Hi you all! After quite a while I decided to pick up my blog again. What you might want to know is: where have you been and what are you doing? So I will start with telling you I’m more than halfway through my gap year. Since November 2013 I quit the national team.
May 2014 I can say that I am still motivated to climb hard and I enjoy this most during climbing outdoors.
That is why I spent the previous two months in Geyikbayiri, Turkey. It’s about 40km from Antalya at sea. What? For climbing of course! How? Working at Guesthouse Campsite JoSiTo, for free accommodation and food. Who? Just me by myself, getting that little bit more independent. At JoSiTo it was easy to meet people sharing the same mindset ‘climbing and having fun’.
Climbwise: did great on the tufa’s. Turkey is an awesome area. It feels like paradise, being surrounded by rockfaces, forest and a huge mountain. The camping lies on the lowest spot, so you feel really small looking at your surroundings. Higher up the road the view is even better. The best part is that all the climbing crags are within walking distance (5 – 10 minutes, the furthest a 20 minute walk).
In Geyikbayiri I did and tried some easier nice stuff. E.g. beautiful 6th grade lines, like the hardest 6a with 6c extension I ever did on slab (‘Sado Mazo’, Anatolia) and ‘Turkish Standard’ the most beautiful 6b+ I climbed in Turkey. Besides this I also did and tried some hard, cool stuff. At first I sucked at tufa’s (the stalactites ‘glued’ to the walls). However the longer I stayed, the better I got.
The second climbing day in Trebenna I onsighted a 6c and later -at the time- my first 7b (‘Greek gift’, Trebenna). In the following days I did my first 7b+ in 2 attempts and my first 7c flash. In the same crag I accidentally warmed up in a 7c, which made it my first 7c on sight.
The 7c which gave me the most satisfaction climbing, lies in the area known for its goat shit. The ground of Kanyon is literally covered in a thick layer of goat poo, making the air dusty of it when walked on. The route is ‘Arsenik’, a steep, bouldery overhang with a lot of pockets. I was proud of myself, because I did it on sight(!) and also just a few moments after I finally climbed a horizontal, overhanging roof, my anti-style, with a crimpy end in the sixth attempt (‘Boltlarin Efendisi’, ‘Master of the Bolts’ 7b+). And even better: the route went up, away from the lovely smell.
After this the ‘sending train’ (as Florien Sjoerdsma would say) still didn’t get off track. It brought me to a beautiful 8a+ line* also in a roof (one of my weaker points). First part is 7b+. I did that easily. Then there is a rest just before the cruxy moves begin. They consist of tiny holes and big (BIG!) moves, in which I barely reached the next hold. It took me six attempts.
*More on my first 8a+: First try it went so well that I almost got out of the roof. Every next attempt I thought I would do it, but failed miserably. So one day, about two weeks and four fails later, I decided to project the route from the very first to the very last move, making sure I could link them. After doing this I wasn’t that tired and my belayer motivated me to give it just another shot. As you can guess this was the final go: I took my time on the rest and I flew through the route.
So the train kept rolling and made me eager to keep on going. I tried a super nice 8b line, which felt possible (‘Over the Top’, a downgraded 8b+). It being almost may however, was making the sun shine hard, the weather hot and my fingers sweaty. Not the best conditions. The 8b ‘Olympos Games’, Sarkit looks really nice and also do-able. So when I come back during better conditions, I definitely have some things to work on!
In the end, I learned a lot about myself and about my passion and drives. I like to be around people and I like to travel. For now I also enjoy my job as climbing fanatic (instructor, coach, trainer, route tester & allround employee) at GRIP Nijmegen Climbing Gym. I am excited to start studying. Since a couple of days ago I am also enjoying training again, and I want to push it this and the next year with –outdoor– climbing.