The psych is high

It’s been a while since I’ve really been excited about climbing. The weird thing is that I haven’t sent anything hard this year. All the tough routes have been done pretty fast.

Just sent Burger King (8a)

But at the same time, I’ve invested some proper time into training. I feel strong, I feel psyched and I feel like my not even close tu my max.

Progress is hard. Success is harder…

I’ve put in so many hours that I can’t imagine the sum. I’m feeling like I’m in the right shape to climb 8c or 8c+.

Wagnis Orange is a famous 8c, the first in Austria.

I’m getting closer to sending it… Not there yet but close.

Fight hard! This is the end of the 8A boulder that starts the route

I’m pretty psyched… Stay tuned for more

France and the Training psych

Going to France with Andrew was an amazing experience. It was the first time in the last year that I felt relaxed while I was climbing.

I’ve been putting myself under quite a bit of pressure this year trying to find the balance that I completely lost the love I felt for climbing. I think that the root cause stemmed from the surgery on my thumb at the beginning of the year which slowed everything down.

Gorge du Tarn really let me let go and just climb.

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Tennesse in the morning

 

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel… Just better hope it’s not headlights

 

Tennessee Sector! The best!

 

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Lunch time!

 

After France, I was really fit and very motivated. I met up with my trainer and we talked about some goals for the rest of the year.

I’m keen to get stronger. That is what everyone says, but I mean specifically stronger. I’m working a bouldery 8c and a few bouldery 8b routes at the moment so I need to increase my finger strength and contact strength. After 2 weeks on pocket jugs in France, it needed a little work.

I have been campusing and hangboarding, in between bouldering sessions.

Even managed to head out to Zillertal for some bouldering when I managed a few good ascents in a day.

Still have plenty to go back for including these two!

Karo trying to keep the boulder cool!

The result is being able to climb all the sequences in my 8c project and feeling like I can manage it without an extreme amount of time. Too bad it’s always wet! Will keep up the training and the psych! #alwayspsyched

Well, train trip is almost over, heading to Zillertal now to have some fun bouldering on a rope!

Have a good autumn everyone!

 

Long weekend in the Frankenjura

DMM Wales was hosted a weekend for the team in the Frankenjura with a great a gear demo and some great times at the Eichler Campsite.

It was a real treat to be able to connect with the team and also to test some gear. I had a few older pieces of webbing that were a bit worn. As a result, they failed at less than half the rated load. A good lesson for me to learn : don’t take chances with your old gear, especially the fabric.

Metal gear is generally really durable. My 5 year old carabiner failed at almost its rated level.

Putting the gear to the test!

On the Sunday, the DMM crew hung out at Martinswand.

I managed to climb a few easier lines and did a 7c rally quickly. Great fun. Tried a really fun 8a+ a few times but needed a bit more energy than what I had available.

Die Apokalyptische Reiter 7c

Forcing my way through the dihedral

It was fantastic!

On the Monday, I was able to give Slimline (8a+) a few tries. It felt so good! Must go back for it! One of the best short routes ever.

Even gave Action Direct (9a) a try, just to feel the holds!

That about sums up how I felt on Action Direct

It was great to catch up with Said Belhaj as well. He and his friend Erik Massih were in the Frankenjura and got the chance to hang out with them. Really fun, light hearted guys! And crushers… Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Outdoor Trade Show in June!

Get your train on!

 

Coming back from injury is rarely a pleasant undertaking but it does certainly have some perk, such as renewed psych and focus — not to mention a devout level of masochism.

For the last weeks,¬† I have been dedicating my time to following a training program set up by Kris Peters for Trainingbeta.com: 6 Week Power Endurance Training Program.¬†I have been finding it a bit tough to do all the exercises precisely as set out as the gyms tend to be really busy when I am training, but I am making the best of it. Doing the 4x4s and circuit training is tricky. I never really enjoy running, but hey, sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and do it. Even if it’s below freezing outside…

I have made a few tweaks to it so that I can have a morning hangboard session 4 days a week as well. I have been using a combination of Chris Webb Parsons‘ program and Kris Hampton’s program.

I made a tweak to the CWP program by exchanging a fixed sling for a counterweight on a pulley. The first week I needed to use a 10kg counterweight but was down to 5kg on the second week.

With the Kris Hampton program, I was able to make massive gains by the 3rd week where I actually hit some personal bests on the Beastmaker.

The results have been really positive so far; my finger strength is really good, my fitness is improving and my gym climbing is getting better than it usually is. I don’t think I have fallen off of anything under 7a+ in the gym and flashed a 7b+ during my second week back, so that’s something at least.

Let’s see how it translates to rock as I progress.

I did manage to set a few personal bests on my Beastmaker:

  • 3 x 8 seconds on the Beastmaker 2000 crimps with +20kg
  • 3 x 8 seconds on the Beastmaker Micro 10mm with +10kg
  • 8 seconds on the Beastmaker Micro 8mm with +10kg

There were two days that really stood out to me last month, they were on a weekend where the weather was not so good and we spent the time indoors.

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I have been using the Beastmaker app as a warmup for my hangboard sessions. I start with anything between 6C and 7B as the warmup and try to spend some time on the 45-degree slopers as well.

 

I found myself frequently tired when I would hangboard in the morning and then go to the gym in the afternoon. It was no different when Claudia and I met our friends as the Kletterhalle Salzburg. Still had a great time there and enjoyed the route setting. I managed 6c+, 7a+, 3 7b flashes, 1-hang on 7b and 7b+, tried two 8a routes but was too tired to lock off effectively after a CWP session in the morning.

18 March –> Boulderwelt OST

I enjoyed some normal bouldering in the gym, exploring some of the problems from their Big Fat Boulder Session. Over the course of two days, I managed to do about 32 problems, but some of them were just way beyond me.

It was a really quick session on the day and I found myself racing around the gym trying to climb efficiently with a high level of focus.

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Tried Orgasmatron (8A) and found it inspiring but hard… Will be back

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Wrestling with an Alligator (8B)… Inpiring!

 

The time I’ve spent outdoors recently has been great. I was in Maltatal recently for a bit of bouldering, that was great fun.

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Alligator Corner (7C) was fun to try but had way too little skin

 

Claudia and I had some fun back in Salzburg recently and I was able to put in some time on an old project Nachtschicht. Here’s a quick video from the day:

We spent some time in Arco as part of the Arco Rock Stars photo competition. It was a cool weekend, well, not cool, REALLY warm weekend.

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Claudia hiking to the crag in Arco

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Claudia capturing the moment with Sofie

 

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Time off for Recovery

The year has been off to a really interesting start. Moved to a new county and into a great new house. Unfortunately, just before moving into our new home, I got a little wooden splinter in my finger. We moved into the house on Saturday and on Sunday I needed to visit the hospital where they did this:

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Unfortunately, this did not make as big of a difference as we hoped. In fact, they thought that the splinter was still in the wound (spoiler alert, it wasn’t) and by the middle of the night, it was so sore that I needed to go back to the hospital. The doctor took out the stitch that was in there and told me to come back in the morning to see the hand surgeon (never a good sign).

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Long story short, the finger was infected and developing compartment syndrome had started to develop in my thumb which put it at real risk. A few hours later, I was under the knife. The result was not pretty.

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The whole ordeal was really unpleasant and very painful. The doctor said I should be good again in 2-4 weeks. Well, it’s been 7 weeks and still definitely not healed. Frustrating would be the understatement of the year.

I started climbing again two weeks ago and started with a stringent training program. I think it has already made a big difference as I am focusing on Power Endurance training with complementary hangboard sessions in the mornings. I’ll give an update on this in my next post.

A few things that helped to cheer me up recently at least. I’ve been skiing a bunch, 11 days so far this season. And that has definitely helped to displace some of the frustration that I’ve been feeling. Spending some time in the snow on my own has had a calming effect on me overall.

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The 70% slope in Wilder Kaiser is probably one of my favourite runs so far. Love the speed and the agility I feel on it.

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Another really cool event was the Winter ISPO, which was a few weeks ago, gave me a chance to catch up with DMM and La Sportiva. They have been kind enough to send me a batch of wonderful toys, which I am loving!

DMM send me the Highball Crash Pad, sadly, unused so far apart from my¬†training in my house, which is a love/hate relationship with my Beastmaker and extra weights. I am very excited that I’m slowly becoming strong enough to enjoy it outside.

La Sportiva sent me so many items of clothing and shoes that I was simply overjoyed and felt like I should roll in them or something. I don’t think I had ever seen so much La Sportiva clothing outside of a La Sportiva store.

I am really impressed with the jackets in particular, the Quazar GTX and Quake Primaloft make for an amazing combination that blocks out the freezing temps and weather! I can highly recommend them. They kept me warm outdoors when it was -7¬įC and windy. Will write a bit more detail about the gear once I have used it a bit longer.

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I am really excited to have a few long weekends coming up where I can actually use the gear! This coming weekend, I have 4 days off to enjoy some rock. It’ll be the first time I’ve climbed outside in almost 3 months due to winter weather and the finger surgery (more the surgery than anything else).

 

Boulderbar Boulder Jam 2017

Coming back from Kalymnos was a bit of a shock. The temperatures have dropped and the days have become considerably shorter. But, the good news is that conditions are great as long as it’s not raining.

I’ve had a few days climbing at Karlstein, but most of the time has been spent at Boulderbar recently. I even chose to climb indoors on a Saturday when the weather was nice. Why would I do this? It was the first Boulderbar Boulder Jam and it was a lot of fun. Stephanie and Rene picked me up and we drove through to the boulderbar, it was a promising day and there ended up being 145 participants.

The qualifiers were 40 boulders ranging between 4A and 8A with up to 4 hours to climb them. I met up with Karo Sinnhuber and we had a bunch of fun. I managed 38 of the problems comfortably within 1 hour 30 minutes. The last two I found really tough and chose not to spend too much energy on. As luck would have it, Stephanie, Karo and I made it through to the final 7. Karo topped 39 of the 40 problems, really strong and impressive! I’m glad to see that she is back in form!

 

When it came to the finals, Adam Ondra set two of the problems.

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Adam setting Women’s #3

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Demo’ing his problem: Men’s #3

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Isolation. Not so much fun but definitely a necessity.

The finals turned out to be fun, but hard. After a long day, I did not have much skin or energy left but I gave it my all. Problem number 1 went down easily enough, but unfortunately, I did not flash it and this cost me a podium in the end.

 

Stephanie seemed to have a lot of fun in the finals. She kicked ass!

Karo topped all three problems and took the victory! Very inspiring. Always fun to hang out with her and feel the psych.

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Thank you Boulderbar for such a great event! Looking forward to the next ones!

Training and Traveling

Full psyche ahead is about putting your heart and your soul into a goal. I need a climbing goal to keep me going. Sometimes it is a small goal, one that I can do quickly — like climbing a few hard boulders in one evening a the gym. Sometimes it is a big one, like my first 8A boulder.

At the beginning of the year I chose to set 3 big goals:

Boulder 8A

Onsight 8a

Redpoint 8c

I was able to do my first 8A boulder in Felbertal after two sessions on Sunshowers.

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I’m proud to say that I was able to accomplish my second big goal while on my trip to Kalymnos. I onsighted¬†Fun De Chichunne in the Grande Grotta. It was quite a journey, somewhere around an hour in a really steep roof, without a doubt one of my proudest climbing moments. It was great to be there with Roger Schaeli, he gave me a really patient, long belay and was the first one to shout out when I sent.

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Brian and Roger.PNGA quick selfie with Roger after the onsight of Fun de Chichunne

So, how did I find myself on Kalymnos onsighting a bunch of hard routes? I was motivated and psyched, I focused on power training and climbing a steep project. For a few sessions, I went to the Drachenwand with friends to work Hijacker Low Start, a 15m 8c that is really powerful with a lot of drop knees and a sneaky, core-intensive kneebar.

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Finding the sneaky kneebar on Highjacker Low Start (8c).

Highjacker in not exactly a 40m monster like Fun De Chichunne, but it is so much harder and taught me a great deal about core and body positioning for these types of routes. How else did I train for Kalymnos? Bouldering. Lots of bouldering.

 

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I focused on doing as many boulders in a day as possible, including hard problems

 

To some, this might be a little counterintuitive, but to me, this makes more sense than anything else. I’m essentially a weak climber, power is not my strength and I do not have that much power endurance. I know that Kalymnos is littered with tuffas¬†and I¬†know better than most how to use my knees. I LOVE KNEEBARS! Anyone who knows me can tell you this.

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The tuffas are so big in Grande Grotta! I felt like I was on another planet

The trip was long enough to have a lot of fun…

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The sunset from Aegean Travelers on our first evening

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Riding around on our scooter! Whoop whoop

And then, of course, there is all the time in the sun, on the beach!

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We even made some time to explore the caves… Claudia took some amazing pics!

 

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Making our way downwards —¬†Photo by Claudia Ziegler

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In the heart of the cave — Photo by Claudia Ziegler

 

 

Claudia was a little unlucky, well, REALLY unlucky. She slipped on the second day we were there and hurt her shoulder. This put her out of action for most of the trip, not exactly what we were hoping for.

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Overall, it was the most successful trip I’ve ever had. I onsighted¬†my first 7c+ and my first 8a. List of onsights harder than 7b+:

  • Fun De Chichunne (8a)
  • Kaly Diva (7c+)
  • Adam (7c+)
  • Zawinul Syndicate (7c+)
  • Sirene (7c)
  • Priapus (7c)
  • Aegialis (7c)
  • Diralanda¬†(7b+)
  • Chin Juane¬†(7b+)
  • L’insoutenable legerete de l’etre¬†(7b+)

 

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Doing the climbing dance! Scoping out a route in Sikati Cave

 

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Getting ready for a long onsight attempt on Super Lolita at Sikati Cave. Unfortunately, the finish holds were completely sandy. I was devastated. Thank you DMM and La Sportiva for giving my the tools to have so much fun!

 

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What an amazing setting: hanging off the end of a tuffa, watching the sun go down behind Telendos

And of course, thank you to Roger Schaeli for the good company and long belays!

And finally, thank you¬†Claudia Ziegler Photography, nothing would be as fun if you weren’t by my side!