11 décembre 2011

1st place at the Belgian bouldering Championship

Well, as I said in my last post, yesterday were held the finals for the bouldering senior title. I won the competition but it was not without counting on a bit of luck.
The format was 4problems with 4minutes in each.

The first bloc was pretty easy and many sent. Second problem was maybe a bit too long and it was finishing by some tricky moves on a slab... I couldn't do that one and only Nicolas Farcy did it with a onsight ascent. For now he was on the lead with 2blocs done, one second try and one first try. I was second with one onsight.

The third bloc was pretty hard like 7c and it was my style but I was too pumped from the second one too manage the crux move. Nobody sent so last bloc would decide who'd win.
It was an easier problem and I think two people sent before it was Nicola's turn to climb. I knew he would do it and thereby secure the title but that didn't happen... He missed a hold at the end and couldn't send. For now I knew I would have to flash to win so that would give me 2 blocs onsight and 1 for nico only + 1 second go.
The bloc wasn't so hard and I sent it pretty easily without pressure, a bit sad to win in such a way.
So podium is
3rd place : Nicolas Mathieu
2nd place : Nicolas Farcy

The comp was well organized although maybe it'd been better if we'd been able to climb earlier ( finals were from 8 to 10:30 )
So it wasn't a big victory for me as it was really tight and I'm a bit disappointed I couldn't give my best on the 3rd bloc but I think I was just not in the best shape at that moment but at the end it turned out pretty good for me.
I'm also sad that my friend Raf only made fourth place because he was really strong but just had sent 2 blocs with two tries more than me and one zone less. So it was really about tries to making it onto the podium.

I should now be selected to compete in the world cups but I don't know if I will because I just feel not good enough I mean I am strong and stuff but all the strategy about the competing thing is not my best field, it's hard to climb on fixed hours and the qualification in world cups are mainly in the morning and there's just no way I can be strong in the morning so I don't see the point to travel to send a couple of boulders and not even making it into semi finals because I know I don't have the technical skills world cups require. I will see about the whole thing later now I will try to study a bit :p

Give you my bests, Oli

5 décembre 2011

Belgian Championship this saturday.

Just a little post to let people now that takes place on this saturday the Belgian bouldering championship.
It is the first time I compete for the title after many years of bouldering. I've basically always skipped the comps finding them boring especially because they always start early and I am definitely not a morning climber...
So this year I decided to attend as many comp as I can and for now it's been going on pretty well winning most of those I've attended. I must say that the Piatra open and the Peter Belien memorial I won were kind of sweet as I did win some cash :)

Me having fun in the second stage of qualifications.

Anyway this saturday will see 9 climbers who qualified fight each other for the title.

Nicolas Mathieu
Raphael Fernandez
Jurgen Lis
Jerome deboeck
Marius Oniga
Nicolas Farcy
Tanguy Vandermeersch
And Me

It is going to be a 4problems comp, 5minutes per person in each. I really hope the route setters will make a good work by opening not too easy problems like it happened last event where all the problems were like 7a-7a+ so you had to onsight all of them to win...
This year, we have trained, I don't know for the other but Nico, Raph and I trained for this comp and we want to make a good show and we are strong enough to climb in harder problems so let's hope the route setters will open non morphological problems and not too easy ones.
Anyway I look forward to it and really hope I will be able to climb well, thus hoping there will not be any hard mantles which I really suck at :(

So this week, I will try to prepare well for the comp, something I never really did as I always taken comps as games, meaning not especially sleeping a lot before or eating well...
But this time although I feel strong, there are people who can win ahead of me so if I want to win this one I will have to do so...
So here is the goal for this week

-Bed time on 22H30 max ( 22h optimal )
-Eating soup at dinner to loose extras kilos I've got on
-drink a lot of water ( 2,5-3l a day )

We shall see saturday if it pays off :)

20 novembre 2011

Vêtements e9 / e9 clothes

Voila, premier post en français pour dire que je dispose de quelques vêtements e9 que je n'ai jamais portés donc 100% neufs et que je vends. Il y a quelques modèles différents, des tailles différentes. Voila quelques images si dessous. Si vous etes intéressé, merci de me contacter par sms ou mail. Concernant les prix, je n'ai pas de prix convenu mais on discutera de tout ca en privé et pas besoin de dire que ce sera très attrayant...


Hi everybody, I want people to know that I have a few garments from the brand e9. There are a few different models, each one has never been worn ! It is therefore a very interesting bargain for those who want to acquire the usually expensive brand at democratic prices. I have different sizes on all models shown below. Well if you are interested in any of them just contact me and we shall discuss a price and a way to send them (freights are usually between 3 and 5euro in Europe)

0032484102334 *

*please if you are from outside Europe or in countries such as Switzerland, Finland and all those far countries, send me a mail :) My number should be used only if you can't contact me via email.

15 novembre 2011

Back again to Ticino

Well, after my last trip in Switzerland, it did not take long before I could go again in Ticino. One week passed before I could go again.

This time I did not have much time to climb, only four days. I decided that this trip, I would focus on trying hard stuff, mainly 8b’s.
I did that pretty well, on my first day, I tried “Shadowfax” which I got close on but couldn’t finish.
The day after, I went to try again “Boogalagga” but this one is really hard for me and although I felt better than when I’d tried in October, I couldn’t do the move. However, I could witness Sean Mcoll’s quick ascent and getting close on Big Paw, which he would send next day, a huge achievement for sure and very impressive.

 On the way for an attempt in Shadowfax

On my third day, my friend Nico and I joined Daniel Woods and Chuck Fryberger (thanks for the ride hehe) who were going to magic wood to film some hard new stuff.
 I tried briefly “Mistic Stylez” the sitstart to “Muttertag” and it felt pretty good, although I still miss one move, the hardest one. I am pretty sure that if I come back and work the move for some sessions I can climb it so it is cool to feel in shape.

Later, I went to try “somewhere in between”, the only 8B I had never tried in the woods and even never seen. I fell three times at the big crux move after a few attempts, so again I was satisfied. I left the bloc whereas I still had enough power to try and maybe to send but I wanted to see Daniel in “La force tranquille”. One at la force, we noticed it was wet and I went with nico to spot him in Astronautenfieber, one of the nicest blocs in the forest.

For my last day and fourth day on, although I always do little days so I can save some skin, I felt pretty tired. However, I went again in the early afternoon to try Boogalagga and this time although I kind of warmed up too fast, which caused me some pain in my left forearm, I kept on trying despite the ache and I got really really close. Unfortunately, I had to stop trying as everybody around stopped trying.

Later I followed the crew (Paul Robinson, Andy Gullsten and Sean Mcoll) to sector 101 and after some struggle to find the sector we got to Delusion of grandeur, a really beautiful line with a scary top out.
Sean almost flashed but lost confidence after a tiny dab, he sent right after, followed by Paul. I tried also but I had troubles on the big sloppy traverse and as I was getting really pumped and tired I kind of let it go. I stopped, satisfied of myself as I knew there was no way I could have sent that day and I didn’t want to slow the guys down on their rampage…

 Getting ready...

So to sum up, this has been a zero ticks trip but one that I am really satisfied of, It felt like I could send many 8b’s, even some I could have sent in the day so for me this was really pleasant. I finally start to feel the level coming back to what it was when I sent New base.
Also, climbing with and watching world-class climbers is really inspiring and motivating to progress.
So I will keep on climbing more indoor to be in the right shape when I go outside. I must say that for the last 2 month I have been climbing more indoor than usual and I feel the benefits of it comparing to when I was only climbing twice a week in the gym…

Anyway I’ll see when I come back but I’m sure it’s gonna be a slaughter considering how many projects I’ve been really close on but could not finish… 

See you, some more pics will be added later on

A nice week in Ticino

A beautiful week in Ticino.

I have spent a nine days trip in the region of Ticino with my friend Tim, Nico and Raph.
We stayed in Claro in a very nice little house in the middle of this beautiful landscape that Switzerland offers to its visitors.

At first, I was very worried about my arm as mentioned in my last post, but I actually found out that my arm pain is dependent to my sleep, so with good sleep I can climb mind free.
So on my first day despite the fact that I basically torn the skin under my nails on three fingers making them bleed a little bit, I still managed to send “Le pilier” “Serre moi fort” and “ le vent nous portera” all 8a’s although the last one feels more like 7c+ in my opinion but I’m tall and I can say it helps a lot for sure…
 My friend Anthon working "La soucoupe"

After this good first day despite the long trip we had before I was quite confident for the rest as I thought ok if I can do this in those conditions it should be even better with more sleep and good skin.
Well I kind of counted my chicken before they hatched…
After two rest days I expected maybe a bit too much out of myself… I found myself shut down on “Jungle book sit” which is 8a.  I was feeling terribly weak and fat… I really need to stop eating that much it really doesn’t help!

So the two next days I decided to climb less and try harder things, I tried “Boogalaga” which is 8b more or less one move in the night but couldn’t do it.
In the next days I climbed on easier stuff. On Sunday, although I had decided to rest, at the end of the day I decided to try “Schule des lebens” I had done the left version last year and thought I would climb it pretty fast … I went to the bloc and only noticed I had no chalk nor brush so I went on a quest for chalk picking some left overs on the ground J
Anyway I tried my best but there was no way for me to hold the last sloper…
I gave up and went back to the parking. We there met up some guys and after some taking I felt like I should go back with chalk and a brush… We did that, I had a go, a good one but a damn worm was on the last crimp and I slipped damn it!
My skin was getting bad, I was ruining my rest day which was kind of needed after 3 straight days of climbing…
Anyway I managed to get myself syked and with the cheering of the guys there I finally made it.  No need to say that without those guys pushing me to go and try again I would not have sent it… An other time to remember when I send something hard thanks to people always so kind to give you their time and go with you, same as what happened in my last 8b+.

After this I met up my friend Anton Johanssen, it had been a while since the last time we saw each other and I was really skied to go climbing with him!
We went to “La soucoupe” I started to try with him but there was no chance for me to stick the first move, which is just freaking hard for me…
 For my last day we went back to Cresciano, I climbed a beautiful 7b+ named "El dopionne", then I went back to try again “frank’s wild years” that I had tried briefly earlier that trip. I managed to climb it pretty fast that time and was happy to feel better…
 Here is a pic of me in el Dopionne taken by Ilari Patrikka yet an other  cool finish guy :)
I must admit I watched my weight those last days and it paid off as I felt finally good, but as usual it always happens on my last day…

Anyway it’s been a great trip, I had a lot of fun, especially thanks to a drunk friend haha but also with all the people there. I can’t wait to go back and try a lot of other things!

For now the plan is to carry on the way I’m on and loose more weight and train a bit more to be in good shape for the upcoming comps. If everything goes well, I might integrate the world cup circuit with the Belgian team but for that I have to make a podium in the Belgian championship.

Have fun, Oli.

I'll put some pics later on :)

7 octobre 2011

1st place at Piatra Open

Hi everybody, as stated in my last post, I was invited to the Piatra open which took part in Romania. It was a competition similar to the worldcup ( 5blocs in qualification, 5in finals).
It was set outside in the local park, which I must say is always better than to go in a closed gym where you can’t breathe and especially inhale a lot of chalk.

                                        The set up for the comp in the local park

It was my first time in Romania and I have to admit that I am pleased, of course we didn’t get to see the real life there but the place was friendly. People here are really sympathic. We were three Belgians invited ( Nicolas Mathieu, Yannick Marchand the bouldering Belgian champion and I ) and along with us were also invited two Romanians who live in Belgium ( Gabriel and Marius ).

Yannick before going for the last hold in finals

We were kindly invited to stay in Oli’s house, the organizer and main route setter of the comp and also the bouldering Romanian champion.

About the comp, it was mainly sponsored by one guy , he paid the cash prize and 90pc of the expenses of the competition required from his own money. It’s nice to see that people who make good money out of their job can invest it into something really interesting and have a lot of people to enjoy it in some way.

Me in the second qualification bloc

So the qualification were really good, the problems were great and although I only topped 2 out of the five proposed I qualified myself in the finals on the 1st rank.
All the blocs I couldn’t climb made me realize how small my climbing repertoire is, I really lack technique and know how to if you know what I mean…

The finals were really hard, I couldn’t do the first 2 moves in the first two blocs so at that point I was really frustrated not having done anything. I guess I must train with slopers because I really hate those, especially the big triangular volumes…
 An other pic of me in qualification

Anyway at that point I wanted to give up but the next blocs went better and eventually I won the comp ahead of a Bulgarian who definitely would have won if the 3rd bloc had not been a bit reachy…
It was hard to me to win a comp in such circumstances with only one top out of five blocs but a win’s a win…

 Nico in the first final problem

Next day, pleased with a bank account bigger of 500euros, we headed to a local bouldering area, deep into a forest on a mountain.
I expected something quite rubbish but I was surprised by the Romanian sandstone and see how good it actually is.
With my tips quite aching and pink, I took it gently and went for the easiest problems at first. I climbed a 6b mantle, which I am really proud of, as it is totally my anti style, I did a perfect 7a on slopers with an easy mantle (for me easy mantle means hard mantle…).

 One pic from Sihla so you can see what it looks like.

After, we headed for more serious business, we got to this perfect looking 7c which is a 4 meters high arête with some holds on the right. I managed to send the stand version after a while and went to climb another 7a, which took me a long time (damn I hate having bad skin). After that my friends decided to go back to the 7c I’d done before so I thought ok there’s this lower start yet to be climbed so why not try it?
I re-warmed up in a really nice 6c, almost broke the jug at the end, which would have caused me serious injuries if it had broken but fortunately it didn’t.

Oli started to attempt it and I followed his lead. It’s actually a one move into the 7c start which relies on a good crimper left hand and a sloppy feature in a gaston like position with a left heel hook on the left side of the arête then followed by a match and a cross move to get in the 7c start position.
 Here's a pic of the bloc on which I made FA of "Waiting for Oniga Low start"

The crux of the 7c is at the end, it consists in a right hand sidepull with a high left step on the arete till you reach an ok hold on the arete. Once you reach this position you bring a right foot in the starting hold and get your left foot higher so you can throw in an undercling with your right hand. After that it’s just one more move to a sloper then it’s over.

I made the first ascent of this one and think it is around 7c+/8a but I don’t really know as I am really not in my best shape right now (I must state that we took advantage of the low costs life here and pleased ourselves with some good food).

I am really pleased of this trip and can’t wait to come back try all the other lines with good skin. There are here a lot of perfect lines on arêtes, highballs, hard short projects etc.

The plan is now to rest for some time, let the body recover from all the climbing and abuse of food…
My next trip will probably be in Magic Wood (won’t be a long trip though) to film the hardest sends I’ve made so far.

Have fun, Oli

30 septembre 2011

2 news, one bad and one good.

Well it's been a while since my last post. I have gotten back to school so I haven't been climbing a lot and also because of, as I said in my last post, some arm pain. Well that is the bad news, it's not really gotten better and I am feeling worse than I was in magic. I suspect this to be a tendinopathy as I can still climb but when really fighting it gets  really hot in my arm and a bit painful. I had taken some rest after magic and it got better but now it's gotten a bit worse so I will have to take a break for some time.

 That was the bad news. The good is and I forgot to mention it, during my trip in magic wood I caught up with some Romanians friends and they invited me along with my friend Nico to the Piatra Open which will be going on this week end. It actually consists in an indoor comp and and outdoor event to discover local bouldering areas. I'm very syked about it and despite my arm have decided it would be my last session before I feel cured.

So after this comp I will quit climbing as long as it take for my arm to heal perfectly. I hope it doesn't take more than one month to heal but I hope I can climb again  after 2weeks in routes without going too hard.
I will keep my blog updated during the comp and try to add some photos.

Climb hard and keep the psyche on, Olivier

7 septembre 2011

The never ending story

So as I told in my last post I was really close from sending the “never ending story”, it’s now a done thing as I managed to send it on my second attempt after taking a bad fall and injuring my left foot. Hopefully things are ok I’ll just check with my physiotherapist.
So about the problem, it in in fact a combination of two problems, two parts, the first one being 8a+ and the second 8a or more 7c+ in my opinion. I’d done the second part quite quickly, it was one of my firsts in the 8th grade but the first part took me quite a while. I tried it over a few trips, always being unlucky with betas so I finally sent it one year ago after again lots of tries.
The problem is around 16 moves long but it really feels like a route for me who has no endurance. As I said it was kind of a backup project, very good to be tried after remembrance cause you need absolutely no skin to try it, so it was perfect. I tried it maybe around four or five sessions, I first got myself setup in the first part until it become really easy then I started to try the first part again. It almost took me three sessions to be able to send it again, the session I first sent it, I did it three times and fell all the time at the first move of the second part which relies in a two hands position in a roof with a right heel hook quite close to your right hand and you then have to do this deadpoint stab into an edge. I thought that when I’d do that move I’d send the problem but obviously no as I fell once and then only sent in a really big fight as I caught almost all holds the wrong way on the last 3 moves, being lucky not to fall as I felt my left hand slip away on the last sloper for a moment but then hopefully it stuck.

Before talking about grades and downgrading, I want to thank Thomas who for the Clean up day got a big pig for everybody. It was absolutely delightful...

Ok now some talking about grades in magic:

Never ending story is my second 8B+ although Jorg Verhoeven downgraded it to 8B I think that for such a strong route climber it might be easier it's like if you sent a boulderer in a 10 moves route it's his element. I’m not trying here to keep it as an 8b+ but just to find objectivity. If I would have to grade all the blocs that are hundred percent my style, I would have to downgrade a lot here in the woods but I don’t because I know that for somebody else it would be a lot harder. So I don’t really agree with all those personal downgrades, although if sometimes they really are helping the grades get closer to objectivity which by the way is impossible although many people still try by any means to compare everything like Fontainebleau and magic woods.

About this gap that everybody feels huge between those two areas, I, after gathering different opinions, have made the conclusion that you can’t compare peers and apples.
Magic wood is an area that really fits the indoor climbing, it is really powerful and fingery, when bleau is really technical, balancy, needs a lot of coordination.
So when out of the gym you can’t crush in Bleau as you’ve not learnt the style yet, it takes time to get used to it.
So many people living around Paris and really good climbers in font told me magic wood for them feels as hard as font or even harder and vice versa.
Anyway I would like people that read me to understand that I’m not trying here to make my opinion stand or reevaluate magic woods but if people want to talk about grades, even if for me the grade is not important, I can help sharing my opinion.

               That's how it looks during the rain days in magic... ( Credit : Alvi Pakarinen )

Now that you have heard what I think, I would really like to point out that it is totally a loss of time trying to establish a grading scale and hope that people that are trying will stop wasting their time, as it is impossible. Just take it the way things are, refer to the guidebook and just go with the grades, they don’t matter anyway. Grades are made so you can see yourself progress and in a special areas, all grades are compared to the problems in that area so then if something in magic wood for instance a 7B feels a lot easier than many other 7B’s than ok you may downgrade it because you’re comparing things from a same area and it is therefore objective.
For all the beginners, note that if you can’t a 7a in font and you can in magic, that doesn’t mean you have a level of 7a. You have a level 7a in magic wood.
I repeat myself don’t bother about grades. Find nice lines and climb them for what they look like and not for what they are worth. If you’re really concerned about how you progress, the best tip I can give you is to take references in each grade in an area.
For instance in magic would I would take five blocs of reference, considering I climbed 8B+ I’d take a few 7c’s, 7c+’s, 8a’s that I would climb every time I come there. So I can feel the progress. You could even take one move references or anything you want. I think that’s the best way to evaluate yourself.

So let’s quit the grade talk to come back to things more personal, I will leave pretty soon and will take two rest days and have a few last shots in the remembrance the morning of the day I’ll leave. I tried again yesterday and it felt better although I keep falling at the match move.
I also saw Dai again working on a new line ( thought all the possible lines were opened now ) which start like in search of time lost but goes left after the move I keep falling at. Definitely an other 8c he says. It seems that climbing with strong climbers really motivates me a lot, I am really inspired and hope that someday I’ll work along projects with them.
But I have now other goals as I really have to focus into my studies but I will try to change my approach of climbing by establishing a real training schedule.
I think it will look like 3 climbing sessions a week, one of routes, one of hard boulders and one of campus board to train mainly suspensions. Then I’ll add two 1hour-jogging sessions.
We’ll see if it pays off when I’ll be back outside again, probably in November but this time I’d rather go to Ticino than magic to climb a lot of 8’s.

                                         The bad weather in Magic ( Credit : Alvi Pakarinen )

That concludes this post, hope you whoever you are and whatever you climb, enjoy the sport, have fun, meet a lot of people, and especially push it as hard as you can in whatever grade. Have fun and be syked.

I also want to thank Thomas and Mischa for the hospitality at the Bodhi camping and of coarse all the climbers in the woods ( Paul, rasta paul, marion, tristan, ueli, lisa, calvin, janosch, mischa, thomas, anna, clemens, all the finish crew, the slovenian team, and all the ones I forgot)  especially those who lent me their pads when I arrived at the Bruno bloc and stayed with me and made me able to send despite the time going late and the rain, without them I wouldn’t have done it as the two next days were too wet to climb.

3 septembre 2011

Magic wood again

I’ve made yet an other trip to magic wood to relax before starting school. I came alone here and must admit climbing alone is really boring, it’s not that nobody’s here but I’m usually alone when it comes to working hard stuff and I have nothing left to do here in the easier grades so I must focus on hard stuff.
It’s been a couple of month since I sent new base line and I had not been climbing in bouldering since that time. I had a 15days trip in Spain, mostly in Rodellar where I really did not climb that much, I mean besides trying a little bit “Los inconformistas” which is 8c+/9a, I must have had an average of 3 or 4 goes a days including warm ups. I thus came here with no really good shape and went directly into my project “Remembrance of things past” which was set up by Daniel Woods and given 8B+. Last time I tried it I was on my fourth day climbing and I was doing pretty well but here on my first day I couldn’t do any moves.
I’ve been here for 8 days, I maybe tried my project for 4 sessions but my skin is really weak and I couldn’t really try hard as I have only a few good attempts a day. I had the chance to work it along with Dai Koyamada who sent “In search of time lost” 8C when I was there and I was really inspired. I now have done all the moves in the problem but when I try from the beginning, I fall at the crux which is match, you have a crimp right hand in a maybe 80 degrees roof and you must place the right foot right of your left hand and get a left toe hook on a really sloppy feature and really squeeze so you can match maybe 20 cm next of your right hand.

Here’s an other picture when you see the crux move in a different angle.

Then it’s normally two easy moves but for me it’s really hard as I’m tall and have to use a different beta where smaller ones are able to place a foot pretty high with a toe hook when I have to keep a foot really low and really keep the body tension hard. Then you have the last move which is a right foot knee twisted in with a really bad toe hook. Again it’s really hard for me as I’m really scrunched in that position.


I’m now running out of time for this project but anyway I think it was a bit too hard for this trip as much physically and psychologically as I was most of the time trying alone and the motivation has been really low. Fortunately I have a back up project which is the full “Never ending story” also given 8B+ and which is kind of pretty long for me. It took me a very long time to send the first part and I’m know really set up in both parts, I’ve done it three times yesterday and fell on the big heel hook move to a right hand crimper. I’m really confident that today might be send day but I’ll see what happens.

I will leave on Tuesday but the weather is said to get worse Sunday and Monday so I will try again remembrance then hopefully if I don’t send the story today I’ll have some more attempts on the rainy days. Besides climbing it’s been really calm here, there is a lot of people, the Slovenian youth team is here and I’ve had the chance to climb a bit with them and they’re a really strong team that’s amazing when you know how small the country is.

I’ll make an other post when I’m back home to give my impressions and keep my blog updated about next days.

1 juillet 2011

Some pics

Hey Iw went back in magic for a few days with my friend Tim who is also a photograph and I had the chance to shoot with him and his new camera the Canon 5D. I can just say that with such equipment it's hard not to make nice pictures since the quality is just amazing.

Apart from this we also filmed the ElectroBoogie and had a cool climbing sesh in the gym in Chur. Why would we go to a gym while in magic? Well bad weather could explain that but I still don't know why we went there as it kind of fucked all my fingers so I basically climbed 2days in the wood then went to the gym then climbed two more days in the woods...Perfect plan. In spite of not having any rest day, I tried on my last day Daniel Woods's "Remembrance of things past" I couldn't manage to do the end as it seems really hard with a kind of left toe/right toe squeeze. The foot beta used by Daniel  just doesn't fit for me as I'm way to scrunched so I'll have to figure something else but I can't wait to try being fresh...

I will be back in magic this mid july to try more this and maybe check out Chris webb parsons's "believe in two"

here are the pics ! Thanks again Tim :)

14 juin 2011

A new physical and psychological level

Well it's now been more than 1 week since I sent my first 8B+ boulder and I thought it would be great to make a post here so you can learn more about the send.

Normally I shouldn't have been climbing in magic that time because it's usually studying time for the exams but I dropped off college because I didn't really enjoy the studies and didn't really feel like studying neither...
So I decided to come down to magic and meet some friends of mine who were already there.
I must say that since September I have not been climbing a lot although I sent two 8b's back in April ( Steppenwolf and riverbed ) so I was pretty unsure I would be strong enough to climb harder stuff. Anyway on my first day I tried "Body Count" which is 8a/+ felt damn good in it but couldn't send due to hard heel hook.
Next day after some reflection I decided that I had to set my sights on something harder than anything I'd climbed.
I therefore thought about some 8b+, never ending story was in my mind but I'd fucked up my right knee trying too much last year so I was pretty sure I would just injure myself trying it. So I thought about "Ill thrill" that have recently been downgraded to 8b+ but it looked so hard that I decided not to even try... Then "remembrance of things past" was exciting me because it's kind of my total style but I don't know why I didn't feel any attraction with it. It wanted something that would be hard and beautiful in the same time, some outstanding line that I would fall in love with because I knew I would have to try a lot. One day I was walking by and crossed New base line and thought "damn why didn't I think about this one? It's just so perfect"

                       Here you see a bit more how the line looks like. Climber is Dai Koyamada.

So I started trying, after having tried briefly last year the first move with no convictions, I started working the moves out. First session I was able to climb the moves of the first section which were really hard for me, It begins with a right hand in a shallow crack that I couldn't really fit into with a high right foot and you have to smear left foot on the wall to control the swing so you can hit the next hold static in the right position so you can bring left foot then the right foot on a higher spot on the left hand starting hold, stabilize and match next to you left hand. The match is maybe the most tricky part of the climb as you have to release the left inch so you can put the right one in the same place but at that moment the hold becomes a lot worse...

After the match, you grab an ok slopy hold left hand higher in the crack, then with the right foot still really far right you hit a gaston with the right hand, tight your abs to stay close to the wall then throw a left foot to the left, really sit on it so you can grab an ok crimp left hand, then use a right toe hook below your left foot so you can grab a tiny crimp with your right hand. Then you have to get left foot high which makes you a little bit scrunched and quickly hit a sidepull with the left hand the position then becomes more "comfortable". Once you have that sidepull you have to bring both feet to the left lower where the feet holds are better so you can then throw to an ok slopy open hand hold.

Once you’ve got that hold you have to get left foot on the left part of the hold where your right foot’s on so you can grab a crimp +-1 meter left with the left hand and avoid taking a swing that would burn you out...There because you’re a bit pumped so you don’t wanna take a swing... whens you’re in this position you bring right foot high on the crimp you had earlier after the gaston and throw right hand to the finish jug.

For me, now that I've sent I understand that on such a level everything must be perfect, the moves must be accurate, the conditions have to be good, there are so many details involved that if you miss one you just won't send. I understood that and I hope that I will be able to send that level faster in the future because I feel like I could have sent much more faster. 
I'm glad though I had some breakdowns because it made me able to deal with the failure and accept it, become aware that I might just not send it and would have to wait some time to try again in good conditions. Anyway the last days of my trip were kind of dark, I couldn't get it together,I thereby had made up my mind with the idea of not sending and I knew I had to accept it so did I. 
Being a bit pissed not to have climbed anything, I went with my friend local Andreas to try some nice stuff and I climbed the "Rythmo" which is a beautiful 7c. I then went to climb a bloc that have been recently cleaned near "Blown away". Its a really cool problem although it's location is not the best ( in some little throat ). I wonder whether it's been sent yet or not... so message me if you read this and know what bloc I'm talking about.
After that I was feeling damn good and hungry so I thought "let's go kill that body count" well I didn't really kill it as it took me some time to find the beta again but after more or less 1 hour I sent it. I was glad at least I wouldn't go back to Belgium empty pockets...
At that point my skin was kind of injured ( two holes on two different fingers, including the right inch which is capital for new base...) Well I thought fuck I feel damn good let's try new base... At that point I was more joking with myself but after having put some superglue on the fingers ( thanks Petra for reminding me that glue exists and is pretty useful ) I surprised myself falling on the crux ( that try I didn't use the fresh found beta I'd seen on the internet  ). One more try with the right beta and I'm off with the crimp far left left hand ( I took the swing I talk about earlier in the post, was too pumped to control it, fell ). At that point my left middle finger was bleeding, hold stained with my blood, I was done.

2 days left, good weather then rain but no way I could climb next day so I decided to rest thinking that even if it rains it still might be dry as things dry quick in those woods ( also new base is not really exposed to the rain, only the end gets wet, at least when it's not raining cat's and dogs... )
Well after the rest I felt kind of ok, the weather was not as bad as expected and around 8pm I was warmed up and ready to try with super glue again of coarse since I'd reopened my finger doing some shity pull ups for warming up... Anyway I started trying, feeling at my amazement really good, with perfect skin I felt a lot worse ( things doesn't make any sense some times ) After a couple of set up goes, I surprised myself hiking the line till the end, took the swing I shouldn't have taken but this time I stayed but slightly dabbed ( nothing actually ) but it made me loose my focus, then after I knew that could be it and I was by then counting my chickens before they're hatched...
Well I fell with the finish jug... Nothing to say then, I'm just laughing. I was so confident, too much confident. At that point just this lesson made my day, I'd learnt something. After this I thought  it was over I was pissing blood again, was tired, etc.
I wanted to leave because all my friends were hungry at that time but I thought that I had to try again just to be able to say to myself that I'd given all the shots I had on the climb and I knew I had one more go, the last chance of the trip...

                                   Here you can see that magic is sometimes really sunny...

I started trying with my mind totally cleared I even knew that I would fall so it was kind of a no expectations try, just wanted to see where I would fall. As expected nothing went right, I messed up the match, hit the gaston wrong, take ages to adjust...At that moment in my head it's all messed up I don't understand why I'm not on the ground yet...But I was fighting, giving everything I had. I took the crimps another year to adjust, get the ok hold right hand, I was pumped by that moment, I knew I'd fall after but I didn't, I got the crimp on the left, no swing !! After some foot set-up I had the finish jug right in front of me I threw, I got it, I knew it's done... Topped it out in total amazement. That was over after so many days, so many stress. I sent the only day there would have been no way to send 8b+... 
How did it come that it happened? Just because I'd cleaned my mind, I was free, climbing to climb and not to send, that's the think I'm the more proud of, that's for sure the best lesson climbing teaches you, and that's why I love climbing so much because if your head is not right nothing will happen and it's the same in life, if you really deserve something I think it will happen, because I can't see any other explanation to this send because in normal time I wouldn't have even bet 1 euro on me, but I proved myself that strength and physical shape, etc are 30%, mental 70%. That try mental was 1000% for sure has I just ignored pain, not ignored just did not feel any...Still can't believe it.

At the end I'm so glad it took me a long time to send because otherwise I would have missed so much, and the pleasure when topping out was so much greater... ( OK I yelled a bit... )

That's it now I can carry along with other easier stuff, maybe try other 8b+'s this summer, but first have fun in technical 7a's :) we'll see how it goes.

I really want to thank all the people there, all my friends without whom it would have been impossible to send and impossible to have that much fun in the camping. Magic stays my n°1 area just for the people I meet there every stay. I don't need to fly to rocklands even if I wish I could when I can have so much fun and meet so many great people near my home.

I think this new step signifies a lot for me and motivates me to keep on climbing but psychologically talking it's been much more of a relief for me as I found out how the brain works in those conditions, and I hope I can share that with people whatever grade they're projecting. There's always something to learn in failure, I learnt it and just learning it definitely made me able to send. I don't believe in God but I believe that if you're thinking or acting the right way, life will never be harsh with you, it's all scaled, I guess that's called Karma or something :p
So if rookies read this blog, don't make a fuss about grades and points on 8a.nu please that is totally not what climbing has to teach you ! You'll learn and progress 100x more if you accept failure, also it makes success taste so sweeter.

Now some adds :)

My friend haroun's dvd is out so get it if you feel like watching good moments :)

See you all in july in magic wood will be there 3 weeks or something.


23 avril 2011

An other great time in Switzerland

I just spent two great weeks around magic wood/brione with my friends there. It was at the beginning a "come back trip" after some breaks and so few climbing since september. I expected to be really weak but it turned out that I was still able to climb hard despite of the lack of practice.

Since september I started studying and had to kind of adapt my climbing according to my coarse schedule which was sometimes annoying also it was hard to me to train because of the lack of motivation on plastic, the gym I climb in is really not crowded and I often climb alone so not having a training partner if really hard if you want to stay motivated... I think I must've climbed an average of 1-2 times a week which is so few but on the bright side I can count on my body which has the positive aspect of not loosing strength too fast so I'm really happy I could nevertheless send my longtime project Steppenwolf and make a quick ascent of Riverbed.

It felt really cool to boulder 8b again as I thought that was not possible anymore so I feel like with some training and maybe loose some weight I could reach a new level and I'm really motivated to do so.

I also had the opportunity to climb with stronger ( a lot ) climbers than me and that is really motivating I'd forgotten how it felt to work something way above your level and I'm really happy that happened. I know have a life project :)

I also saw a new line that daniel woods was working on and it is really THE LINE for me, like my dream line I was so sad I was too week to try it but i'll train for it and come back this summer with just that line in my mind.
I feel like it's the most pure and esthetic line in the woods and also the closest to my style although I don't have what it takes to climb it but I will work hard to get that power :).

I really enjoyed that trip, my friends and I had really good moments and that's the most important before everything. The matter is not how hard you climb and how many lines you can nab but the moments you have with other people. I think if magic is by far my favorite place to go to that's not only because of the climbing that is awesome but because everytime I'm given the chance to meet great people and enjoy time there around the fireand it is really lame that brione or chironico don't have a camping like the Bodhi camping.

I will add some photos and videos later when I have them :)

Thanks to Thomas for the camping place and all the people in the woods !

18 février 2011


I just add this note to inform that I had a 2weeks trip to albarracin this late januari to early february. I went there with friends from belgium raph, mathilde and denis. We had great times there although the weather has not been the best we could hope for... lots of snow... cold temps where great as it gave us a good friction but the temps increased after a couple of days and the snow started to melt quietly making all top outs wet.
 We therefore kind of had to climb in roofs without being able to make the top outs which is pretty lame but what could we do?
Albarracin is a magnificent place near to a remote town which was one circled with fortresses ( you can see the ruins and the remaining of the rampart ). It's really calm and quiet. The boulders are spread around a big surface uphill, most of the surface is protected because of prehistoric drawings and some sectors have opening dates because of birds nesting there. It is really important to respect the rules that are established there as locals have been fighting with the state and land owners to maintain sectors opened. Thereby one must not go around those restrictions :
-No wild fires in the forest
-No littering the place and if you see litter around pick them up to trash them.
-Respect the restrictions about the concerned areas.
-Clean out chalk on the boulders before leaving or at least try to brush as much as you can.
-Do no climb on problem visible from the road or problems near to prehistoric painting.

Friends of mine have been striving for those rules to be respected and have made some videos which can be viewed following this: here's the Link
It in the interest of everyone to accept to accept to make some sacrifices even if sometimes one may want to go around those restrictions for obvious reasons ( no one in the forest so why respect etc)

To talk now a bit more about the trip, it has been for me some kind of a come back to outdoor bouldering after breaks and tiny injuries. I climb a new problem which is kinda nice it's locates when facing "mardi gras" ( 7b+ slab shown in dosage 5) right behind it 5-10 meters to the right. It has a common start with a high 7a+ which doesn't top out. So you start in that 7a+ than traverse left with 2 crimps on a rail to the left to good slopers. It doesn't top out as well it has the same finish as a 6b+ ( or 6a+ duno ). Name's "El perro flauta" and range is around 7b+/c depending on how tall you are.

I also climbed ( without toping out... was wet...) the right version of el astronave which is an 8a situated in the huge roof in sector los techos. The start is common with el astronave but goes right instead of going left. So you reach to a right hand kind of open hand pinch with a thumb catch then have to get the right foot up to an obvious crimp and reach for a big pinch then match it right undercling then go left and head for the main top out. The line going out right is to be cleaned and is probably a project and has probably not been send as well. The left version is either 8a or 8a+ but I'd opt for 8a as it is just a bit harder than el astronave but it seems like some holds may get better or people may come up with easier betas. It doesn't have a name was probably sent for sure but was never listed in guides or anything.

I'll add some photos later if I can get some.