Tag Archives: kandersteg

A non-event in Rabenstein, Italy

As usual, my hopes were high for Rabenstein. Although I was really enjoying working on a route in Cogne called Jedi Master. But as my itinerary dictated, I needed to depart for another World Cup competition.

Basically, Rabenstein, should not be written up as an event in my life. If on any day of my life I fell off a climb 5 meters up into air, I would just get back on and have another try. It would not take up any space in my psyche.

on the ice for a few seconds

on the ice for a few seconds

World Cup venue in Rabenstein, Italy

World Cup venue in Rabenstein, Italy

But this fall holds the emotional turmoil of having traveled thousands of kilometers, trained for many hours, raised hundreds of dollars, representing women, Canadians, the old athletes, the fat athletes, mountain guides, etc. I fucking disappointed them all and threw away all that hard work in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, this “non-event”, is wreaking havoc on my ego. I desperately wanted to stay in Europe and climb a route that I am inspired by and send it. My ego doesn’t understand bad luck.

Bad Luck = losing your 60 year old dad in a car accident. My self-esteem took a 2 year shit-kicking from that event in 2006.

Why does bad luck = thinking you are a horrible person when you are not in control of all the variables?

I am climbing harder than I have ever climbed in mixed climbing.

Last year, I didn’t have any structured training and I got my best result at World Cup.

This year, I trained, put in tons of effort and got a very low ranking. It seems ludicrous; like a bad dream.

I recently stumbled upon (thanks to my sister, Erica) a woman named Kristen Neff who writes about Self-Compassion. I am only just scratching the surface of this fantastic concept that is a little foreign to me. *grin*

So again, I will share the highlights of my last weeks and take the focus off my failure.

1. Sending a route called Pink Panther M9 in Ueschinetal, Kandersteg, Switzerland. A beautiful venue in the Swiss Alps with an hour and a half approach.

Enjoying the moves of Pink Panther

Enjoying the moves of Pink Panther

Transitioning to the ice. "Real Mixed Climbing" yay

Transitioning to the ice. “Real Mixed Climbing” yay

2. Sending a route called le Zebra at le Zoo M10 (downgraded to M9 i think?) I really enjoyed sending this route on my 3rd try. Very rewarding for me. The video cuts out just after the second crux. I played on this route with Kendra Stritch.

3. Working on a 5 pitch route called Jedi Master M11 (D8) in Cogne, Italy with Maxime Turgeon (climber and photographer) and Stephanie Maureau

Stephanie at the top of pitch 3, the crux pitch

Stephanie at the top of pitch 3, the crux pitch

Me working the crux moves of M11 pitch

Me throughly enjoying working the crux moves of M11 pitch

Using a forbidden figure 4 to complete the crux

Using a forbidden figure 4 to complete the crux

A cool finish onto the final pitch of ice on a supercool route

A cool finish onto the final pitch of ice on a supercool route

4. And some pictures from Cheongsong, South Korea competition taken by Kendra Stritch.

Women's Qualifyer

Me on the Women’s Qualifyer

fun to move!

fun moves!


Me in Semi-finals- yay!



Filed under Friends, Ice Climbing, inspiration

Saas Fee Wins


Fun times on France’s world cup structure

Saas Fee 2013

On competition day, I reminded myself in the morning not to have expectations in either direction. I was very hopeful for an improvement in my performance. I don’t want to fall off until I am pumped out of my mind!

There was an improvement, not seen in the results. The published result of my 3rd world cup competition was my worst one yet. But, I did have a personal success. I felt incredibly anxious during both qualifiers and semi-finals in Korea – somehow, I managed to feel more relaxed in Saas Fee. In moments, I could feel anxiety rising and I kept managing it, trying to focus on the relaxed confident climber inside.

When I watch even the best world cup ice climbers, I see their anxiety in their shaking tool or their rapid breathing. Its one of the many distractions that gets puts aside during the climb. Who cares if you feel pumped, or shaky, if your lover is watching or your enemy—just climb. Just do what you love and know. Give it your all.

Dozens of talented climbers, come to these events and fail miserably in a very short amount of time. There is no second chance. Not even the opportunity to climb on the wall after the competition is over. Months or years training, thousands of dollars.

In the Ouray competition last year, I popped off the route early. Later that day, I got back on and I did as well as the winning girl. Knowing that made it all worthwhile. I felt so gratified that my training paid off – that winning was possible. I never knew that it was possible for me before.

At these world cups, I have no idea how far I could get up the comp route if I didn’t make a silly mistake or be completely terrified of failure. I suspect I wouldn’t onsite some of the cruxes- as I watch many athletes stronger than me fail. But it would be great to know where I stand. There is a huge gap between the top ten and the rest of us. That I know. I have no illusions of a podium finish. I have a great respect for these athletes; they all deserve their medals.

The stress of objective hazard in the mountain climbing shares similarities to the stress of performing in a competition. Both are very challenging, worthy endeavors. Both give humans the illusion of control. Neither can be completely controlled. There is some grace and wisdom in accepting the unpredictability of both these environments.


Just by showing up as a competitor you put yourself at risk for failure, just like so many things in life. Only a select few win the gold medal, but for most the rewards lie in the journey. The perseverance, discipline, connecting with people and foreign cultures, the side trips…


So far, the side trips are the highlight of this travel. Experiencing new crags like L’usine and Ueschinetal and the enthusiasm and generosity of other passionate climbers.


Would be so great if we had one of these in North America… or Canmore : )

Gordon and Nathan headed into L’usine
Gord showing us the lines
Love the belay seat
such a cool cave near a factory…
me having a blast ‘almost’ flashing SAT… a super classic line
we earned our beer or our vin rouge ; )

Saas Fee, Switzerland is a great place to visit for skiing and climbing

Image 13
Me enjoying the opening moves of the qualifier

Me and Cecile. I am looking more like the stay-puff marshmallow man than a world cup athlete!


Nathan crushing the in Men’s qualifier.


Nate cruising on pink panther – a classic Kandersteg climb


Gaetan cruising yet another line


Simon onsighting Pink Panther


Filed under Friends, Ice Climbing, inspiration