lørdag 4. januar 2014

10 days in amazing Albarracin

Well well, 10 days of world class bouldering in Albarracin just came to and end. It's been an awesome trip, and LOTS of climbing! This was my first time in Albarracin and it was just overwhelming how much great climbing Albarracin has to offer. It was hard to save anything, skin and energy was not a topic, we run around like kids in a candy shop, trying everything that looked tempting. I actually did send some boulders even though I left many many more projects behind. Kenneth, impressive as always, seemed unstoppable and just kept climbing and sending so many amazing hard boulders all the time. Very inspiring to watch him preform, he gives it all and has a ability to pull out everything and more than that. He's my motivation to give it all, and to not let the mind limit yourself. A muerte style!  Since a picture is worth a thousand words I will leave most of the talking to the pictures :)
El Varano 8A

One of the boulders I got the most psyched on - El Varano 8A. Really happy to actually send this one! Sooooo my style.

Kenneth showing how it's done - El Varano 8A.

Not the best photo, but a really good boulder - El Orejas de las reglatas 8A. Some compressed move in the beginning and then two big moves around the edge, before a more technical finish. Kenneth did this the first day. I felt close, but not enough power to stick the move up to the sloper after the undercut. NEXT time!

The classic! Cosmos 8A. No send for any of us, but many good tries. Kenneth had to stand low and jump for the hole, I could step up and go for the hole more controlled but I missed out the hold with a few centimeters. Kenneth managed to get the hole but just got too big of a swing to keep it up. I guess if he had been fresh he would have nailed it. One to be back for for sure.

El Camino del eceso 8A. A cool steep thing. This one felt hard. We did not really figured out all the sequences think you can do it with some kind of double heal. We tried it more the getcha style way - but not getcha enough. Need a bigger biceps for this one.  

Zombie nation - after the big foothold broke = zombie SPANK.

Fuerte a muerte 8A - soooo close to send this one, fell on the move from the shoulder up to the flat hold. If I knew that the rain that supposed to come the last two days did NOT come, I would have rested for one day in hope to feel fresh and get some much needed skin to actually send this one. Damned weather report, made us completely wasted :P  At least Kenneth sent this one. My fighter!

I did not send Fuerte a muerte, but I happily sent the straight up version to the right, Manuchakra 7C. with a JUMP to the top :D oh yes.

Zaitos 8A going DOWN by Kenneth. Easy match. He was soooo close to flash this one, ended up doing it in his 3.go. Máquina!

Zaramora sit 8A - what a shame not to execute this one, so close! Really good boulder, looking forward to get back on this one :)
Kenneth sends ZARAPARILLA 8B!!!! Amazing!! That's how you execute.  Really wanna do this boulder, just have to stick the crux move on Zaramora :) Psyched to train hard for coming back for this one! :D

Kenneth SOOOO close on sending Esperanza sit 8B. Looking so strong and abel to have ridiculously many tries without seemed to leak any power. A mystery why he did not send it, guess it's karma for going back. Easy next time.
  We tried yet another classic, Klems travers 8A. Kenneth really close, me not so close, could not do the looooong move up where Kenneth is going on the picture.

Super nice!!! El Apeadero 7C+. 

Kenneth shows us some hidden slab skills and sends Grasshopper 7B+ 

We met some other norwegians, here is Lars looking comfortable on the slab.

Trond gives it all and sends the super classic Arista de los belgas 7B on our last day!

Our last day feeling completely TRASHED and having multiple holes on the fingers. My body is down but my mind is still on, here sending the classic Escaramuza (sit) 7B+. Had to fight for this one.

Well, our time in Albarracin is up. It has been a great trip and  it feels sad to be home, while wanting to climb so much more in beautiful Spain and completing all the boulders we left behind. Guess we just have to stay psyched and train hard. We will be back FOR SURE Albarracin!! Hasta luego. And thank you for a great time :D

tirsdag 9. juli 2013

Summertime in beautiful Flatanger and Fosen :D

Our two week summertrip was spent at Flatanger and Fosen! This area is the best of two worlds - high quality boulders and routes, all within an hour drive. 

After a 10 hours drive from Oslo we (my boyfriend Kenneth and I) arrived to a charming old cottage we rented, just by the Sea, with a beautiful view in quiet and relaxing surroundings… and only a 2 min drive from the notorious cave of Flatanger :D

Welcome to Flatanger!
We changed between bouldering and route climbing and some days we even did both. We would then start the day with some bouldering and end it with some routes in the cave.

A day in Vingsand

Harbak in the sun :)

Even though we were surrounded by world-class bouldering, my eyes were set on the cave.

I had only climbed in Flatanger for a weekend previous to this trip. But already then I knew I had to come back for a longer time soon. I was captured by some of the classic, yet newly established routes. Nordic Flower was one of them. The route starts far inside the cave and goes out the overhang for the entire time. It has two anchors, the first after 35 meters and the extension (the full link) adds another 10 ish meters.

"Nordic flower"

After working the moves and finding the right beta, it only took me something like four redpoint attempt to send it. Really happy to rap that one up! So close to pump out in the very top, clipping the anchors felt so hard with the massive rope drag. As we didn’t have that much time, I will be back for the extension next trip (don’t know when yet), really psyched on this route. It has a bouldery start then continuously pumpy steep climbing on good holds, with semi crux in between. It has a nice flow.. and makes you really exhausted ☺

I of course tried some other routes. Did two very nice 8a’s “Flaggermusmannen” and “Litt på kanten” and also a beautiful 7c named “Eventyrblanding”.  The very last day I also went through “Muy Verdes” 8c+. Super nice bouldery route! Felt hard, but for sure want to get back on it when we come back ☺

Great end of a great trip when my MAN sent a really tricky hard boulder “Baboonmasters egde” 8A on our last day! Oh yes!
Baboonmasters egde (8A) going down

fredag 22. februar 2013

Spain with mixed emotions

Even though it’s the same house, climbing mostly at the same crag Santa Linya, hanging out with the same people and with the days looking quite the same, this season in Spain has been completely different from last season. Trying to live in Spain when your boyfriend is home in Oslo is not easy.

When I first got here in late November I went straight on my long term project, La Novena Puerta (8c+), the route I left unfinished last season. I kind of surprised my self by sending it after less then two weeks on it. Going back on a route that you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on, is sometimes hard. But after training a lot at home before returning back to Spain it felt really good and the route felt a lot easier then I remembered it.

Passing the first bouldery crux on La Novena Puerta (8c+)

End of the second crux section, La Novena Puerta
(Photo: Henning Wang)
It’s a great feeling to send a route after putting lots of work into it. It gives you the right motivation to keep working on pushing your self and your limits, it opens your mind to how good the body can adapt to hard stuff if you just truly want it.

Into the main crux

Sending time! La Novena Puerta
(photo: Henning Wang)

Longing to get home to my boy, I’ve ending up traveling a lot of back and forth during this season in Spain. Exploring the Barcelona airport, like never before and getting phone bills of the makeable kind.

Anyway, after sending La Novena Puerta I’ve found it hard to get motivated to try something even harder. The thought of having to spend many weeks on a route is a thought that usually would just turn me on, but this time it just feels unmotivating. On the bright side this season has been a lesson on what a more aggressive approach has done to my climbing. Redpointing amuerte style, wanting to make short process of hard routes. I guess wanting to get home put things in action.

Down for business, going all in on Aitzol (8c)
(Photo: Henning Wang)

Sending Remeneo (8b+)
(Photo: Manabu Yoneyama)

Once again I’m back in Spain, this time after spending almost a month in Norway. This trip will be the last before returning back home to Oslo for good. I don’t have the ticket home yet, but I guess I will stay here for about 2-4 weeks.

My time in Spain is coming to an end, the remaining time I will spend on trying to finish up some 8c-ish routes I’ve been working, routes I’ve been feeling pretty close on. Routes like Aitzol in Margalef, Open your mind and Aplom pa la Remeno in Santa Linya. I might also check out the new linkup my brother did recently, Analógica Natural Extension (9a) in Santa Linya, but only for future reference :)

tirsdag 21. august 2012

Freshening up.

After a involuntarily two week brake from climbing, it felt fantastic to be on my way to Innsbruck with climbing climbing climbing on the agenda.
When the plane cut through the dark and rainy clouds hanging over Oslo, I felt like the virus that had been haunting me the last couple of weeks, was finally left behind. In front of me where only sunshine and blue skies.

My optimism and the sunny day continued when I landed in Munich, but with my feet firmly back on the ground, I was once again reminded that thought I was feeling much better, my body was still not back to 100%...
The thought of a relapse to the sickness and more time spent without training scared me enough to hold back and not push it too far in Innsbruck. As a compromise I climbed on hard routes...just not that many of them:)

I really like Innsbruck, It`s a great place to shape it up! The combination of incredible training facilities and so many talented climbers cheering each other is just uniq and super motivating.

I wish I could have stayed a bit longer, but after "just" 4 days of climbing, my time in Innsbruck was up. Together with Magnus I headed back to Norway to the southern city of Kristiansand for the amazing DWS competition Norwegian Rockmaster.
Like last year's Norwegian Rockmaster in Arendal the competition was once again a great success! This mainly thanks to Børre Berghaven and he's crew who really put in an incredible effort to make the event a great show.
Loud music, speedboats, hot tubs, big price money, great people, good party and just an amazing atmosphere! I really hope Børre will keep up this tradition and I am allready looking forward to next year:)

"the first qualification route"
"Halfway up the final route... and a scary victory jump from 14 meters to come"

Thanks to Lars Verket for the pictures!

Results in this years Rockmaster:


1. Hannah Midtbø

2. Mayan Smith Gobat

3. Helena Aleman


1. Magnus Midtbø

2. Jan Hojer

3. Daniel Jung

tirsdag 7. august 2012

Sick of being sick!

Since I returned to Oslo in May I have been focusing on hard indoor training.
Primarily I train for the next season in Spain (late fall), but to put in some more short-term goals I have decided to attend a few comps. The training in the gym is similar to what you get in the comps, so this seemed like a good time to check out some of the events.
This was going great untill about 10 days ago when I suddenly had to stop due to some kind of illness. I`m now pushing my tenth day of suffering... and I still feel bad.
I´v been feeling strong and super psyched for training latley, so I find it very demotivating to get sick and have to slow down the pace.

This weekend is the World Cup in Imst, an event I was looking forward to attending. When I first felt sick with a cold 10 days ago, I'd never thought that it would keep me from participating. Instead optimistic as ever I saw it as a chance to squeeze in a bit longer rest period.

As expected the cold knew it`s visiting time, and a short lazy week later it seemed all but gone.
Unfortunately for me the cold aparently left the door wide open for some of it`s nasty friends as it was leaving, so after the cold went out, I have literally been HOT.

The last week has plagued me with high fever and heavy headaches, and left me in a body with muscle pain and no energy.
I'm not really sure what kind of new illness I have gotten, but I guess it's only a "harmless" virus...

Before I got ill I felt in a great shape. Even after many hard workouts, the body managed to recover and build it self up quickly. It's strange how quick the body repair's it self from hard training, while when it comes to removing a illness it just seems to take forever...
After the first week when the cold seemed to let go, I imidiately exposed myself for training again, but as soon as I started to climb I got completely overheated and dizzy.
The signal for not wanting to pull hard was quite clear. The body simply shut down the system...

I like to think that I have control over my body, but when you get sick is noticeable (and kinda scary) how little you really can control.
I was really looking forward to be competing in Imst this weekend, but no matter how much the head like to be in charge, the body will have the last word in the end.
Sometimes it's hard to face the facts, but when it gets like this I guess you just have to give in and let the body do what it needs to get back on track again.

With my flights to Imst already booked I have choosen to stay optimistic and postpone the departure ticket to Sunday, instead of throwing it away completely.
The competition will be done Saturday, but the Norwegian national team will have a training camp the week after in Innsbruck and Imst. If I finaly recover by then, I will join them.

I am hopeing that even thougth I won´t get to compete I might at least get the chance to try the routes. Guess that's a pitty comfort.
My first World Cup in a long time which should have been in Imst is no longer happening, but for this small set back I am hopeing I´ll soon be back on track and ready for the World Championships in Paris!

mandag 14. mai 2012

Last day, last try, last move...

Well, my stay in Spain has once again come to an end. I’ve had a great season, despite the disappointment of not finishing my main goal, Novena Puerta (8c+).

I’ve been trying Novena pretty intensely the last few weeks, feeling stronger after almost every rest day and making great progress.
The conditions have unfortunately not been on my side, being the end of the season in Santa Linya.
The route is (at this time of the year) in constant shade, but rising temps, wet holds and high humidity makes everything feel harder.

The route also takes forever to dry up, and there has been a lot of rain lately… Luckily most of the route has somehow stayed dry, but not all.
Most annoyingly a tufa just where you enter the upper crux has been wet, forcing me to try to climb the upper boulder crux with a wet hand...

My first encounter with Novena was back in January. I was feeling in great shape after Fabelita (my first 8c and first female accent of the route) and I was looking for a new project.
Having skipped 8b+, I found my self more confused with climbing grades then ever.
It seemed to me more a question of finding something I liked, something I was really motivated to work on, then a given number grade.
Of course, the higher number the more work, but if I try hard enough, the body, at least so far, seems to adapt.

I really liked the look of the Novena line, so I went through the moves a few times to see what it was all about.
The route is 22 meters long, super steep and bouldery.
It breaks down to a 12 meter 8b+/8c, followed by a decent rest, before another 10 meter 8b+.
The first part starts off with a hard boulder (up to a bad kneebar rest), followed by sustained hard technical climbing to the rest.

The rest after the start-boulder
(Photo: Henning Wang)
The final moves on the first part
(Photo: H. Wang)

The rest is a big sloppy “horn” with good feet to the right, you can get some help from a heel and a bad kneebar, but most of the time you are better of hanging on your arms.

"Mid rest"
(Photo: H. Wang)
After the mid rest you are thrown into a technical 7C-ish boulder followed by a few long moves before the final bad "rest". It's about 60 degrees overhanging and you need a lot of body tension just to stay on the wall.
From this “rest” you get a sloper and have to do some technical footwork. This is followed by a few big moves to a decent undercling and the final crux, a dyno to a slopey jug just below the anchor.

The route climbs great but, maybe not so surprisingly, I found it to be really really hard.
I could barely do some of the moves individually and linking more then a few moves seemed impossible.
I did not really see myself sending it in the near future, so I left it, focusing my attention on Rollito Sharma Extension (8c) and Ingravids Eskerpes (8c).
During the next months I got stronger. So after sending Ingravids, I returned once again to Novena.
The moves still felt really hard, and I could not link the bottom boulder from the ground, but progression came fast and not before long I was making good links doing the route in 4 parts.
Not long after that, the first heavy rain came, the whole cave got soaked, and I had to leave the route in favor of something dry.

The next 2 weeks I spent in Margalef working mainly on Aitzol (8c). My finger strength was not the best after months on reasonably “big” holds in the cave, so Margalef was a perfect cure.
I felt close on Aitzol, but the cave dried up, and as Margalef is a 100km drive from our house, I decided to leave it and focus my remaining time on Novena.

Back on Novena I now felt much stronger (thank you Margalef). After a few days of tries, I was falling at the very top of the first part just below the mid rest (8b+/8c). One rest day later, I was linking through the whole first part, falling in what seems to be the crux for me, stabbing into a one finger pocket from a very small pinch in the boulder just after the mid rest.

My friend Gerard Rull on the mono crux on Novena Puerta
After falling I was also able to link from the mid rest to the top twice. This got me super motivated. For the first time, I was actually feeling like I might be able to do the route.
Running out of time, every go seemed more and more precious. The first part requires so much focus and effort, so much that I was rarely able to get through it more then once a day.

In the mid rest I would stay for between 7-10 min, try to recover as much as possible, only to get shut down by slightly missing the stab to the mono a few meters above…  

I found it very hard mentally to force myself to try to rest for so long knowing this horrible low percentage move was looming just above. I knew It could go If I just got there enough times or got a little lucky, and a few days later, that’s what happened.
"Sticking the mono (I use two fingers, but only one finger gets deep.. I found it easier to hit the pocket that way)"
"Going for the next good hold"
(Photo: H. Wang)

I stuck the mono move and got to the next good holds. Feeling much more pumped then I thought I would I decided to try to rest as little as possible and make a run for it.

"Running through the last moves... Getting more and more pumped"
(Photo: H. Wang)
This got me through to the very last move, the final crux, the jump to the big sloppy jug from a weird position holding a good undercling low down and a small edge.

I jumped, got my hand a centimeter from the good part of the hold, and slipped off…With only a few days left, I was lowered down, physically and mentally completely exhausted. 
I felt like climbing on something else for a while. I needed to reload my energy and motivation for Novena. Unfortunately there was no time for that, the temps seemed to be rising from one day to the next. If I wanted to do this route this year I had no choice but to get back on it.
A couple of rainy rest days later, I was back on the route. This time thought without the motivation or the conditions. I tried, but not as hard as I had been trying before, it was useless.
If you don’t want it bad enough, you don’t get it…

I had to find my motivation again fast and pull my self together.
Freshening up on my “Rock Warriors Way” (the book) helped.
Once again I was focusing on seeing falling at the top as part of the process and a part of the challenge.
Not wasting my energy on “I should have done this already, I god damn fell on the top jug, bullshit-attitude”.

There are definitely times on a hard redpoints when things arn’t going your way, times when you find yourself confronted with despair and fading motivation.
This is when you have to look deep inside to find why you choose the challenge in the first place.
If I wanted to clip a lot of anchors I could have gone from crag to crag doing 8a’s and 8b’s.
I choose to be here, I choose to work this route, I wanted this challenge… and here I am, frustrated over the challenge.
It is at times like these, when you really get to test your self, not just physically but mentally, you really learn something about yourself.

I learned I could not just give up, not like this, not so close.
But only 1 day remained…
I needed more time, enough time to get a proper chance to really try to do it.
With my head back on track and the body rested, I decided to extend my stay with one more week.
My extended week began with overwhelming heat and rain, and the route got wet again pretty fast.
But with this new heat, it dried up a lot quicker then usually. It was still quite wet, but compared to how slow it dried up before, it was looking promising.
With some wet holds and temps pushing 30 it was far from perfect, but the psyche was high and I was totally ready to go hard and really push myself. I had one day on and one day off, so as to be able to recover properly and climb my best when climbing.
It worked pretty well, I was feeling stronger and stronger, getting through the first part (8b+/8c) up to three times a day at the end of the week.
A tufa in the crux boulder was now wet, and once again I found myself slightly missing on the stab move to the mono, now with the addition of a wet hand. 3 times I actually got the mono, just to have the wet hand slip off going for the next hold…

Then, in overwhelming heat (about 32 degrees) and fading light, I set of for my last try of the trip.
It was my second try of the evening, but I had skipped the morning session and was still feeling strong.
I got to the mid rest, feeling a little more tired then the try before, but still able to recover.
In the boulder I then got past the mono crux (for my second time)!
I was very surprised, I had almost chosen not to climb because of the heat. It just felt way too warm to climb something on my limit in these conditions.
Had it not been the last day I would have rested, but being the last day I had nothing to loose, I wanted to go home knowing I had done everything I could.

Climbing past the mono gave me such a rush, a truly amazing feeling.
I tried not to rush it, to stay focused and just let the body do what it was supposed to do. My mental aspect was in the right order, I even felt okay climbing in the heat.
I felt really strong actually... but once again… I thought falling on the last move once was bad enough… and then to fall on it again… 

I guess you can sum up many positive things about the process and learning and so on, but to be honest, it feels closer to my heart just to scream JODER! I wanted to do this route so bad, I really tried harder then I ever have on a route before…
It was therefor a little emotional leaving beautiful Spain, my mission yet unfinished.
I’m still so motivated to climb on it, and feeling like in my best shape ever, it’s hard to make sense of going home to climb indoors, not staying to use the shape I’ve been working up to finish Novena Puerta…

I left Spain light handed, I literally did. Not only did I not do my route, but I lost my bag on the bus to the Barcelona airport. So my climbing gear is still in Spain. I guess it has to be some kind of sign…

But, lucky for me, I’m coming back to Spain the next season, hopefully feeling even stronger! But for now, I really have to find some new motivation. Training in the gym does not feel that tempting…