Vertik Trip

Last week, the 2008 VertikTrip competition took place here in Belgium. It was an international invitational event and the format was redpoint, where we worked one route and one boulder in the morning, then in the afternoon got three minutes in the boulder and one try in the route. The field for the men was pretty tough with a few world class climbers coming over from Spain and France, as well as the strongest Belgians. The women were mostly all just Belgians but a few strong girls from Spain and Netherlands showed up as well. So Saturday morning, we arrived at 10 am and started working the problems.

First the route – It was set on a steep, featured wall and winded around on a series of worse and worse holds, leading to a final hard headwall. The first section was pretty easy, a rising traverse on jugs and crimps leading to a good knee-bar rest. From the rest, the route headed out right on a series of dynamic moves on good holds to another decent restpoint on two good crimps. Up until here it wasn’t too hard, maybe 13b or so. After these holds the route started getting harder with another traverse back left on a series of slopey features and bad pinches, to a final section of really hard climbing to the top. The last 12 moves or so were all really hard, maybe a sustained V8 boulder to the top. All in all the route was probably rated around 8c and wery well set. After trying the moves and making a good link in the morning, I figured I might be able to make it to the last hard section, but doing the final moves pumped would be a real challenge.

The traverse section.

So then came the boulder – We had about 3 hours to work it in total, but as it turned out even that wasn’t even enough to get it done. It was really really hard, around V12 or so and consisted of a few easier move leading to a left-trending traverse across a steep wall with really bad pinches and edges, ending with a final dyno to a jug. There was one cross move in the traverse that I just couldn’t do, but neither could most of the others so I wasn’t too worried about it.

The hard cross move.

After the morning session we rested for a few hours, watched TV, slept, ate, etc. but basically just waited for the night to come so the comp could get started. Everyone was really syked and prepared when eight oclock finally came around. We started with the boulder, then ended with the route. In the boulder, I got to that really hard move on every try like I expected, but never quite managed to stick it. Only three guys managed to do that move and only one got higher, but no one ended up sending.

The route went much better for me. I felt really good on it and managed to get into the final hard section as I hoped I would. I fell at a big deadpoint move about 7 holds from the end, so I was definitely satisfied with my go. I didn’t make any mistakes or climb inefficient, I did my absolute best so I was really syked. Only Edu Marin and Michael Fuselier got higher then me, both falling four holds from the top. Since Michael did better on the boulder then Edu, he ended up winning the comp. Me and Edu tied on the boulder, but he did better on the route, so he took second and I took 3rd place.

The podium - Michael Fuselier 1st, Edu Marin 2nd, Me 3rd

In the women’s field, my sister ended up winning by getting to the last move of the boulder and sending her route. She was the only one to do it and no other girl even managed to get to the last quickdraw – it seems as her training in Spain has been paying off lately!

All in all it was a really fun comp and the atmosphere was really relaxed – not as serious or competitive as other events. It was exciting to climb with the Spaniards and I got to know the whole crew well – Edu, David Macia, Marco, Sara, and Monica, and have already made plans with them to go climbing in March to Spain! I’m also getting syked again to start training seriously and bring it to the next level.. So right now, a muerte in the gym until the spring Spain trip!