FYQ - Road to success to send 8b+When I was a small boy, I went in for many sports, football, baseball, and in the end I started climbing. Me and my friend climbed every tree and everything climbable when being outdoors. I improved my climbing abilities gradually and started to set myself minor aims. First it was climbing overhanging parts of the wall, then sending grade eight on rocks. I never dreamed of sending grade nine. Later I made my first 9 and immediately after that my first 8a.
I wanted to be one grade better every year. So now it was time for my first 8a+. I never dreamed of sending such a difficulty grade when I was young and I did not believe I would master it. It motivated me so much that I started preparing my own training plans and trained very hard. After this hard work I climbed my first 8b – Mrtvaški Ples at Osp. In fact, all the hardest routes that I made till that time were climbed here, at Osp. I like to climb there and this style is my cup of tea. Long endurance routes.
Last year in winter 2014, after sending my hardest routes, I started thinking more about training. The difference between 8a and 8a+ is great. And the difference between 8b and 8b+ is much greater. I set myself a goal to send 8b+ that season. I knew it would not be easy, therefore I started to collaborate with Helena Lipenská. She prepared a plan for me and I worked like a beaver according to it. I was eager to climb some 8b+, I was very motivated, I worked hard on a bouldering wall – I wanted to make good use of my training so much that I was going home with muscle fever. I ticked off the days of training every day. I worked hard as much as possible. In the morning, before going to school, I woke up at 7 o’clock and ran to the campus, after the school I ran to the bouldering wall for endurance training. I was so motivated that I enjoyed training more and more. I was really looking forward to the moment of gripping the first hold on my way to 8b+. Therefore I trained volumetric endurance frequently – circling 10 minutes at a 45° overhang on various ledges and middle holds. And hard bouldering on microledges. And naturally some hangs and pull-ups with a load vest. And I shall not forget the campus. This is the only maternity hospital of power. When Helena told me to make 20 ups and downs on the wall at Zlín with a load of 2 kilos in one day, I could not believe it. My hands were aching after the fourth climb but I did not surrender.
I worked my guts out. Every night I saw difficulty 8b+ before my eyes and I wanted to make it so much. I tried to send one climb in this grade this spring but I lacked power. I started to doubt whether my training is so effective as I expected to be. I was broken when thinking about it but there was still a little hope in me that I hit the form any time now.
And this year’s summer holidays were really magic. I travelled to Rodellar in Spain to make practical use of the hard training. I went there for three weeks, so I had much time to try something. I started with easier routes to get accustomed to the character of the place. But two days later I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to send the Espirit Rebeld 8b route. I attempted it several times and I have to say that it was a real endurance route, which should not have been a problem but it was. I finally made this route and when being lowered by the belayer I saw the Ixea 8b+ route next to me. I fell in love with this route immediately, just when seeing it.
The route can be found in the Las Ventanas sector and is some 40 metres long. I started climbing at once. The hardest boulder of the whole route is right down. It was good to have the right knee pad, otherwise I would lose the skin on my thigh. After the boulder, the route has a more endurance character with a brilliant final boulder, small slopers and a tiny undercling. I was so delighted that I wanted to climb even the next day which was a restday. I could hardly wait for tomorrow.
After the restday, I made some attempts and fell down to my pumped forearms in the middle of the route. I had to change my programme and use different tricks. After spending some 10 days here at Rodellar, my friends were sick and tired of the persistent heat. Every day 35°C, so you can imagine how the climbing was. I love hot weather and was able to climb 8b+ even in this weather. Although I had quite a job with the holds, I promised myself to send the difficulty grade of 8b+ and therefore I had to deal with it. I have not been training so long before just to use the heat as an excuse. But the boys gave me and Jura additional two days only to realize our projects.
Everything went black at this moment. I knew I had to climb it within those two days, otherwise my training would be a waste of effort. The pressure was so high that it was even impossible to concentrate. The first day I fell twice in the last step of the route. I bawled myself hoarse what an idiot I was, and do not know what else :D. Probably many four-letter words. A 13-year-old boy tried to send this route together with me, he was faster than me, and suddenly I saw him celebrating. That moment motivated me and pissed me off so much that I wanted to do it by force. But this is not the way of doing it. I made many unnecessary mistakes, it was a waste of time. The last day before our departure I fell down again, with no chance of sending it. I wanted to resign. And now, suddenly, wind arose and temperature went down by several degrees. I ran for my gear to try the last attempt. I was very tired, but I still felt having a small chance. I climbed the lower half of the route quickly. I reached the bucket and continued. I clicked quickdraws one after another to reach a special ledge to be climbed over even with the pump I had.
After 30 metres of climbing I found a good place to rest. I stayed some 10 minutes on the ledge. Cool wind freshened me and holds were easier to grip. I talk to myself: “Now or never”. I stopped thinking, I just concentrated on the final boulder where I fell down three times. I grasped the sloper, clicked the last quickdraw, and continued climbing. I left the ledge, grasped two slopers, my legs fell out. Such holds are very difficult to be used without legs but I was still holding it. I couldn’t believe it but I continued. Gripping a bad undercling, legs up, grasping a ledge, in the meantime cheering yelling from below, hanging on, and the final jug. Yeeeeeeees, you’ve done it. Yeeees. I can’t believe it. I enjoyed the atmosphere. I’ve done it. The training was not fruitless and the hard work was worth it. I remember how the other climbers were happy seeing my success. The smile stayed on my face very long and rappeling was the best moment. I could finally sigh with relief and talk to myself: “You’ve done it”. I climbed the Ixea 8b+ route on the seventh attempt. Due to the length and difficulty of the route, I was able to make only two climbs every day.
This year I succeeded in sending other 8b+ routes at Osp, namely Kaj Ti Je Deklica and Marjetica 8b/b+. I was very happy. I want to say thanks to Helča for the training, to my brain for never giving up, and especially to Tendon, my sponsor, for excellent support, and to everyone else who supported me. Nothing is impossible, if you want to do it. So devote youselves to training, enjoy the atmosphere with friends in the rocks, and never give up. You never know when the moment comes that brings you up and you make one of your dreams come true, such as happened to me.
Author Denis Pail - I would like to nominate Jakub Konečný.