For those who follow my adventures on Facebook and /or instagram… You might have noticed that the last 6 weeks I was having the prime time of this year. If you don’t follow me, you should. I might infect you with endless positivism and hunger for adventures.
@_v_man_ or Instagram
It went from Big City Life to Brig City Life via Brix(en) City Life. Three locations, three climbing partners, and three types of fun! I drove over 3000 miles climbed over 3000m of rock and achieved my short term(trip) and middle term(climbing grade up) goals!
Let’s talk about goals. I realised that if I don’t have a goal to strive for, I sometimes slack too much and loose the direction. Before this trip I decided that it would be great to climb 10 of 7b/b+ and at least one 7c+/8a. It is sometimes better to have a goal which is hard to achieve, but doable so one has to really push oneself, rather than a goal which can be achieved pretty easy and for the rest of the trip one just climbs whatever. I did a lot of easy climbing and massive multipitches.
The first two weeks I’ve spent with my partner in crime, Matthias Trickey. My mum joined us for a week as well. On the very first day all of us climbed a 200m multipitch. Bare in mind that my mum has only climbed indoors once and she coped well with the exposure and hight. The rest of the time she was with us she spent hiking and admiring the Alps. Mr. Trickey and myself started crushing. It was his first big outdoor climbing trip and he learned a lot. Mostly that footwork is of a great importance when climbing long routes, so you could rest your arms.
I dropped him off to the airport and collected Rokas – my second partner in conquering limestone, granite and dolomite cliffs.
We were 3 weeks in (1 week for Rokas) and I had half of my goal achieved. I had 5 out of 10 7b/b+ and the hard one ticked off. Just chasing grades and numbers felt quite strange to me and instead I wanted an adventure.
That is why we went and climbed Cima Grande with a haul bag which was not needed at all. That made us slower and we had to bivouac at the top. Descending was out of the question. Too risky…We were tired and going with head-torches did not seem like a viable option. The morning was one of the most spectacular ones in my life. All the climbing and getting benighted on the wall paid off with the view from our ‘beds’. We did not have sleeping-bags or sleeping mats, therefore we were pretty cold at the altitude of ~2700m above the sea level. As there were climbing parties above us they dislodged a lot of loose rock which went past us making the sound of a cloud of drones flying by. One rock hit me on my head. Two seconds later it started to ring in my ears. I touched my helmet, but no damage was done. It must have been a small pebble. Even a small stone can get a lot of speed falling 300-500 meters. Rokas got hit on a shoulder blade. That is when it went from type one to type two fun for him and borderline type one for me. He had to use ascenders to get up couple of pitches, because he did not feel confident climbing when there was a chance that he would slip and would have a rather big swing. The reason for that being my runners. I felt very confident and was running out 15-20 meters sometimes, in some instances sideways as the route dictated me to do.
This place is worth comming back to. A lot of rock to climb and plenty to do on rest days. And scenery if breathtaking. The European Yosemite pops into my head straight away.
Loaded with bags of endurance and only one more route left to achieve my goal I got back on the road and headed to Switzerland. Fabian was my climbing buddy for the next two weeks.
Little I knew that for the next 14 days we will be bouldering. This meant only one thing, I was going to fail on my goal – kind of… I felt privileged when Fabian took me to the local crag which is not mentioned in any official guidebook and conservative, older generation climbers don’t want to make it public. I respect that, but climbing should not become like surfing, when locals don’t share the swell with others. Blindtälli -the crag- is still to see some major development. There is a rumor that Fred Nicole himself developed some boulders in the forest.
We were having a night session because during the day it was getting a bit too hot and sweaty to pull on small crimps and bad slopers. It was a first time experience for me. I felt recovered from previous days of climbing. 3rd go and ‘Härti Post’ was in my bag. Fabian fist bumped me and congradulated me on sending my last 7B+. It was a boulder and not a route, however I felt pretty made up about it, but then I needed another project to go for.
I have only cleaned and developed boulders about 3 years ago in Lithuania. Therefore I thought that this would only do good to the community. Every time we were in Blindtälli we would walk past about 7m-8m boulder with an arête screaming to be cleand and climbed. So, we did.
After a ton of moss and pine needles were scraped off I started to look at the moves. The right hand side of the arête starts with good holds then becomes more technical for you feet to fight the ‘barn door’. We chalked it up and it went… With the first attempt not to the very top. I got scared and messed up my footwork. I felt really honnored to put a first ascent and named it ‘Far Away From Home’. It only gets a font 6B+(V3), but it clearly tests ones confidence at hight. The landing we built is great. I was hungry for more and had to clean the other side of the arête. The holds got smaller and the moves got bigger. The given name ‘The Other Side of the Medal’ with a grade of F7A(V6). I climbed some routes which were as short as this boulder. At least 3 pads are recommended.
The last days of my trip were spent in St. Gotthard pass. Fabian and I had no projects were, but we did not take long to find some. The first day there went better than I would have ever expected. I was just having fun climbing a lot of boulders not very hard in grade, then I thought that I need to burn some energy and try something hard. I jumped on something what for you might seem stupid. ‘Stein Christmas’ Font 8A(V11) slab. the sun was behind the mountain and it is almost always windy in the pass. Conditions were perfect… Razor sharp crimps to start with and then minuscule crystals to follow from the rock-over. I was going slow and just wanted my skin to last and not rip pealing my nails off.
The crimp at the top meant that I have succeeded and it felt like a jug after pulling with my finger nails facing down. Needless to say, I was buzzing with happiness. Sometimes having now expectations and just trying your hardest works to your advantage. I felt like I unlocked something in my mind, something that I could describe as barrier which I had when I was approaching climbs of a grade I have not climbed before. I would plant the seed of doubt. This time there was no doubt, just 100% commitment and trust in my footwork.
Moral of the trip…
Having a some sort of goal is good, but sometimes just climbing something with no anticipation and fear of failing is much more productive and rewarding. Psychological pressure free you can achieve great things, but you need to put all you got.
Now I am back to London for 6 weeks. 6 weeks of intense training to gain some of the power I have lost sport climbing. Then a trip to Portugal and Spain for another 6 weeks of bouldering. I will meet friends I have missed and new people who might become my future friends. Now I need to come up with a goal I want to achieve, some lines I have not climbed the last time I was there.
Keep climbing and having fun! Peace out!