Posts Tagged ‘boulder’

Last Saturday there was a cool boulder party at Utrecht. Boulderhal Sterk was celebrating their 4 year anniversary and I was part of it!

I signed up for the PRO category and I was there at 12 PM. My goal was to become one of the finalists. I wanted to flash many problems because it will deliver 3 points per boulder. Jelmer gave me a cool retro head band which was matching my yellow Sterker shirt.

I was ready to rumble. After 6 hours of climbing, I could tick 24 out of 30 boulders. It was enough to advance to the finals!

In the finals I had to compete against Don van Laere, Elko Schellingerhout, Mark Brand, Bruno Geurts, Max van der Heijden and Max Deelen. We had to climb 4 problems with 4 attempts for each problem. The first attempt was onsight and the other attempts were redpoint. I liked this concept without isolation. We could see others climb and also copy methods from eachother.

The first move was pretty hard on the first 2 problems. That was a bit frustrating.

However I could show my skills in the last 2 problems. I climbed boulder problem number 3 in my second attempt.

On Instagram I placed a video of the last problem.

Overall, I had a good time, spending a lot of quality time on the boulders. It was a privilege to make finals in this event. Thank you boulder gym Sterk for organising this party. Congratulations with the 4 year anniversary!!

Today my friends from boulder gym Kunststof celebrated their 1-year anniversary.

Throwing a boulder party called Kunst|Werck is the best way to celebrate your anniversary. 31 fresh set boulders were the results of last week. From toehooks and heelhooks to hanging upside down and running on volumes. Piece by piece they were fun and creative to climb.

I always get super psyched to climb when I visit this gym. In my opinion they have succeeded well. It was fun to watch other people climb, however it was more fun to climb all.

I ended up on the podium with 4 other climbers. It was good to hear the announcement at the end of the party: a second boulder gym will be open soon in Utrecht! 😀 I wish you all the best and see you next time!

My my my, what a surprising national championship!

Saturday morning I published a post about my comeback into the nationals and about my hope of advancing to the finals.

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I was super excited from the moment I entered the venue. The organisation chose an awesome location for the championship: Westergasfabriek Amsterdam. The sound and DJ setup was great. The Monk bar was present. The isolation was good enough to warm up for all of us.

I had one hour to warm up. I touched some new rough holds on the training wall and did some leg stretching, pull-ups and push ups.

SFB1

Soon it was my turn to start in the first boulder. I had 5 minutes to solve this problem. The pinch felt good but the next hold was quite hard. I guess I wasn’t really warm yet. After a few attempts I tried a different sequence where I skipped the blue hold and went straight for the bonus. I managed to fix the bonus hold but from there on I was stuck in this problem. I was disappointed for not sending this problem, but afterwards it turned out this bonus hold was crucial for the score.

SFB2

The second problem was an interesting one with volumes. I was having a hard time to hang on to these volumes. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the bonus hold. I was upset with this one. Two down and still no results.

The next problem was set on the other side of the hall. I had no idea what the status was of the other competitors. Actually I didn’t care and I had to refocus myself during my 5-minute break. My mind-set changed from trying to sending!

SFB3

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SFB3

When I saw the third problem, I thought I should be able to climb this one. In my first attempt I was really close and touched the final hold! I knew I could send this boulder and took a short break focusing on the last 2 holds. In my second go I managed to match my hands on the final hold. Yes, I was back in the game!

SFB4

The last problem was interesting. These new holds were small and raw. The bonus hold was a tiny edge, just enough to stick it. I needed 3 attempts for this boulder. The first attempt, I made a mistake and misread the sequence. The second time I jumped but missed the final hold on my deadpoint. The last attempt I sent it.

All together, the result of 2 tops in 5 tries and 3 bonus holds in 10 tries (2T5 3B10) was enough to make it into the finals! I was so happy that I achieved my goal!! I really enjoyed the semi finals despite the first 2 problems. Now I could relax, catch some breath and check out who the other finalists were. Timo, Tim, Remmelt, Ferdinand and Hans were going to be my rivals for the evening. This meant that I would have to compete against tall climbers. I hoped the setters had set problems where I could fit between the holds or really tricky problems where I could use technique.

That evening I got back into the isolation area again and I was ready for the finals. I sent boatloads of messages to family and friends and shared that I had made it to the finals. Then I had to turn in my phone again and was isolated from the digital world.

I actually felt pretty good and wasn’t tired from the semis. My hands and skin were okay despite the new raw holds. I had to warm up again and stretch some more. Soon we were introduced to the audience and for the first time we could see the final problems.
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FB1

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Then it was time to climb the finals!! In my first problem, I felt it was too hard to cross over and tried a different sequence. Unfortunately that didn’t work out well. Bummer, no bonus or top.

FB2

The second problem at first sight was in my opinion not a beauty at all. The yellow big volume was really slopey. I had to pinch this volume and tried it with my left and right hand. Somehow the friction on the yellow volume got worse after each try. Perhaps it was the light that warmed up the volume, I don’t know. The bonus hold was too far for me to reach after the yellow volume, so I tried to match first. Unfortunately I ended up with no bonus or top again.

At this moment, I was getting frustrated. 2 problems down and still no results. In the isolation area I could hear the crowd cheering for the climbers. When everyone came back from the second problem, it was really sad to know that no one had a top so far.

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The third problem was a slab boulder set on a vertical wall. This one looked hard from the start. I could easily stand on the volume, just on friction, using my LaSportiva Futura shoes. However I couldn’t reach the first hold. At that moment I knew I had no chance in this problem. I was there just for fun and tried to skip the first hold and managed to grab the second hold. I knew it was impossible this way, but I had to try this sequence. Again, no results.

I knew none of the competitors had a top so far and they were also really annoyed, frustrated and angry. It might sound strange but somehow I was relieved when each one of them came back into the isolation without a top.

It all came down to the last problem, which was really hard. I could still win if I was able to flash this problem or send it in just a few attempts. If only I could manage this double dyno and catch the swing, but the foothold was set really low. That made it extra hard for me. Once I managed to stick the dyno for a split second, but there was just too much gravity. I tried a different sequence but that was also too hard.

Final score: 0 tops, 0 bonuses. Never was I so close to being a boulder champion, all I had to do was sending 1 problem in 4 attempts! Congratulations to Tim Reuser and Julia Meijer, who both won their first well-deserved championship title.

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In the afternoon I was really happy that I made it to the finals but during and after the championship I was also feeling annoyed, angry, upset and frustrated with the given set of problems. I think more climbers would agree with me. This was by far the most uninteresting final in my climbing career. I really hope we can be professional about this because I don’t want to experience this in a championship again. That is my point of view. Too bad I couldn’t show my climbing skills in the finals. I can imagine it wasn’t fun to watch for the audience and people at home who tuned in on the live stream.

I know it is difficult to set boulders and make it hard and interesting enough, especially when you’re under time pressure. Nevertheless I think this time the setters should have done better.

My opinion and advise to the well-experienced setters:
– Don’t use new holds during a championship. It felt like sandpaper. Some of the competitors had bleeding fingertips and according to the rules you are then obliged to stop climbing. I would suggest putting some chalk on the holds or use clean used holds from the gym.
– Please test all the problems properly. Well-set problems are usually tested in advance. After the finals I was told by the chief setter that the tester for the male problems was ill, meaning that these were untested. I called La Sportiva and they gave me a pair of Solutions to this problem. Find someone else who can give feedback about the problems. There are plenty of good climbers who can give feedback. Testing the problems well can be compared to studying well for an exam. If you don’t test or if you don’t study for an exam, you won’t know the outcome and you take a big risk, especially for the national championship.
– I was the shortest of all competitors. Please think of this in advance even when you don’t count me in for the finals (as admitted to me by the chief setter). A problem doesn’t always have to be reachy to make it harder! I would suggest setting the footholds higher or handholds closer and the problem would still have the same moves and would be just as hard as before.

Anyway, I believe there is a lot to learn from this championship. Not only for the setters but also for the organisation. How come no one checked the problems in advance? The setters have a huge responsibility and a big impact on this day. Currently the chiefsetter is held responsible for the quality of the problems.
I suggest appointing an organisation supervisor alongside a chiefsetter, who could check the boulders using a simple checklist: is it safe to climb, is it possible, did anyone test it and what was done with the feedback, is it fun to watch, are the problems diverse enough, can everyone reach the holds, did you check for lose holds, are the tapes set correctly, do you need spotters for this problem, are there special instructions needed? These are just a few questions a judge or organisation supervisor could use to make sure the problems are well set. Having much climbing experience is not even necessary for someone in this position.
Furthermore, I understood that the walls for this competition were constructed on Tuesday and Wednesday, which means the route setters had less than 3 days to set 16 boulders. I can imagine that this caused stress to the setters. I also wonder if there was enough time to test the boulders properly and to make readjustments if necessary.

Overall, I ended up in 6th place and I achieved my goal by reaching the finals. I really enjoyed the semis but not the disappointing final. Nevertheless I smiled on stage and I loved the crowd! You were all awesome. The volunteers who brushed the holds and cleaned the mats, the MCs and DJs, the judges; all of you were doing a great job! Thank you Sytse van Slooten and Zoutfotografie for the cool photos!

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The most important thing I want to say is that I love to climb in front of a big crowd. It gives me a lot of energy and motivation. I had a lot of fun this day and thank you all for the warm support!

It has been 5 years since I competed in all the national boulder comps and fought for the title in the nationals. Since then I participated in just 1 or 2 national boulder qualifications each year. However, this year I wanted to take part in all the comps in order to qualify once again for the nationals.

JK20803s

The line up of the competitions:
Boulder 1: Cube – 10th
Boulder 2: Sterk – 9th
Boulder 3: Bolder – 8th
Boulder 4: Monk – 7th

In general the boulder problems were creative, fun and sometimes more challenging than I thought. Unfortunately there were also some boulders with reachy moves, which did not suit me.

Every time I could have been in the finals, but I made too many mistakes. I’m glad I improved gradually and collected enough points to join the biggest competition of the year: the national championship boulder 2016!
I have been counting down the days and today will be the big day to perform.

The program for the event in Amsterdam:
10.30h Venue open for climbers and audience (free entrance)
11.00-11.30h Isolation females open
12.15h Start semi finals females
13.20-13.50h Isolation males open
13.50h End semi finals females
15.00h Start semi finals males
16.40h End semi finals males
16.55h Results semi finals
17.00h Venue closed for audience
19.00h Venue open for audience (entrance € 15,-)
19.30-19.45h Isolation finalists open
20.30h Presentation finalists and prep time
20.45h Start Finals NC Boulder 2016
23.15h Price ceremony

Unfortunately there is no live stream for the semi finals, but at 20.30h you can tune in for the live stream of the finals!

I’m one of the 12 participants and will start climbing the semi finals at 15.00h. Hopefully the boulders will be fun for me. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Let’s see if I can make it to the finals this time 😉

Anyway, I will enjoy my day and hope to see you in Amsterdam!!

Good afternoon you all!

Dust 2015 was a great event yesterday! I was waiting in front of the gym at 9.45 AM, so psyched to climb!

Waiting

Photo credits: Chris Waitzman

I wasn’t the only one waiting at the door though. Among a crowd of psyched climbers we were all waiting for the gym to open.

psyched

I felt quite excited when I peeked through the windows and saw Monk was ready to receive 250 (!) climbers.

Prep

And at 10.01 AM the gym doors were open and I was the first climber who received a scoreform!

register

Yeah I was ready to climb. Once again my mind was set to climb the most boulders of the day. I didn’t want to spend many attempts on each boulder, simply because there was no time for that. I was aiming to climb boulders which could lose lots of texture after many climbs. After that I spent time on some hard boulder problems. It took me quite some time to finish 8 hard problems. I decided not to spend more than 5 attempts for each hard problem. I think that worked out well.

enter first

After that I spent time on queuing and climbing many problems. I liked many problems, different styles and different kind of holds. Some of the holds were really sharp! Some of the boulder problems I didn’t even try, it would take too much time waiting. The new walls are definitely a nice add on to the gym!

At the end of the day I was quite surprised my skin was still okay. I expected to have bleeding fingers but that didn’t happen. I climbed 78 problems out of 94 total problems. Even though my top 8 wasn’t really high, I was proud at myself of achieving such a list.

scoreform

afterevent

This year Dust felt dustier than ever. In the ranking game I ended up 9th with my top 8 hardest problem. In the All You Can Boulder category I ended up 2nd with 78 problems.

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Tim sent 92, quite impressive! I guess I could call my day a success 😀

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With 4 bags of chalk, I’m good to go for another few weeks 😉 Thank you for the great boulders Monk and thank you Black Diamond for supplying me with chalk 😀

Last weekend I signed up last minute and joined the first comp of the year which was Boulder 1 competition at Sterk Bouldergym. I knew I couldn’t go all out 100% due to my leg injury which doesn’t seem to recover. Anyway, I wanted to test myself among this strong competiterfield.

It felt like a test to see if I was fit or not. I arrived on time despite the cold icy weather (code yellow). I checked the problems before I changed my clothes. The 8 qualification problems looked cool at first sight.

It was time to start and I felt confident enough to start with the 2nd boulder problem. I could flash it in my first try. Awesome but I wish this boulder was set harder to make more difference in this field though!

On to the next vertical problem number 8. I had to be careful because the volume where I would put my left foot was set really high. Before I started, I brushed the holds with an official extended brush. I could feel the balance in this boulder and could match the final hold in my flash attempt.

Boulder 1

I didn’t set up a plan for the boulders. I was missing a few judges during this comp though. I was looking around and handed in my form where there was no queue at all. I ended up at this jump boulder where you have to aim for 2 holds set on a volume. This boulder was shared with the ladies. Somehow I couldn’t reach the 3rd hold on top of the volume. You couldn’t see the hold from the start position, so I had to jump blind for this one. Unfortunately I didn’t succeed however the rest of the boulder looked fairly easy with 2 screw on edges.

I went to boulder number 6. This one contained small screw on crimps. This should be no problem. Dennis started first and slipped away hard on the edges with his fingers. It was my turn and the same happened to my right hand. In my 2nd attempt my left hand slipped away on the hold. The screw on holds looked kinda chalkless if you know what I mean. Everyone slipped off these holds. I was waiting for a bit and let other climbers climb on these holds first until they looked better to me. It was my turn again and the edges felt so different, I could even chalk my hands during the problem.

Crimps

I admit this felt really different with unchalked edges. It was unnecessary to fall in my attempts but eventually I managed to send this problem.

The same judge was judging boulder number 7 on a vertical / slab. I noticed this boulder could be send easy if you were a bit taller by immediately go to the left volume and put a heelhook next to your right hand. This was impossible for me. I climbed onto the volume first and went for a jump to the left without any handholds.

quali2

After 5 attempts I still didn’t succeed and went to the next problem.

Boulder number 4 was a sitstart with a double dyno to left. I tried 2 times and didn’t even get close. I knew this boulder wasn’t meant for me and gave up on this one.

Then I went on to a boulder on an arrete. This was the first qualification problem. It went okay but I spent too many tries. I had to place my left foot high on a hold and put pressure on it. This didn’t feel so good but eventually I could match the final hold.

Boulder number 3 wasn’t set for me. From the first sloper to the 2nd sloper was a shouldermove and reachy as well. I was fully stretched and couldn’t move. Even with an intermediate crimp in between and a toehook with left on the side this felt like a challenge way above my level. I felt upset that I didn’t fit in between but I just have to accept it.

From my point of view I think the competition would be nicer if there were more judges observing around. It would also give more peace as a climber because there are fewer long queues. Anyway, the qualification went not too bad. The atmosphere was nice and within no time we’re climbing in a dust cloud 😀

I ended up 10th with 4 tops in 9 attempts and felt quite disappointed. I needed at least 5 tops with 1 or 2 attempts each to advance to the finals. It was a pity that I couldn’t fit in between some holds and couldn’t try the rest of the problems. I have to accept it and will keep on training and get stronger to make this up next time 😉

Finals

The finals was set spectacular. A lot of reachy moves however it looked like a nice challenge! During the comp I was missing a host / speaker. I volunteered to be the MC during the finals. Tim liked it and set me up with a mic!

Speaker

The audience was sleepy and I had to wake them up first. Once they were awake, they were cheering the finalists yeah. This was pretty fun!

Speaker-action

Eventually we ended up before 6 PM including the price ceremony! Check out more photos here, here and there. The complete results can be found here.

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