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