Auf Wiedersehen!

I’m off to Deutshland morgen!  I’m bursting with excitement (and a fair bit of justified anxiety about our 12-hr airplane extravaganza).  I’ve had my best-ever summer strength phase, a really good two weeks of power training and I feel like I’m in outstanding shape.  I’d still like to lose a few pounds, which may be tough in a country that’s known for its breads, pastries, sausages and of course, beer.

A proper castle in Spain.

A proper castle in Spain.

We have a whirlwind itinerary planned with lots of sighseeing and even more climbing.  One of my favorite things to do is wander around the old villages and just take in the experience of being in a strange land.  I think Logan will get a big kick out of all the castles and romantically shaped houses.  Plus, like his dad, he loves a good pastry!

I have a huge list of routes I’d like to try and crags I’d like to visit, and I surely won’t make it to all of them, but I’ll be happy just to sample some of the most legendary routes in the world.  The climbing looks beautiful and powerful.  I expect it to be just plain hard, but I’m confident I will enjoy it.

I really like to have a project in mind when I’m training.  It helps you decide which tradeoffs to make in your schedule, when to shoot for your peak, which grips to focus on, etc.  However, when you’ve never laid eyes on the goal, let alone the crag where the goal is located, you have to make quite a few educated guesses.  When you’ve approached a goal route in this manner, there’s nothing quite like tying into your rope at the base for the first time.  So much effort and obsession has been directed at this patch of stone that you’re finally going to touch.  So many questions that have kept you awake for weeks or months are about to be answered.  Did I train the right grips?  Do I have enough power?  Do I need more endurance?  Is this thing even within the realm of possibility for me?

Climbing in Germany adds an extra dimension of mystery because they use the UIAA grade scale.  This scale is less discrete than the YDS or French system, making conversions tricky at best.  It’s one thing to train for a route where you at least know the grade, so you have some ballpark idea of the range of attempts or days it might take to send.  With the grade itself ambiguous, there’s an added shadow of doubt that the route might be completely out of the realm of possibility, given the time constraints of an overseas trip and a fixed itinerary.

As I finish up the Herculean task of stuffing 4 people’s worth of clothing and supplies for three weeks into two checked bags, these are the thoughts that occupy my mind!  I can’t wait, and yet I’m nervous.  I’m confident, yet prepared to be flexible if things don’t go the way I want.  Regardless I know it’s going to be an awesome experience.  Wish us Viel Glück!

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4 thoughts on “Auf Wiedersehen!

  1. Good luck! Hope you do well on all your projects and have a good time. I’m interested to hear how it goes with your kids. All of us climbers with small children are pulling for you (and your poor wife)!

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  2. Mark, You’re going to love it there, both for the climbing and the sightseeing. If you have a chance to make it over to regansberg, take it, it’s an awesome sightseeing city for a rest day. As far as the climbing goes, the style is very similar to Wild Iris which I know you love, so you’re going to have a blast!

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