NEWS

EDITORIAL

Tuesday, 25 January

Cleaning steep routes with the bent gate in the rope

Cleaning quickdraws from a steep route is normally done by connecting yourself to the rope through a quickdraw. It is important to remember that the bent gate of the quickdraw should be clipped to the rope and the straight carabiner, which normally is clipped into the bolt hangers, should be clipped into your harness belay loop. The reason for this is that the straight carabiner can be sharp after having been exposed to big falls in the hangers. You do not want to have a carabiner, even with just microscopic edges, to slide down the rope. It should also be noted that quickdraws should be regularly inspected and carabiners should be discarded if they have any sharp indentations and noticeable ware marks.Video showing the risk of not using the bent carabiner in the rope.


Fish Eye 8c and ECO thoughts by Sofie Paulus

Tuesday, 25 January

Fish Eye 8c and ECO thoughts by Sofie Paulus

Sofie Paulus reports on Insta that she has done Fish eye (8c) in Oliana. She is based in Bayreuth where she is doing a masters in Global Change Ecology. Going to Oliana took almost 30 hours by bus via Paris, including car-pooling, and only costed Euro 45 one way. Going to Frankenjura, she often cycles for 90 minutes. "I try hard to avoid flying and I use public transport or car-pooling whenever it is possible."

"Briefly about myself: my name is Sofie, I have been a nature-lover and rock climber since I was little. After school, my fascination for nature and our earth motivated me to study geology. It was great to learn about so many miracles and processes that naturally take place on our planet and explain today’s landscapes (and rocks ). After my bachelor’s degree, I felt the need to work more with the societal and environmental consequences of climate change and globalisation, so I started my masters in Global Change Ecology.

As often as I can, I spend time outside. Climbing and being in nature with other people is incredibly inspiring and healing to me. Climbing has always been that part of my life, where I feel ‘at home’ and instead of planning and setting training goals, I try to find balance and well-being whenever I climb. Nevertheless, I also like challenges and try routes that require high concentration, physical effort, and strength. Two weeks ago, I successfully climbed Fish Eye (8c) in Oliana, which is my hardest grade so far. The character of this endurance route and the atmosphere at the crag are unique and amazing. During the process, I consistently enjoyed finding the right beta and linking the sequences, exchanging, and trying the route with other climbers. It wasn't a real ECOPOINT, video, (definition later in the text), but at least I managed to travel to Catalunya by bus and carpooling.

In many faces of life, I see a need for conscious change to live in a more balanced way with nature. As climbing is an essential part of my life, I had to think about the approach to the crags where I climb. Taking the car to get there each time created an inner conflict. I started looking for alternatives. Sometimes, I took the train to places where other climbers picked me up to access the climbing area car parks. It is not always easy and takes additional time to organize the approach. Last year, I started challenging myself by cycling more frequently to reach local crags. For sure, the whole climbing experience is a bit different, the body feels more tired, but in the end, I always have a great experience. It is a privilege to live relatively close to climbing areas, but even if you live further away, it is always interesting to look for alternatives to flying or driving individually. In my opinion, an alternative view of achievement in climbing would be useful. I don’t feel like ECOPOINTING would prevent me from climbing hard and if so, it doesn’t really matter. Quite the contrary, it is awesome to feel the effort that one has already made to get to the cliffs and to ultimately arrive at the climbing routes with a lower carbon footprint. Moreover, after some bike training, the approach already feels less energy-draining.

Lena Marie Müller and I would like to invite other climbers to share their experiences and personal efforts when it comes to climbing using a more environmentally friendly approach. Climbing a route 'Ecopoint' describes the idea of using public transportation, cycling, or walking to approach the climbing area. It is often challenging and takes more time to access the climbing area by more environmentally friendly means. In my opinion, it simultaneously prolongs the experience of climbing outdoors and feels more intense and richer. Let's start adding Ecopoints to our scorecard wherever it appears possible to us. Let's try to combine the love for our sport with the motivation and the urgent need to fight climate change. It contributes to reducing our impact on the environment.

I feel that taking more time, for one thing, helps a lot and is a precious gift we give ourselves. It is not easy in our world, where so many options exist, where we can do more and more in less time. However, this rushed aspect is also questionable. Doing important things with passion and in a concentrated manner is so much more sustainable than doing many things at once. Regarding climate justice, we need to act now. But here as well, it is also important to find out what we can do as individuals and then take the time and energy we can to focus on the changes we would like to make. Environmentalism is not about denying people what they love, but about rethinking what we really want, about our approach and about exchanging ideas."


Sunshine 8A by Jenn Debellis

Tuesday, 25 January

Sunshine 8A by Jenn Debellis

Jenn DeBellis has done Sunshine (8A) in Hueco Tanks (TX). "Really psyched to piece this all together! Ended up being a pretty desperate totally pumped out of my mind topout which makes it all the better. Way cooler than I expected."

Interestingly, the 27-year-old started climbing only in 2016 and then it took her two years to go outdoors and within some months she did her first 7C. "I’ve gotten a much later start than many of my friends and I wasn’t sure how far I’d be able to take things with my training and climbing. I learned about Hueco when I was first getting stoked on bouldering and reading about its history and it’s cool to be here for the first time to experience it. “Sunshine” will be a special memory for me! As you walk into East Mountain it’s so easy to see how striking of a line it is. I enjoyed the climb for how much shoulder and body tension it requires to hold onto the rail feature and that you have to fight through some pump at the end."


EDITORIAL

Monday, 24 January

Max Bertone (14) does Saruman 8B


Alizee Dufraisse has done Versace (8B) in Brione. The Frenchwoman has been one of the best female climbers in the world since 2003 when she won the Youth World Championship and was Top-9 in both a boulder as well as in a Lead World Cup. She finished her competition career in 2016 and have since done five 8B's and two 9a's. During the last winters, she has spent some 50 sessions projecting La Rambla 9a+.

How was the process taking it down?
The process was pretty long and challenging! After two years of route climbing, I was not sure if my next challenge would be route climbing in Spain or bouldering in Switzerland :) Hard to change when you know that you are in shape for routes. I had no clue what bouldering in Switzerland would be like… How long would it take me to transfer my shape in routes for bouldering? Would I succeed to find my way climbing on granite, which I never really experienced before? Could I handle the cold temps? Will the forecast will be ok in the full wintertime? Will I find some boulders that I get inspired by?

At the last moment, we (Dave and me) decided to go to Swiss. We actually both needed a change from the Spanish scene (even if we love it). As predicted I needed some time to learn how to deal with all the factors I was scared about. The weather was pretty tough when we arrived with a lot of rain/snow/cold. I needed to climb slowly on harder and harder stuff. I needed also to get more and more used to the height, being able to climb without a rope and fall properly. Versace is a boulder in Brione, next to the river. First time I went on it I loved the place and felt good on the moves. I liked the style, the type of rock and features and I could slowly (re)-learn the process of bouldering. It took me 15 days to send the boulder, every day learning something new about climbing and about dealing with my mind :) Now that I start feeling better and better in bouldering, I enjoy more and more every step of the way. I think I will keep bouldering here and maybe Magic Wood afterwards, where I have never been, trying the challenge myself more and more :)

What about the status on La Rambla?
I think a change is good for me. La Rambla has really become mental for me so I think climbing on other stuff, maybe also other routes before coming back is good!! But it's a route and a place I love so I have all the time to come back ❤️. You know I am happy to climb in general and that's the most important for me. Challenging and learning about myself. I try to be a better climber and that goes obviously with trying harder grades. But I don't do that as a competition thing… so I don t really count in this way I meant 😄

Monday, 24 January

Alizee Dufraisse does Versace 8B

Alizee Dufraisse has done Versace (8B) in Brione. The Frenchwoman has been one of the best female climbers in the world since 2003 when she won the Youth World Championship and was Top-9 in both a boulder as well as in a Lead World Cup. She finished her competition career in 2016 and have since done five 8B's and two 9a's. During the last winters, she has spent some 50 sessions projecting La Rambla 9a+.

How was the process taking it down?
The process was pretty long and challenging! After two years of route climbing, I was not sure if my next challenge would be route climbing in Spain or bouldering in Switzerland :) Hard to change when you know that you are in shape for routes. I had no clue what bouldering in Switzerland would be like… How long would it take me to transfer my shape in routes for bouldering? Would I succeed to find my way climbing on granite, which I never really experienced before? Could I handle the cold temps? Will the forecast will be ok in the full wintertime? Will I find some boulders that I get inspired by?

At the last moment, we (Dave and me) decided to go to Swiss. We actually both needed a change from the Spanish scene (even if we love it). As predicted I needed some time to learn how to deal with all the factors I was scared about. The weather was pretty tough when we arrived with a lot of rain/snow/cold. I needed to climb slowly on harder and harder stuff. I needed also to get more and more used to the height, being able to climb without a rope and fall properly. Versace is a boulder in Brione, next to the river. First time I went on it I loved the place and felt good on the moves. I liked the style, the type of rock and features and I could slowly (re)-learn the process of bouldering. It took me 15 days to send the boulder, every day learning something new about climbing and about dealing with my mind :) Now that I start feeling better and better in bouldering, I enjoy more and more every step of the way. I think I will keep bouldering here and maybe Magic Wood afterwards, where I have never been, trying the challenge myself more and more :)

What about the status on La Rambla?
I think a change is good for me. La Rambla has really become mental for me so I think climbing on other stuff, maybe also other routes before coming back is good!! But it's a route and a place I love so I have all the time to come back ❤️. You know I am happy to climb in general and that's the most important for me. Challenging and learning about myself. I try to be a better climber and that goes obviously with trying harder grades. But I don't do that as a competition thing… so I don t really count in this way I meant 😄


Big Conviction 8C+ FA by Simon Lorenzi

Monday, 24 January

Big Conviction 8C+ FA by Simon Lorenzi

Simon Lorenzi reports on Insta that he has done the FA of Big Conviction 8C+ in Fontainebleau, which is a link-up start from Conviction Low into the Big Island 8C. The Belgian has previously done the FA of Soudain Seul 9A (8C+), aka The Big Island Sit, and last month he did the FA of Conviction Low 8B/+. Last year, he made four Would Cups and his Top-3 results were: 5 - 7 - 12. (c) Signarthur

How many moves are added into the Big Island start and could you please describe them?
It starts in the low start of Conviction and then you traverse to the left on the same ramp as the first hold of The Big Island. There are like 5-6 more moves. The first one is the hardest, a very hard move from an undercling with two very bad feet (which make the true difficulty). Then you go far left to a good crimp and it is hard to be precisely in a position with so much tension and you have to keep your feet on the wall when you hit the crimp. If you don't, you will fall. After there it is like 3 or 4 moves to go into the start of The Big Island. Not that hard but it's steep and it makes your hands more sweaty for the end.

What is your next plan and what about comps in 2022?
My next plan is the world cup season 2022 both lead and bouldering and La Révolutionnaire 8C+.


EDITORIAL

Saturday, 22 January

Things that are trained too much and too little

It is natural that climbers focus on power training as you can quickly measure it. Such training is also found everywhere on the internet. Here are some quick thoughts on things that I think are usually trained too little, meaning that such training will give you the fastest progress.

Resting: Training on how to best hang on holds in order to recover.
Technical: Training different styles that you seldom use, your anti-style.
Tactical: Spend some minutes on route reading before and after you climbed a route together with a friend.
Yoga/Stretching: Several moves will be much easier to do if you are flexible.
Mental: Talk to your friends and analyse your strong points in general and when you surprised them.
Falling: Start each session by taking some shortfalls. Make your belayer improve how to belay.
Complimentary: Make some push and pull-ups as well as sit-ups several times a day at home.

The only extra training, outside the gym, that is less beneficial is running. Sure, a few minutes running before and after a session is good practice but jogging a couple of hours every week can be counterproductive. "Long distance running will just build up your capillary bed in your legs learning your blood circulation to redirect it from your forearms. The worst warming up is done, running or cycling, to your gym getting cold fingertips as you instead of opening up your capillaries, you close them learning your blood to avoid the forearms."


Warm up/Recruit muscles at home

EDITORIAL

Saturday, 22 January

Warm up/Recruit muscles at home

You have probably seen that many of the top climbers bring a portable hangboard to the crag. The reason for this is that this is the fastest way to recruit your maximum finger strength at the same time you save your skin. Another dilemma by warming up at the crag is that you get pumped during or even after your warm-up route. As you climb an easy route and as you hold your arms mainly above your head the blood circulation is under control. But once you get to the top, or earlier let go, resting with your arms hanging down, there is a risk that your forearms capillary system can get flooded. The reason for this is that after you have stopped climbing, the artery could pump so much blood into your forearms that the capillary and vein system can not transport back, as they have not been fully open.

At home doing some push- and pull-ups and also using a hang board or hanging under a table, you can recruit and warm up your muscles in 10 - 15 minutes. Doing the same thing climbing routes or boulders at the crag would probably take you at least 30 but up to 60 minutes if it is cold outside. In other words, you will most likely be able to climb more and harder, with less pain and lower risk for injuries, during a cold winter session if you only spend 10 - 15 minutes warming up at home.


Los Ultimos Vampiros Hippies 8c by Angie Scarth-Johnson

Friday, 21 January

Los Ultimos Vampiros Hippies 8c by Angie Scarth-Johnson

Angelina (Angie ) Scarth-Johnson, who was just featured in an 8a interview, has done Los ultimos vampiros hippies (8c) in Margalef. The 17-year-old Austrailian has been living in Margalef during the last year. She did her first 8b at age 9 and last autumn she did her first 9a. (c) Javi Pec