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Friday, December 25, 2009

Could Be Worse

Finally the film is finished. None of us know anything about filming or editing so we decided on the name Could Be Worse. I personally think it turned out pretty decent, so here it is. Please send all negative feedback to wedontcare@zer0skillz.com.



A short bouldering film (27 min) shot in Ticino, Switzerland and Maltatal, Austria. Starring Nalle Hukkataival and Kuutti Huhtikorpi.

List of problems:

Switzerland:
Conquistador, 8A+
Ninja Warrior, 7C+ FA
Schule des Lebens, 8A+
Nameless, 6C+
Special Edition, 8A
Fake Pamplemousse, 8A
Walker on Earth, 8A
Ninja Skills, 8B+ FA

Maltatal:
Wrestling with an Alligator, 8B
The Power of Goodbye, 8B
Marmelade auf der Schulter, 8A



I also added a video of Ninja Skills to my previous post (also in the film).

Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ninja Skills

Two week ago I found the Ninja project in Sobrio. I cleaned it started working on it the next day. It turned out to be harder than it looks and the first day we spent trying to figure out the upper section. After lots of tries with countless different ways, I tried something out of the box. Smearing my left foot on the overhanging wall and kicking hard with my right foot as I jumped, gave me enough time to pull my right hand out of the pocket and latch for the next crimp. Instantly I jumped even too far missing the hold. After more tries we were unable to stick the crimp, but we were convinced we had figured out the beta for the dyno. I checked out the top part and once we got the sequence figured out, it didn't feel too bad, but could prove to be hard on the link.



Next day I got back to working on the crux dyno. I was getting closer and holding the crimp a little bit, but still unable to hold the swing. I started working on the lower part that leads up to the dyno. First two moves proved to be really hard again, followed by 6 slightly easier but tiring moves that lead to the crux dyno. All together the problem is 20 moves long, with hard climbed all teh way. It got dark and I had to pack my stuff unable to do the crux dyno or the first moves.


Working on the upper section


Working the first moves

After two days break from the project, we returned. Pretty quickly I managed to stick the crux dyno and climb to the top. I also did the first moves and managed to link it all the way from the start to the crux, but so tired that I really had no chance of trying the crux dyno.

Next day I started taking tries from the start, but got shut down really bad. Next day I came back feeling much stronger. After warming up I gave it a go from the start. I got through the first moves and the middle section. I set up for the dyno, jumped, got the crimp and held the swing for a moment, but then my hand exploded of the crimp. Second try I also made it to the crux dyno and stuck it. After a quick shake I fought my way to the very last lock-off. When working on the upper part, this move felt really easy once you got the drop-knee, but after 20 moves from the start something was different. I barely reached the intermediate and with my last strength deadpointed to the lip. I topped out completely pumped but pysched. I named the problem Ninja Skills and I think it's pretty solid at 8B+.


The crux dyno


The crux foothold

Luckily I sent it that day, because the cold front rolled in, taking over whole Switzerland. Chironico is currently too cold to climb in and Cresciano is the only place warm enough, so we've been climbing there for the past days. A couple days ago I climbed Mithril, 8B quite easily after trying it quite a few times over the last years. Today even Cresciano got snowed in so we decided it's time to flee the scene.

Our video camera broke due to a user malfunction (sorry Jarmo!), so no more filming. The movie should be out soon, once we get the finishing edits done. Of course Ninja Skills will also be in the film.

I'm hoping people will go and try Ninja Skills, since it's such an amazing piece of rock. Very close to it I put up another nice line called 'Ninja Warrior' 7C+. Here are instructions on how to get there:

Park in the village of Sobrio (on the other side of the valley from Chironico). Walk downhill following the hiking trail and signs for 'Scarti vegetali disposita'. After about 15 min you pass 'Scarti vegetali disposita' and follow the trail signs. After about 15 min more you arrive at an obvious 45 degree overhang on the right side of the path. Ninja Skills is 150 meters up and left from here. Ninja Warrior is 50 meters above Ninja Skills.


Here are some more screen grabs from the film:



 Last move of Ninja Skills, 8B+

 
 First ascent of Ninja Warrior, 7C+

 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ninja project

Weather in Ticino has been great and we've been climbing pretty much every day. Some days ago we had a nice night session at Dreamtime and I managed to do the FA (?) of the stand start after the break, which is probably 8B now. I must say it's not as good as it used to be. The would probably be a real 8C now.


Dreamtime stand after-break

On Wednesday I found a sick new project that I'm really psyched on! It's on a big proud boulder with only one very obvious line in the middle. It holds about 20 moves of intense climbing. The project name Ninja Skills comes from the interesting crux move in the picture along with some other crazy moves. I've worked on it for 2 days now and it feels hard.


The crux move of Ninja Skills project

Too many things to climb, need to stay focused!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Zero Skillz Productions

I've been here in Switzerland for a couple weeks now. The weather has not been very good, but seems like it's getting better. A few days ago I did a very height dependent problem called Conquistador, 8A+ in Chironico. This boulder lies in the riverbed in Schattental and the landing is now about 2 meters higher than what it used to be. A nice problem nevertheless. Yesterday I climbed Confessions of a Crap Artist low, 8A+.


 Confessions of a Crap Artist low, 8A+

I have a few harder things here that I want to try, so I'm hoping the conditions stay good. Today I tried a hard project that we call the Friction Addiction project. It's 30-90 degrees overhanging and about 10 moves long on really good rock. It's too early to say much about the difficulty, but it definitely feels hard. A lot of of the moves have gone already and I'm pretty confident the rest will go, too. I'm very psyched to spend more time on this one.

We also made a quick visit to Maltatal to check out some of Klem Loskot's classics like Wresting with an Alligator and Bügeleisen. Unfortunately Bügeleisen was wet so we never got to try it, but it looked really good. I'm very psyched to return to try it.  Still, the trip wasn't for nothing as I climbed The Power of Goodbye 8B, Wrestling with an Alligator 8B and flashed an amazing problem called Marmelade auf der Shulter 8A.

Our Zero Skillz Productions has been busy filming and editing and we are trying to put together a short film from this trip, that will appear on my blog as soon as it's finished. So far we have footage from Switzerland and Maltatal. Stay tuned.

Here are some screens from the film:





Conquistador 8A+, Chironico


Wrestling with an Alligator, 8B


Wrestling with an Alligator, 8B
 

The Power of Goodbye, 8B


The Power of Goodbye, 8B


Marmelade auf der Shulter, 8A

Monday, November 23, 2009

Interview with Joost Climbing

Here is a link to an interesting interview I did with JoostClimbing:


Friday, November 6, 2009

Finland Photos

I'm in Helsinki, looking at the snow falling on the ground. For me the snow means one thing, time to get out of here. Conditions were nice until yesterday, but now it looks like there won't be too much climbing going on here anymore. Some projects remain unclimbed, until the next time. Chuck Fryberger was here filming and we got some nice footage, that I'm very psyched about. Since the snow put a stop to everything, there isn't much to report. 2 days ago I flashed a very nice 8A problem called Stylewars. It felt really soft for 8A, though. No photos of this one, sorry. Next week I'm leaving the snow and cold behind and going to Switzerland to develop a new bouldering area and try a few problems I haven't repeated yet. I'll post some photos soon. In the meantime here's some photos from Finland:


First Ascent of Spider Pig 8A, Sipoo


 Tornaattori, Puumala


 First Ascent of Never Land, Åland


 Fågelberget, Åland





 Bridge jumping

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finland

Lately I've been hanging out in Finland. A few days ago Chuck Fryberger got here and we've been filming a lot of different things, also some that have nothing to do with climbing. Chuck's idea is to show a little bit of the people's lifestyles too in his next film, not just climbing. I think it's a great idea and it's been really fun shooting all kinds of things along with climbing, like longboarding and bridge jumping.
 

Longboarding in Helsinki


One of the boulders we've filmed so far is an FA of mine from 2004 called Hypergravity, the first 8B boulder in Finland. It's located in Sipoo, about 25 min drive from Helsinki. It's a really small area with a few quality problems and very good rock. Hypergravity has a perfect obvious starting hold and climbs out a horizontal roof on small edges. I'm really syked about the footage we got from this problem.


The plan for next week is to go try a really hard trad project, that I've been working on little bit. Also we want to film a cool problem called The Globalist, 8B+, which i put up this spring. Hopefully the weather will stay like this, because the conditions are prime right now!

photos: Chuck Fryberger

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jade, V15

Dead Point Magazine posted a video of me climbing Jade, V15 in R.M.N.P. The footage is from June, in some very interesting weather conditions. To read more about my ascent, check out my earlier blog post.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Livin' Large in South Africa

It's been a while since I last time updated my blog. The African internet connections can be unbelievably slow, if they even work. Anyway, once again Rocklands was amazing. I even found that really hard and perfect project I've been looking for. Last season I found this pretty small, but compact area while hiking around in the Kleinefontaine area. In the middle of the area stands a proud, tall, independent arete that looks a lot like a typical gritstone arête. Last year I didn't really get a change to climb in this new area, that we later dubbed the Champagne sector, but when I got to South Africa this year, the arête was the first thing in my mind.

The Champagne Sector

First time we decided to hike to the new area, we ended up wandering around for hours in the heat without finding there. Next day we hiked in from the same direction as I did last year and we actually found the area. First thing I went to check out the arête and it looked just as good as I remembered, maybe even better! To get things started I put a top-rope on it and started working on the moves. Normally I'm not a big fan of working boulders on top-rope. Infact, this is probably the first time I've ever done it, but for this arête, or 'Project Real Big' as we started calling it, there was just no other way. Before I put chalk on it, the starting hold and the top of the boulder were seemingly the only usable holds, and there is 8 meters distance in between them.

Project Real Big

After 4 or 5 days working it in top-rope, I had done all the individual moves: all 24 of them. And that's without including the super intensive foot beta. It was time to start trying it with pads. If it only would have been that easy! Talking people into hiking 45 minutes with their pads, to an area with only one really hard project so far, turned out to be hard, especially day after day. Still, everytime we went up we manged to get pads. Sometimes more, sometimes less. First days trying Project Real Big ground up were not very successfull, but everyday I was getting progressively a bit further. One time I got through the section I thought was the crux, but then fell 2/3 up. I was really dissappointed, because I honestly wasn't expecting to fall there anymore. Next time I fell from the VERY last move! I can't remember the last time I've been so dissapointed. I took a huge fall, but as I was falling I wasn't even thinking about the landing. All I could think was that I jut fell from the VERY last move of something really hard. Next time I fell there again. Turns out that the last move is actually the redpoint crux. That got me really syked again. I mean, how cool is that! You find a perfect, tall highball project just at your limit and the crux is the last move 8 meters off the deck! It doesn't really get any better than that!



One day we finally got really good conditions. Everything was perfect except that it was my second day on the project and i felt like I needed to rest, but the conditions were just too good not to take advantage of. Besides, I was starting to run out of days on my trip. Another problem was that we only had 4 not-so-good pads, which was very little compared to the more reasonable 10 pad we had a couple times before. However, at this point I was willing to take the risk if I got to the last move again, so I gave it a good burn and made it about 2/3 up before falling off. After a longer rest I tried again. I made it through the first crux again and the my foot popped. I surprised everyone, including myself, by somehow staying on. I got into the position to quickly chalk up the left hand, but my foot was sliding so i had to skip it. Every single move after that I felt like I was going to fall for sure, but somehow I found myself at the last move. Without hesitating a split second and trying my best not to think about the 4 small pads 8 meters below me I did the scary highstep and launched for the last sloper. Grabbing the hold instead of hitting the ground really hard felt unreal at that point. 12 days of hard work and mental torture paid off that moment.

After the send

I named it Livin' Large in the theme of the project name. Livin' Large is by far the hardest thing I've ever climbed and I feel confident saying that it's a proper 8C. Before this, I believe the most time I've invested into a single problem is 5 days. Another interesting thought that crossed my mind is that Livin' Large took me more days than Jade took me tries. That being said, the crux on Jade is a very powerful yet simple move, whereas the movement on Livin' Large is anything but simple. Apart from the difficulty, Livin' Large is pretty much a perfect boulder problem in my eyes and I hope the upcoming seasons other climbers will get as psyched to try it as I was.

My focus on this trip was pretty much fully on Livin' Large, but after I sent it, I was happy to be climbing on something easier. During the trip I repeated some classics, that I hadn't done last year, like Splash of Red V11 and Black Shadow V13. I also climbed some problems that I had d0ne before, but that are just so fun to climb on, like In Between Dreams V12, which I've probably done 10 times now, with Chuck yelling "Dance, monkey, dance!" from behind his camera. Chuck shot a lot of video with his new rig and just the raw-footage looks awesome. I can't wait to see it on a big screen.

Splash of Red

Most of my trip I spent at the developing the Champagne Sector together with Chuck. We put up about a dozen quality problems like Spudd Webb V8, Scorpion Slab V7, Mrs. Balls V12, Bob Saget Left V9 and there is still potential for more, if a 45-minute hike is not a problem.

Photos: Chuck Fryberger

FA of Leckerbraai at Death Jungle Area


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Change of scenery

My trip to Colorado in now over and I’m on my way to South Africa. I’m really satisfied with what I managed to climb in Colorado, especially since the weather was really bad at first. Climbing Jade was my primary goal and after quickly dispatching it, I was able to focus on other things like making one of my best FA’s, Sunseeker and repeating classics. Check out this excellent video of Carlo Traversi doing the second ascent of Sunseeker at DeadpointMag.com.

Nuthin' but sunshine, V13

My flight arrives in Cape Town tomorrow at 4 PM local time. I can’t wait to get to the Rocklands! As much fun as Colorado was, I don’t think I’ve ever been more distracted from climbing on a climbing trip. It was interesting to see that even though climbing seemed secondary most of the time, I could still climb really well. Rocklands will be different, though. I’m really psyched to get back to the same routine there, as I had going on last year; getting really fit by climbing pretty much every day.

Jade, V15

This year the name of the game will be first ascents. I have plenty of time and only a few problems that I want to repeat. My goal is to find and develop new areas and problems. I also hope to find something really hard and inspiring, that I get psyched to work on for a longer time. That’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never really have. That is because for me it is very important that a line I’ll spend a lot of time working on, is actually a good one, not just hard. A project that is hard enough, but not too hard and inspiring to work on at the same time, is incredibly difficult to come across. However, I believe that if anywhere, Rocklands is the place where you can find a line like this.

In South Africa internet access is very limited, but I’ll try to update the blog when I can.

8th Day of Rain area in Rocklands

Here’s my ticklist from Colorado:

Jade, V15
Sunseeker, V13 FA
Whispers of wisdom, V11
Kind traverse, V11
Storm Shadow, V12
Gobot V11, Flash
The Automator, V13
Wildcat, V11?
Nuthin but sunshine, V13



Sunset at Mt. Evans

Nuthin' but Sunshine

Mt. Evans

Lake Kayaha


Alpha Farms at Rocklands

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunseeker

Yesterday was Mt. Evans day again. I wanted to go try a project at area B, that I had seen photos of earlier this week. I thought it looked really good in the photos, but when we got up there I was blown away. This tall and proud line climbs a sloping rail on a perfect steep overhang, leading to a horrifying mantle high off the deck. It has a good obvious starting hold and about 21 moves, all of them upwards. The bottom part climbing into the stand is probably around V12 and after that you still have to do do stand start which is a technical highball V10. At the moment there is still snow on the landing making it possible to take falls without getting hurt, but when the snow melts it will most likely be a death landing.


After flashing the stand start and almost shitting my pants doing the mantle, I started working on the bottom part. I tried the beginning for some time and I got trough the crux and all the way to the mantle. I felt solid, but then suddenly my heel slipped and I took a really scary fall from about 15 ft, landing more or less on my face. I was lucky and I walked off with only a sore neck. After taking a bad fall I was really nervous to try again. However, next try I made it to the mantle again, scared as hell, and managed to keep it together. I pressed out the mantle, highstepped my foot on a bad smear and grabbed the top. Sunseeker, V13 got it's first ascent! I dare to claim that it is one of the best problems in Colorado and I still can't believe nobody climbed it before me. Big thanks to Carlo and Chris for the real effort; carrying up the pads!

Sunseeker, V13


View from the top of the boulder

Mt. Evans

Rocky Mountain granite

Photos: Jon Cardwell and Nalle Hukkataival