New Countries, New Sends

I guess you could say that the training that I have been doing for the past months certainly paid off. It was a lot of time doing my own thing, before work and after work, many days a week.

I had never been to Switzerland before, but I had been dreaming about it for years. It did not disappoint! Chironico was amazing and Magic Wood was, well, MAGIC!

Chironico’s weather was a little less than perfect though. As soon as I got really close to sending some 8A projects, it started to rain, a lot. It just means that I need to go back for more. I managed to send a really cool technical boulder called Fat Boy (7C+) in a session, first 7C+ in a session! Kneebars for the win!!

Fat Boy (7C+)

Magic Wood was really fun too! In a day, I managed to do two 7C, a 7B+ and a 7A. Not bad at all!

Höhenzone (7C)
On the send of Supernova (7C) in Magic Wood

The bouldering was not the only highlight of the trip. It was amazing to spend time with great people! There was never a shortage of psych or laughs. Tobi made a fantastic movie about our time there, in between sending 3 8A boulders in a week.

Some very cool highlights of our time in Switzerland

After being rained out in Swizz, we made a quick stop back in Austria. I managed to tick off a side project of mine Die Rose Der Zeit (8b) at the Geisterschmiedwand.

Morocco

Sitting in the airport… I wonder where we are going now!

The next part of the journey found us in Morocco. This was absolutely incredible. The team was a really good mix. Said Belhaj, Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, Inbal Katznelson, Mehdi Allam and of course Claudia Ziegler.

The following section has photos from Claudia Ziegler Photography

The culture in Morocco was really special. Said, being a very talented musician, took us to a private performance of some incredible artists. I was thoroughly impressed and well-fed! We had home-made couscous from a tagine and it was incredible!

The crack climbing in Tafraout is really good. I would certainly recommend it. Just do not forget to take the really big cams if you want to feel safe.

This route was the highlight of my trip, we had to wake up before 5am in Tafraout in order to catch the good temps, it went into the sun around 7 so it was a tight schedule. Said did the first ascent followed by Sean and eventually me. Very proud of this one.

In the end, we drove through to Agadir and spent two nights at the coast. We even did some surfing and I figured out how to ride the waves! It was certainly a very good trip overall.

The team! Group photo!

You get out what you put in

Since winter I have been training exceptionally hard. I’ve had 5 or 6 days in rock this year and done an 8a+ and 8b.

Persona Non Grata (8b)

Suit up!

Hiking in to Achleiten! Is it winter or summer? My body is confused

What made the difference? Motivation? No. Rest! For the last 10 years I’ve been climbing non-stop, sometimes 40 days in a row. I always got stronger but it quickly faded.

For the first time ever, I voluntarily took 3 weeks off and it changed everything. I did a lot of skiing, ate healthily, lost weight and stayed fit. It was not being latent, but being active with another goal in mind. I did 18 days in the snow, most of which were in my own and not relaxing but rather long and intense.

I love to ski, but it is not climbing.

I have spent on average 10 hours a week in the gym doing very specific training and another 4 hours at home before work (weekdays), trying to improve. I’m fighting tooth and nail to be the best version of myself.

Progress is best seen when measured. I measure progress daily. Forward and backwards, always hard but always important.

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My training program from @mescht_klinger has been paying off. Between the intense hangboard sessions and desperate bouldering sessions, I'm certainly seeing an improvement. Had a great little onsight of Powerplay (7b) this weekend at Achleiten and had a great working session on an 8a+ there. Unfortunately, it had one brutally hard move on it that I could not stick otherwise I think it would have gone down in that session. Forcing myself to rest is always the hardest part. I guess I'll go running today instead ūüėõ @lasportivagram @frictionlabs #alwayspsyched #training #fingerstrength #power #powerendurance #slopers #crimping #notrainnogame #lasportiva #weareclimbers #frictionlabs #chalkmatters #uselessdomore

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If you want to see my schedule or my results, contact me here on my website.

Winter is fun!

The winter started off with a trip to Croatia. Admittedly, it didn’t go quite the way I planned. I thought I was really strong and for, turned out I was a bit burned out after a long year which made it increasingly difficult to perform.

Failing repeatedly on Nairobi (8a) was not what I planned

Gerhard H√∂rhager bolting an extension to Export – Import in ńĆiriteŇĺ

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Enjoying the sunset in ńĆiriteŇĺ

Rest day fun

I very often attach the quality of a trip to the successes that I have on it. I onsighted a few hard routes and did an 8a+, but that was really not enough for me for two weeks. I kept falling on the same sequence on an 8b and then it got worse when I fell on the same move of an 8a for the days.

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Life is all about perspective. Looking through the lens of belay glasses is pretty normal for sport climbers

The scenery was brilliant and getting to know Geri was cool too. The most awesome part was Christmas with Claudia and New Year’s Eve afterwards.

Me and Claudia having some fun on Christmas

Pull yourself together Brian!

We’ve had another good year of snow which allowed me to take a much needed break from climbing. I really needed the three weeks off to clear my mind.

So far, I’ve had about 14 days on snow this season, including my first taste of deeper snow, and I must say: I love it. Bought two pairs of skis so that I could get the most out of my time and really have fun. I feel grateful to have this opportunity in front of me. I never knew what I was missing living in an area with no snow.

At -18 degrees, it was certainly an adventure

It’s great to know that when the weather is bad I can just grab my skis and head out for a few hours. Even when the weather is great…

Catching a bit of powder in Westendorf

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!

There’s always a first time

An amazing delivery from Friction Labs! Thanks Karo and Friction Labs

A few weeks ago I spent some time in Felbertal bouldering with Karo Sinnhuber. It was really great to see her cruise her project, Sunshowers (8A). Karo has had an unlucky year so far with a string of injuries so it was fantastic to see her back in form! 

Karo Sinnhuber nailing the final sequence on Sunshowers photo by Claudia Ziegler Photography 

I first met Karo last year in Rocklands. It was great fun to watch her climb, completely destroying everything she touched despite her split tips. She flashed two 7C boulders back to back and made it look effortless! 

She climbed an 8B called Fragile Steps on that trip, a tough low ball roof on small holds. Really tricky looking. 

Night time shoot in Rocklands last year. Karo climbed The Hatchling numerous times, flying down to the pads in the darkness after the camera flash. Photos appearing in Gime Kraft Air

by Claudia Ziegler Photography 

I tried Sunshowers as well and fell off the last tough move during my first session.  I spent a few weeks doing some bouldering and hangboarding to build some more power. It guess it worked out pretty well. 

Core training… Always important

Working on that lock off strength for the boulder

A few weeks later, I went back on my own and took it down… Solo mission with two pads. I warmed up on the slabs outside, which were wet. After that, I went in and dried the left side of the bloc, which was totally wet. After a few minutes I tried the upper half of the boulder and it felt good. 

Hard compression moves to setup for the crux. 

Photo by Claudia Ziegler Photography 

The final move…  

photo by Claudia Ziegler Photography 

I had one false start, slipping from the second hold but then I crushed it. Felt amazing. Luckily I caught the send in video! 

It was a really special feeling to be able to walk up to this boulder and just know it was going down. I’ve spent many years yearning to climb my first 8A boulder but had been limited due to the distance I needed to drive to find an 8A. I was never in quite good enough shape to just walk up to one and do it. I was always either injured or just didn’t have enough time to be able to dedicate myself to the send. It had been a goal to boulder 8A for the last three years and I finally achieved my goal