End of year, there will be no more climbing nor skiing that’s worth mentioning by the end of this year, and skiing goes to the next winter summary anyway. This year was so much better and so much worse than 2017 at the same time.
I have not written a skitouring summary this season so I will shortly start with that. I spend winter under the sign of only going skitouring as it’s still better then climbing indoor, but I wanted winter to be over so that I can go climbing. I was psyched to go climbing. Nevertheless there had been a few really good tours and powder days. With Ian, an annual skitour 😉 with a great powder in Ticino. With Iwona trying for find good weather spells in unwelcoming Switzerland. With my awesome friends from Zurich (Andreea, Maddy, Tobi, Tom, Sebastian it’s about you guys !) in different subsets with a culmination of getting to Todi. In total I’ve done only 11 tours of a total of 12.6k ascent (median 1.2k) and 160km (median 15k), 3 after-work trainings with Tom in Oberiberg.
Not a great season by numbers, but with great people and it’s so good to be outdoors.
The season started with Patagonia with Iza, it was awesome, it also powered a lot of motivation for training for spring and summer, the weather was unpredictable, but views were awesome, here we’ve done “route with best views” Austriaka on Aguja l’S, Fitz Roy on the approach and Cerro Torre during the climb… AWESOME. Before I properly started multi pitch climbing season I got a day of ice-climbing with Rafal, need to do more of this in 2019. Then an awesome trip with Jan where we finished a Northwest Face of Half Dome. This climb wins the “epic of the season” reward. All the small mistakes, so much lessons, great company, epic descent, simply awesome. A weekend later I went with Iza to tick of another climb from my list – Epinephrine in Red Rocks.
Season in Switzerland started with a small accident where I got hit by a rock, all good, all under control, on a hindsight it was almost a good experience. Afterwards the season got better and better, finally ticked Churfirsten with Arne, first climbs of the season with Masha in Ticino. Two weekends in Colorado with Jan, weekend on Furkapass, where I finally got to Dammazwilinge with Masha an awesome linkup of two classic climbs, and ticked Mongolyto – “the most pleasurable climb” with Piotrek when Masha climbed Graue Wand with Jarek. Another epic of the season with this time with Masha during her B-day on Excalibur. This route I wins the “climb of the season” reward, overall it might have been less epic trip than HD, but the climb itself is such a classic, “interesting” ascent, challenging climbing, Masha was such an awesome partner, and not-straightforward rappel (without a belay device), the day was perfect.
Climbing with friends from Poland was good as well, Metal Hurlant was not on my list, yet I was there twice ;-), and it should have been, and Wydra is another new great partner I got to know this year.
“Trip of the season” award goes to a week in Lofoten. It was a close competition with Patagonia. It won as it was simply more enjoyable cause it required less logistics and had better weather, also more climbing. Both places and both ladies are awesome climbing partners and travel companion. There is high chance I will go again to both Pata and to Norway in 2019/20. Norway got a really good (although short) routes, loads of daylight, marvelous rock, lot of fun and joy.
After coming from Norway, the time came to finally tick Central Pillar of Freney. We got acclimatized on the Grand Jorasses Traverse and a week later went with Arne to Freney. This route was in my mind and on my lips for such a long time as it certainly gets the “accomplishment of the season” award.
Alhambra, another route from “the list” in Ticino was the last climb we’ve done with Masha together, very enjoyable day finished with great pizza. There is no award for the “tragedy of the season” as … well… we all know this… Masha’s accident and death had crashed me hard and casted a big shadow over this so far great year. I kept climbing but the trip to Yosemite, whereas objectively awesome (Thanks Tereza, Greg, Wojtek and Maciek !) was really sad and I couldn’t find the joy I should. I’ve done a few C3 pitches, and got a bit faster on aid… still there was no joy in it, even when I found the flow…
Afterwards it gradually started to get better. Annual trip in October to Grosse Bielenhorn this time with Doug and two climbs with Helena (both Masha’s friends) and Chili Glaten with Wydra slowly brought the joy of climbing back to me. I cannot overemphasize the support I got from my friends, and how grateful am I for the people that surround me.
Rock climbing was on a decline again. I’ve done only one 7a, but managed to on-sight two 6c’s :-).
OK. Let’s do some numbers. In 2018 (numbers are as presented by guidebooks):
- 15120 vertical meters of climbing, over 461 pitches, and 63 routes (next year I need to note also dates including day not only month and year so that I can easily count number of days)
- 12 days cragging, with 53 attempts
- 16 climbing partners: Iza, Rafał, Jan, Arne, Tali, Bob, DeLong, Masha [‘], Tereza, Chimelciu, Iwona, Semow and… incluging a few I climbed with for the first time only this year: Wydra, Anzel, Greg, Andrew, Doug, Helena – Thanks to all of you !
Awards (already mentioned):
- “epic of the season” goes to Northwest Face of Half Dome with Jan.
- “the most pleasurable climb” goes to Mangolyto with DeLong
- “route with best views” goes to Austriaka on Aguja l’S with Iza (subsequently winning “biggest approach / climbing ratio ever”
- “trip of the season” goes to Lofoten with Masha.
- “accomplishment of the season” goest to Central Pillar of Freney on Mount Blanc with Arne
- and… “climb of the season” goes to Excalibur on Wendenstocke with Masha.
Thanks ! And to the better 2019 !
ps. summary from 2017 is here [in Polish].