Alpine Bouldering, Deep Water Soloing and Semi Finals

23. August 2016

So where do I start? About three months ago during the weeks leading up to the worldcup in Innsbruck, my finger finally started feeling better again and the competition itself didn’t go too bad, I was probably closer to making semis than in any other of this year’s worldcups. Still not quite satisfied with my performance but feeling back on track, I continued my training schedule to get in shape for our upcoming trip to Colorado. Unfortunately I didn’t get spared another injury and what felt like a sore shoulder at first turned out to be a partial rupture of my subscapularis tendon. So I spent the remaining weeks with lots of physio and no climbing. I’m imensely grateful to my chiropractor and my physio for fixing me up in time, right before leaving I was ready to start climbing again. Arriving in Colorado the first thing we had to deal with was the altitude, not only hiking but also climbing feels so much harder on 3000m of elevation! After about a week, we slowly started getting used to the thin air and the lack of oxygen. We spent most of our time climbing at RMNP and Lincoln Lake, latter being a lot less crowded and in my opinion just as good. The scenery in both areas is breathtaking and we even enjoyed a short swim in the freezingly cold alpine lakes from time to time. I prepared for the bouldering being my complete anti-style, crimpy and powerful, imagining most holds being painfully sharp. Yet the climbing turned out to be really diverse, offering not only crimps but also slopers, compression and burly roof climbing. The only thing missing were slabs, but honestly we got enough of those at home. Even the crimpy problems went better than expected and I could feel my finger strength improving with every day spent outside. Here’s a list of my top 5 problems:
Foto: David Tomlinson/ mtnlines.ch

Tomahawk V10
My first double digit problem which actually felt as if it deserves the grade. Perfect compression climbing with tricky footwork and a spicy topout. Sent on my last day up at Lincoln Lake, can’t get much better than this.

Full Chaos V10
This one felt like the endless hike adds an extra point on the grade but nonetheless a beautiful problem and definitely worth the long approach. Burly moves in the beginning followed by a commiting but easy topout.

Dreamsnatcher V9
An endless seem of crimps and definitely not my style but I guess that’s what made it so special. After getting shut down by the “girl beta” matching on the tiniest of crimps, I went big and suprised myself by sticking the huge span move. Quite long for a boulder problem but climbs exceptionally well.

The Anvil V8
Probably the problem which caused me the most effort to finish. Didn’t look too hard at first glance but the last move turned out to be a lot further than I thought. Not the nicest boulder, quite sharp and only two moves long but very satisfying send.

Tangerine Man V8
Balancy beginning, tension climbing through the roof and a mantle to finish, granite bouldering at its finest. Perfect!

There’s still a ton of problems left on my to-do-list and I can’t wait to come back some day, but overall I’m more than happy with how things went for me, especially after dealing with all those minor but still annoying injuries. Looking back, this trip was exactly what I needed, it finally gave my injuries time to heal, I worked on some of my biggest weaknesses and excercising on such high altitude definitely improved my general fitness. I simply enjoyed being outside, not having to worry about a thing (except the probability of an upcoming thunderstorm) and having a great time with friends. We also filmed quite a bit of footage, so keep an eye out for a little video coming soon!
Foto: David Tomlinson/ mtnlines.ch

Another highlight of our trip was being part of the Psicobloc competition, one of the coolest climbing events I’ve ever attended. In the beginning even the thought of climbing on a 15m wall over water got my adrenaline rushing. To my big relief it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be and I felt more comfortable with every try. Not having to clip any draws helped cover up my poor endurance and I got faster on each run. To my own surprise I made it through until the semi final round where I lost to Sydney Trinidad, damn that girl is fast! The final run was really exciting for both the girls and the guys with Michaela Kiersch and Jan Hojer taking home gold, congratulations! I’m incredibly happy with my 3rd place finish and it was an amazing experience, thanks again to everyone who made this happen!

 

 
After that it was already time to leave but for me that didn’t mean going home but flying straight to Munich for the last IFSC Bouldering Worldcup of the season. I was a little worried about the jetlag and not climbing on plastic for the past six weeks but I felt strong and my head was in a much better place than in the beginning of the year. Already during my warm up I felt really confident and my hands would just stick to the holds like I had never experienced before. I started off wasting an unnecessary try on the first boulder but managed to flash the next two problems. After watching the guys in the morning, I was afraid that the boulders might be a little too easy, but by then I didn’t know how close of a call it would be. After needing two tries on number four I knew I had to make quick work of the last one. I nearly fell on the balancy start but amazingly I managed to walk away with another flash. This was the first time for me to complete all problems in a worldcup round and regardless of the result I was already happy with my performance. When my team mates told me I made it through to semis I was completely overwhelmed with joy. This season hasn’t been easy for me so far and it was incredibly satisfying to make semis at the biggest event of the year. I really enjoyed climbing again the next day and by topping the first problem on my 2nd try I finished in 14th place, my best worldcup result so far!


Foto: Vladek Zumr/ vladekzumr.com

At home, I barely had time to unpack my things before leaving to Céüse for another week. Even after staying in Colorado for six weeks, the hike was still exhausting and the climbing was just as good but hard as I remembered. Yet I had bigger issues than just pumped forearms, for the first time in quite a while I was terrified of falling. I couldn’t explain myself why or what had changed but the bolts being pretty far apart obviously didn’t help. It got a little better when I tried steeper and harder routes where I had less time to think but even then I felt like something was holding me back. On our last day I could finally pull myself together and managed to finish Minette à la plage (7c) and Les colonettes (7c+), both demanding quite a fight physically and mentally. This experience hasn’t been easy for me but I think facing your fears and trying to deal with it teaches you a lot. I’m definitely motivated to do more roped climbing again and get out of my comfort zone but first of all I’ll make best use of the remaining few weeks and train hard for the upcoming World Championships in Paris – bring it on!

Dealing with Jetlag, Disappointment and Injury

3. Mai 2016

Shortly after the Blocmaster competition in Pfungstadt, my coach asked me if I’d be psyched to compete in the worldcups in Asia. This came as quite a suprise to me and although I felt in good shape I was a bit hesitant at first. If I’d travel all the way to Japan and China I wanted to be sure I can do well. Unfortunately I was feeling a familiar pain in my finger lately which kept holding me back from trying my hardest and I had no idea if it’d go away in the remaining few weeks. With the Swiss Championships coming up, I decided to take it as an opportunity to test my finger. Qualifiers went quite well until I crimped too hard on one of my last attempts. A searing pain went through my finger and I was barely able to close my fist without pain. Luckily most of the final problems didn’t require a lot of finger strength and I could still secure a place on the podium by topping out the slab and the dyno problem. Foto: SAC/ davidschweizer.ch


Trying any treatment I could think of, my finger at least got a little better the following week and I was quite certain it was just my pully being inflammted once again. That’s when I finally made the deciscion to go to Asia. Partly because I reminded myself that I climbed one of my best competitions last year in Munich having a finger injury and even when you’re feeling great a lot of things can go wrong, so why not take my chances? To take my mind off all the competitions, I spent a few nice days out in Ticino getting back on old projects and trying some new things, there’s still so much to do!

Foto: David Tomlinson

I realized how much I missed climbing outside but at the same time I really enjoy competing and I couldn’t wait for the worldcup season to start. The first worldcup in Meiringen was a success for the organizers, sadly not so much for me. The boulders were lots of fun and none of the holds were bad on my finger, yet somehow I just didn’t get into it. I wasted too many tries or failed to find the right beta within those five minutes, which put me in the back of a quite strong field of climbers. Foto: SAC/ davidschweizer.ch

This made me leave for Japan already with mixed feelings, nonetheless psyched to climb and hoping I’d do better next time. However, I had underestimated how exhausting all the traveling would be and my body couldn’t handle the jetlag very well. I didn’t climb too bad and I knew what I was supposed to do, I was simply to tired to finish the boulders and fell on the last move on three of the probelms. Foto: Eddie Fowke

It was extremly frustrating and I had some trouble staying psyched, starting to doubt myself and my abilities. The first training session in Tokyo even enhanced those doubts, still feeling very tired and slow. Thankfully the next session went a lot better. Climbing with all the other athletes at Base Camp was really fun and made me feel positive again. So on we went to Chongqing, a chinese city about the size of Austria with nearly 30 million inhabitants, also known as one of the hottest and most humid cities in China (as we would come to know in a rather unpleasant way). From what everybody told me, my expectations for China were pretty low and I was pleased to find it better than expected. Our hotel was quite nice, the people were friendly and once you got them to understand your order, the food wasn’t too bad either. With the competition coming closer, temperatures started rising and by the time I was out to climb, the wall was fully in the sun. The heat was brutal and it was with burning feet and a bright red face that I finished qualifiers, not getting a single top. I was disappointed once again but mostly just really glad to get out of the sun. Maybe coming here hasn’t been the best decision after all, maybe I just wasn’t ready but despite everything, it was a good experience and I definitely learned a lot on this trip. It’s great to be part of the circuit and I enjoyed meeting new people every day. There’s still a lot I need to work on, mostly being more efficient about my climbing and as always, improving my finger strength. I might also need to rebuild my confidence, it got quite a bit shattered these past two weeks to be honest. My finger is still bothering me but I feel like it’s on the mend, let’s hope for the best! Right now, I’m incredibly happy to be back home and as much as I love to see new places, it also makes me realize how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place like Switzerland. I really missed the good cheese and of course the chocolate ;)

Back in the Game

16. März 2016

A lot of things happend since my last post. Tearing my outter collateral ligament and starting off the new season with an injury wasn’t what I had hoped for, obviously. Not being able to properly use my knee was extremly frustrating at first and I was devasted to miss out on this year’s Blacklight Boulder Challenge, one of my absolute favorite events! I’ve always been a bit skeptical about how people claim that injuries make them stronger, so far I couldn’t see the slightest benefit. I got bored of dead-hangs and pull-ups halfway through my first session but for the first week it was all I could do. Things turned around when I felt safe again campusing. Not only had my finger strength improved, my upper body in general felt quite strong and I started to enjoy training again. At the same time my recovery was going really well and I could climb again much sooner than expected. Now I’m happy to say that I’m almost back to normal (except for some twisted heel hooks) and guess what? I did come out stronger in the end, just like everyone told me :) This injury forced me to work on my weaknesses and my motivation is even higher than before!
My knee was even stable enough to try these boulders at the team competition in Winterthur :)

I got back to bouldering right in time to qualify for the team representing Blockfeld Winterthur at the Hardmoves Boulderleauge. Since there was only one swiss gym taking part in the competition, we had the advantage of being all on the same team, whereas the Germans where spread out over various different gyms. We won the regional battle in Tübingen and qualified for the final round in Wuppertal. Like all the other teams, our big goal was to make it to the superfinal taking place over a swimming pool at the famous Schwimmoper in Wuppertal. For that we had to make it among the best six teams during a very crowded final round: 5 hours, 35 problems and no less than 280 competitors! Almost all of the problems where challenging and rather technical but mostly just really fun. We exceeded our own expectations by going into finals first place with 224 ascents, 12 points ahead of the next team. Arriving at the Schwimmoper was breath-taking, the event was completely sold out and there was a huge crowd waiting for us. Now we had time to look at the problems and decide who’s about to tackle which one. Only when I sat down in front of my problem I realized I was the only girl there. We had misjudged the difficulty of the boulders and put Beni on the second girl’s problem instead. Although I could score some important points, I was the only one not to reach the top of my problem. Our little tactical mistake kept the superfinal exciting till the end and it wasn’t until the very last try of the evening where Baptiste secured our victory, being the only competitor to complete the final boulder. I still get sweaty hands thinking back but see for yourselves, you can find the replay here. I’m really proud of the whole team, everyone did a great job and it was nice to compete as a team for once. Plus I’ve never climbed in front of such an amazing audience, thank you Wuppertal! Huge props also to everyone who made this event possible, I’m already looking forward to next time!


Photos: Vertical-Axis

Barely a week later we were already on our way to Sheffield for the anual CWIF (Climbing Works International Festival). The routesetters didn’t disappoint and qualifiers were as tricky as always. I didn’t climb my best and wasted some unnecessary tries but it was enough to make it to semi-finals in 8th place. Highly motivated to show my best in semis, I started off with the first problem. Yet again it just wasn’t my day, I messed up some beta, my heel slipped and I couldn’t climb to the top on any of the problems. It was a little frustrating, especially since I’m feeling quite strong at the moment. However, the frustration didn’t last for long and I found myself cheering on the finalists a few hours later. The men’s problems where particularly spectacular, with Sean taking the victory after two very impressive tops on the last two problems. Shauna made it look quite easy and was the only one to complete all the female boulders, what a great performance! Congratulations also to my teammates Petra and Andrea for making finals and placing 4th and 6th! On Monday we were lucky enough to spend a short but really nice and sunny day out in the Peak District before leaving back home to Zurich.
Photo: Eddie Fowke

I just managed to squeeze in a short training session before leaving again to Germany, this time for the Blocmaster International at Studio Bloc in Pfungstadt. We were all overwhelmed by the size of the gym and the amount of cool looking boulders, I got incredibly psyched straight away! Qualifiers could’ve gone better but it was enough to make it to semis and I was glad to have saved some skin for the next day. It was a really tough semi-final round and things got very close. After falling on the last move on two of the problems I already feared to place just out of finals. However, my flash on the first problem and some bonus holds put me among the top six girls and therefore into finals, what a relief! Now I had nothing to loose, I was just really psyched to climb again. The problems suited me well and I had lots of fun climbing in front of a very supportive crowd, thank you all for cheering on me, also to those of you who watched the livestream, your support means a lot! This was exactly what I needed after my rather disappointing result in Sheffield and I’m incredibly happy with my 4th place :) Congratulations to Fanny Gibert and Aleksei Rubtsov on their superior victory and a big thank you to the organizers of this fantastic event, I hope it’ll take place again next year!

Photos: Tobias Goldzahn

September, October, November

9. November 2015

The last few months have been quite busy with university starting again and still a few competitions left. Being part of the adidasROCKSTARS event was definitely my personal highlight. As an athlete you do get treated like a rockstar and I especially appreciated the reload center, where they offered free physical treatment and massages all day. I feel like recovery is a very important aspect of training and I can only perform at my best if I feel well rested. Unfortunately a lot of girls couldn’t compete due to injuries, so qualifiers were more of a formal round since we all made it to the next round anyway. I’m quite happy with my climbing in semi-finals, not so much with the result though, but that’s bouldering. I flashed the first problem but then needed a few tries to complete the second one. Number three was the hardest but I still managed to get the bonus hold thanks to my toe hooking skills. The last problem seemed to be the easiest for most girls, not for me though. I struggled with the volumes and didn’t even get the bonus hold. This left me in 13th place – too bad I couldn’t improve my placing from qualifications.

One week later it was already time for the Swiss Championships in speed climbing, the last national competition of the season. I surprised myself by climbing a lot faster than in the few trainings I did the week before, which got me the silver medal and a new personal best of 11.14 seconds over 15 meters.
Foto: SAC/ joelschweizer.ch

This also secured me 3rd place in the overall ranking of 2015! And yes, wearing high heels on the podium was quite a challenge ;)
Foto: David Schweizer
Beside that, I did some setting at the newly opened bouldering gym in Buchs (SG) and it’s definitely worth a visit! They have fantastic problems, very diverse angles and a friendly atmosphere, what are you waiting for?
www.sparta-bouldering.com

Other than that I simply enjoyed the great weather and climbed outside as much as possible. I even spent a few days on a rope and managed to climb Sonnenkönig (7c) in Ponte Brolla as well as the ultra classic Gandhi (7b/+) and Microchip (7b/+) in Cresciano, both first try. I got back on some of my bouldering projects in Brione and Chironico but I feel a little too weak to make good progress right now. Luckily my finger is finally getting better and I hope I can try hard again soon. Let’s hope the weather stays as nice and we still have the whole winter to climb in Ticino!

A Few Facts Rope Climbing Taught Me

18. September 2015

While climbing in Rodellar (Spain) for a little more than a week, I got reminded of a few essential things:

Mental endurance is even more important than physical endurance
Honestly, I probably forgot what real physical endurance feels like. Yet whenever I feel like my endurance is not as bad as it might be, I realize that I also need the right attitude in my head to get the most out of it. I truly need to persuade myself to give a route another go since I know it’s gonna be a battle and I’ll need the right mindset to fight all the way through. It’s not always easy to push away the doubts, thinking about that same move I fell on before and wondering if I’m going to fail again. If you have the willpower to fight until the very end, no matter how shitty your body might feel, how close you were to falling on the move before or how far above the last quickdraw you are, I believe physical endurance comes second.

Patience is the key to succes
Whether it’s about shaking out a little longer or waiting 10 minutes more before giving it another try; I’m usally too impatient to make the best out of my efforts. I get bored while shaking out or I want to try other things on the same day and not spend the whole day resting under the same route. However, I had to learn that taking that extra rest is what often makes the difference. To give good tries, your body has to be recovered and forcing it into recovery usually doesn’t work very well.

Victory tastes sweeter if you had to fight for it
Of course it feels great to flash or even onsight something hard. However, my first thought is usually something like: “Oh I guess this is an easy one for the grade” or “It must have just suited me well”. It’s nothing compared to the satisfaction I feel when I complete something I’ve tried over several sessions, weeks or even years. Especially with routes or boulders I think of as my anti style, it feels nice to prove myself I can do them anyway and even improve as a climber during the whole process. The harder I had to work for it, the better it feels afterwards.

With all that in mind, I managed to send my project Rebelión en la granja (8a) on one of our last days. It’s only about 15 meters long with bouldery moves from bottom to top. Most people get a knee bar right before the crux but I just couldn’t fit my leg in there, so it was a real power endurance testpiece for me. After struggling with clipping on the first few tries, I realized I had to skip a quickdraw or I wouldn’t even get close to sending. That scared me a bit at first since the cave isn’t very high but after taking one or two big falls I knew I’d be okay. I could only give it 2-3 good tries per day before feeling completely empty. After a while I got a little frustrated because I also wanted to try other routes (there are so many and all of them look amazing!) but the ambitious part of me couldn’t leave this project unfinished. On Remo’s birthday, we were both successful first try of the day and also he could finish his project El salto del Ángel (8b+).

P.S. To make sure the same doesn’t happen to many other climbers: If you travel by plane, don’t put your rope and quickdraws in your hand luggage, we got held up at the airport in Barcelona and almost missed our flight! Although it was okay on the way there from Zurich, there was not even room for discussion and we had to check it in and pay an extra fee on the way home.

This past weekend I took part in the Swiss Cup in Saxon, my only lead competition of the season. After a week of sport climbing in Spain, my expectations were probably a little higher than usual when it comes to lead comps. Although the second qualification route didn’t go too bad, I totally screwed up the first one, which got me placed 7th and therefore out of finals (the maximum number of finalists is 6 in Switzerland). I’m a little disappointed but on the other hand I realized once more that I find lead competitions quite stressful and simply don’t enjoy them very much. It’s the complete opposite of how I feel about climbing outside right now, where I’m just as psyched to clip some draws than stumbling around with a crashpad. First of all however, I can’t wait to compete at adidasROCKSTARS this weekend. From all I’ve seen and heard, it’s most likely the coolest event of the year and I’m super happy to be part of it! :)

Photo: David Schweizer

Rätikon Boulder Master & Munich World Cup

20. August 2015

Coming back from the South African winter was quite a shock to me. Temperatures in Switzerland were in the thirties range and even the nights were ruthlessly hot and humid. After sleeping in my own bed again for just one night I was already on my way to Klosters for the Rätikon Boulder Master. This was the competition’s inaugural event and the athletes as well as the spectators were thrilled to find a world class event, flawlessly organized with great setting and a fantastic venue. The Swiss Championships for the youth were carried out the same weekend and it was great to see so many talented young kids, some of them already moving as if they’d been climbing for ages. Our qualifier format was a boulderjam, meaning 1.5h for 8 problems set by Manuel Hassler and his team. The sun was burning down hot and merciless but conditions were the same for everyone. I did 5 problems in 12 tries which unfortunately wasn’t good enough to make finals and I finished in 8th place. I was very happy though to see my good friend Alannah from Canada make it to the next round, she got in really good shape during our trip to Rocklands and she sure deserved that spot in finals! Overall I’m not unhappy with my climbing, I just wasn’t climbing efficiently enough and I needed a few tries too many but it was a good preparation for the upcoming World Cup in Munich. So when it was time for finals, I found myself in the unfamiliar position of commenting the live stream, a new experience for me which didn’t go as badly as I thought it might. The finalists put on a great show, with the men’s problems being slightly too hard but exciting too watch all the same. In the end, there was no big surprise in the women’s field with Jule Wurm taking the victory, followed by Rebekka Stotz who put on a great performance after just squeezing into finals in 6th place, congratulations! The winner for the men was GuiGui, followed by Jernej Kruder and Jan Hojer. Again a huge thanks to Marino Bucher and his team for hosting such an awesome event and thank you Nina for the invitation, we are all looking forward to next year! Photo: Eddie Fowke
Remo’s younger sister Marilu on her way to the podium in the U12 category
Photos: David Schweizer

My skin was not getting along very well with the heat and the sudden change back to plastic and my fingertips just started to shed layers of skin. Nevertheless, I decided to join Remo to go rope climbing the next day. We went to a newer area which is not very well known but offers a few really nice and hard routes. After all the dyno practice in Rocklands I was especially psyched on “Doppel D”, a route with a big jump in the end followed by a fairly scary slab. To everyone’s surprise (including my own), I stuck the dyno third try and worked out all the other moves as well. The only thing missing now is a little bit of endurance but I’ll be back!

Not even a week later, it was time for the last bouldering World Cup of the season in Munich. It was one of the biggest events in history with 210 athletes registered in total, out of which 86 were female. After watching the men’s qualifiers in the morning, I was incredibly psyched to climb, the problems looked amazing and there was a pretty big crowd supporting the athletes already. I grinned when I walked up to the first problem and saw that it was a dyno. It gave me confidence to start the competition with a flash and after not getting to the bonus on number two, I was very pleased to be one out of only five girls who topped the tricky slab on number three. The fourth problem was all about crimps and I was happy to get to the bonus hold despite my finger injury. My foot slipped on the balancy mantle finish of the last problem but I got straight back on and finished it second try. This was good enough to qualify in 11th place for semi finals the next day alongside my teammates Petra and Jara! I climbed okay in semi finals but unfortunately I didn’t get a top and ended up in 19th place. Congratulations to Jara for placing 15th in her first semi finals, what a great effort! Looking back I’m very satisfied with making semis in such a big event and I’m already looking forward to next season, there’s still plenty of time to improve and work on my weaknesses until then. For now I have decided to do a bit more roped climbing. We have even planned a short trip to Rodellar in September – can’t wait!
Photos: Eddie Fowke
Photo: www.siked.nl

Escaping Summer, Chasing Winter

11. August 2015

Right after finishing my last exam, I packed my stuff and flew to Cape Town together with Tanja and Alannah. Since it was incredibly hot in Switzerland, I was glad to leave for some colder temperatures. We spent the first two nights in Kalk Bay, staying at the beautiful Chartfield Guesthouse (www.chartfield.co.za) which I would absolutely recommend, very pretty rooms and delicious breakfast! I tried surfing for the first time at the beach of Muizenberg and I really enjoyed it. Photo: Alannah Yip

After a few hours of driving we finally arrived at the lovely Alpha Farm which would be our home for the next month. Although it was already my second time in Rocklands, I was still overwhelmed by the amount of rock, the beautiful landscapes and I kept tripping at night because I couldn’t keep my eyes off the milky way. Two years ago I could finish most of my projects before leaving, mainly because I didn’t try anything really hard. So this time I had a couple of harder problems in mind I wanted to try, yet unfortunately I felt a familiar pain in my finger already before leaving Switzerland. I tried to ignore it but after climbing on some smaller holds it only got worse and I had to accept the fact that my pully was irritated once more. That didn’t keep me from getting on the problem I wanted to try most. Springbok (7A+) is a tall line with a perfect dyno about halfway up the wall. We had tons of crashpads and the landing is nice and even, so I wasn’t scared at all. It took me four tries to jump high enough and I was incredibly happy when I stuck the good rail. The same day I managed to do the right start of Petit Hueco called An Amal Roof (7C). After Springbok I was super psyched to try more jumps and I could finish Battle of the Skink (7C), Lord Greystoke (7B) and Like A Squirrel (7A+). Otherwise I tried to go easy on my finger and climbed a lot of classics I didn’t have time to get on last time, my highlight being a flash of Slash and Burn (7B). I projected Macho King (7C+) for a bit but just couldn’t do the last move out to the lip. Our whole group was really motivated and strong, Ishan managed to climb the Hatchling (8A) and Alannah did Caroline (7C+), both setting new personal bests. Tanja flashed Barracuda Rail (7B), Viola finished up some projects from last time and we all did Zanzibar (7B), a sharp and tall but beautiful arrete. Nico injured his ankle falling between two crashpads but we’re all happy to say he’s climbing again and he’s making a lot of progress. Alannah and I had a successful day at 8 Days Rain where we both did Bushoning (graded 7C, felt more like 7B though) and Vlad the Impaler (7C), a brilliant line back at Ian’s Roof. Also I was especially happy to finish up Miss Cave (7B+), a problem I had no chance of doing two years ago. It was an awefully rainy and windy restday when Nora came up with the idea to run up to the Pakhuis Pass. To be honest, I regretted the decision at first but it turned out to be quite satisfying once we had made it up there. We spent most of the other restdays drinking Dirty Chais (delicious combination of chai and espresso) and eating Rhinos (french toast with lots of savoury toppings) at the Henhouse. A few times we went for a run down to the waterfalls and even took a quick swim on a really hot day. All together, I had a wonderful time with amazing climbing, some of the best meat and fish I ever tasted and great company. Here are two short videos with a few of the boulders we’ve climbed.

Rocklands 2015 from Serious Climbing on Vimeo.


Photo: David Tomlinson, Philippe Allenspach
Photo: Alannah Yip

Swiss and European Championships

19. Mai 2015

Sometimes performing at your best is harder when you know you’re in good shape; at least for me it adds that little bit of extra pressure. In my best competitions so far, I just climbed the best I could without any expectations and simply enjoyed the problems. Before the Swiss Championships we had a really good weekend of training with Mani Hassler, my favorite international route setter. It gave me confidence for the upcoming competition and after the Swiss Cup in Pratteln I knew what was possible and I wanted to at least make podium again. Qualifiers went well except for one problem which bothered my still slightly disabled shoulder but it was enough to go to finals placing 3rd. Unfortunately there was a little misunderstanding about isolation closure which got me quite upset but in the end I was allowed to climb in finals and that’s all that mattered. After observation of the final problems I was super psyched to climb; the boulders all looked amazing but they also seemed pretty damn hard! I couldn’t do the first two problems which left me a little frustrated. On number three it took me too long to figure out the right solution and when I finally knew what to do I ran out of time and power. Since the other girls (except for Petra who climbed in another league) also struggled with the boulders, I knew a quick top could still make a big difference and I just really wanted to do the last probelm. I stuck the tricky move to the volume on my fifth try and was the first climber to get the bonus hold. I also managed the next move but instead of keeping my arm straight and pressing out of my shoulder I tried a stupid heel hook which cost me the top and therefore a spot on the podium. Yes, I was rather disappointed finishing 4th, especially since I could do most of the final problems two days later in training and the finish of number four felt stupidly easy. However it’s always easier when you know what to do and figuring out the right beta within those four minutes time is a pretty big part of competing.

Foto: David Schweizer

Not even a week later I found myself cheering on Petra in the semifinals of the European Championships in Innsbruck. After winning qualifiers with an amazing five (!) flashes, we all hoped she would make it to finals. Unfortunately she didn’t get a top and 17th place is way from what she deserved, she was so close on the first two problems! I don’t really want to talk about how the comp went for me, I climbed way below my best and was not even close to making semifinals. Foto: David Schweizer

It felt like the competition season had barely even started and now it’s already over for me, except for the very last (and my only) World Cup in Munich coming up in August. I guess I had a little too much going on lately and with exams right ahead I’m having a hard time to find the right balance between climbing and studying. I don’t wanna complain or look for excuses but I probably just wasn’t as focused (and relaxed at the same time) as I should’ve been. This is also part of why I decided to take a week or two off from climbing, treat my body and mind with some rest, do physio exercises for my shoulder and just enjoy having no plans (except for a whole lot of studying). Oh well, that’s how it goes… Studying also helps me to better understand the human body and I (mostly) enjoy learning the fascinating way it works. I still absolutely love what I’m doing and I wouldn’t wanna have it any other way! In less than a month and a half I’ll be done with my exams and I’m off to South Africa for the whole month of July, can’t wait!

Ticino, France and the First Swiss Cup

27. April 2015

Out of the last three weeks I spent two weeks in Fontainebleau, three days in Brione and I competed in the first Swiss Cup of the season. The only reason we went to Brione in the first place was because the weather didn’t look too good in Fontainebleau over Easter. Yet I didn’t regret that decision at all. Climbing on perfect rock in the beautiful Val Verzasca was a great way to start my Easter break. I made a little progress on Frogger (8A) and tried a few other climbs, some new, some already familiar. After that we were heading to Fontainebleau for a whole week. The endless amount of sandstone features offers climbing of any kind but it definitely took me some time to get used to the general style of climbing. Also I had to forget about grades here, otherwise projecting 7A’s can get quite frustrating. This place made me feel like a beginner and showed me that every climbing skill I’ve ever acquired is still way below perfection. I especially enjoyed climbing with my friend Alannah from Canada, it’s always motivating to have another strong girl around. On our first day of climbing we both managed to send Beatle Juice (7A+), not knowing this would stay our personal best for the rest of the week. At least to me it felt like some of the 6A’s we tried were a lot harder ;) Foto: Alannah Yip
Remo completed the Big Five by doing Big Golden (7C+) and Tristesse (7C). I was a little relieved to also see him struggle on a few 7B’s, so maybe it wasn’t just me. The last day we were climbing in an area called Buthiers, where we discoverd my favorite climb of the week called Lady Big Claque/le Flipper (7A+), a perfect little compression problem with lots of heel hooks. Foto: Alannah Yip
I got a little frustrated about not getting my heel in the right spot for several times but then Alannah reminded me to keep smiling since we’re supposed to be having fun and all of a sudden I found myself on top of the boulder as well. We had to leave with a lot of unfinished buisness but thankfully we knew we would be returning a week later.

Back in Zurich, I squeezed in a few days of University before the Swiss Cup in Pratteln on Saturday. I didn’t feel at my best since I had a lot of things going on the whole week and I didn’t get too much sleep. Qualifiers could’ve gone better but it was enough to make finals placing 5th, which had the positive side effect of being one of the first out to climb. All six girls making finals were from our team in Zurich and I knew that most of them were in good shape, so it wouldn’t be easy. I struggled a bit on the first problem but still managed to get it first try. After flashing the second problem as well I was really looking forward to the dyno on number three. Yet I underestimated how far the jump was and it took me five tries to get to the top. That turned out to be one try too many to stand on top of the podium and Petra won by just one try for a bonus hold. Rebekka was the only one to complete the last problem but since she couldn’t do number two she ended up placing 3rd. Foto: B2 Boulders & Bar Foto: David Schweizer

Of course I’m slightly disappointed because I got so close but I’m also very happy about being 2nd and I’m already looking forward to the Swiss Championships at my home gym Minimum in about two weeks, hopefully see you all there! More details: www.minimum.ch

Right after the competition I was on my way to Fontainebleau once more for a one week training camp with our local team from Zurich. This time we were guided by no other than the bouldering legend himself Fred Nicole. It was inspiring to see his calm approach to climbing and we could all profit from his knowledge of the area and the boulders. I was happy to finish my projects from the week before, including la Baleine (7A+) and la Rampe (7A). It’s been a great week with lots of strong and motivated young climbers, thanks to everybody who was part of it!


For more pictures go visit the Bächli Bergsport Facebook page.

Start of a New Season

11. März 2015

It’s that time of the year again. Exams successfully over, training on a regular schedule and waiting for spring to melt the last bit of snow on my projects. I really enjoy training with the local team in Zurich. Everyone’s extremly motivated and I feel like our team spirit never has been better. Since last year we are lucky enough to have no less than four big climbing gyms and another three bouldering gyms to choose from in the Zurich area. This makes training really diverse with new problems almost every session. The new gym in Winterthur came up with something completely different by organizing a team bouldering competition. They set up problems which could only be solved with a partner, requiring not only having faith into each other but also coming up with some innovative solutions. Drinks and food were for free and the event was a huge success, big thanks again! Foto: Markus Senn

Next was the Blacklight Boulderchallenge in St. Gallen which already took place last year. Again we saw plenty of great outfits and everybody enjoyed climbing on great problems, each decorated with its own special theme. The field was very tight and even though I climbed quite well, I missed finals and placed 5th. Considering I caught a really nasty cold right before and felt aweful when I first got up the morning of the comp, I guess I should be satisfied with how it turned out. Anyway, it was once again an awesome event and I can’t wait for next year! Foto: Matthias Stober

Shortly after we had an extremly revealing weekend of training with Cédric Lachat. I’ve always admired him not because of his physical strength but because of his immense willpower. He could fail on the same move on countless tries but he never gives up, no matter how tired he seems and I’ve seen him succeed like this more often than not. And that’s what I believe makes him such a successful climber, it’s not that he’s superior to the others on a physical basis but he simply has the right mindset. There’s more to it than just being ambitious, it’s about dedication and getting really emotional, not in a bad way but rather knowing how to use your emotions instead of turning them against you. I have to say this weekend was probably some of the hardest training I’ve ever experienced and Cédric definitely knows how to make you feel completely wrecked. Yet for me the hardest part was not about my body but about my head. Of course I’ve trained hard before, but it was still just training and I thought I knew when enough was enough. It hasn’t really occured to me that I might have to actually train how to try hard with my head, the kind which usually involves quite a bit of pain from the side of the body. This weekend I learned how to keep it together being totally exhausted, how to still go on even if your body’s screaming for rest and in a miraculous way still get to the top of a problem. Naturally that wasn’t often the case, I also failed A LOT but as they say:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Samuel Beckett

I felt like shit multiple times over these three days but each time Cédric was there pushing me to go on, to tell me I still can even though I didn’t believe it myself. I don’t know about you but believing in my own capabilities is probably what most often keeps me from performing at my best. If I think of a problem being too hard, I simply live with it, there are enough others to try. Yet accepting that is not what makes you stronger. It doesn’t matter if your body feels tired, if your mind is strong enough it can compensate little inconvieniences like exhaustion or the fear of failure. Oh and what I got told over and over again, don’t think too much, keep climbing and don’t EVER hesitate ;)

Time is flying by and next thing I knew we were already on our way to Sheffield for the annual Climbing Works International Festival, better known as just the CWIF. It’s a great way to prepare for the upcoming competition season and we had already enjoyed it a lot last year. The problems were just as good as I remembered with lots of technical slabs and arrêtes and I made it through to semi-finals placing 8th. The next day I was ready to give my best and try to make it into finals. I managed to flash the first problem, which was a rather balancy slab. On number two I got to the very end but I wasn’t quite able to finish it. Foto: Alex Messenger

I didn’t do very well on the remaining two problems, which left me with just one top and three bonus holds. Since it was a flash, it still got me placed 9th which isn’t too bad but I’m a little disappointed nonetheless. Yet it’s still early in the season and there’s some time left to work on my weak points. Overall I was happy to get a lot more efficient with my climbing by becoming better at flashing problems instead of taking unnecessary tries to figure out the right sequence. Baptiste Ometz put on a strong performance being the only Swiss making finals and finishing on 5th place, congratulations! The winners were Shauna Coxsey and Alex Megos, both quite easily doing all four final problems, so no surprise there. Before leaving, we had a fun training with the British Team trying the final problems as well as some execellent new boulders set by international routesetters. Now I really badly need a rest day and I hope my slightly injured shoulder will recover soon. Can’t wait to be in Fontainebleau in a few weeks!
Foto: Alannah Yip