Experiencing progression all over again! Last week, Kelly and I packed our bags and made the trek from Holland to Switzerland. During our time in Magic Wood, I sent 3 of the most difficult boulders I have climbed in over 5 years and was witness to Kelly's progression as a rock climber, watching her tick off her first 7A.
One Week in Magic Wood - Andre DiFelice
After a five year on again, off again struggle with climbing, I'm finally back in my climbing routine. In January Kelly and I moved out of Colorado and headed to Europe. I stopped in Canada for a few months to visit my brother. He was motivated to climb and gave me the extra push I needed to get back into the sport. By the time I joined Kelly in Europe in May, I was starting to see my efforts pay off. Pulling onto the wall no longer hurt my tendons and joints, and I could feel my power returning. The last week in May, we took a quick trip down to Fontainebleau with Cameron Maier (@bearcammedia). Needless to say, Fontainebleau was impressive. We hardly explored out of the Bas Cuvier sector in the three days, and still barely scratched the surface of the bouldering there. Feeling real rock, amazing rock at that, started to get me psyched. While I didn't climb anything of note, everything we climbed was incredibly fun. We returned to the Netherlands and really got our training underway.
The next two months were focused on training. The Netherlands doesn't have much to offer in the way of real rock, so we became gym rats at Bouldersterk in Utrecht. We have been lucky to make friends with a few local climbers- Robin Donders, Jeroen Donders and Tirza Noach, and they have been welcoming and motivating to train with. The first month was focused on volume, climbing as many problems as possible, going through the motions and getting the body and mind to remember how to climb. The next month I started integrating in power and finger training with the campus board and Beastmaker. After two months I could feel the training really start to pay off. So to test our strength we head to Magic Wood, Switzerland last week- excited to climb on real rock!
Being back in Magic Wood reminded me of three things. How it feels to be psyched, how hard climbing is and how much I love traveling. We got lucky with the weather (which has been rainy most of the summer season). Of the 7 days there we climbed 5. I started out by working through the moves of the Never Ending Story- in 2008 I successfully climbed Parts I and II, but I have yet to complete the link up. Then we moved up the hillside looking for dry rock and settled on Foxy Lady (8A) - an immaculate line, with two variations to send the climb. I opted for the static version over the dyno. After getting some good beta from Ben Gripaios, I sent my most difficult boulder in over 5 years. [Video]
Continuing further up the hill, I put in a solid session with Alex Gorham on Steppenwolf, a beautiful 8B. Neither of us sent as the rock began to seep. It is definitely a problem I will return to in the future.
Next we headed to the darkness cave. I quickly worked through the moves, and sent both the Right and Left Hand of Darkness (8A, 8A+). Meanwhile, Kelly sent her first 7A, here she is on Freiwild. It has been very cool to witness Kelly's transition into climbing from her lengthy career as a long-distance runner.
To finish out the week Alex Gorham and I put in another session on Deep Throat (8B). Another fantastic boulder, with fun, powerful moves on big holds. While we did not send, this was a great problem to end the trip with and I am extremely motivated to return and send this line!