In the middle of August Graubünden's Dave von Allmen opened a new boulder in the Swiss bouldering area Magic Wood: Shazam.
Given the many existing lines, one might think that the potential in Magic Wood has been exhausted. This is not the case, many active climbers prove again and again. One of the most active climbers in the Magic Wood is the Grisons Dave von Allmen.
A few weeks ago he managed the first ascent of a new line in the Magic Wood - a damn long line. The new Boulder Shazam is a highball because the exit is about ten meters high. We talked to Dave about his recent coup in Averstal.
When did you discover the line?
In addition to trying some of my heavy projects (potential first ascents as well as established problems) I am constantly looking for new lines. The massive wall above «New Base Line»Was always present for me, but so far never a concrete goal. Since it is currently often too warm for the really heavy stuff, I decided about two weeks ago to visit the wall again.
The wall is 10 meters high and rather structureless.Dave von Allmen
That day, we just walked along the wall for a few minutes and tried to spot lines. The wall is about 30 meters wide and has potential for several new lines in addition to the existing old lines. However, recognizing them from the ground is extremely difficult and requires some imagination, as the wall is almost 10 meters high and on the whole looks rather structureless. That's why one week later I just rappelled over the wall and started cleaning. Cleaning and finding a sequence through the wall was the content of the next three days. The line was thus effectively "discovered" only at the end of this hard work.
When did you start planning the line?
I've always tried sequences while brushing. These have changed over the days but always again, because certain sequences could hardly put together. On the 15. August I then started on the rope to try a specific sequence, which could climb from a difficult Mantle a few feet above ground to the exit. I then optimized this sequence to such an extent that I felt so far on Saturday 17.8 without getting in the rope.
You have to do the moves absolutely perfectly.Dave from Allment
After a few tries, I was able to climb from the start into the Mantle on the ground and then do some groping. After the Mantle you stand on small kicks, which are okay, in the plate and has one of the most demanding passages in the forest before him. The handles are small and the kicks even smaller. You have to do these moves absolutely perfectly so as not to tip off the plate (and get acquainted with one of the biggest trees in the forest). At this moment, you have to focus on the bare minimum and go through the plan ice cold and perfect. Falling in the plate is not an option. That's why I decided to jump off "controlled".
When exactly did you climb the line?
On the one hand, after this jump, I realized that I could climb the line, and on the other, I realized that I had to be better prepared mentally. So after this attempt, I packed up and went home to mentally prepare myself. This process is difficult to describe and intense, despite the calm that you can exude. The next day, Sunday 18.8.2019, early in the afternoon, I first "SHAZAM!"
I packed up and went home to mentally prepare myself.Dave von Allmen
With what difficulty do you judge the line?
"SHAZAM!" Is clearly the hardest and most technically and mentally challenging highball I have ever climbed. Such a line with such versatile requirements can hardly be evaluated in the classical sense. The mental aspect and the perfection that demand this kind of climbing is completely neglected in usual evaluations of the pure "difficulty", but here are essential components of the "difficulty". If I have to pack all this in a boulder grade, the answer is 8a + / 8b.
Where is Shazam?
"SHAZAM!" Is located about forty meters above «Zilliman» near «New Base Line».
What tip do you give to potential repeaters?
No flash attempts. It's best to come with me when I try the right seat start linkup there, then we have more pads. Seriously, I had no spotters or Pad Sherpas with me. While one was tedious, the other was "stupid." I know exactly what I do and hope, anyone who dares to such lines, does that too. Spotters can not do much with "SHAZAM!", But they can be important if something goes wrong! To find spotter with this information is another matter.
Video: Dave von Allmen at the first ascent of the highball boulder Shazam in Magic Wood
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Credits: Cover picture Dave von Allmen / Video