A Winter BY BERND ZANGERL
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In the last couple of years I spent most of my time dicovering new places, looking for new projects and ‘impossible’ moves. Some of the areas we developed in the past are now bouldering hot spots. Climbers from all over the world come to visit Cresciano or Magic Wood. The quietness I enjoyed so much is gone, and so I am even more motivated to find new places. Of course I like to come back to these areas, and sometimes I am surprised that I still can do first ascents like Disney Production and Geckos, which are still unrepeated.
A Winter’s Tale BY BERND ZANGERL
hat’s bouldering for me now. A creative game. And after all those years, I still feel that surge of excitement when I find a new, unclimbed line, a new boulder. Repeating problems is different. In a way it’s much easier. It’s just about doing the moves you already know from movies or pictures. When I started bouldering I was very motivated just to repeat. I still do, sometimes. But I have to say: working on my own visions and dreams is more interesting for me. This winter I was highly motivated for another ‘long term project’. I totally focused on these seven moves. Two months of snow bouldering, temperatures below zero, freezing all the time, and I kept on falling on the very last move. As conditions got worse, I decided to call it quits. Not just the temps were below zero, also the fun factor. So I went in search of a spot with less snow. I cruised around Switzerland, and finally landed in the Murg Valley where Fred [Nicole] put up Entlinge in 2005. I already tried the problem years before, but I thought that I was too short for the reachy crux move. So I didn’t persevere. Now, on the first day I climbed till the crux, but again no chance for that long move to a small crimp. On the second day I was able to do the crux move once. I didn’t really think about a fast success, because there are some hard moves to the crux, but at least I knew it was possible for me. Two days later I visited Murg again. After falling a few times before the crux, I was already packing my stuff. Time to go, but somehow I went back to give it another try. Everything was in flow, and I made it to the top. I was more than surprised. It was just one of those perfect days. Conditions in Ticino were finally getting more bearable. Ok, we still did some snow shovelling, but at least the weather was fine again. Motivation was high and on the 20 Feb I did the third acend of Dipende. This great face climb was also put up by Fred and only Tim Clifford (a British climber) managed to repeat the problem in 2005. No other climber was able to Bernd Zangerl making the coveted 2nd ascent of From the Dirt Grows the Flower (8C). Photos RADEC CAPEK 56
decode this 5 m wall. And as there was no proper grade, nobody was interested in doing it. Since this great and unique climb doesn’t show up in numerous scorecards, I would say it’s harder than 8a+. In 2005 Dave Graham put up From the Dirt Grows the Flower, setting the new standard for 8C in bouldering, together with the Story of 2 Worlds, which he climbed a month earlier. Many strong climbers have tried The Flower, but nobody succeeded. I also tried it, but after doing the moves I lost motivation and went back to my own projects. This year I hoped to keep up the motivation and already on my first day I climbed the problem without the first two moves. I was sure that I could do it. Maybe a bit too sure. I could feel the pressure mounting and on march 16 I got very close again. Feeling the last hold under my fingers I slipped off. I decided to do a ‘breakfast’ bouldering session the next day. “During the night the rock will cool down . . . perfect conditions,” I thought to myself. At 6 am the alarm wakes me from my dreams. Strong coffee and loud music chases away the sleeping ghosts and by 8 am I am in front of the problem. It’s much colder than the day before and I am getting nervous. I can do it! I warm up and just before 9 am I stick the final hold and From the Dirt Grows the Flower gets its first repeat.
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE GRADE? There have been many discussions about grading since the ‘new standard’ was put up in 2005. It seems that it’s the most important thing now in bouldering. Even people who are far from climbing that level of difficulty want to talk about it. They propose grades and think that everything can be measured by a logical or mathematical system. I think only someone who is actually climbing at this level has an idea how sensitive this topic is. The individual moves of From the Dirt Grows the Flower aren’t that hard, there are just many of them. At the end it’s a question of power/ endurance. On Entlinge, or some of my own problems like Anam Cara and Disney Production, the moves felt harder. Dreamtime or New Base Line may be a bit easier, but these problems date back to 2001 and 2002. They were the first problems of this difficulty and it is much harder to compare them. Nowadays though the level in bouldering is really high. There are plenty of hard problems and many strong climbers. Just because the standards rise, we don’t necessarily have to downgrade. It takes time for a grade to settle and each climber has personal strengths and weaknesses. How much a problem suits your personal style is really important in bouldering. Most climbers forget this. Personally, I feel that some other boulder problems felt harder than From the Dirt.
Published on Jun 29, 2009