23 juni 2015

8 number 100

I've spent the last couple of weeks doing a lot of lead climbing. Two weeks ago, the second National Lead competition was being held in my home gym: Mountain Network Amsterdam. I managed to top out all routes and ended up 1st. Although the routes were not that hard physically, it was a good mental preparation for the upcoming Worldcup season. Furthermore, I was asked to test the men's routes before the comp, which was a lot of fun and a good opportunity to do some onsight training.

Lead 2 finals (picture by NKBV)
The week after I finished my last subjects in University, which means I have completed my Bachelor now! As a reward we decided to spend some days in the Frankenjura, so we picked up the van and drove East. It felt so good to touch some rock again. Although the weather was pretty bad, we found some beautiful dry lines. In my opinion, a lot of the routes in the Frankenjura are not really worth climbing, but it is the seek for those nice lines that makes climbing in this area special to me. In the end I managed to climb the really short and bouldery 8a Leftfield (super cool moves!), the more sustained 8a+ Desperado, the super classic 8a+ Witchcraft and some 7c/+'s flash. Whit those 8's I reached the magic number of 100 8-degree routes!

Now it's time for the last bit of endurance training before the start of the international competition season, which will start in a bit more than two weeks in Chamonix.
Lead 2 finals (picture by NKBV)

28 mei 2015

NKB - 1st place!

Last weekend I competed in the National Championships in Bouldering. It's only now that I am starting to recover mentally. It was such a nerve breaking competition! Before the start of the comp, I knew I could outperform the others on the big overhanging walls, but I certainly would have a hard time to keep up on the slabs. That turned out to be well estimated. In semi-finals I just managed to finish the slab in time, after which I sent the three overhanging boulders pretty easily. That resulted in a comfortable first position, but finals still had to be climbed.
The nasty slab (ByRyan Photography)
After a long break we were up for finals. The first boulder was not too exciting: just some volume pulling in the overhang with a slightly tricky jam in the end… flash. The second boulder was my worst nightmare, a really nasty slab. I had no clue how I would even get off the ground. But hey, a top in this one would not be necessary with two overhanging boulders ahead. That thought calmed be down a bit and I managed to climb the slab in the very last attempt. Good job to Kim, who managed to flash it!
Topping the third problem (ByRyan Photography)
The third boulder was indeed a big overhang. Although I had to scream a bit in the last dynamic move, it went down in my first attempt. I was in first position again. But then I got a nasty little surprise. The last boulder wasn't an overhang like I expected. It was a straight wall with a big mantle move. Not exactly my strongest point, but it didn't look too hard though. However the pressure was high, I had to climb this one to win! Normally I would have been shaking off the wall, but this time I felt totally in control and I flashed the problem. Maybe I am not as bad on slabs as I think and should just stop complaining about it ;) It was really amazing to notice how pressure can make you stronger. What a cool experience! I managed to secure the title again, pfoe :)
In controle in the last problem (ByRyan Photography)

29 april 2015


I just came home after two amazing weeks in Rodellar. Although I had been to this place already twice, I never had the chance to really experience it due to bad weather or limited amount of climbing days. But this time, both were on my side and it turned out to be better than I could dream of. The place is covered in beautiful, hard lines, all fitting my style pretty good. There were so many things I wanted to do that the only way of getting close to fulfilling my wish list was by climbing really efficiently: just sending every route as fast as possible to move on to the next astonishing line. The goal of the trip was to do some semi-hard projects combined with hard onsights to prepare for the competition season.

This made me really motivated for my onsight or flash attempts, resulting in the right mindset to send some hard stuff. I managed to climb my first 8a+ onsight, with a 40m endurance monster called Paideia! Later that week I added my second one and they were followed by four more 8a’s onsight / flash. Woow, I really surprised myself. In the meanwhile I had time (and a little bit of energy haha, those routes really drain you) to send  Espirit Rebeld (8b), El chorreras (8b/+) and Philipe Cuisinere (8b+).

So all together I had a really good time, just enjoying climbing routes that really inspired me. Although I ticked quite some routes, the wish list is only halfway done and it only got longer. I have to come back a couple of times more to finish it, but I guess that won’t be a problem ;)

The ticklist:
- 8a Gracias fina - flash
- 8a El corridor de la muerte - flash
- 8a Pieds nus dans la terre sacrée - flash
- 8a Coliseum - onsight
- 8a+ Mal de amores – second go
- 8a+ Paideia - onsight
- 8a+ Las dos golondrinas de la piscineta - onsight
- 8b Espirit rebeld – third go
- 8b/+ El chorreras o la belle inconue – third go

- 8b+ Philipe cuisinere

13 april 2015

Training, outdoor climbing and competitions

The last two weeks I spent travelling from one place to another to compete, climb outdoors and train, which was a really nice combination, although the start was pretty shitty. Two weeks ago, the third national boulder competition was being held in Rotterdam. I didn’t enjoy the competition at all, due to morpho boulders, high walls and mats which felt like stone. This combination made me feel really scared again (which I have been a lot since my knee injury and which was actually getting better) and I could not enjoy climbing at all. I even considered going home after the second morpho boulder in finals, but I decided to keep my head up and at least finish the competition. I ended up 3rd, feeling terrible.

Luckily that didn’t last long, because the next morning I took the plain to Spain to climb outdoors in Montsant for two days. The moment we arrived in Montsant I already felt much better. What a beautiful place! Situated in the middle of nowhere with an amazing view, this area provides some of the best climbing I have ever seen. Huge walls up to 70m, all covered in super sustained mega routes. I seriously doubt if I have ever been so pumped before ;) Attached to a rope, I felt super confident again and I immediately took my revenge the first day by onsighting Hidrofobia, 8a (although it took me the rest of the day to recover ;) ). We climbed a bunch of amazing 7 degree routes and on the second day I managed to send Falconetti, 8a+, on my second go. I felt completely recharged after climbing so many great routes in such a beautiful place. I definitely will come back here!

After two days it was time to fly home to leave for the training weekend of the Dutch Team. We spent four days in Germany training in Stuntwerk, Köln and Boulderwelt Frankfurt and bouldering outdoors. It was nice to be away with the whole team, get to know each other better and get my ass kicked by the little boys, who are getting older and are already a lot stronger then I am ;) After four days I was completely worn out but satisfied.

Lead 1 finals (picture by nkbv)
A few days at home gave me time to recover and catch up with my studies. Yesterday the national lead competition kicked off in Mountain Network Nieuwegein. I managed to top out all routes without getting pumped. I already felt confident about my fitness, but this definitely proved I am on the right way. It was nice to challenge the mental part again in a competition.

Now it’s time to go outdoors again, for longer than two days this time. Today I am flying to Rodellar where I will climb for the next two weeks. The wishlist is long and the motivation is high. A muerte!

12 maart 2015

Santa Linya and Boulder 2

After two weeks at home I started to feel a bit restless. I needed to get back to Spain, get some sun and climb some rocks! But actually I had to be in Amsterdam to go to university. I managed to find a five day gab where I could escape without anyone noticing. So I booked my flight and Frank came to pick me up in Lleida. This times destination: Santa Linya. I had spotted a route in this impressive cave I really wanted to try: Rollito Sharma, 8b+. The moves are super athletic, with many heel- and toohooks, drop knees, jumps etc. On the first day I managed to stick all the moves, but the crux was really desperate. I could only make it 50% of the times after hanging in the rope, and it was actually only this move the whole route was about for me, not really my style since I normally project huge endurance routes. I decided to just commit for this one, since the route was really cool and it was a good power training anyway. On the last day I could climb the first part to the crux moves more or less effortless and I was really close to sticking the last hold of the crux, but unfortunately I just needed some more time, which I didn't have. It was a really good trip though and I got really motivated to train again and to come back to this place. Hopefully I can plan a longer trip in the near future ;)
Finals at boulder 2 (picture by nkbv)
Back home I got straight back to training again. After climbing 6 days in a row it was time for my first national competition of the year: Boulder 2. It has been a really long time since I have competed in bouldering. After my knee injury last year I got really scared of falling, so I decided to just quit bouldering for a while, because it only frustrated me. When I started bouldering again this February the fear was gone, but I totally forgot how to make all those crazy circus moves ;) So to be honest, I was pretty nervous for this first competition and I was thinking about not competing at all.
But things turned out great. In qualifications a lot of those scary crazy problems were set, but I managed to flash 7/8! This gave me a lot of confidence and it really felt like a victory every time I grabbed the final hold of a scary problem. That good feeling made me flash all the problems in the finals as well. A good start of the competition season I guess! 

1 februari 2015

Roadtrip Spain - part 2

Right after I wrote my last post I injured myself (never try to go to a mono dynamically!). Fortunately I was allowed to climb again after only three days of rest and already after a week I could work in hard routes again. I guess I was lucky this time ;) But I had only two weeks left before going home and I still couldn’t hold any pockets with my right hand. With the bouldery routes in Mallorca this appeared to be a bit problematical. When it started to rain very heavily the decision was quickly made: Let’s go to Alicante! So the next day we took the ferry back to the mainland.

Our first stop was Gandia Bovedon, a big cave near Valencia. On the first day I managed to send Trasnochando, 8b, on my second go!  The days after I climbed the best routes here and then we moved to a new sector, Bovedos. In just a couple of days we worked the best lines in the two area’s. With long days of onsighting 5 or 6 7b/c+’s I was completely exhausted but really satisfied after four days in Gandia. What a nice place!
Since we had climbed the best-looking lines we decided to spend the last two days in another area near Alicante, Cabezon d’or. This might be one of the best area’s I have ever seen! Gigantic walls, all slightly overhanging, covered in tufas and most of them not even developed yet. It was the perfect place to finish my trip. On the last day I even managed to flash another 8a, a 40m mega pitch! I definitely have to come back to this place.

Now I am back home I will get back to training. I got so motivated after this trip! I have seen many routes I am really eager to climb, but I guess I have to get stronger and improve my endurance to be able to. So it feels good to be back and to start working for those routes!

A small ticklist from this trip:
- 5 8b's
- 1 8a+ second go
- 9 8a's of which 2 flash
- and a bunch of 7's onsight / flash

17 januari 2015

Roadtrip Spain

I have spent the last 1,5 month in Spain, climbing outdoors. The trip started in Margalef, where we stayed for a couple of days before going to Oliana. The plan was to do some small projects. I managed to finish two 8b's I had tried last year, Batuka and Rocaïna Dura (8b/+), both in the second go of this year. That was a good start! Right before we wanted to leave Margalef it started to rain very heavily. All the routes were wet so we decided to leave for Oliana early.
Rocaïna Dura 8b/+
In Oliana the weather wasn't any better, but at least the largest part of the wall stayed dry. On the first day I managed to flash Mishi 8a and I worked the moves on Fish Eye, an 8c which is on my wishlist already for a long time. The end of Fish Eye was wet, but I could do the crux moves pretty easily so I decided to wait for it to dry up. For the next days the rain didn't stop and most of the routes were soaking wet now. It was hard to try Fish Eye, so I kept working it in parts.

After a couple of days we were getting bored of the projecting in routes which were not fully climbable, so we decided to take a break . We drove to Villanova de Meia to do a multipitch. It has been a while since I have climbed more than 50m and I have to admit, I was pretty scared ;) But it was a nice adventure and by the end of the day we could look back, satisfied, on the 8 pitches 7b MP.
Back in Oliana things didn't get any better. Fish Eye was dry now and I could make all the moves, but winter started to kick in, and it got pretty cold. When it was sunny, conditions were perfect, but the crag seemed to attract fog. I had one very good go on Fish Eye the first day, I fell only 5 moves before the anchor of this 50m monster! The days after we were waiting for sun, but every day we walked back to the van early in the afternoon, too cold to give any proper goes. The waiting didn’t pay off, the fog returned every morning and we both got pretty sick (literally) of the long days spend in the cold air. We decided that this wasn't any fun anymore, that we had to drop our projects and head for a warmer place.
Flashing a 7c+ in the 'secret' sector Es Grau des Ruc on Mallorca
Next day we took the ferry to… Mallorca. And guess what? It was super warm and sunny. What a relieve!  At the moment we are exploring the island. The hard climbing isn't as developed as in Catalunya, so it’s harder to find the nice, hard routes. But the climbing is really good so far! I managed to climb Commando Madrid (8b) and Capitan (8b) both third go. Stay tuned for a bigger report of the climbing in Mallorca!
Sunset at Mallorca 
Working in Odissy L1, 8b at Mallorca