One Month in Paradise

It was nice arriving in South Africa not having to worry about a thing. Remo and Matthi had already been there for a month and Viola and Yves for two weeks. Flavio and Rolf, two other guys from Switzerland who were staying on the campground, were also joining us most of the time. So I got picked up at the airport in Cape Town, our house at Traveller’s Rest was already furnished and homelike, they already knew how to get everywhere and everybody was telling me about problems I need to climb.no words needed

I quickly got the feeling that four weeks is not enough to fully take in this beautiful area but I decided to just enjoy the time I had and climb whatever looks good instead of bothering with time-consuming projects. On my first day I felt a bit sick from the long flight and spent most of the time lying around and resting on the pads. The next day I already felt a lot better and I gradually regained my strength. I was happy to climb some of the classic 7B’s like Question of Balance (7B) and Minki (7B), latter not without a big bruise from the kneebar as a souvenir. Can you spot me in the picture?IMG_9668.jpgFoto: Flavio Degonda

Meanwhile Remo could tick off a lot of his projects including Madiba (8B) and Steakhouse (8A+). Before I arrived he already did The Vice (8B), Vice President (8B) and his dream boulder Sky (8B/+). On one of my first rest days, we enjoyed a wonderful day on the beach in Lambert’s Bay and had dinner at the well-known fish restaurant Muisbosskerm, an absolute must, such good food and wonderful atmosphere right at the ocean!IMG_9071.jpgFoto: Flavio Degonda

best fish restaurant ever

Viola was really psyched about a long roof problem up at Sassis called Un petit Hueco dans Rocklands (7B/7B+) which she already told me about on my first day. Already the name got me motivated to try and after seeing the video I couldn’t wait to get up there. We were both successful that day and thanks to Viola’s helpful beta instructions I even managed to flash this wonderful line! Viola also got quite close on Pinotage (7B+), falling on the big move after the crimps. One of the next days, I sent The Rhino (7B+) probably the coolest feature I have ever climbed on! I had already tried it earlier and was really happy to be able to climb this absolute classic.IMG_9615.jpgFoto: Flavio Degonda

Rolf had quite a fight with the Rhino but in the end proved that he was stronger by standing on top of its horn. Flavio made himself a birthday present and finally climbed Herbie (8A).flave's birthday present

Viola impressed us all with her slab climbing skills and was the only one besides Matthi to finish the Yosemite Slab (7B+). In the middle of my stay, Matthi and Yves had to leave back home. Viola felt the same way as me about time passing to quickly and decided to extend her stay for another two weeks. Being only three of us left, we were lucky enough to get a really nice room at Alphafarm right next to the Henhouse.

Except for my sparse skin I was feeling great and climbed some more awesome lines, among them Teagarden Roof (7B+/7C) and Born into Struggle (7B+), which is probably my favorite problem in Rocklands. Big, dynamic moves on good slopy holds with lots of heel and toe hooks, totally my style! I had quite a battle on Poison Dwarf (7B) but after countless of tries and lots of wasted skin, I at last managed to put it all together. Foto: Daniel Schmid

Besides flashing various 8A’s, Remo did an impressive 3rd (?) ascent of Airstar (8B) and did the famous El Corazon (8A+/8B) second try.IMG_9452.jpgFoto: Flavio Degonda

Last but not least, he climbed the prettiest girl (nope not me ;)) aka Mooiste Meisie (8B), which made him complain about sore abs for a few days. Viola got me to try When the Day Breaks (7B), a crimpy problem, which she had tried when she first got here. Usually I’m not too keen on crimps but I have to admit this problem’s pretty awesome. Viola had gotten a lot stronger during her stay and quickly did the problem within a few tries, what a great effort! Her impressive send got me motivated to also try harder and to my own surprise I stuck the move to the gaston and found myself on top of the boulder shortly after. Right before leaving, I had a great last day up in Fields of Joy and accomplished all the climbs I decided to try. I did Barracuda Rail (7A+/7B) second go from the start and Panic Room (7A+) within a couple of tries. Rolf also had quite a day and was happy to complete Barracuda Rail and Dirty Lies (7A+/7B), a really long roof I had climbed on one of my first days. When it got dark and finally cooled down we got on Maniac (7B), the problem I wanted to try most up there. It’s a perfect slopy face with persistent powerful moves, suiting me well. After figuring out all the moves except for the last, I struggled a bit with getting off the ground again. When I finally stuck this tricky first move and got through to the very last move, I forced myself not to let go and with my very last effort got to the top.

These past few weeks have been some of the best of my life and I already miss Rocklands so much! I miss the Henhouse with its Dirty Chais, Rhinos and of course Becky’s good mood. I miss the wonderful sunsets, the clear starry sky and seeing the Milky Way. I miss the Savanna Drys, the Biltong and the double chocolate cheesecake at Yellow Aloe. I miss the big fires, the Sunshine Reggae and the quiet as well as the less quiet nights at the bar. But most of all I miss all the great people I met and climbed with from all over the world, if any of you guys are ever planning a trip to Switzerland, hit me up! Of course I’ll also keep traveling as much as I can and hopefully see you sometime, somewhere under some piece of rock!IMG_9638.jpgFoto: Flavio Degonda

Oh I almost forgot, most of all I miss my pink leggings and the kinky outfits of the guys from our performance at Rockstock… Looking forward to next time! ;)

More pictures on flickr.com:
Flavio Degonda
Matthias König
Viola Sommer

Last but not least, I finally got the results of my test which would decide if I could start my studies in Chiropractic and I passed! *Huge relief* So I’m gonna start university in the middle of September, which still leaves me with a few weeks of vacation and lots of time for climbing! I’ll definitely spend some of my time setting at the awesome new Minimum gym which will open on September 28th, would be great to see you there!
Also I can’t wait to compete at the upcoming World Cup in Munich this weekend and the European Championships in Eindhoven (31./1.September), hopefully Rocklands made me strong :)

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