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.