Start of a New Season

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