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06.07.2015
Living in the mountains
I should be in the Indian Himalaya right now. With three months of preparation behind me I was highly motivated to get back on my project there, which I’ve been trying for the last few years. But there was one risk to my trip: the weather...
Of course this should always be considered, but I’ve been lucky the last five years in India. This time I arrived in Delhi and quickly left the bustling city behind me to head straight for the mountains.  I expected the captivating scene of hundreds of white-blossomed apple trees and cherry trees in a wild setting of big, rugged mountains. Instead, I was welcomed by cold temperatures and a sky thick with snow. The road into the valley only opened a few days before I arrived and the village was quiet and snow covered. This year’s winter came late for this part of the Himalaya. The locals were all taking it in their stride and assured me that in two weeks everything will be fine for bouldering. In three weeks my friends would arrive. To pass the time I did some longer hikes in the mountains and enjoyed the landscape. The mountains, thickly covered in snow, looked even more impressive than in summertime, and next time I plan on bringing my skis. For two weeks I watched the snow melt, but it didn’t make much of a difference.  The landscape still looked the same - maybe 30 cm of snow had melted away. What to do? A few day`s later I made a decision. I called my friends back home, cancelled the whole India trip, and decided to go where the weather was sure to be good for climbing.  
 
One week later I arrived in Italy. Back in 2012 I put up some great lines around the beautiful village of Noasca and I had some unfinished business waiting for me. In the first week I made a quick repeat of Niccolo Ceria’s ‘Il Coloniali’ and put up some other climbs in the valley. On a stormy day it was time to get a closer look at a ‘Big Boulder’ that I had passed by many times before. I had a quick look years ago, but I didn’t have the right attitude to start this project. The double T-steel carrier near the landing zone wasn’t all that motivating either. But this time, I felt ready for it. I checked the features at the top and then rappelled down the 12 m boulder. Everything was solid, and luckily the last few meters to the top no longer felt difficult. The actual crux starts right at the beginning and finishes 6 m up the wall. The boulder starts with big moves on small, razorblade sharp features with the most crucial part of the problem coming after a huge, blind move to a crimp. A two-move sequence, which requires serious body tension, leads to the first ‘ok’ hold 6 m above the ground where it’s possible to chalk up before the mind starts working.  Then it’s time to breathe and climb the last meters to the top.
 
After three days on the project I reached the crux 4 m off the ground. I jumped down. It was too warm. After five moves on these crimps my skin was already getting soft, which made the next moves feel even harder and more insecure. A quick check of the weather forecast wasn’t motivating either. It was supposed to get warmer every day, and my skin was getting worse every day. But waiting only increased the tension. So I had to make a choice, climb or wait. I looked to Danilo, a local climber from the area. He didn’t say anything. I looked at the top of the boulder. I didn`t hear anything. On May 26 at 20.45 I chalked up again and climbed my tallest boulder so far.
 
Check out my latest updates on my homepage. You will also find some “selfmade” pictures from the Himalayas and new action shoots from Ray Demksi in the gallery. There have been many articles published in different print magazines last year, which are now available in the PRESS releases. I wish everybody a great summer and a good time out there on the rocks, in nature...in the mountains. 
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