Training phase I (throwback)

I was pretty excited to see how this training cycle would work out, for there were lots of changes to the previous years:

  • A new goal: a rock route instead of a comp season
  • A new training facility, and oh boy, it is enormous!
  • A training start right during the healing of an injury

A slightly worrying issue was that I started my basetraining at least a month earlier then all of my usual training partners, leaving me to do specific exercises by myself, which is much less motivating.

General feelings

Even though I only did an average of 4.5 sessions/week (which is less then I did during my endurance years) I had some problems regenerating in between trainings. As a guideline, I use the principle of doing the next training session after sufficient recovery, which is not fully practicable at my age with the training I had planned. Nonetheless, by varying the intensity of my sessions (60% – 100%) I made it work to avoid those useless zero-energy trainings.

What sometimes totally destroyed me, was the height of the bouldering wall. The wall I used to train on was 3 meters high, this one 5 meters. That means boulders automatically become longer, since nobody stops half way. Since I was training for a power-endurance project, I guess this was nothing problematic, but rather helpful instead.

Due to my finger not feeling 100%, I had to adapt some exercises, for example use bigger crimps therefore smaller feet. I was sure that at the end of the training cycle my crimp strength wouldn’t be where I want it to be, but you gotta make the best of it, right?!

Things I stopped doing

Since my goal is very specific, I had thought really long and hard what I needed and what not ;). I was actually quite happy to put aside the modern comp-style jumping and volume-wrestling; I’m an old school climber these generations, so those were never my thing…

I also had to make some cuts in some activities that were… let’s say counter productive for training. Alpine scrambles (I live in the Alps and I love them!), skiing (this winter proved to be the best in many years), and travelling. I basically decided to stay at home to focus on training. Since I had enrolled in new studies after finishing a few years ago, I thought ‘why not use all that free time and get active?!’. I quickly realised that I had bitten off more than I could chew, and that full-on training plus full-on studies are not great companions.

In the End

I gotta say I didn’t feel at the top of my fitness ending phase I of my training, but I wasn’t too worried about it. What would really count is how I would feel on the route, and I was sure that I had layed a good base for the upcoming training phases.

Next throwback: Spain trip #1

Few days before the trip

Well, I’ve booked my flights for Spain trip #2, I’ve finished my four-month training cycle and I’m starting to get really excited (=nervous) to try ‘Fight or Flight’…

The past week I’ve reduced my training quantity and basically only did good project tries on routes similar to FOF and some bouldering. I’ve even had a 2-day climbing break for the first time since my training started, and to be honest: I can hardly wait to touch some rock! It’s like those last minutes prior to exams, where you start thinking if things will go according to plan.

This is actually the first time during this project I’ve felt nervous, not really about whether I’ll succeed, but more the feeling: ‘let’s get this started!’

Anyway, I feel strong (training paid off), my fingers feel good, I hope the route is still in the same condition (no holds have crumbled or broken), and I’m looking forward to spend some timeĀ  in Oliana.

A crew of America’s strongest climbers is currently making Catalunia unsafe, and some of those are keen to try the route with me, which is always motivating. One of them is already on sending spree:

Congrats DWoods!

Training start (throwback)

I started planning the details of project-9b and training for it in Summer 2017, and I was happy that I finally had the courage to say: ‘let’s do this!’, when everything was thrown to the wind with the comeback of an old injury. A ganglion (or cyst or whatever) in my middle finger had reappeared, and the tendon sliding over it as I crimped hurt as hell. I saw my dreams crumble, but activated the patience necessary for curing injuries (it’s not the first time my fingers are bugging me).

Injury begone!

After a late Summer and Fall of trying therapies varying from leeches (yes, those blood sucking thingies) to cottage cheese (sounds funny) to regular physiotherapy, I decided to get rid of it the same way as last time: a shot of cortisone. I did this some years ago, and problems were gone quickly, and stayed away for years. This time the cortisone didn’t have the same effect, and I was bummed to not feel a change at all. After the necessary break (cortisone temporarily weakens your tendons and pulleys) I started climbing again, and alas, over time I felt improvement!

Summa summarum, the little bugger is still there, I can actually feel it sitting below the tendon, but somehow my body has adapted to it, and if I keep the bloodflow going and the fluids drained, I can now (since Jan. 2018) crimp at 90% without pain. Trust me, I rarely crimp at 100% šŸ˜‰

Postpone Project-9b??

Downside to the injury chapter was: my training cycle had been delayed by a month and a half, and during basetraining I could not train crimps like I wanted. I thought about postponing it to next year.

In comes Katha, not only my wife, but also the mastermind behind my training, and with some adaptations and reductions my planning was back up! November 20th 2017 I started phase I with double the motivation, but some doubts in mind whether time would be sufficient, since I had setĀ sending time for March 2018.

Next up: feelings on Phase I


Notice on route info

As you might have seen, I removed the info for now on how natural routes are in the section route info.

I originally added this info, since I think the climbing scene should know that a lot of today’s high end routes are not completely natural. It’s important to distinguish between:

  • reinforcing holds/structures with sika so that it’s barely visible/invisible.
  • reinforcing holds/structures with sika so that it’s clearly visible and you actually climb on sika.
  • ‘creating’ holds, e.g. by drilling holds, making new ones with sika, or even adding plastic holds…

I think the state of the art today varies per area/country and it’s hard to say what is right or wrong, and where to draw that line. This alltogether is a different discussion I’d love to see in the climbing scene one day.

The reason why I removed the info on how natural routes are, is that it can be easily misunderstood and discredit the route’s first ascentionist, which I think is not correct. I guess if I want to list that info, it would need more specification and detail.

It’s a tricky case isn’t it?

Mid-way start

Yes, I should have started this blog earlier, not when I’m already more than half way into the process.
But hey, better late than never…

Anyway, welcome to! The goal of this website is to give some more detailed information about:

  • the process of trying to climb 9b (this blog)
  • info on those routes that I’ve tried so far (here)
  • info on my training and preparation (here)

Now you might ask yourself the question: ‘Who’s still blogging these days??’ So did I, and I came to the conclusion that even if only some diehard fans are happy with it, why not. At least website content is a bit longer lasting then nowadays social media content.

So here we are! I’ll try to catch up on the last couple of months (basically since I intiated this project) by some throwbacks.

If you have any suggestions, wishes, or just wanna say hi, please comment!