Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home sweet home

I'm back home from Val di Mello in Italy where the annual Melloblocco was held. It's a big outdoor bouldering event (6000 people estimated!) in the Italian Alps. This was my fist time there and I thought it was good fun, except for the weather which was really hot for hard bouldering. There were a few problems with price money that was split between the people who climbed them. Among lots of others, I was not too psyched to try these problems, because some of them had drilled holes, some sika used and holds or parts of the wall taped off. Adam Ondra was superior in the competition by climbing all 8 problems. Instead of the competition problems I was more motivated to climb on some of the nice looking problems that were outside the competition. One very good problem that stood out was La Chimera, a really beautiful and high 8A arĂȘte. Overall I thought Val di Mello was a nice area with tons of bouldering in a scenic valley. You might want cooler conditions though or you'll lose the skin really fast.

After Mello we made a quick visit to Zillertal in Austria. I only got to climb there one day, well half a day, because the weather has been bad in Austria lately. I got to see some areas I haven't been to before and climbed a classic problem called El Gauhara.

I'm excited to be back home now. I've been a traveling a lot lately, so I decided to skip the Nissan Outdoor Games in Switzerland. It's a really cool event and I like the concept, but spending two whole weeks at home just seemed too good. At the end of this month I'm hitting the road again, first stop Colorado for 5 weeks and then South Africa for 6 or 7 weeks! I'm really psyched for that, but at the same time I'm happy to spend some time at home.

The Machinist Video

There is a nice video on of The Machinist, V13. It's a really cool roof problem I put up in Hueco this spring. Props to Brant Hawkins for making the video.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Globalist

Last winter a friend of mine found this new boulder close to Helsinki that had an amazing project on it. It's definitely not easy to find lines here that are really hard but still have all the necessary holds. On overhangs the granite often seems to have either big holds or just a blank face. This line was not one of those. I was really stoked to have a project close to my home that was A. really hard, but possible and B. a five star line!

Since January I've been anxious to get on the project, but the weather has not been good. After leaving for Hueco in early February I haven't spent many days back home. Finally after returning from Japan a week ago, I got a change to start working on it, which also meant skipping the World Cup in Hall.

The conditions here have been good for once and I've been able to work on the proj without having to think about the weather. First day on it I managed to do most of the moves except for one or two. The line reminds me of The Island in Fontainebleau, because it has a similar sloper in the crux section, but for the opposite hand. It's not the tallest line but it has around 13 moves. It's all about compression. The whole way you are squeezing the feature on really bad slopers and a tiny crimp.

Second day on it I still could not do the crux move alone. Third day on it I stuck the crux move for the first time! The same day I got the crux crimp from the start twice. Yesterday I went back again. Knowing that I'm flying to Italy on Wednesday I was already planing to fly back to finish the project instead of staying in Switzerland. After a proper warm-up I tried the top part and for the first time I got the heel to stick two times in a row. A couple tries later I stuck the crux crimp from the start. I got the crimp perfect and my heel didn't slip. I just barely made it through each move after the crux, but it was enough to make it to the top!

I named it The Globalist. It took me 4 full sessions of work. My suggestion for the grade is 8B+, but it's definitely a hard one. Possibly the hardest 8B+ I've climbed, but I don't think 8C. I'm quite confused what the standard is? I've climbed some 8B+'s in a day or two that felt like they were a step below this one. And for that matter The Island also took me 4 days, but less work and it's quite comparable in style. But most importantly this is one of my best first ascents: a five star problem with only the necessary holds and very cool moves.