Monday, July 29, 2013

Tout a Blocs and return to rainy Ceuse!

Hey all!
Time for a post about my little trip this summer! I've been slacking with updates, mainly because not much has happened (yet) in terms of hard climbing :P since I've left Frankenjura, I've stayed a few days in Briancon (thanks to Markus Jung who picked me up in Grenoble after we'd accidentally meet through a carsharing website :D) where I met up with my friends Jakob, Dominik and Anja. We watched the World Cup competition which was amazing as every year and had some good climbing  in the crags around the place. A big shoutout to my friend Domen Škofic who finally got to display his talent on a large scale, taking an amazing 4th place in the final! I am so psyched to see my friends with whom we used to train in the gym together climbing so well, deservedly so after all the hard work put in at the gym (while the others drink beer and live the dirtbag life... :D)
 The Briancon area always amazes me with its diversity of rock types and climbing styles in such a small range of kilometres. We enjoyed some nice long routes on limestone in Grand Bois in les Ecrins, it's a nice, quiet place with the best view possible. The routes have a little downside for me since there's some chipped holds here and there, usually at the cruxes, so in this sense Ceuse still ranks at the top of my favourite French crags. But often you come across a real beauty of a route, and in any case it was nice workout after the intense WC afterparty! We also climbed on granite boulders of Ailefroide and gneiss walls in Entraygues, and checked out for the first time the very cool single-pitch routes sector in Ailefroide called Face bouc (similar style to Entraygues).
Here in Face bouc I managed an ascent of La proue, 8a+, in Entraygues I had some goes in San Ku Kai, the ex-9a now given 8c+ which at first got me really psyched because I could do the moves (and also because it's great to climb), but linking it proved a little tougher... Maybe one day ^^
otherwise I've done a few 8a's so I'm getting super psyched for the projects in Ceuse! Today we intended to have our first day up there but the unexpected rain ruined it for us. The meteo looks much better for the days after so motivation is still high :) and I plan to stay for a few weeks... :)

The Tout a Blocs was a nice experience, too. For those who've never heard of it, it's an annual boulder meeting in L'Argentiere, just next to Briancon. This year it combined an European youth Cup (Dominik and Anja did it, big ups for the efforts!) and a French bouldering comp which was open for other nations, too (so they did it too, while me and Jakob escaped the heat and went to Entraygues). The finals of the latter were amazing to watch - it was a great atmosphere, a big crowd cheering loud and interesting problems for the best six guys and girls. Between the two comps there was a meeting outdoors in Ailefroide which we attented and had a cool day climbing boulders and meeting some new French friends. All in all it was great to experience it and it surely makes me want to see it again :)
Ailefroide bouldering :)

the evening finals... it was PACKED and a great atmosphere!

Hoping for good weather and loads of endurance now! We're off to Ceuse tomorrow! ALLEEEEEEEZ!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Frankenjura experience

Hello everybody,
the first leg of the trip is over :) after spending three nights in Prague a set of events brought me to Bavaria in southern Germany. I met up with my friends, Klemen and Ema, who were kind enough to give me a short introduction to the Frankenjura!

The Jura is a historic climbing area which was the birthplace of the redpoint and the playground of climbing heroes such as Wolfgang Gullich, Kurt Albert and many others. Back in the 1980's and 1990's it was here that limits were pushed with ascents such as Wall street and most notably, Action Directe.
The place is well known for it's hard, bouldery style. Most of routes are comparatively short and climb on pockets of all sorts.
The area is very big and spread into many small sectors or Wande, as they call them.
It is definitely not like other big, popular areas. Whoever comes to Frankenjura should be ready to have a few days of adapting to the style. Myself I'm not strong in bouldering in any case so I settled with an ascent of Master Blaster, 10-/10 which translates to a French 8a+. Klemen, who has stayed here for two weeks, has racked up some nice ascents including some 'zehnte grade' -  a proper French 8b.

My short stay was awesome nonetheless. I got a taste of the area which makes me psyched to return and stay for longer. The place is full of history, the landscape is beautiful, and it's not as populated as some other crags, which gives it a bit of a mysterious feel... the amount of hard routes in the hidden crags scattered through the forest will keep you busy for a lifetime (unless you're Adam Ondra or Alex Megos... or Markus Bock). And when I will master the climbing here it will be a big improvement to my overall performance. The hard routes are just relentless, brutal pulling on bad pockets. The easy ones, though, often have some really nice rock and moves. And there's one more thing - there's no unnecessary bolts. Easy ground, even if the route is hard, will have only that much of protection to save you from decking. But it's just another thing you have to get used to.
me in Master Blaster, 10-/10 (8a+ in French grades)

Klemen got really close to this freakin' brutal grade 10 (8b) called Morlock Shocker... pure FJ style

the typical FJ scene

My summer trip is continuing in France. I am headed towards Briancon where the Coup de Monde is on tomorrow. It should   be a lot of fun, like always, and I'm really looking forward to meeting some of my friends. After that we're off for some hardcore climbing in the area with Jakob, Dominik and Anja. I'm psyched for a real rock climbing chapter :) the travelling so far has been awesome though - hitching, couchsurfing and all...I met a bunch of friendly people who were keen to help me out on the way. It's been a great learning experience - there's so many people out there who share a mutual experience and thinking. It's all about staying open and keeping a positive attitude - this can really get you anywhere :)

I'm excited about the forthcoming weeks and psyched for some hard ascents. Hopefully there will be a report on that soon, so stay
tuned. Thanks for reading people! Enjoy your holiday wherever you may be :) and once again thanks to Ema, Klemen and all the kind people I met along the journey :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

First ascent in Creta and kicking off the trip!

Hey everybody
The summer trip I'd been considering for a while has finally kicked off! Psyche is high for the unknown we're heading for. The first stop is Prague with Rok and Urban which happened very quickly. Two days before leaving we were discussing our plans for the summer. I'd bought a train ticket to Prague to meet my friend Luke here but after he couldn't come my friends from uni were keen to join me and make a little trip out. We're now enjoying the freedom of having a few days with no plans and going around Prague a little bit, exploring and meeting people. We're leaving on Sunday - my ultimate goal is somewhere in France or Spain where there's lots of rock :) It's been an intense year at uni and I can't imagine a more perfect laidback company than my two collegues to relax our minds :)

Before I left I've had a great one day trip to Creta where I took some of my friends to try climbing - it was a team of me, Luka, Anja and Boris. We enjoyed the cool temps and fresh air of Creta.
the crew

Boris trying out the Slovenian rock!

Luka climbing again for the first time after the accident! psyched :)

 I managed to do the first ascent of 100% BIO project, a route bolted by Rajko in the rightmost sector (Domacica). I tried it a few times the previous time up there, but it was now that I found a key hold and unlocked the sequence. It's all about the hard, bouldery section in the first part of the route which includes some poor pockets and pinches but no big moves. After the third bolt it eases off a little but you don't get any jugs right until the top, so I got totally pumped on the ascent.
I think it's quite my style, but seeing I didn't need that many tries and that there might be easier beta I think it deserves to be 8b. In my opinion the rock is not as nice as on La la land or in Pjes mater sector, but the moves in the starting bloc are pretty cool... Get on it people.

getting angry in the crux!

crimps all the way up...

I'm psyched to have done a first ascent :) it was pretty cool to climb something I remeber I once looked at and thought like there's not going to be any routes going up this part of the wall. I experienced a bit of that magic the pros get from making new routes :P in any case thanks to Rajko for bolting it and letting me climb it!

All in all it was a fun day that we rounded off nicely with a party for Luka's birthday. Shoutout to everybody who was there :)!
Thanks for reading people, I hope you're having a blast this summer whereever you may be! Enjoy it and remeber to play it safe!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Val di Mello -> Kotečnik -> ... ?

The bad news strike hard... it saddens me so deeply that Tito Traversa, a young Italian climbing prodigy has passed away after a climbing accident.  I have never got to meet him but I am sure he was a psyched kid that was about to become one of the idols we would look up to and get inspired by him. It's cruel and unfair. My condolences go out to his family.
Adam and Tito, the embodiment of climbing spirit and motivation

So much has been going on lately there's barely enough time to update the blog and I forget all the cool stuff that's happened. But I've had two memorable mini trips out climbing that were great. First was Val di Mello in Italy with kids from the home gym, and second was a three days visit to Kotečnik and Kanjon (just got back home) which is only an hour and a half of drive from my home, but it still felt like a real climbing trip as we were out camping and hanging with a good crew.

Val di Mello was amazing, I didn't know the area has so much quality climbing and the ambiance is so beautiful - I think it's actually the most beautiful and unspoilt place I've been to for climbing. The boulders are lying around on green grasses amidst huge granite walls on both sides with a stream running down in the middle... the classic fairytale-like picture :)
We've had great fun, I think all the kids enjoyed it, many personal bests were achieved, time flew by in a blink :) the weather was great, the climbing also (I also sent a few lines, bouldered up to 7b+ and did some classic 8a routes which were sadly all chipped  - so maybe it's especially worth going bouldering, while the hard routes are a little boring with all the handmade holds).
There were a few unfortunate moments (I burnt 5 litres of milk making breakfast -.-) but basically we all made it back in one piece which is what counts most. I borrowed a few pics from Aljaz, thanks a lot mate

literally the first thing you see when you get up in the morning

Luka in a 7b
me on an 8a

Right after we made it home from Italy, me and the most psyched two guys, Blaž and Domen, set off for a short trip to Kotečnik and Kanjon which was a real bang, too. It felt like a real trip as we were a great crew, very psyched and strong. They both sent their first 8a's which was a nice, memorable thing (breaking into the 'magic' number :D). I had an amazing mental battle on Umazana igra which is a beautiful, hard 8b+ that I was really happy about sending... thanks to Blaž for getting me psyched.

The ticklist was:
Umazana igra 8b+ (6th try)
Adrenalin 8b (flash - with beta by Anže - thanks mate ^^)
Impulz 8a+ (3rd try)
Graceland 8a+ (2nd try)
Guernica 8a (finally! after so many tries, hard climbing in Kotečnik is finally on :D!)

got close to onsighting Divja žena 8a+ and also Divji mož 8a - but I did get a big consolidation prize with other sends ^^

Guernica 8a
Divji mož 8a (second go I think)
Divji otrok 8a (also second go I believe)

Specialist za življenje 8a+ (almost flash! so damn close!)
Guernica 8a FLASH :)

Thanks to Izi for showing us around Kanjon today, everybody who came along, Eva for support and belaying on the second day...
I wonder what the next chapter will be... I know I'm leaving on a trip soon, but no actual plans were made yet... I will keep this place updated if anything exciting happens.