18 augustus 2015

Silvretta, Imst and the Verdon

Three weeks ago we left rainy Holland and headed to Austria. This time we did not only bring a rope and quickdraws, but a crashpad was stowed in the van as well. Plan for the trip: first stop, Silvretta, then head to Imst for the next Worldcup and finally drive to the Verdon to discover some of the new sportclimbing area's recently published in the 'Grimper'.

Bouldering in Silvretta

Me bouldering outdoors is definitely an exception, but lately I felt more and more attracted to it so I decided to give it a shot. And indeed, it turned out to be really motivating! First of all, Silvretta is simply a beautiful place. High in the Alps we woke up the first morning, surrounded by cows and with a really impressive view. When we went bouldering, I felt like a little child, running around between the boulders, trying everything that looked good, no matter what the grate was. Since my personal best was still 7B outdoors, it was pretty easy to push my limits. Sometimes it's nice to make some easy progression ;) In 2,5 days of bouldering I managed to send my first and my second 7C with 2nd Skin and Atomblitz. I would have loved to spend some more days here, but we had to go to Imst to be in time for the competition.

The Worldcup in Imst was, what shall I say, a special experience. I really surprised myself in qualifications by placing 5th in the first route and 10th in the second, just missing the final hold. Woow, I was super excited about my performance, but I had to stay focused for semi-finals which were held the same evening. The route looked cool and I was keen to climb it. Unfortunately, I misread a move in the beginning of the route and fell way too early. Argh! It's so frustrating to mess up like that after such a good qualification round.

The next day we decided not to stay and watch the finals, but to drive to France immediately. The disappointment of the previous day disappeared the more we drove south. With the Gorges in sight, the competition was quickly forgotten. What a beautiful place! Massive walls where ever you look. The approaches were often scary, traversing at the top of the Gorges with hundreds of meters of air underneath, but they led to the most astonishing climbing areas. All kinds of styles, from huge overhanging walls covered in tufas, to blank straight walls with tiny holds. All the sectors we visited had some things in common: 1. The routes were still very new and hard to read, since there were no chalk marks to follow, 2. The rock quality was super high, 3. The routes were super long and demanding and 4. The grading was HARD. So we got or asses kicked, but it was definitely worth it! In the end I managed to climb 1 8a flash  (Fly on the tox, Bauchet), 1 8a onsight (Babobabo, Courchon) and 1 8b (Plus tonique, Courchon).

A perfect dinner spot in the Verdon

Before the end of the trip arrived, I got some serious trouble with by back. The pain got worse every day. At one point, I could not find a way to release the pain anymore and I could not deal with it either. We decided to go home early, but first went to see a doctor, who subscribed me a massive load of painkillers. Those suppressed the pain enough to make the journey home bearable (and made me kind of funny ;). I was actually planning to compete in the next Worldcup in Stavanger upcoming weekend, but at the moment it’s uncertain if I will be able to start. First wait for the results of some physiotherapy treatments.