After months of training at home gyms, it was finally time for an adventure! The idea of breaking the daily routine and mixing things up, never felt this good.
The whole journey started with the master competition in France – Tout a Blocs https://www.toutablocs.com/en/. It then later continued with rock climbing in Magic Wood. In this read, I will share my thoughts and experiences I endured on the 2nd part of the trip.
The journey begins on the 9th of August in the French city of Briancon. It was about 9:00 in the morning and we were a group of five, sitting at the breakfast table and enjoying a cup of coffee. Everything seemed completely normal with the exception of face masks, that everyone had on the table.
It was still a time of Corona crisis, with no sign of it going away soon. Therefore, masks on the table actually, weren’t a strange thing. But for me it still felt strange, having to wear mask at breakfast.
I think, we will all look back at this moment and say: “Do you remember that moment in Briancon, where we had to wear face masks to breakfast. Those were some strange times!”
Enough talk about face masks and let’s get to the journey.
Before, I was talking about a group of five, yes? Well, sadly now our ways parted. We packed our things in two cars, but only one was headed to Magic Wood – Switzerland. And in that car, it was me and my training teammate – Mia Krampl. We said goodbyes and departed on our journey.
Our car was fully packed and our back mirror felt somewhat useless. That was due to the fact, that we didn’t see anything else, then a crash-pad. Anyhow, that didn’t really bother us, as we were already used of similar situations. With traffic light, we had a smooth journey all the way to the Magic Wood. After crossing the Italian/Swiss border without any problems, we were soon enjoying the beautiful natural sights, Switzerland has to offer.
We arrived at the Bodhi camping, later that day. It was then time to pitch the tent and get everything ready for the first climbing day. A fair hour of work and we had our “camp” set for the upcoming week.
With tent set and ready, we got to cooking dinner. But before I tell you more about it, I must first take you through our food supply.
Because of my diet, I am limited to certain foods. I am trying to cut down on carbs and only food in its rawest form. When back at home, my meals usually consist of the following ingredients: Meat, fish, vegetables, potatoes, rice and eggs.
Therefore, we had to buy food accordingly. What we bought was 3kg of rice, tomato sauces, some meat, canned fish and vegetables, some cheese and chocolate milk. We also bought some dried fruit and rice cakes for during the day.
That being said, you can probably guess what we had for dinner that night, huh?
Yes, it was rice, just like every next night! We knew from the very start, that we don’t have enough meat and vegetables for the whole week. We were eventually bound to buy more food or were we?
Therefore, we took on the challenge. We decided to get through with the food we already had, even if that means eating plain rice. We ought to test, if maybe rice is the key to successful climbing trip.
After the dinner it was time for another Bodhi camping classic, how to take a shower. Since not too long ago, they started to offer showers in the camp for 1€. But before that, the only option was the river. At this time of the year the river is already quite cold. It gets even colder later in the year. Because my first time in Magic Wood was way back in 2013, when there were no showers, it feels somehow special to me, to take the shower in the river. If you ever end up going to Magic Wood, this is a must do thing. I assure you the water will be freezing cold, but you will feel great after doing it.
If you managed to get this far, I encourage you to continue. It’s time for climbing!
Clear sky and the temperatures not too high – The Perfect Day
Since it was our first day climbing outdoors, we decided to take it easy. We wanted to let ourselves get used to the rock, before trying something harder. Our goal was to do as much different boulders as possible, but none above grade 8a.
Minisex Roof (7c+/8a)
We warmed up in few really easy blocs and headed to our first boulder of the day – Minisex Roof (7c+/8a). Without any beta, I just dived into the problem. I tried the boulder so many times, that my tries were starting to get worse and worse. In my head, it was all about unlocking every move, before resting. This is what we named “the competition climber approach”. I would definitely not suggest you to use this approach. Mia on the other hand, decided to take more relaxed approach. She did a few tries now and then. Allowing herself to recover better between each try.
Anyway, after quite some time working on the problem, it still felt super hard for us send it. Luckily some other climbers joined us and told us about the right knee-bar. The boulder suddenly felt quite easy and I sent it the next try and soon after, so did Mia.
Next up was – Piranha (7c). This is a classical crimpy boulder which is not too complicated to “read”. It took me a few tries. Sadly there was no team ascent, as Mia couldn’t make the last move work.
Then Mia wanted to try – Fox Lady (8a). This boulder is my long-time nemesis and I was kind-off scared of trying it on my first day.
Therefore, I gave the beta to Mia and she just cruised the boulder, making me feel even worse. But still I decided to give this boulder a pass. Instead I decided to try my second nemesis – Octopussy (8a).
I immediately remembered the moves and they felt easier than last time. With that in mind, I decided to give it a go from the start and things just fell together. One of my nemesis problems was done.
With our bodies already a bit sore, we decided to try one more boulder and then head back to camp. The problem we chose was – Intermezzo (7c), another crimpy classic. Again, it went down really quickly for me, but was quite hard for Mia. She was really spanned on the first move and that made the 2nd move much harder. While Mia, was trying to find a different solution for the 2nd move, I decided to try another variation of boulder – Intermezzo left (7c+/8a). It turned out, that all I needed was some time to figure out the right method.
Sadly, the weather was getting worse throughout the day and it started to rain heavily right before we were ready to head to camp. Consequently, we had to take shelter under a neighbouring rock and wait for the storm to pass.
Till the time we got back to the camp, everything in the forest was completely wet. That made us a bit worried about the next day.
The clouded sky – Staying Optimistic Day
Luckily it stopped raining in the middle of the night and wind started to blow. When we woke up the next morning the ground in the campsite was already dry and we were quite optimistic. The only minus, was the clouded sky… Therefore, we decided to head to the forest a bit earlier this time.
We warmed up and headed to the One summer in paradise bloc. There, we both did a fast ascent of – Schneebrett (7c) and then tried Pura Vida (8a/8a+) right after. I needed quite some time to figure out the moves and lost lots of skin in the process. Once I believed, that I finally have the right solution, I was not sure if my skin is good enough for one more try (especially, because the problem consists of multiple sharp crimps). Of course, I had another go and right after the first move I got a split on my right index finger… At that moment I just said to myself: “What an amateur…?!”
From that day on, I had to climb with tape and if I had chance to change things, I would have never tried that problem one more time. I guess, that was just another experience, which will help me, to not do the same thing, next time. Instead, I will simply wait for the skin to grow and then try again.
Additionally, it started to rain and we had to move to the Bruno bloc. This is the only bloc, which remains mostly dry even when it rains. This was also the bloc on which I had my project from my last visit – Unendliche geschichte (8b+). This is a problem, which consists of two parts. The first is graded 8a+ and second is 8a.
Since, I was a bit tired, I only decided to repeat the moves and try to do both parts separately. I managed to successfully do both parts and felt quite comfortable about doing the whole thing on this trip.
The weather forecast was looking really bad, so we decided to take a day off. We dedicated the day to study and we took a short drive to the nearest town, Andeer. Additionally, we also did some easy stretching and injury-prevention exercises.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine, how different life without internet connection is. But there, you are able to see the world from that perspective. That is surely another thing, that I really like about Magic Wood. It completely isolates you from the rest of the world and makes your life really simple. There, you can really focus solely on climbing.
Bruno Bloc Only
The weather was still quite bad, but we decided to head to Bruno bloc anyway.
Massive attack (8a+)
I warmed up on the both parts of the Unendliche geschichte and then tried – Massive attack (8a+). The problem, that consists of 3 really hard moves. This was also one of the problems, that felt super hard on my last visit.
Nevertheless, after just a few tries it became clear to me, that I can actually do it. Additionally I also found a semi-good knee-bar and since I don’t have a knee-pad, I had to use my shirt. I had quite some troubles with wrapping the shirt around my knee properly. But after a while, I managed to wrap it good enough, to get the knee-bar in. And that was the key to unlocking moves in Massive attack.
Nothing changes (8a)
In the meantime, Mia already gave up on the Massive attack and started trying – Nothing changes (8a). In no time, she was already getting super close to finishing the problem. It turned out all she needed was a proper rest and she was able to connect the moves.
To finish the day, I decided to give Unendliche geschichte and few tries and Mia tried the upper part. For me, the moves were becoming easier with every try and I was starting to make more and more progress.
And just like that, the day was over. The only thing left was to cook rice, jump in the river and get into the sleeping bag.
Motto of The Day – #rainingdoesnotstop
With the weather forecast better in the next days, Mia decided to take the day off and wait for the good weather. I, on the other hand felt motivated for the Unendliche geschichte. So, we headed to the Bruno bloc once again and I just warmed up and tried it a few times. Although, it was quite humid, because of the rain, I got really close.
After that, I knew that it was time for finish earlier, get some rest and wait for the better conditions. Overall just a short climbing day, with goal to save energy for the next day.
This was “The Day”
This was probably the day of our climbing trip. The weather was perfect and the temperatures were not high, because it rained in the last few days. We even had Vladek Zumr, to come all the way from Zürich. You could feel the psych in the air.
Unfortunately, we lost some along the way, when we were walking towards our first objective of the day – Foxy Lady. Lot of problems on the way were wet. Anyway, we tried to keep our hopes up and with Foxy Lady being dry, we were back to being positive.
Foxy lady (8a)
I was the only one trying the problem and I was seriously nervous. Me and this problem go way back, when I first tried it in 2013. I couldn’t fit my fingers into the famous crack and this time, I even had split on my index finger. The odds were against me.
With pads placed, finger taped and climbing shoes on, I took a deep breath and went for the first move. From there I placed my right heel and reached into the crack. I immediately noticed that my index finger didn’t fit as it should. Nonetheless, I continued to position my body for the next move and reach into the crack with my left hand. The crack felt better than expected and I went for the move to the crimp. And bam, just like that I was through the crux. Furthermore, on my first try!! It was a really huge relief and satisfaction.
The funny thing was, that I had to go again for the pictures. To my surprise, I did it one more time!
Jack’s broken heart (8a+)
After that, it was time for me to take some break and let Mia do the climbing. She set her eyes on – Jack’s broken heart (8a+). The problem suited her climbing style and I had no doubt, that she can do it.
From the moment, she got on, it was clear that the moves felt easy to her. It was just a matter of time, till she finds the right method and sends the problem. In no time, she had the right method and it was time to try the problem from the start. With every try she got closer and closer. After about 5 tries she ended up on top of the problem.
With Mia being super excited about doing Jack’s broken heart, she wanted to try her project from her last visit – New base line (8b+). Therefore, we headed towards that bloc. To our surprise, the line was completely dry, along with both High spirit and Voigas.
High spirit (8a+/b)
Since I wanted to save some power for Unendliche geschichte, I decided to give – High spirit (8a+/b) a few tries. I tried this problem the last time, I was here and I was struggling with the second move. Right of the bat, the boulder felt much easier and I managed to do the moves quickly.
It turned out, that three tries from the start was all I needed! I feel in the flow, my body movement was on point and the moves somehow felt easy. Super, happy about that one.
New Base Line
Then, it was time for Mia to shine. Without too much hesitation, she just threw herself at the mercy of the boulder. She quickly unlocked all the sequences and started working it from the beginning. It looked, like she was made for this problem and it was clear to everyone, that she can do it within a few tries.
I’ll not go into details, but after falling 2 times from the last hard move, she took a 20 min rest and decided to really give it everything. She took a deep breath and started to “float” over the crux, but then at the very end of the problem, when she finally stuck the last hard move, she slightly touched the crash-pad and continued to top the problem. We were all amazed, that she climbed the problem and devastated at the same time, as we knew she touched the crash-pad. She was more than just upset and she really wanted to get it done that day. Therefore, she made quite a few tries, but sadly to no avail.
With the bittersweet taste, we left the problem and headed to Bruno bloc, where I was about to try my project.
Unendliche geschichte (8b+)
As usually I tried both parts separately and then tried the whole problem 2 times. I fell at the second to last hard move and knew, that this is the day, when I can do it. After that try, one of the climbers who was trying the first part suggested to me, that I should use a bit different method for the second part, as felt easier for him.
I tried the new method for the second part and it didn’t feel much different, but when I tried the whole problem from the start, it was a completely different story and I got sooooo close! I felt, like I unlocked the last piece of puzzle and I wanted to do it the next go.
A few deep breaths before the start and off I go. I solely focused on perfect execution of every move and conserving with my energy as much as possible. I’m over the first part and getting ready the second part. I cut-loose and immediately place my right heel on the hold and I go for the far away crimp. I change my heel to toes and bump the first sloper and then the second. Suddenly I end up holding the second crimp, which meant that I am over the hard part and just need to compose myself for the last few moves. Of course, my foot slips a bit, but it doesn’t really affect me and that’s it, my hardest boulder to date, just like that!
I really wasn’t expecting it to come together on this trip, but it simply did. What a great day in the forest!
We finished the day with a well-deserved celebratory beer.
With my goals for the trip already surpassed this day was all about Mia and the New base line. Therefore, we headed up there early so she could take time and finish it off. I also used the situation, to check out the moves for myself and get an idea, if it can be my next project. I must say that apart from the first 2 moves, the boulder felt doable.
Anyway, back to Mia. She was warmed up and ready to try the upper part. The visibly felt harder, than yesterday. Nonetheless, she was ready to give it all-in! After 2 unsuccessful tries, she didn’t get really close and it started to affect her. She was feeling a bit frustrated for not doing it the day before and I got a feeling, that she was forcing herself to do the boulder and that she actually, doesn’t want to climb it.
She gave it a few more goes, but no luck. Then the sun showed and it got really hot. Firstly, we decided to wait for the clouds, but ultimately, she decided, that is just not going to happen today. We left the boulder with awkward mood in the air.
With team morale quite low, I decided, to try some easier problems. My first objective was -Adi Dassler (7c+). I managed to do it on my second go and Mia flashed it. That got us in a bit better mood.
Bomb is explosion (7c+/8a)
Next up it was – Bomb is explosion (7c+/8a). This is basically a really powerful one move problem. You start on a strange crimp pinch with left hand and slopy undercling with right hand. From there you just launch for the jug. I swear that I had to pull so hard, that I was about to poop, but somehow, I managed to stick the move and top it.
Since the first day, one of the problems, that I wanted to try was – Electro boogie (8a+), so that is where we were headed lastly. I did the moves quite easily, but sadly couldn’t connect them. I was feeling tired and with 2 tapes on both index fingers, I then decided to stop and head back to the camp.
We finished the day with rice and wine.
Heading Back Home
It rained again over night and we decided, that this is time to leave. Of course, I knew it would not be the easiest thing for Mia, as she was still pretty emotional about New base line, but I am certain, that she will do it next time she comes.
We packed everything and headed back to Slovenia. A bit shy of 8 hours and we were back home. The only question remains for how long, as we already made some new plans along the way. If everything goes by plan, you will find is in the forest again, at the end of September.
Till then, thank you for reading and let me know your thoughts! Any feedback is more than appreciated.
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