After my trip to Chile and one week in Bolzano for route setting, I finally managed to spend 10 days at home. I have to say that I really enjoyed this time! I love to be at home with Mel after all our trips: it is a lovely place, where we can just “recharge our batteries” before to leave again, and enjoy a more “normal” life together.
During this period, I climbed a little bit in the gym, trying to recover from my finger injury, but nothing changed. So, as I couldn’t climb as I wanted, I had to find something else to do, and I started to go everyday running on the different trails behind our place; I really enjoyed it and it makes me feel really good: it is definetely funnier than to run always on flat ground.
At the end of the month, a “friend” of mine, Siebe Vanhee, joined me in Innsbruck. I didn’t put the world friend between quotations mark because I hate him, but for the simply reason that we have never met us before ;)
Mel met Siebe during one of her trip to Spain, and chatting with him she figured out that we have a lot in common and that we could team up together very well. So, after a lot of mails and chats, he took a ticket to Innsbruck to make a short trip together. Siebe is a super motivated climber, who tries to explore every aspect of his passion and with a very open view about it and the life in general. He spent the last years around, focusing mostly on tradclimbing and multipitch. As my main goal at the moment is to do the same, we hadn’t a hard choiche trying to find out some common projects. The plan was to go to Millau to support Mel during the Bouldering World Cup, and to drive after to Cadarere or Valle dell’Orco to do some trad climbing… but the bad weather changed our plan very fast.
So, after the competition in Millau and one day in climbing in Cantobre, we decided to drive to Verdon, as the weather was supposed to be better there.
I have been there a lot of years ago just for 3 days and Siebe has never been there before, so we were both super impressed when we arrived in the gorge! The big canyon and the perfect rock, make your finger tips sweating even before to start climbing!
Asthe north side of the gorge was completely wet, we decided to spend the first days climbing on some “easy” old school slabs on the most famous side. Honestly I got my ass kicked many times on the super technicals routes and I was really impressed thinking that all those lines were opened/climbed more than 20 (sometimes 30) years ago… climbing has became way easier in the last time ;)
We use the camping “ à la ferme” as our base camp, where we had a lot of fun listening to the crazy stories of the 70 years-old owner! We even got some dowsing lessons! ;)
The weather started to be better and we arrived in front of the hard decision if to stay there or to leave to Cadarese. We were hesitating so much, that we ended up flipping the coin…the Euro decided for us: Verdon!
We took our first day off: we got some food, we enjoyed some french pastries and we drove around to see the situation of the other side of the canyon. We were really surprised realizing that the steep and big tufas very drying super fast: the strong wind of the last days did his job! The plan for the next days wasn’t hard to decide: for both of us THE line was only one. We both got to know the north side of the Verdon because of a beautiful poster of Nico Favresse climbing on two huge orange tufas somewhere high up in the canyon. It was a lot of years ago, but I can still remember his picture on the italian magazine “Pareti” and for how long I dreamed about this line.
The next day we started together with David (another belgian climber fallen under the charm of this line) for one hour walk to search the anchor of the route: in fact the only way to reach the bulge, where the 60 meters long route starts, is to rappel down from the top. We got lost for one hour, but at the end we managed to find the right spot and we reach the bulge. I wanted to give it a flash go, but I didn’t feel really good, so I decided to take some pictures. Siebe and David checked out the moves of the route and they both reached the top with a big smile on their face! Siebe gave it immediately another go, finding some new tricks and getting used to this intimidating line. We were about to leave, but they made me so curious, that I just said to myself “whatever” and I rappelled down to make a try. Without warming up I got flash pumped quite fast and my attempt ended not really high ;) Anyways, I also arrived at the anchor with a big smile, and we decided to come back on the next day.
The day after, Siebe did two nice goes and I got so pumped on my first try, that I decided to stop there and to rest for the next time.
We took a day off and we packed up all our stuffs, as we should leave the day after to take our flights to Kalymnos for a bolting trip, and in the evening we hiked up to the top of the route. It was getting warmer and we had to leave early, so we decided to sleep there to climb earlier and to escape the sun. Waking up in such a nice place, make you even more motivated and everything went easier: after a quick warm ups on the first bolts, I gave it a try, fighting my way up to the anchor! I quickly rappelled down to the bulge, ready to belay Siebe for his go. He fought trough the first hard part and after some rests, he climbed up the big tufas to the belay with me screaming behind him. Just the dirt job of jumaring up and remove the quickdraws was missing ;)
Anyways, the trip ended in the best way and, after some more french pastries, we drove directly to Bergamo to take our flight to Kalymnos… but that’s another story.
This has for sure been the best sport climb I’ve done so far: the place, the rock, the run outs… everything together make it simply: TOM ET JE RIS ;)
Two months ago, when I got a phone call by TNF offering me the opportunity to flight to chile for the “master of bouldering”, I immediately accepted. I’ve always wanted to visit that country and the combo “competition + a 3 days roc trip” sounded perfect! Caro and James had the same reaction and they also joined immediately the trip.
Furthermore I hadn’t took part in a competition in a while, so I was quite curious to try to get back in that game again. The only negative point of all that was the flight schedule… 30 hours of travel… but well, I could afford it for such a nice deal ;)
Basically everything looked perfectly, until I got injuried in Hueco and the finger didn’t recover….
I contacted the guys of the organization, hesitating if going or not, as I wouldn’t be able to compete and they invited me for that. I was very surprised when I got the answer of Tòmas (the organizator of the event), saying: Oh man, sorry to hear about you injury; but don’t worry about the competition, come anyways, we will show you around and you will have a lot of fun! … and that’s exactly what happened!!!
After the long travel and the bad austrian weather, I was quite happy and surprised when I landed in Santiago: a perfect sunshine and a hot breeze gave me a nice welcome. I joined James and Caro in our (super) hotel in the city center and after a while Tòmas, the man behind all the event, picked up us to bring us to a nice lunch with the rest of the staff; I got immediately surprised of the friendliness and the kindness of all the team and of the Chileans : they all did their best to welcome us in Chile and they did in the perfect way!
The plan for the next two days was the “Master de bouldering”. First I thought not to compete, as my finger hurt a lot and I was scared to make it worse… but after having seen the wall and having realized that if I hadn’t competed, I wouldn’t have climbed for one week… I took the decision of take part at the event, but I obligated my self to take it easy and to stop if my finger would hurt.
The North Face Chile definitely put up one of the best master I’ve seen so far: the location, the wall, the isolation zone, the staff, the problems, the crowd, the way how they treated the athletes … everything was perfect and well planed. I really hope that they will make it to organize a world cup stage in the next years: they would deserve it!
Well, I couldn’t climb hard ’cause of my finger, but we had a lot of fun doing the comp; the highlight was for sure James, who competed for the first time in his life, and he did it pretty well! The final during the night was a great show, and it was impressive to see how many people came to watch the comp and to cheer for the athletes. Felipe and Caro did their job perfectly, but everybody gave his best and made a great show.
After the comp, TNF organized a huge dinner for all the athletes, with a LOT of argentinian meat and piscos… but it’s better not to tell the rest of the night ;)
After one chilling day, we packed up our stuffs and we left the hotel for a 3 days roc trip in Chorriboulder, a beautiful place in the hearth of the andes. We drove during the night and after we put up our “base camp”, Diego showed us some amazing barbecues skills :)
It was such a nice surprise to realize where we were, when we woke up in the morning: we slept in the middle of a never ending boulders field surrounded by high mountains and a 5000 m volcano… it was such a nice feeling to be there and to share this with friends. The only negative point was the rock, as it is not very solid conglomerate and so you can’t really climb everywhere, but it is good enough to enjoy some easy problems in a perfect spot.
We spent the two following days climbing around, grilling a lot of meat laughing and of course…complaining about the skin ;)
After we drove back, Tòmas offered to Caro, James, Matt and me to spend our last day in Chile on the beach. We slept at his place on the beach and on the morning we headed to Valparaiso, which was the most important harbor of the pacific before the built of the Panama Canal,but it has now became a crazy and colorful city. We spent the whole day hanging around, visiting the streets, eating the local plates and slack lining on the beach, before to dive back to Santiago for our last night.
The evening we gave a small and convivial slideshow of our activities in our Hotel room, trying to remerciate the TNF team for their friendliness and for all what they did for us; it was funny to hang out all together in a hotel room, eating pizzas and watching some serious and some less serious videos. After that we went to the city to end up our stay in the chilean way ;)
It has definitely been one of the best trip I’ve done so far; I’m not speaking about the climbing aspect, but mostly about the global experience we had. I really want to remerciate all the people we met, who made our trip so funny and with whom we shared all those moments: thank you guys, I really hope to see you next year!
Hasta la proxima !
All pictures: copyright Jeremias Marinovic.
I’m on my way back form Chile right now, where I had an amazing time! It’s hard for me to resume all that in a short text, but I’m working on it ;)
I’ll post it as soon as I’ll arrive at home, but by the way you can enjoy a small choice of pictures I took in the last days…
Stay tuned for the text!
MASTER DE BOULDERING – Santiago de Chile
It’s strange how sometimes we can just say the negative aspects of something, when we are pissed off with something else.
That’s actually what I understood by reading again my last post about Hueco. I could just express the negative aspect of my injury, but I wasn’t able to transmit all the good moments and memories I shared with all my friends… which is actually one of the most important thing for me and for my vision of life, traveling and climbing.
I love to get back at home knowing new people, places, cultures, stories; and having shared all that with the person I love or my friends. I feel richer after every trip.
It’s hard for me to express and to tell all these feelings in words. The best way would be to live all those moments again… but, as it’s kind of hard ;), I deem that pictures are the solution.
I can feel the positive vibes looking at these pictures, I hope you can feel them too.
Here we are! It took a while, but now you can enjoy some moments of my last trip to Siurana and the ascent of Jungle Speed.
I hope you will enjoy it.
… and this time I was not…
The day after the last post, my finger hurt a lot when I woke up. It was really easy to understand that it wasn’t just sore from the climbing, but that there was something wrong with it.
Two days before, we wanted to have a look on Slashface, one of the most impressive line of the park; we warmed up very quickly and we jumped directly on it. The crimps aren’t bad, but as there are not a lot of footholds, you have to pull really hard on your fingers…and that’s not a good thing when your fingers are still cold ;) After some tries my left ring finger was sore, but on the moment I just thought that I was getting tired…
… but I got my surprise the day after!
I rested one day and I climbed the day after, but my pulley was hurting too much: injuries always suck, but when you are on a climbing trip, in which you invested a lot of energies, efforts and money…they suck even more!
In the last years I had a bunch of different finger injuries, mainly caused by keep on on climbing even when my fingers were hurting, and I alway had to take a long period off. I’ve learned the lesson, and this time I decided to rest before my finger would hurt too much. I was pretty confident that with a break of 10 days, everything would be alright.
I’m not so motivated for bouldering and I was really afraid not to be able to try the project in Saustal this spring, which means a lot to me, and so I guess that was the best decision.
It has just been really hard to spend the next week hanging out near all those rocks in the park, watching the others climbing and getting fat eating all the food I could grab. With all the stupid regulations of the park you can’t even go around for a walk or a run.
This trip has been for sure the worst one I’ve done so far and I was quite happy to land back in Munich 2 days ago.
Luckily there isn’t just the climbing side on a trip! I have to say that we have a lot of fun with the rest of the team, and it was really nice to hang out with them and with all the old and new friends we met there: we had really good times. I love this aspect of traveling.
A special thanks goes to Ricky, definitely “the man” out there, who made us laughing all the time, showed us every single boulder in the park and every single burrito’s place, and guided us trough the STUPID park’s regulations: thanks Ricky-o :)
Now it’s time to start climbing again, trying to recover and get in shape before to leave for Chile in one week… time runs too fast! I can’t wait to be back on the Saustal project when I’ll come back from South America!
Here some more pics I took during the long days of rest ;)