Alphane Moon 8A in Chironico,
pic by Aldo Tonazzi

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Up- and Downgrading

What I’m writing here is just MY personal opinion. On the other hand I’m pretty sure, that I’m not alone with this view.
Sure, climbing and especially bouldering grades are subjective and very individual. Far moves are definitely easier, if you’re tall. Compression boulders and tricky sitstarts can be easier, if you’re short. According to that a grading can never be fixed. For the one it may feel like an 8A… for another one it feels like a 7C+ and the next one is giving it an 8A+.  
Then again a line can initially simply be wrongly graded, what call for a correction. Or successors just found much better beta or “new” holds, which made the moves easier. Anyway… there are many reasons why a boulder can be down- or upgraded. But some of the “re”gradings which we saw in the last years are just an expression of an image neurosis of some people…!!!
I don’t mind if someone is giving a 7C+ to an 8A…! But what I can really not understand and what I completely loathe is, if some guys are downgrading routes extremely and unjustified, just because of some personal fights or what I already wrote, to support their personal image neurosis. Mostly the new grading tend to be completely undervalued then. Just to show…. “Hey look! I’m so strong that this line felt like a walk in the park. All others are idiots, if you’re giving a higher grade.” And hey… you really can read such comments or at least similar ones with the same meaning in the end, but other words. This is just disrespectful…!! AND these are simply “kindergarten-games” and have nothing to do in the end with the correct difficulty of the boulder. And somehow the grading should give at least a bit of an idea, how difficult the line REALLY is.
But it’s not just disrespectful. You kick everyones ass who has already climbed the line or is trying and struggling on it and they really think that the line deserves the grade it has. But you especially kick all the first ascentionists. Albeit I’m pretty sure they had also an idea how hard it is. They own personal impression.
I think, that an established line, which is climbed very often and found his grade through dozens of ascents should be accepted as the grade it has. Clear… the one line probably felt way easier for some individuals… but they should just accept that it is their preferred style, which matches their strengths or personal physical conditions best. The boulder is NOT EASIER then… these guys are just fit in perfectly.
The funny thing is that especially a few of the new generation climbers - the young guys - have this aptitude. Not JUST these… but mostly. I think they sometimes simply don’t realize how strong they are nowadays. All the same… the boulders are NOT EASIER today. The new generation is just stronger…!!
O.k… you can say “give a shit to such comments!”… or… “why do you fuss on it?”. You’re right! At least somehow. BUT especially in climbing, a completely wrong grading can get dangerous!! Luckily this is usually not a problem in bouldering!
There are several examples, which I don’t like to point out here. That’s definitely not my style and not the goal of my entry. Nonetheless I want to highlight it and to sensitize some guys to think first, and write afterwards.
SURE… we have freedom of opinion and everyone can give a grading and comment he like to. But then accept my opinion too… it’s just a personal view. ;)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Reykyavik low

Phuuuuaaa... the FA of „Reykyavik low“ is getting close!!
But let’s start at the beginning of the whole story.
day 1     When I started to work on “Reykyavik, 8A+/8B” I was very close to an ascent already on the very first day.
day 2     The second day then it looked completely different, despite of a good feeling after the promising first day. I wasn’t able to do any of the moves again. O.k… some moves worked, but I had no chance to climb sequences.
day 3     On the third day the success, with the ascent of Reykyavik. The same evening we (Martin and me) started to try a possible low start with two additional moves. But we were not able to find a solution for them (seemed to be pretty hard and we were already too tired).
day 4     The next climbing day then another success. Despite of I tried already Martins new line “Kein Scheehäschen, 8B/8B+”, I went down to Reykyavik and gave the low start some more attempts. AND… I found a solution pretty fast and was able to climb a whole sequence up to the second last hard move of the original line.  
day 5     NO CHANCE!! I tried the start moves for about two dozen times, but was NOT ABLE to repeat them. Even the first one was almost impossible. It’s crazy… but at the moment it’s an up and down. One day it looks super and the next day I’m simply not able to climb anything.
day 6     Was yesterday evening. After my arrival and warm-up it started to rain. And not just a bit!! Everything was completely wet and the boulder seeped like a waterfall. Despite of that I gave the low start some tries. Because of the steepness of the boulder at least the first moves were possible and dry. It looked BAD… like the day before. It felt at least a bit better and I was able to do the first move several times, but the ULTRAHARD foot-change afterwards was simply not possible. Something I had to change… I really needed a new beta for that start. With the current solution it was possible that I would try that start for another 10 days without any success. Somehow it felt almost impossible and I wondered how I once was able to do this foot-change.
                O.k… one more time a little change in the beta with a huge effect. Firstly the very first move felt much harder with the new beta and I was not able to do it. But after some attempts it went better and after a while I sticked the hold. It seemed that the body knew the movement then and got used to the physical strain.
                In the meantime the rain stopped and the sky went blue. I already tried the moves for about an hour or so and with the new solution now I was able to do the first part at almost every try. So I took a break and hoped that it will give a few last good tries this evening.
                Just one hard move lacked in the end…! Sure… the line is not finished there, but the last moves should work. I was extremely close, but lost the hook and went down to the pad. I had several good tries yesterday, but was too tired in the end to finish it up.
                What a pity! But nothing to worry about . I was happy that I found MY perfect solution and with good conditions and enough recreation I should be able to complete it the next climbing day. YESSS!! Can’t wait…

starting position of "Reykyavik low"... SD, but that's self-evident.

starting position of the original "Reykyavik, 8A+/8B"... SD too.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Bummer-Line at Sustenpass and more...

Wow... what a show I've seen yesterday evening!! REAAAALY impressive how easy Martin Keller climbed a new line (Schneehäschen-project) at the Traumland-bloc at Sustenpass. I tried it too and the new line is a real BUMMER. Steep as hell with long and hard compression-moves on small crimps.
It's kind of a sitstart to "Pitbull, 8A+". But you do not one of the moves of Pitbull, expect the ones for the topout. So it's an independent line for itself and WAY harder than Pitbull, which is climbed quite often and was never downgraded. Every move is extremely hard... the whole line is very homogenous.


Martin didn't gave it an official name so far and also no rating. My opinion is clear... must be about 8B/8B+...!!!
For me definitely one of the nicest lines at Sustenpass... if not the nicest one due to the impressive moves on steep rock.

I'm sure you will read an entry on his bloc soon.

And me?

I've climbed my project "Reykyavik, 8A+/8B" on Tuesday last week. Yesss...! Shortly before my ascent Martin arrived too and gave me a spot and some mental energy to do so. Sometimes it really helps, if you have someone on your side while trying a project. Another person can just give you some more motivation and confidence and can push you to more power and resilience.
the start of "Reykyavik, 8B"... but a REAL sitstart please! ;)

Afterwards both of us tried a new low sitstart to Reykyavik, which adds two more moves into the original line. Just two moves... but two hard ones!!
Unfortunately both of us were not able to find an good solution and do these moves this evening... we were too tired after the climbing before.

Yesterday, after the big SHOW of Martin, I went down to this low-start again. And despite I already tried the new line from Martin for quite a long time I was able to find a solution for these two hard start-moves. Wow... I was really excited!! I didn't expected it. The moves are quite hard and afterwards you have to climb an 8A+/8B too. But it definitely works and I climbed a whole sequence with some of the first moves of the original line.

I'm not sure if Reykyavik really deserves an 8B. I think it's a very soft one and felt more like 8A+. I just did it too fast. I almost climbed it on my first day after about 1 hour of trying but finished climbing, because of some drizzling rain.
I dont know... it's definitely my stile (compression-bouldering), but 8B? We will see... after some more ascents of this beautiful line.
Anyway... the low start-version will definitely be an 8B. That's for sure!

I will be back soon...!! ;)

keep on rockin