23. Dezember | 2015

Le pouvoir de la création

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Merci à Lea Philippon qui m’a donné l’idée de faire tout le plafond en placo.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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Merci à Jean-Marie Ducros qui m’a aidé à finir le parquet et qui a su assumer mon niveau d’exigence.

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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…

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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.

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Facing The Unkown

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Words by Piotr Drożdż
Photos by Robert Bösch

Kirchlispitzen, Rätikon, Graubünden, Schweiz

 

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.“

 

Pitch four, 7c, of Hannibal

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.“

Nina and Marc before starting climbing in Hanniball

 

 

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.“

Pitch two of Hannibal

 

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.

Marc and Nina on belaystation two

 

Challenge accepted
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.“

Unedliche Geschichte, 8b+ Pitch

 

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’”.

Nina and Babsi dsiscussing betas

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”.

 

Nina and Babsi in front of the Parduzerhütte

 

One week of Knödel and Gulasch

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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.

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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.

 

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IMG_4855I’ve rarely seen such a beautiful forest! Imagine magic wood in Avers, with a sandy ground as in Fontainbleau but with sandstone towers 10 times higher as there. It is simply a paradise for climbers.

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.

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IMG_4864I 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…..

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Ethics

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Rotpunkt ist eine saubere Sache, wird jedoch vor allem in Klettergärten praktiziert und nur selten im Gebirge: Dort wird genagelt und gebohrt wie im Eisernen Zeitalter der 40er Jahre. Freiklettern o.k., solange es geht, dann die Bohrmaschine zücken und los geht’s mit dem „Mord am Unmöglichen“.
Ich persönlich versuche Wege zu finden, die frei kletterbar sind. Dass ich mich mit der Wand und deren Felsstruktur auseinandersetzen muss, um einen Weg zu finden, fasziniert mich. Im Laufe der Zeit habe ich auch begonnen, mir selbst Regeln aufzulegen. So möchte ich, wie gesagt, frei klettern (bei Erstbegehungen von unten ist dies nur mit Ausruhen möglich). Möchte vorgängig nicht über die Wand abseilen, oder gar Kletterpassagen einüben. Möchte keine Bolts in Reichweite des letzten anbringen. Möchte auch nicht irgendwelche Risse hoch, um nachträglich eine Platte nebenan abzusichern.Von unten erstbegehen. Berge wurden seit eh und je von unten bestiegen. Natürlich entstehen mit „freien“ Erstbegehungen nicht immer Touren für jedermann. Es entstehen Touren, die halt so schwierig sind, wie sie sind. Frei klettern. Dann bleibt das Unmögliche möglich. Auch mit dem Bohrhaken.
Abenteuer und Klettergenuss in einem erleben zu können, erscheint mit die grosse Möglichkeit des alpinen Sportkletterns zu sein. Und wir Erstbegeher übernehmen hierbei auch die Verantwortung, dass diese Möglichkeiten nicht in wenigen Jahren vorschnell zerstört sind.

Martin Scheel
Unendliche Geschichte, Rätikon. Photo: Robert Bösch

Unendliche Geschichte, Rätikon.
Photo: Robert Bösch

Bergsportfestival Klosters

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In knapp einer Woche findet in meinem Heimatstal, dem Prättigau, eines der grössten Kletterevents statt das die Schweiz je gesehen hat, das Bergsportfestival Klosters.
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Die Gründe für dieses Event sind die 150 Jubiläumsjahre der Erstbesteigung des Biz Buins, das 150 jährige Bestehen der Silvrettahütte und die 125 Jahre des SAC’s Prättigau. Das ganze Dorf Klosters verkleidet sich darum in ein Festgelände am 7., 8. und 9. August und ich war auch wacker involviert beim Festprogramm.

Am Freitag dem 7. August ab 20:00 werde ich meinen neuen Kletterfilm Orbayu vorstellen.

Am Samstag fängt es dann so richtig an und es finden auf dem Madrisaparkplatz die Qualifikationen für die Jugend Schweizermeisterschaften im Bouldern statt. Hier zwei Bilder von der riesigen und genialen Struktur.

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Um 17:00 ist dann Platz für die Grossen: Cédric und ich haben über 28 Athleten von 11 verschiedenen Nationen eingeladen für das Rätikon Boulder Masters.

Wir beide werden natürlich auch mitbouldern und bei dieser starken Konkurrenz wird uns ein Finaleinzug sicherlich nicht leicht fallen!;-)

Nation W O M E N bouldering M E N bouldering
BEL HANSSENSStephane
CAN YIPAlannah
ESP JUBES ANGARITAMarco Antonio
FRA ANSADEMaud GLAIRON MONDETGuillaume
CHEVRIERAnne-Laure
SANDOZMélanie
LE NEVEMelissa
GER HOJERJan
JPN ONOEAYA
OBAMiwa
NOR HAFSAASTina Johansen
RUS SHARAFUTDINOVDmitry
SLO KRUDERJulija KRUDERJernej
VEZONIKGREGOR
SUI CAPREZNina LACHATCédric
KLINGLERPetra ALLENSPACHPhilippe
STOTZRebekka OMETZBaptiste
BÄRTSCHINatalie BLASERBenjamin
LANGENKAMPNoemi HEINIGERKevin
SPÄTEJara
USA COLEMANNathaniel

Um 20:00 finden dann die spannenden Finale statt.

Am nächsten Tag werden sich dann unsere schweizer Nachwuchskletterer den Schweizermeistertitel hart erkämpfen. Ihr Finale findet ab 9:00 statt.

Auf dem ganzen Festgelände sind etliche Stände aufgebaut für den Prättigauer Bergmarkt mit Spezialitäten aus dem Tal zum essen, trinken oder ansehen.

Ich würde mich riesig auf ein grosses Publikum freuen! Haltet euch also dieses Wochenende frei und kommt zum zuschauen und mitfiebern. Für Felsbegeisterte ist das Rätikon oder das Avers ja auch gleich um die Ecke…

Hannibals Alptraum

Nina Caprez, Hannibals Alptraum

I live a dream summer up here in the Rätikon. Almost two weeks ago, me and my good friend Marc Le Menestrel, we both sent my longtime project, Hannibals Alptraum. It’s hard to find the right words to explain this particular climb but I did a really nice interview with Nicholas Hobley in german for Planetmountain and he found the right ton in english to describe my sensations. Here we are:

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Picture: Robert Bösch

Last week Nina Caprez from Switzerland repeated Hannibals Alptraum, the beautiful, difficult and rarely repeated climb located on the 4th Kirchlispitze in the Rätikon massif. Established ground-up in July 1986 by two of the confederation’s leading lights – the extremely talented Martin Scheel and Robert Bösch – over the years this route has gained a massive reputation for its complex mix of highly technical moves and psychological demanding, run-out obligatory climbing. And although – at least on paper – the five pitches are less extreme than quite a number of other alpine outings, this “nightmare” has caused sleepless nights for many. In recent years Caprez has amassed an impressive curriculum of difficult sports climbs up to 8c+ and demanding alpine multi-pitches – including the first female ascent of Silbergeier immediately to the left – yet on her two previous stints on the route she always returned home “completely beat” as she herself put it. Intent on finding out precisely why this nigh 30-year-old climb is, even by today’s standards, an extremely tough nut to crack, this summer she returned with French climbing legend Marc le Menestrel.

 


Nina, success, third time lucky!

Yeah, thanks, I’m overjoyed! I’d tried this route in 2009 with Simon Riediker and then, after Silbergeier in 2011, I returned in 2013 with Mélissa Le Nevé. On each occasion we got really beat by the climb, it literally thrashed us, physically and also psychologically. But at the same time it was simply superb climbing, a masterpiece of route finding that kept playing in the back of my mind.

 

Which is why you returned this summer

With Marc Le Menestrel, someone who knows a thing or two about technical climbing in the ’80’s! Yes, I’d always wondered why exactly Hannibals Alptraum was so difficult. And why the first ascentionists had apparently undergraded it so wildly. I mean, I’ve done some hard routes in the past but I just wasn’t making any significant progress here. And not just me. Was it because we’re no longer capable of climbing that sort of style, or was there something different? I needed to find out.

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It was put up by climbers you know very well, two friends of yours, Martin Scheel and Robert Bösch

Yes, what Martin and Röbi did back then was absolutely amazing. They adhered to the really strict ethics that were in place in the Rätikon massif, and elsewhere too, forging the route ground-up, only placing a bolt where they managed to hang off a skyhook. No bolt to bolt. This means there’s lots of really hard, run-out obligatory climbing, something they were really good at. But it’s also important to understand another significant detail: while they made the first ascent of the route – and climbed all sections free – they didn’t make the first single push, free ascent of the route. Their aim at the time was simply to establish this dream – or nightmare – line and were happy with the result.


So who did do the route’s first free ascent?

It’s Beat Kammerlander.


Not climbing it in one go explains in part why the route’s original grading is so tough

Only in part. The other reason is that the style of climbing is just so touch and go. It’s crazy, you never have a good hold, it’s always a really nerve-wracking game of balance, of unperceptible sensations, of tiny body movements that make all the difference. So you’re never sure whether it’ll go or not. Precision and sensitivity coupled with the game of nerves as some of the run-outs are looong… that’s what makes this route so special. It’s not so much a question of being strong, here you really need excellent footwork…


For the record, if you had to give the route a grade…

Realistically speaking? Marc and I agree on the following for the five pitches: 7b+, 8a, 8a, 8a, 7b+. But as I mentioned, don’t be fooled by the grades on paper, as soon as you start up Hannibals Alptraum you enter a completely different dimension.

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Tell us about progress this year?

Well I went back with Marc a few days ago. Back to the Rätikon for the first time after a couple of years absence – a complete catastrophe! We got absolutely kicked! After a rest day we returned and things went a bit more smoothly, I climbed the first two pitches straight off, fell once on pitch 3, then checked out pitch 4. A real monster! I took over twenty 10 meter falls, mentally I was completely spent, but somehow I managed to work it out and reach the belay. Marc then checked out the final pitch and we abseiled off. Another rest day followed, then we decided we just wanted to go an climb. No pressure, we weren’t there to send the route that day. I immediately redpointed the first three pitches, then checked out pitch four and to my surprise got it second go.


All you needed to do was the final pitch…

Yes, I thought I had it in the bag. But pitch 5 has a sting in its tail, a terrible boulder problem, really touch and go. I kept falling, over and over again. In the end I needed 7 attempts to redpoint it and we reached the top in the dark!

Nina Caprez, Hannibals Alptraum

Picture: Robert Bösch


Now that you’ve done the route, what can you say about the first ascent?

Well all I can say is that I’ve got massive respect for Martin and Robert. Doing all the obligatory climbing, ground-up, not knowing whether it would be possible or not, taking those long falls… an excellent achievement


A legacy they’ve left for all of us

If we all play by the same rules. You know, people are obviously free to interpret climbing as they wish, but I have to say seeing people climb Silbergeier with a stickclip really surprised me. Surely the whole point of these routes is to be as fair as possible? Using a stick clip shows no respect to the first ascent ethics and climbing history and means they’re completely missing out on a vital part of the game.


Listening to you it’s clear that you rate Hannibals Alptraum as a very special climb indeed

For sure! For various reasons. For a start it was climbed the year I was born! Incredible to think what they were up to before I was even around 😉 Then there’s the fact that I did it with Marc, and the day we did it we were photographed by none other than Röbi himself! And there’s also the coincidence that we topped out in the dark on the very same day as my good friend Barbara Zangerl on Bellavista in the Dolomites. And, last but not least, there’s that line, it’s simply an amazing route. It’s not the hardest I’ve ever climbed, but it’s certainly one of the hardest and something I’ll always be proud of.


Talking of difficulties, here’s a question I’m sure many will ask themselves: is Orbayu on the agenda now? Last summer you climbed all the pitches individually, but not in a single push. Can you see yourselves going back to this?

No. Orbayu was and is a really important chapter in my climbing career, but it’s definitely over now. I gave it everything I got, am happy with what I achieved, but nevertheless at the end of the day it wasn’t quite enough. Coming to terms with this wasn’t easy. Yeah, Orbayu was by far the hardest thing I’d ever tried, but more importantly, it is the first time I’ve had to face failure, the first project I’ve failed to complete exactly how I want to. In the end I realized that success can’t come at any price.


As in?

I know I gave it my very best, playing by my rules, and so that’s fine with me. Some people resort to other borderline tactics just to climb a particular route. But you know, my climbing is all about joy, I have so much love for this sport. And if that joy, that enthusiasm and happiness isn’t there, then I’m not me. If I’m not happy with what – and how – I’m doing something, I’m not Nina. It may sound strange, but accepting failure has made me happy.


And now, we’re certain, you’re even happier, right?

Yes! After two really relaxing days at home we returned to Hannibal on Thursday. This time conditions were great and Marc was super motivated! We still had to remove all the gear from the belays and take out the quickdraws, and this was reason enough for Marc to lead it all. And, would you believe it, he climbed all 5 pitches without a single fall! What a technical master! For me it was an incredible sensation to treat him like a prince, I’d already climbed the route and could devote all my attention and energy. Carry his rucksack, prepare drinks, food etc. We were a real team, just like it should be!

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When Trying Is Everything

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Words by Piotr Drożdż 
Photos by Sam 
Challéat

In wintertime, for many climbers, there is no other way to escape frosty conditions and head in the direction of the Spanish sun. Despite the fact that even in Spain weather can be quite fickle, starting each year in November, Cornudella de Montsant becomes a meeting place for those who want to keep their training momentum going and for anyone yearning for a moment of active peace. Sooner or later, every climber finds out that all roads lead to Catalonia.

Last winter, Nina Caprez was one of the climbers beckoned by the huge faces of El Pati. After a pre-planned and well thought-out 2014, the Swiss could finally catch her breath, „My last year was really organized, I knew exactly when I wanted to be where, and at the foot of which climb. I became very tired and it made me think that I should just live my life and see where it would take me… it took me to Spain.“ Nina believes that it is projects that look for her, one can say that La Reina Mora decided to send her a Remembrall. After the Arc’teryx athlete brushed up on all the sequences, fought with the cruxes and still dod not succeeded, she was ready to admit that one of the gems in El Pati’s crown was the first really hard route she’d ever tried, excluding Orbayu.

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Nina’s huge project last year did not worked out the way she’d planned – the 510-metre 8c by Pou brothers made it clear that it was the mountain the determined the eventual success, not climbers. For a radical individual like Nina with a pure concept of ascents, such a manifesto appeared hard to swallow, „Orbayu taught me one thing: if I want to continue climbing the way I do, I need to be a little more open and friendly with myself. Until Orbayu, everything in my climbing career was easy, I never really had to struggle, I made quick ascents a little below my limit. Now I perceive climbing differently.“

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Super crazy, weird and outstanding to climb – is how Nina describes La Reina Mora. The entire process behind consecutive attempts might be referred to in a similar way. Frustrating as it was at the beginning, Nina realized that the failure was eventually part of the game. The new „not-ascent“ challenge turned out to be a mind-opening experience, „You start adjusting mentally to the fact that you try the thing at the same time accepting the risk that maybe you’ll never be able to climb it.“

But there’s also another dimension to it; a personal history and life choices in the background. For the first time, it became crystal clear that in order to do something extraordinary, every climber needs a good deal of mental support from somebody else; from „people who give you energy, perspective and lots of support in these little moments when you need it most.“ For Nina, one of them was definitely Marc Le Menestrel, a dear friend living in Catalonia. The exchange of experience and the opportunity to step back from the climbing scene to put things into perspective combined with world class routes made the Swiss athlete shift down a gear and enjoy relaxing evenings around the fire.

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And, La Reina Mora? The mere act of trying and giving one’s best became more important than the eventual success, which knowing Nina’s determination, will come sooner or later. It is not only the weather conditions at the sector that often make La Reina so difficult but also the unpredictability of the route itself and, above all, the head of the climber that needs to enter the right mindset, „Last winter I was just traveling, not being sure where I wanted to be and it made climbing harder. I didn’t feel well with myself and my body. It’s about the feeling you have within you that both climbing and everything else you do in your life make sense. I had to find that balance again and probably that’s why I wasn’t able to really perform and be strong over the last months. I had to breathe a little, I had to feel where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. And once I feel what I want to do and where I want to be, I can completely focus on my goal with my head and heart wide open.“