NEWS

Happy Camper 8A+ by Andrea ”Andi” Fichtner (44)

Friday, 23 July

Happy Camper 8A+ by Andrea ”Andi” Fichtner (44)

Andi Fichtner, who did her first 7C+ in 2019, has done her first 8A+, Happy Camper in Frankenjura.

What is your climbing background?
At the age of 19 I started climbing with the goal of becoming an alpinist. Rock climbing was just training for north faces, steep iceclimbing, long combined routes.

When I turned 30, I took part in a boulder fun cup - this was my start in competition climbing which I practiced the next 10 years. I climbed nationals and some speed climbing and bouldering world cups.

My next step took me outdoors again: started to do some rope climbing projects and a lot of bouldering.

How can you explain doing your hardest ever Boulder at 40+?
All in good time! Now that I started bouldering on natural rock it's exciting to see how I can keep improving over the months and years. Figuring out moves has always been my favourite thing and competitive experience helps me for quick and suitable beta. And a nice trait I carried over from my mountaineering days is the will to fight and never give up ;-)

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Two 8A's by Irina Kuzmenko

Friday, 23 July

Two 8A's by Irina Kuzmenko

Irina Kuzmenko, #3 in the Euro Bouldering Championship in 2019, has done two 8A's in Rocklands; In the Middle of the Ass and The Hatchling. "Mentally hard for me because sooooo high! I’m more about low boulders. 20 times was on the top then with the screaming climbing down then jump :)))))" (c) Juliet Lenova.

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EDITORIAL

Thursday, 22 July

Climb easier to climb harder

Everyone wants to climb harder, and training programs and online coaches pop up like mushrooms. Basically, their focus is how to get stronger quickly and how to peak quickly. This is an appropriate approach if you have climbed for many years and have excellent technical skills. Remember, however, that Adam Ondra became the best climber in the world just by climbing and enjoying training without any specific structure.

The number one advice for most rock climbers is just to climb more and easier than you use to. Until you can regularly do 7a's, the rock itself is your best coach. In order to become a better climber and making this your long term lifestyle, go for the easier grab every challenge they create. Climb them quicker, in a different style or simply just avoiding some holds.

The dilemma with the new culture with training programs and online coaches promising progress is that you become addicted to climbing harder grades and you might lose all the other reasons for climbing: friendship, scenery and adrenaline. The rock is your best coach and it is free. It is just up there to grab it!

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Little Fish 9a+ by Loic Zehani (19)

Thursday, 22 July

Little Fish 9a+ by Loic Zehani (19)

Loic Zehani has done the FA of Little Fish 9a+ in Orgon. The 19-year-old has now done 32 routes graded 9a to 9b, out of which 19 FAs. "It shares the same start as "Le Poisson Pilote" (9a+) but the exit is different (on the left). It took me one session (I was surprised it went so fast) as two years ago it took me 40 tries to make the original version."

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EDITORIAL

Thursday, 22 July

15 IFSC comps for Ginés Lopez

Alberto Ginés Lopez has competed in 15 IFSC competitions in 2021 as a preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. This can be compared to 3-5 events for most of his Olympics opponents. As a matter of a fact, many of the Olympians have not done any IFSC competitions in 2021. The male Top-4 favourites have done 3 - 8:
8 Alex Megos
5 Jakob Schubert
4 Tomoa Narasaki
3 Adam Ondra

The big question is which strategy is best? Surely, many already have years of competition experience but as there were only one WC in 2020, doing just a few is not ideal. Having focused mainly on training during 2021 including Speed, creating few opportunities for having fun at comps and outdoors, will build up anxiety in Tokyo. If you start the Olympics below expectations, even if you reach the final, the level of anxiety will increase, as you have sacrificed so much.

Personally, I think Alberto will feel less pressure if he ends up going into the second and third boulder with previous just bad results, compared with the ones having mainly just been training in 2021.

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Moonlanding 9a by Luca Bana

Wednesday, 21 July

Moonlanding 9a by Luca Bana

Luca Bana, who did Goldrake 9a+ in just three sessions in 2019, has done Moonlanding 9a in Passo della Presolana. It is the third ascent after Stefano Carnati and Gabri Moroni

"Moon Landing is an outstanding 30 meters line located at Passo della Presolana's crag: it's a logical linkup that follows the entire overhanging pillar from the bottom right to top left: basically a resistant 8c+ into a final heinous traverse on bad holds and poor feet around 8A FB.

Having already done all the single routes of this portion of rock, the next step was to connect them. Then, this year, from the second period of June, I came back to the crag with only one goal in mind and I re-started to try the moves and the sections. In a short time, I was able to climb again the first 8c+ part, while in the next 4/5 goes I fell off in the hard final traverse. Finally, last Saturday, despite the warm conditions, I managed to pass the heinous redpoint crux and grab the final jug. I'm really proud of this gem, bolted together with Berni Rivadossi as the other hard routes of the crag. About the difficulty I found it quite challenging for the grade, I'd say hard 9a."

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Pure Dreaming 9a by Andrea Chelleris (12)

Wednesday, 21 July

Pure Dreaming 9a by Andrea Chelleris (12)

Andrea Chelleris, Italian Slalom Champion this spring, has done his first 9a, Pure Dreaming in Arco. The 12-year-old has been living in a van in Arco since mid-June and needed 19 tries to take it down. During the winter he is training slalom five times a week and then in April he changed to climbing but due to the Covid situation, he has mainly been training at his home wall. His father and mother are also active climbers and Andrea started climbing when he was 5-years-old and did his first 8b+ at age 9.

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Chaehyun Seo (17) - Olympic training interview

Tuesday, 20 July

Chaehyun Seo (17) - Olympic training interview

Chaehyun Seo, who won the Lead World Cup in 2019, in a superior style, is one of the contenders for a medal in Tokyo.

How did covid-19 affect your training and preparation for Tokyo?
Because of covid-19, all the gyms of Seoul closed so I had to travel to Suncheon, which is 6 hours away from Seoul. That was a little bit tiring for me. In 2021, I just trained like before with team training. And always wearing a mask everywhere even when I trained.

What about your fathers climbing gym?
That is almost like my second home so I can train there anytime I want. It has been open since the winter.

What about specific Speed, Lead and Boulder training?
I didn’t train much time for speed! In Lead and Boulder, I trained like just the way I have done before, including Comp simulations at team training.

How much per week and how do you train?
Around 7 hours per during 4-5 days a week out of which 2-3 hours weight training on an average. Just like before😅. Stretching just for warm up

Outdoors, she has done three 8b+ and Seoknangil 8c+ this spring as part of her training.

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Chaehyun Seo is the biggest Olympic outsider

EDITORIAL

Tuesday, 20 July

Chaehyun Seo is the biggest Olympic outsider

Janja Garnbret is the big favourite to win the gold in Tokyo. Based on some 2000 8a user predictions, 85 % believe Janja to win. The only threats, based on the 8a predictions, comes from Akiyo Noguchi, Miho Nonaka and Brooke Raboutou.

Chaehyon Seo, who won the Lead WC in 2019 with 480 points compared to Janja's 352, has got 0% and 1% of the gold and silver predictions, respectively.

Back in 2019, the Korean was just 15 years old and during her only international Bouldering event, she was #13 in the World Championship after having been a tied #7 after the qualification. Her big weakness back then was Speed with a PB of 10.54.

Sure, she would have been better off if she could have done some World Cups in 2021 but remember that she was 2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 in her first five World Cups at age 15. Logically, two more years of training would mean she should be able to continue her winning strike in Lead also in Tokyo. Her only two comps in 2021 were Korea nationals where she won Lead and Bouldering. When it comes to her weak discipline Speed she has not focused on this.

In any case, it would be a big surprise if she did not make it to the Top-8 final and she should be mentioned in the first category of contenders to Janja together with Noguchi, Nonaka and Raboutou. Olympic training interview is coming up.

She onsighted her first 8a (+) at age eleven, redpointed her first 8b+ one year later and did her first 9a (8c+) being 14 years old. Last year she was #6 in the Ice World Cup after just four days of training with the axes!

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La prophétie des grenouilles 9a by Anak Verhoeven

Tuesday, 20 July

La prophétie des grenouilles 9a by Anak Verhoeven

Anak Verhoeven, who one year ago ruptured a pulley, and later this spring announced that she will retire from the competition scene, has done La prophétie des grenouilles 9a in Fournel. Anak was one of the best female Lead competition climbers 2013 - 2018 and three times she won a WC event. When it comes to rock, she has done eleven 8c+/9a and harder which is second-most in the world after Laura Rogora.


How does it feel not doing the Chamonix and Briancon competition week?
It feels a little weird not to be at the comps after all these years of competing, but at the same time I’m very happy about my decision to focus on rock! I feel at home at the crag and enjoyed this trip to France a lot.

How many sessions did it take and how was the process?
The conditions for working the route were pretty tough, with rainy and windy days. But I was able to figure out great beta, especially for the crux in a little roof. It was nice to discuss the route with a German climber who happened to have chosen the same project and we learned a lot from each other’s methods. I wasn’t in the best shape of my life yet after a year with lots of rehabbing, but I felt that this route was within my reach. What brought uncertainty was the limited time I had in France. So it was a relief when I sent the route with one day left before having to go back home. I had worked the moves for about 4,5 sessions and then climbed it on my first redpoint attempt, so on my first attempt to link all the moves.

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