From ice axes to chalk bag, from drytooling to sport climbing, from the Dolomites to Arco, this is how my climbing has evolved. A crescendo of fun and hard work that has given me plenty of satisfaction.
Scaling my first 8c sport climbing route means a lot to me, even though it’s not the absolute sport climbing limit anymore. Considering it came only six months after I became the first woman to climb a D15 drytooling route, for me it’s a big accomplishment.
I love to switch between disciplines; it adds variety but it’s not always easy. It just goes to show how dedicating many years to a variety of different climbing disciplines has resulted in achieving what I have dreamed of for years.
After doing so many tough climbs in the winter months, competing in the Ice Climbing World Cup competitions and scaling some of the hardest ice, mixed and drytooling routes, I was finding it tricky to get motivated to do big climbs in the summer too. But last year that changed and I decided to take my climbing to another level.
I did. I found a route called Cinque Uve at a crag close to Arco in Northern Italy. It suited my climbing style as it’s overhanging and I also liked the varied climbing up tufas, pinches, crimps and slopers.
Taking on such a tough challenge meant repeatedly going back to it, and getting the balance right between training too much and taking too many rest days is hard. Even on bad days, the view from the crag, overlooking Lake Garda, always made me go home happy. Sometimes it’s really tough, physically and because of the weather, which needs to be not too hot, not too cold and not too humid. So having the chance to try the route in the cool of winter was very productive, even if I then had to endure some very rainy weeks in spring.
The day I was able to link all the moves and pass the sequence of eight short, extremely intense moves that make up the crux was just a perfect day. I’m completely in love with this route; it deserved all the effort I put in and right now I feel simply happy.
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