Saturday, April 4, 2015

Revolution in Bitnje

It's been almost a month since the last post here. I have been busy doing the uni work, some training, going out to climb on random days, night routesetting and family visits. Motivation for climbing has been high as usual but with no specific focus.

I'd got tired of Mišja Peč and getting stuck into projects that feel so desperately close to my limit and where potential success seems to have turned from a real possibilty to a somewhat abstract term one cannot really imagine. Hmmm... get to the chains without falling, well it's really that simple, except in our own minds.

The arrival of spring weather and summer daylight time freshened things up a bit. Afternoon, post-work sessions and warmer temps... Bitnje was a crag high on everybody's list. It is due time for it to get a mention in this blog. The good old Bitnje, the staple of hard climbing in the area, with its less-than-perfect, often dusty, "še-kr-goveja" endurance routes. They often also contain a considerable boulder section to bump the grade, with a typical characteristic being crimps, two-finger pockets and smearing on bad, often crumbly footholds in only a slightly overhanging wall. Reminsicent of the previous generation of climbers here is the ocassional chipped hold. However, they have also left us with a few unclimbed routes. Those who have completed the inauguration with climbing all the existant hard routes are now standing up to the challenge. Whatever, just to keep us psyched :)
my bro sporting the new Hirundos and enjoying the sun
I set to work on one of the projects. Yesterday was going to be my fourth day on it. I had already come painfully close on Wednesday. I could feel an amazing progression compared to last year. Awesome, something to make some sense of all those campus board sessions, after all. Yet, it seemed like the sending vibe has eluded me lately. I wondered how much longer it will take and cursed my lack of focus on attempts or holds crumbling off.

The route is about 30 meters long, after an easy start you climb a technical slab with cool moves for a 7a intro. It then steepens up and after 10 moves you get to a poor shake-out before another 15 moves that take you to the chain. The climbing is all long lock-offs on small holds and poor feet with one strikingly hard move that kept spitting me off.
Everything aligned yesterday. Weather was great, it was cold and there was some wind. We had a great crew and we all felt like this could be it. Janez climbed another project just earlier and other routes were going down, too

I remember exactly how it happened. I climbed up to the crux section casually like always, not struggling with any of the moves and thus having lots of spare focus to fight the mental battle and mantra-ing myself to power. Contrary to the previous try, this time I cared a bit less whether or not I was actually going to do it. I took the crux hold, started setting up for the move, then took an extra breath and spent an additional milisecond working my feet around. The world slowed down and I saw my hand hitting the next hold perfectly. A few more powerscreams and seconds later I was on top!

few days ago on the "Rigor mortis" project, i'm right up at the top of the wall

Sends of the day include (yes, conditions were truly amazing):
Rigor mortis 8c FA by me
Eleganca ježa 8b+ FA by Janez Miklavčič
Jera je bunka... 8a was done by Luki, Kern, Damjan
Che Guevara was done by Žiga Oražem and Mitja Predikaka

Johnny after completing his project. 3 years after first trying it, man you deserved it yesterday! "Eleganca ježa", a future endurance classic :)

Credits are due to Miha Kajzelj for bolting this route. Without the hard work of the equippers, none of this would be possible. I have yet to talk to him about naming the route but for now I've come up with this. 
Along with the new routes from Mitja Peternelj, Bitnje is turning into a big crag with many hard routes on offer that will keep even the new generations busy... for a season, maybe. But that's how it goes, the level keeps increasing and today's hardest route might be only a warm up for the prodigy kid of tomorrow. The thrill of clipping the chains, however, will always be there.
selfie with Ajda. the ex-gym kids turned rock climbers! more of this please!