Monday, 29 August 2016

Magic Wood

After Ceuse it was time for the second part of the trip. Magic Wood! This was my first time visiting this famous bouldering venue. I’d heard stories of bad landings, soft grades and the best bouldering in Europe. I got there and it didn’t disappoint there was everything I hoped for and more.

There were bad landings, one of the first problems we tried was called Pirannha which was a 7c/+. This one had a track record of breaking people but I thought the landing looked flat. Soon Ed was getting close to the crux deadpoint but he came off awkwardly and twisted his ankle, there I was thinking the landing was solid. I kept trying but being extra careful now, eventually I managed the deadpoint and tried it from the start which adds about six moves of easier climbing and did it straight away! Some problems however just have god awful landings like Hohenrausch 7b+ but after first sight at this climb I knew I wanted to do it. It’s a perfect smooth wall split with edges and they get smaller as you get higher. The last move was the crux and it was high above the slanted landing and death pit to make matters worse it was very dynamic. I tried a few times and got to the end and chickened out. I persuaded myself that James would stop me dying and went for the last move. I stuck it then pulled over the top. My heart was beating pretty fast by then.

Jack's Broken Heart, the crux move
We had the new guide book which had downgraded loads of problems to a slash grade which seemed stupid for example Pirannha was 7c/+. I wish they would just make up their minds. One of these problems was Jack’s Broken Heart 8a/+. This problem I’d seen in loads of videos and always thought it looked incredible and would really suit me. The line was a row of flat rails that traversed a steep lip. I tried the problem on my first day and found I could do all the moves but linking them felt miles beyond me. On one of the last days we went back for Jack’s and I knew all the moves so just tried from the start, I power screamed my head off and managed to pull it out of the bag. Another stupid slash grade problem was The Bomb is Explosion 7c+/8a. This wasn’t a great line neither was it a cool sequence it was just one very very hard move which for me gives a quality problem. The day we went to try it was a wash out even the Roof of Darkness was wet so this must have been the only dry boulder. The move is pull-on through a heel on and slap for a jug. The problem wasn’t very complicated. After a few goes to recruit the biceps I stuck the jug and climbed to the top. This is probably the hardest move I’ve ever done.

The bouldering was world class no doubt about that. Two problems stood out for me Blown Away 7b and Swizz Beats 7c+. Blown Away we did to finish a day climbing and the sun had set so we needed to use the flood light. Angels couldn’t have made a better line, it was a rail across this massive over hang that was athletic, pumpy and with a scary top-out. We all climbed it and agreed it was an all-time great. Swizz Beats was significantly harder, it wasn’t the best line but the moves on it blew every other climb out of the water. You had to squeeze with every part of your body to stay on the start with toe-hooks being the key then it finished with a technical slab climb. I tried this for a couple sessions but couldn’t quite do the first two moves although it felt like five moves because of the foot sequence. One day when I went up I just tried the problem from the start first time and sent it which was a bit of a miracle.

Spending only ten days here was plenty of time and I’m super keen to get back here again and push my bouldering more. I tried some problems that I didn’t send like Massive Attack 8a+, Steppenwolf 8b and Left Hand of Darkness 8a/8a+. I think it’s important to try things that stop you to motivated you to get stronger so that’s the goal now.

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