was now climbing most of the time with my Spanish friends Pavi and Ignasi two really great persons always willing to help.
Ignasi was trying the one summer and doing really good but couldn’t conclude it he also managed to fall after the last crux ( so unlucky ) he finally sent it afterwards J
I then tried the Steppenwolf again and manage to catch the last sloper that I’d never caught before but then missing one foot beta I couldn’t hold the swing and fell off.
Under the advices of Martin a magic wood local I found all the betas I needed and was feeling ready to send it but I had to wait another day as my skin was pretty damaged.
Then not to change it rained more and had to wait to try it.
I decided to take a break and took 3 consecutive rest days. I was really enjoying the rest days spending time with the camping managers Mischa and Thomas two really kind and open persons without forgetting about Mr Camera Patrick and Janosh and Libbie . Every night we were just laughing and doing total crazy stuff such as getting ourselves “sandwitched” into our crash pads and trying to be the last person standing in the camping.

Time was passing really fast and I got to my last day which was fortunately a dry day meaning that I could try my project again.
After sending one of my old 8a project I was feeling really confident but while flashing a 7c a pain appeared in my right elbow getting me really worried but I decided to give everything I had onto Steppenwolf. I headed up and had to notice that one of the key holds for the exit was totally wet. I decided to never no matter what and on my first go my right hand pinned off while going to the sloper and I felt really pain in my cold fingers…
After recovery I tried again feeling my elbow aching but just ignoring it I hit the last sloper perfectly got the right foot beta and tried to grab the wet hold but I quickly noticed it wouldn’t be possible and jumped down feeling really unlucky because I know that this try was the achieving one but bad luck was upon me and I’ll have to come back to finish it.

However I didn’t send my main objective I sent many other stuff and I know that I’m in my best shape ever and I feel like doing harder than what I’ve tried so this trip has been positive all the way and I enjoyed it to a point that I couldn’t describe it. This trip helped make me realize how important climbing is for me and I now know that that’s what I want to do and I hope I can live from it one day because that would be a dream for me. It also created a syke that I’d never felt before makes me want to train and strive to become stronger but I also want to share nice moments with nice people because that’s what I like the most in bouldering it’s this friendly atmosphere when every body talks to each other sharing betas and experiences and not trying to compare their levels or possession as it tends to be in the actual society.

I therefore thank everybody I met in the woods for his/her contribution in making this trip the nicest I’ve never had.

Ticklist for this trip : 

Dark Sakai ***
One summer in paradise ****
Jack's Broken Heart ***
Pura Vida **
Voigas **
The Never Ending Story I *****
No Liberty ***
Free for all ***
Snow storm **
Astronautenfieber ****
Octopussy ***
Du coté de Seshuan ***
Intermezzo **
Punching Tree *****

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