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Flashback 2015
Turning 37 this year was great. Mind and body recovered completely from all little injuries. I was back on the boulders to 100%, without a compromise, ready to attack! It's such a great feeling, when you know that you can give everything you have, and that your body will follow. Health is the reason for this very positive view back on my 37. Everything else which seems important to us comes after that :-)
After I literally got snowed out of the Himalayas in late April, I visited beautiful Valle Noasca in Italy’s Gran Paradiso National Park - a fixed agenda in my climbing calendar for many years already. Different trips to the Valle have resulted in some of the best and technically hardest climbs I've ever done on granite. Since my very first visit, there had been a special piece of granite captured in my mind: a 14m boulder. This year I decided to give it a closer look. I never really search for this kind of adventure. You have to be 100% sure about your motives and your motivation. You have to look inside yourself and listen. I listened for many days, until finally I made my decision. End of May, with support of Danilo, a friend from Noasca, I finally made the FA of “29dots”, my highest boulder so far, and maybe one of the hardest highballs in the world.
Most people in the Alps have been happy with the hottest summer since sciene put an eye on the weather. For us boulderer it was killing. Luckily I spent lots of time high up in the mountains, searching for cold lakes and also boulders, when there was time. But not only the heat was challenging for me, also the annual school climbing workshop. This year I showed more than 120 kids how to climb their first boulders. An intense week for everyone, and every day was great fun!
In August, ten of the best athletes from the climbing circuit followed my invitation and showed up in the little village of Galtür for the first “Red Bull 5 Blocks” event. It was a great experience to climb and talk with some of the strongest climbers around the world. We had good conditions in the mountains allowing the teams to climb all the highballs I put up in the past. Also “Falsche Götter”, a problem I opened back in 2002, finally saw its 2nd ascent.
Luckily I could skip the rest of the heat wave and escape back to the Himalayas at the end of August. Until now I've spent a total of more than a year of my lifetime there, in a remote Indian village. This means that the inhabitants of this region have gotten to know me, and have gradually accepted me into their community. This year I was invited to visit their village festival, a Buddhist ceremony, that foreigners are not allowed to watch. This was a very special moment of my life. I'm lacking the words to describe this moment.
The biggest climbing moment in 2015 was the the first ascent of “DIE VERSORGUNGSLINIE”. In times where we measure the ascents of hard boulder problems in minutes and sessions, I might loose my face now, but to be honest: I worked five years on this project :-) I had never spent so much time, belief, power, and will on a single piece of rock. I discovered the block in 2011, but broke a hold during my first month of projecting. Afterwards, the climb was out of reach. Not being able to hold the broken crimp, I tried an alternative sequence for another year. Coming back much stronger in 2014, I was able to hold the broken crimp, and my first idea seemed possible again. Without the opportunity to check out the uncompromising crux four meters above the deck, every go needed 100% commitment. And since there was no chance to work on the upper moves separately, this problem had to be conquered ground up. More than 150 tries were needed until I finally grabbed the hold five meters above the deck and topped it out. Thanks to my brother Alex, and Klemens who were there with me!
So with this ascent, my longest relationship has come to an end. Mind and body need a little break now. In 2015 I climbed the biggest, the hardest and the most beautiful rocks in my career. I wonder what is next? :-)
I wish you all a relaxed xmas and my very best wishes for 2016.
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