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Well, where to start. I guess some of you are wondering what I’m doing and where I am right now.
I went through a crazy and hard time the last two week’s. I got a serious infection which costed me almost my life.
While my last trip to Turkey, a bacterium got his way into my body. Back home, I wasn’t considered at all about my infection. I was fully occupied to organise my trip back there for bolting this new line I saw. I did some bad and high falls while bouldering in a gym and then I started to become serious pain in my back.
I was suffering like never before in my life. In reality, the pain was not due to my fall, it was because the germ went his way into my blood and from there directly to my heart. I had some water in my lung, my liver was pumped with blood and then both of my kidneys started to be infected by the bacterium.
I went really bad, I reached the point of the delirium. I cried like I never cried before in my life because I was suffering so much. And still, I thought that I had a simple back injury like a lot of climbers after a bad fall.
During a week I had huge shivering attacks, high temperature and this growing pain in my back. Finally I made a blood test and after seeing the results, I had immediately to go to the hospital emergency.
At the time I arrived there, my kidneys were close to give up their functions.
During my stay at the hospital I went through a lot of examens for the heart, brain and all kind of infection tests. I was under antibiotics and a lot of morphine.
A week after I was able to quit hospital with the uncertain idea what kind of germ went into my body. The doctors at the CHU in Grenoble are excellent and they made all their possible, but they still have no idea how this all came together and what kind of germ it was.
The most important is that my heart is in a good healthy again and that I react positiv about the antibiotics. All my organs will recover and the infection is going lower and lower.
Now I need time. My body needs to rest, my mind needs a break. My life has always been crazy, but this event has been a little to much to me.
It’s kinda funny, because while climbing, I’m always conscious that life can stop from one moment to another due to a technical error or to an accident. I do accept to die in that way one day. But I was never thinking about a malady. And I will defenetly not die in that way, I’m probably to proud for that…
This was the strangest experience I ever made in live. My life changed from one week to another. And once more, life gifted me. Lucky bastard I am…
Photo: Sam Challéat
A month ago I felt the strong desire to leave Europe and to travel, alone. I choosed to buy a one way ticket to Turkey because I feel good in this country. I’ve been there four times already and missed the warmth of this country.
I have a friend who lives in Adana, Mümin Karabas, so I went to visit him. Adana is close to the Syrian border, all felt super save. Adana is a crayz , crouwded and youg city. It was all the oposit about what I’ve seen in Turkey so far. We had to driveman hour to reach the cliffs, no walking. It’s all about driving, people are kind a lazy, they don’t see a physical effort as a well beeing for your body.
I spent four days there. I learned something about this other Turkish culture, part of it was to watch the cartoon the bad cat « Kötü Kedi Şerafettin » in the cinema. In turkish language without subtitles, a good experience.
After I left for Datça. I had to see this new paradise of sport climing and I had to see with my proper eyes where my best friend Mike Fuselier had his huge accident.
On the way to there I had my little problems with Pegagus airlines. When you’re stucked at airports and you have to spent hours at a place you didn’t choose, you start to think a lot. At this point I asked myself seriously why I absolutely travelled by myselfs. I felt bad, I was tired and I felt alone. I missed my friens so badly and I felt close to go back home.
Going threw this processus was not easy to me. I had so much time to think about me and the people surrounding me, about my recent situation of life and about the simple happyness.
For the last few months I was builiding my own place in Grenoble. Beeing creative in this way was really a rich thing to me and I felt fullefilled. I lost a lot of interests for climbing ; my mind was complety blown down by the results I got in the construction.
I choosed to leave France because I had to find out how much climbing still meant to me. And for that I had to leave my friends, my family and my daily occupations. I wanted to find out if I just climb because I feel like I have to, or because I still love it.
I wanted to feel if I probably reached the moment when you wanna do something else, starting a new chapter in life. Probably without climbing.
My body also changed a lot over the last couple of months, my interest and prioritys as well. I have no problems to write this down. In my eyes, I reached everything I wanted in climbing. I’m really proud of the things climbing teached to me and about the riche experiences I made.
I climbed in Adana, it was fun, but that’s it. Then I went to Datça, the new perle of Turkey. I arrived by bus, only with my small bag pack, on a Saturday afternoon. I arrived in the middle of the bazar market, what a great welcome. I felt that I arrived somewhere, that my heavy journey to reach Datça had a sense behind.
The lovley Swiss family Nicolat und my Turkish friend Zorbey picked me up by scooter and we drove up to theyr peaceful campground.
It was freezy cold and dry, the nature was outstanding and wild, I felt in love with the place. I directly took a bike and did a ride up to the huge cave where Mike had his 20meter fall to the ground. I crossed tons of olive and alamond trees. I was alone, it was romantic and epic. When I reached the cave, I strange feeling went throw my venes. I imagined the accident, the big drama while he was laying on the ground and I was speecless. Today Mike still has some broken bones in his feets, but he’s alive, more than ever.
We are lucky people. Mike is doing well because he always tried hard to reach his goals. He followed his dreams, he had a lot of positive energy and there was always a shining light at the end of the tunnel.
When you grew up in France or Switzerland or almost all around Europe, you can easely fullefille your dreams or follow your ambitions.
I learned, that in Turkey it’s kind of the opposite. Rules and laws can change from one day to the other. You can’t really construct something because you never know what will happens. Turkish people are lazy in the eyes of a Swiss. I don’t wanna do some analythics or to globalise, but I know now how hard it is for them to reach theyr dreams and to keep a good and positive energy.
Olivier and his wife went to Turkey three years ago. It has always been a dream of them to find a breathtaking cliff and to developpe a new climbing area around. They imported the way to do like they were used to in switzerland and they also had a lot of problems to built something. But they didn’t gave up and they bolted hunderts of new routes by the help of other route setters (a lot of them are french and Turkish). They built a beautiful place to stay, they created a little place paradise for climbers !
My first three days I climbed like hell. I had tu fill up my manquo of climbing and it felt soooo good. The lines are really pure, longue and demanding. It’s all about tufa climbing, all kind of. I was impressed how properly the routes were bolted, how save and accessible the spot is. Big up to the route setters .
After three days of lcimbing I asked myself again if this still is making sens to me. On my fourth day I motivated my friend Mike from Switzerland and Zorbey to have a look on a new huge cave. It tooks us several hours to make our way up there throw bousehs, trees and sharp plants.
I was speecless….I was on the bottom of a huge 150 meter high arch. Pretty, pure, breathtaking.
In the middle of the cave, there is THE line… the line I was always looking for. The queen line…
In two weeks I will go back to Datça with the luggage full of gear and together with Zorbey we will try to bolt this multipitch route. Ground up.
You see, my planlass journey to Turkey brang me to this line. Probably the moment to stop climbing is not here, but putting my own energy and soul in a future line, is defently here.
All the procesuss I went threw the last months makes sens now. I’m looking for more then just the physical effort of climbing. I wanna bold, I wanna create, I wanna put my soul into something which will stays there. And I wanna create something which is accessible to other people. I wanna give, the chapter of taking is over. Let’s move on.
Love life… 😉
Comme vous le savez un peu tous, j’ai été à fond dans des travaux ces derniers trois mois. Ce printemps je me suis acheté un petit studio sous les combles dans le centre ville de Grenoble. Ca a toujours été mon rêve de vivre dans une petite tour de princesse et de pouvoir me promener sur les toits la nuit.
Il y a deux jours j’ai été au point de pouvoir poser mon matelas dedans. Même s’il y a encore mille choses à faire dans ce studio, je peux y vivre en mode gitane.
Là je suis en Suisse dans la belle maison en bois de ma mère et je regarde les choses comment ils sont fait d’un autre point de vue. Je me demande souvent pourquoi la construction me plait autant et comment j’ai réussi à me lancer dans un tel gros projet…
Beaucoup de membres dans ma famille sont artisans. Mon grand père à fabriqué des luges et des skis dans son atelier et à l’âge de 10 and il m’a apprit à utiliser des grand machines pour couper le bois. Mon père a été charpentier ainsi comme mon frère, mon oncle, ma cousine. Pendant longtemps j’ai hésité à faire menuisier, à la place je suis devenue grimpeuse.
Il y a deux ans et demie, avec Cédric on a entièrement refait un appartement de 70m2. Cédric est plombier à la base et il a l’habitude des chantiers. Moi j’ai été sa main droit pendant tout longue du chantier. Je pense que j’ai une capacité d’apprendre très vite sur le tas et je vois la suite logique des choses à faire.
Cette construction fait partie d’une des choses dont je suis le plus fière dans ma vie. C’est tellement gratifiant de créer et de voir un résultat immédiat.
Après avoir grimpé comme une dingue dans le Rätikon cet l’été, il était temps pour moi de passer à autre chose et de réellement me lancer dans le chantier. Je ne vais pas vous raconter tout le processus car c’est une longue histoire. A la place j’aimerais dédier ce blog à tous mes amis, chers et proches qui m’ont aidé à passer cette épreuve. Parfois c’était une simple idée de quelqu’un, parfois une réelle main d’ouvre. N’importe la grandeur de l’aide, chaqu’un a apporté une touche à sa manière et mon studio est devenue un vrai oeuvre d’art en commun.
Merci, merci, merci. Vous m’avez fait le plus grand cadeau du monde avec le temps et l’énergie que vous m’avec sacrifié, avec vos inspirations et votre caractère.
Merci à Cédric Lachat pour toute l’installation sanitaire et pour la belle relation qu’on mène toujours. Merci à tes nombreux conseils techniques et à la confiance qui tu m’as donné.
Merci à ma fidèle main droit, mon colloque Benjamin. C’était la personne qui a du supporter le plus mes petits pétage de câbles et qui a du subir mes exigences, ce qui n’est pas facile. Avec lui j’ai passé le plus du temps à bosser et à manger des sandwiches sur le toit. Benjamin va surement faire une future carrière comme plâquiste, il est fait pour ça.
Merci à Cynthia Chow, qui a monté la barre très haute pour faire des joints de plâco parfaitement lisse. Elle n’a jamais travaillé avec une grande machine, son premier passage avec le marteau piquer était un moment inoubliable!
Merci à Antoine Champetier de Ribes, qui a passé des nombreuses heures à gratter des murs et qui m’a souvent encouragé à bien réfléchir avant de mettre quelque chose en place.
Il m’a ouvert les yeux sur le va-et-vient et sur plein d’autre choses qui demande un peu de réflexion.
Merci à mon frère Arno Caprez qui m’a donné des nombreuses conseils par téléphone.
Merci à Raph Foureau qui a su mettre en place les idées de mon frère et qui m’a montré comment mettre l’isolation et le par-vapeur en place.
Merci à Marco Lippuner qui m’a mit en confiance sur mon installation électrique et qui a su m’expliquer simplement mais clairement la logique d’un courant électrique et les erreurs fatales à éviter.
Merci à Piedro dal Pra pour tirer des files électriques.
Merci à Lea Philippon qui m’a donné l’idée de faire tout le plafond en placo.
Merci à Fred Labreveux de m’avoir trouvé la bonne solution pour un mur humide et qui m’a montré l’application de la chaux avec des pailles.
Merci à Marc Le Menestrel et à Mike Fuselier pour leur nombreux encouragements et merci à Anais Verbrugge qui a eu l’idée de mettre en place une belle poutre décorative.
Merci à Emeline Son qui a eu la belle idée de mettre une baignoire dans ma salle de bain très base. Elle a toujours été là pour prendre l’apéro en ville après les longues journées sur le chantier et a eu les oreilles ouvertes pour mes petits histoires des travaux.
Merci à Benoit Merlin de m’avoir montré les solutions différents pour refaire un plancher et qui a eu la volonté de venir faire les mesures et qui m’a commandé le bois directement à la scierie.
Merci à Rackam et Benoit qui m’ont aidé à monter tout ce bois au cinquième étage sans ascenseur…
Merci à Tatjana Gori qui m’a montré les étapes à faire pour mettre un parquet massiv et qui m’a vraiment impressionné par sa précision et pour son amour pour le bois.
Merci à Jean-Marie Ducros qui m’a aidé à finir le parquet et qui a su assumer mon niveau d’exigence.
Merci à Seb Richard qui m’a fait la peinture avec une vitesse et précision impressionnantes. J’ai vue ce que c’était d’être du métier…
Et pour la fin j’aimerais dire merci à ma mère. Un merci qui vient du fond du coeur… ma mère est une des rares personnes qui a comprit mon mode de fonctionnement et qui a su lâcher prise.
Plus je me sens libre, plus j’ai de l’amour à donner. Un amour qui est sincère et qui ne demande aucun renvoie. Ma mère est là pour moi, à sa manière. C’est la personne la plus cool au monde que je connais.
Quelques mots nécessaires, un préambule à la lecture de l’article « Grimper, un acte politique ? Quelques réflexions sur l’escalade entre Israël et Palestine », dans le dernier numéro de Grimper Magazine, actuellement en kiosques.
Words by Piotr Drożdż
Photos by Robert Bösch
The Kirlichspitze towers of the Rätikon range have already taken away many a breath. Even though there are some higher peaks in the vicinity, the smooth limestone slabs have been the massif’s no. 1 for climbers from all around the world. As is the case with every climbing area, Swiss Rätikon has its own legends. Martin Scheel, Beat Kammerlander and Peter Schäffler influenced alpine climbing history in Rätikon and beyond. Their achievements propelled their followers and the ethics developed by Scheel set new standards that were later transferred to the other parts of the alpine multi-pitch climbing world: no reconnaissance, always ground-up, no aids and hanging only from skyhooks while placing the bolts. Those were the rules of the game that today, 30 years later, would probably make most climbers nauseous. It was this climbing philosophy that has accompanied Nina Caprez from her early years.
Silbergeier – the odd one out
„I grew up in Küblis, which is the last village next to Rätikon. I climbed a lot there, not specifically in that area but in the surrounding areas offering some easier stuff. Soon, I started doing multipitch climbs and I got used to the local ethics. Martin Scheel, Beat Kammerlander and Peter Schäffler were great heroes in my home area.“
After many years of sport climbing, Nina’s eyes turned into the direction she knew very well, the Kirlichspitze towers. The goal was more than obvious and its name was Silbergeier. The Swiss athlete started working on the route with a dear friend of hers, Barbara Zangerl. The bouldering expert and first female ever to send an 8B boulder, turned out to be not only a great help in adapting to the Rätikon climbing style but also an invaluable source of support and motivation. Unfortunately, the Austrian’s back injury made her withdraw from climbing for a long period of time and Nina was left alone on that technical and mental battlefield.
„When I did Silbergeier it was widely called the first female ascent, but that was never my goal. In my eyes there is no difference between girls and boys, especially on vertical and technical faces like the ones in Rätikon. There is only one difference that matters and it’s between the first ascent and all that follow. Redpointers are always in the privileged position, they already know that the route is possible to climb.“
Even as a youngster, Nina accepted the role of the unknown in the climbing game. With a maillon rapide on her harness, the Swiss have always been aware of the fact that climbing in Rätikon is like entering a completely new dimension where you might need to rappel down mid-route, not even seeing the final chain. Dealing with the unknown is exactly what makes climbing there so special. „Seeing people using a clip stick on Silbergeier always surprises me. I think they cannot even imagine what they’re missing by doing so. You have to really try and learn how rich and fulfilling the adventure of facing the unknown can be, where every single quickdraw is a huge success and topping out a route is a victory. Only then you realize that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you send the route or not.“
The clip stick is not the only new guest that has recently paid a longer visit to Silbergeier. „Honestly, Silbergeier is easier to climb now. There are long quickdraws and tick marks everywhere. It’s a different route now, no adventure anymore. People think the run-outs on Silbergeier are scary but the truth is that compared to real Rätikon stuff, they are not. If you fall, you fall safely. The place and climb itself are great, but fortunately there are still other routes that give you a sense of real adventure: no chalk, no draws, no clue.“
Longing for the old school
In search of these feelings, Nina decided to come back on Hannibal’s Alptraum, the route she’d had in the back of her mind since her first try in 2009. It was first climbed by Martin Scheel and Robert Bösch in 1986, the year Nina was born. It remains undefined who managed to make its first single-push free ascent. Attempted many times, the route has let through few climbers and after her first experience on it, Nina didn’t expect she would become one of them. „I tried the route in 2009 with Simon Riediker and again in 2013 with Mélissa Le Nevé. Each time I was coming back home beaten up physically and psychologically. The route offers very specific, really slabby climbing. On Silbergeier you need strong finger power and endurance in your forearms. On Hannibal, crimping is useless as it is pretty much a touch-and-go style and is all about your footwork. You need the best shoes in the world and great technique on slabs.“
Who would be a better partner in a psychophysical game of balance, movement, precision and nerves other than the French climbing legends of the 80’s? Marc le Menestrel, who’s support was inspiring and it was with him on her side that Nina managed to stand on the top of the 4th Kirlichspitze after long days of frustration interwoven with success. What’s more – her success turned out to be inspiration for Marc and he also sent the route.
Never underestimate the power of will. Feeling more confident after her success on Hannibal’s Alptraum, Nina is aiming high again. She knows exactly who she should partner up with this time to create a perfect team. „Babsi and I believe in the same values in life. Right now, we are climbing at and equal level, with the same experience in multi-pitch routes and the same approach to adventure. We treat our goals not as projects, but as dreams.“
It was Babsi who first paid closer attention to Unendliche Geschichte and passed her vision to Nina. The route was put up in 1990 by Beat Kammerlander and redpointed in 1991. Pietro dal Prà did the second ascent in 2005 and that would be all. Although many have tried, the climb always appeared to be too complicated and psychologically demanding.
„Both Beat and Pietro have been a big support for us. Babsi met Beat and they were drinking coffee, studying pictures and discussing the beta for three hours. He was super psyched that we were trying his route. The same happened when I met Pietro dal Prà at the Outdoor tradeshow: ‚Nina, go for it,‘ he said, ‚it’s such an amazing route’”.
Apart from being exceptional in style and beauty, the route is also obviously difficult and can hardly be compared to anything else. Bouldery difficulties, no chalk, no visible holds or footholds – pure climbing. It had been waiting for its second ascentionist for more than a decade. After another ten years would it be Nina and Barbara’s turn to reach the top?
„We had already spent 10 days on the route. During that time we were able to send every single pitch individually at least once and now we want to come back. For this climb we’re not really planning anything – media and sponsors schedules come with the flow. It is just the two of us, working and experiencing the whole thing together. The amount of effort I’ve put in to the route so far was possible only thanks to the lessons I learnt on Orbayu. I realized that the grades mean nothing in climbing. What’s most important is the experience, the rest is just the icing on the cake. I can’t lose anymore: the whole experience and adventure on the route is so big that I’m already winning”.
The last week has been one of this typical weeks, where you don’t know what to expect in before, and then you’re only positive surprised form the beginning till the end.
A couple of months ago I got an invitation from the international Mountain Film Festival in Teplice nad Metuji, in Czech Republic. I’ve never been to this country for rockclimbing so I was curious to see what it had to offer. I signed for a presentation during the festival but I absolutely wanted to touche some sandstone there, so I decided to stay about a week.
While driving from Prague to Teplice, a warm feeling took me over. I already had this feeling while driving to the eastern countries during the Petzl Roc Trip. Probably it’s because of the breathtaking and open landscape, or because of the simplicity how things are made.
Anyways, my travel and climbing friend Stefan and I arrived by the end of the day in Teplice and Adrspach and we discovered the forest like two kids.
Stefan and I, we had the chance to meet Ondra Benes, his grilfriend Edita and a couple of nice friends of him. They are all Czech, but they are not locals from Teplice, so they took us to routes which are quiet good to start and which are not to dangerous for the people there are not used to this kind of climbing.
First day we climbed in Aderspach and I had a perfect introduction in the sandstone crag climbing, placing protections and toping out those towers.
I placed my first UFOS ( UFOS are kind of friends, but made only by slings and rubber. Yes I know, the local guys will think that we are cheating but I completely assume the fact that I’m a tourist). I started to climb in my first crack and I loved this feeling of the unknown, the fear when you can’t place gear and the climbing on this crazy rock structures.
During this day, I learned so many things and I felt so good at this place and with the people surrounding me. Later then, I learned how to make the good knot and I tried to place them. Somehow.
The next day Ondra took us to Teplice where we climbed on beautiful face routes and huge arêtes. The climbing there was really technical and untypical and again, I felt so fulfilled. Everything was perfect. From the breathtaking place to the big fights to the funny ambiance between us climbers.
By the end of the day, I don’t know why, I felt really attracted by an impressive crack. I’ve never been to Utah nether to Yosemite, so I’m a really beginner in thermes of larger crags than a hand of finger crack. The one I wanted to climb was an off width. Perfect.
You see, I had no idea how to start, nether how to move in this thing. It took me about two hours to reach the fist bolt which was 15 meter up to the ground. At least, I wasn’t afraid because there was no possibilty for me to take a fall. I was jammed!
Next day the festival was fully going on and I had a wonderful presentation during that evening. Another guest for the festival was Bernd Arnold and it was really impressive to watch his slideshow and to chat a little bit with him. My generation is so different from his, but we still have the same values and dreams of climbing. What a great sensation to feel that.
Just after my presentation I had to run to reach the finals of the Czech Boulder Cup 2015. My second comp since four years, it starts to be really fun!
The ambiance in this huge festival park was amazing and I still had this golden feeling inside of mine because of my successfully presentation. So I just climbed like I know it how to do and I won. That was great (It’s always great when you win..;-)).
I really wanna say thumbs up for this excellent festival. There were so many people because everyone found his pleasure during those days: There were a lot of good films screened, mostly for the film competition.There were tons of rockclimbing routes to climb and also different comps on artificial structures in the festival park. There were a lot of slacklines, a running event trough the magical forest of Teplice and different cool concerts, good beer…. For me definitely one of the best I’ve ever been to!
Thank’s again for the invitation and if you have the chance to go there next year, you will not regret it!
The last two days I was in mode „Tourist“ in Prage, one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen in my life.
What a week…..