Autumn is back in town and the 9th-grade-sending-rhythm on again
As much as I love the physical part of interpersonal encounter, I would probably never name a route Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang – luckily Toni Lamprecht does. (And permits me the pleasure to free them.) It was my seventh ninth grade route this year after a pretty unclimby summer with “only” seven 8c and 8c+ routes. And it was carried by the finally arriving autumn weather.
When four weeks ago I was profiting from the first cold front of the season to send La Barrière (9b) in Jansegg – the hardest route in my life – I was hoping to be able to directly carry on in this shape back home in Kochel. But summer decided to stay little longer and I preferred to go easy on my body and my reserves – having two slight injuries – for the intense climbing season to come. I had a look in some of the current projects, but mainly put on long 3 to 4 day series of rest days on the agenda. Each time this occurs strange to me.
And each time it pays out greatly afterwards.
As soon as last weekend’s storm passed through, pushing down the thermometer from almost 30° at day to minus something at night, we began to attack in Kochel. The first repetition of Paradies Artificiel (8c+) at the Atlantiswand came in six tries and three sessions on Monday the 24th. The route is not entirely natural, but wouldn’t be possible otherwise, so I surely won’t complain about the work invested, especially as the result is very nice, athletic climbing, 30m long, far moves and a precise jump in the end. 30 hard moves in a row with just one bad rest. And thus the perfect preparation for the rather long hard projects to come in the next weeks and months. As the holds are too good to call it my style, subjectively I am all right with the grade. The sending try was pretty close in widely ideal conditions – no way to think of doing the same thing one week earlier with 15° more…
Then only two days later on 26th of September we hike up through the still icy forest underneath the Kienstein up to the Rodeowand. One of the nicest walls in Kochel and if you include the top of the Kienstein into the setting, probably the most beautiful place around. View onto the lake and into the mountains, dry grass and pines, a lonely fox fleeing lazily and ten degrees more than in the shady sector just underneath.
Those who not only climb with their arms, but with some more inside part as well, just can’t avoid to perform better on a day like this. In a place like this. Beauty sometimes obligates.
So does it to me, too. (As my arms are only famous for their slender silhouette.)
It is my fourth day in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and I know that in my current shape I could just be capable to send it today. Outer and inner conditions are all in between perfect and very good, all holds are dry, just one food hold a little wet and in the first try I figure out the final method for the last hard and very complex meters. (It is rare that an 80cm cross move is really the easiest way to move on, but sometimes it happens.)
The route starts with some easy meters down, then just a little harder ones to a rest point you don’t really need, yet, and then it enters into the 30 moves of intense stamina. Only slightly overhanging, you do at first some long moves, then the route is leading into a first delicate undercling sequence on tiny holds, that appears to suite me very well, as I am until now the only one to be able to do it this way. Shaking arms for a second time and then eyes open for the next, again very technical meters that finish into an almost vertical part of tiniest holds that can only be done on a day like this. Not too cold to climb 30m, but cold enough to crimp very tiny holds without slipping. The foot holds are rare and at one place I stretch out entirely, having to use a new Instinct VS-R to be able to reach the next hold. Don’t know what someone with less than 184cm of height and 191cm of span does in this place. Perhaps flying…
Comes a bad rest before the last 8a+/8b sequence. In the second try of the day I arrive here by sheer luck and undisguised fighting, but miss the strength to continue.
Only after a long break, a nice picnic in this beautiful place and a short nap, I restore myself from this pretty exhausting fight for a third go that exactly passes the barrier. Not a single mistake, a little warmer temperature, so that I feel more what I touch and a mental kiss to the clear afternoon light permit me to bang it ;)…
It was proposed as 9a straight, for me it felt a little easier but it is supposed to fit my style very well, so I’ll suggest 8c+/9a. In the top I went straight and left just before the anchor, going right might ease it up a little (or finding a less complex beta).
Anyways, ascents like this form the mental shape I want to be in for the next weeks and months. At the Rockywand waits the first real 9a+ of the Bavarian Alps – Fagus Magus Forever – and in Pinswang the remastered Big Hammer. Remastered because I am doing the route without sika holds, what changes the crux grade from 7B+ to at least 8A+ (rather harder) and thus the overall grade from very easy 9a to what?
Meanwhile I kiss what I do want to hold on to. And bang what I want to reproduce:
The cold, dry and clear autumn air. And this willingness to fight…