In April, the Bernese Kevin Heiniger climbed the 8c-Boulder Kryptos at Morchelstock in Balsthal (LACRUX reported). In today's guest post Kevin tells us how he came up with the project, what hurdles he had to overcome and what it feels like to successfully complete a long-term project.
A contribution by Kevin Heiniger
A few years ago, I was looking for a bouldering area as close to home as possible. On the website bimano.ch I found it then. In the Balsthal there is an area called "Morchelstock". So I started, because there should be some heavy boulders there. In the beginning I was not exactly convinced, because you already have to know which boulders are worthwhile. But since I live only about 35 minutes away by car, I drove anyway from time to time. And the more I explored the blocks and some climbed in the easier area, the more I liked the small area in the forest. When I had climbed the most simple boulder, I wanted to risk something more difficult. At that time I had climbed a few heavy boulders. Since it was so easy to reach, I was able to climb outside after work so I would not always be in the climbing gyms. So I climbed my first 2014a + Boulder at Morchelstock in the year 8.
It had to be something difficult
Then I looked a little more at the topo to see what else there is. So I came to the last photo that is shown of this area and there you can find the boulder "Kryptos". Franz Widmer first climbed an 8c boulder in 2009, which was repeated in the same year by none other than Fred Nicole. Of course, I had already seen the boulder in the topo, but didn't really pay attention to it. But now I wanted to see the boulder in real life and hang on the handles once to see what an 8c boulder feels like. On the topo in the app you can find a link to the video by Franz Widmer.
Initially, hardly a train in Kryptos succeeded
So I sat in front of this boulder and watched the video, then I put on my climbing shoes and wanted to try. However, I quickly realized how heavy this boulder is. In the lower part, I hardly got my feet off the ground, let alone make a move. So it happened that sometimes I went to this boulder out of fun and projected a bit. At first it was not serious and I could not imagine that such a boulder is possible for me to climb. And when 2014 started training again in the fall, I was not rocking anyway. In addition, it is very wet in this area when it has rained and it is best of all the temperatures of spring and autumn.
Progress was slow
2015 I then decided seriously to call this boulder my project. I had never tried a route or boulder for more than three days. Either I could climb it or I gave up and thought it was too hard. And through the many training sessions for the competitions, I usually climbed only on holidays on the rock. And of course I did not want to spend the whole vacation on a project there. But since Balsthal is not far away and you can go well in the evening, it became my project. I know a lot of people who have told me many times, what a feeling it was to climb the project after many attempts and that's what I wanted to experience. In the beginning it was very depressing, I did not really make progress. In addition, I was never regularly on site, as always training and competitions were in between. And when I came back after the summer break, since it is way too hot, I was back at the beginning because I had forgotten my solutions. In addition, I moved 2015 into the military in October and so it was not until the spring again. Gradually, I had worked out the best solution for all the trains and was able to climb the Boulder into sections and climb. However, I had a hard time with a heavy train, I could climb it as a single train, but I had no chance when I came from below. Then came the competition season and in the fall 2016 I was mostly climbing in other places.
The puzzle is slowly building up
I was a little lacking in motivation because I couldn't really get any further. Still, I went back every now and then to try my hand at it. So I kept climbing those sections that slowly got better and of course I tried to find a solution for the rest. But unsuccessfully and so the winter came again. After a really good winter build-up and the first competitions, there was a longer break this spring until the next event. So I decided to go to Balsthal again, but actually with a different goal. I wanted to try another, slightly easier boulder. Towards the evening I still went on to see how it felt. Within an hour, I found a good solution for the train that was still missing and I was able to climb all the other trains in individual sections. I could hardly believe it and felt much stronger and more stable on the handles than last year. The excitement was of course great when I drove home that evening. For the first time I could imagine climbing this boulder. Accordingly, I couldn't wait to go back to see if it wasn't just a perfect day and a perfect day's shape. I came back exactly a week later. It felt great again. That day I got as far as never before and slowly I was convinced that there wasn't much that was missing.
Sending time in the dark
On the third day of this year, to be exact on Monday 24. So I went back to April 2017. On Sunday I had a nice rest day and prepared almost like a competition. I knew that I would not have much time because I could not go home until after work. So for safety's sake I took my lamps with me. In the first attempts it felt a bit worse than the last two times. So I took a longer break and waited until it got a bit colder. Of course it was then dark in the woods, but I had enough light to illuminate the whole boulder. Then came where so many people had told me, suddenly I was standing on the block and I had climbed the Boulder. It felt so easy and everything went automatically, I did not have to think about it. You can not really describe the feeling, somehow joy but not as I always imagined when I stood on the block. It feels so unreal that it was so easy to climb and I had so much trouble before. It took me some time to realize that I had really climbed this boulder. I also felt a small empty space because I always knew that I would come back again and now I have completed this project.
The third ascent to Franz Widmer and Fred Nicole
It's really a great feeling to climb such a boulder into which you have put so much effort. And that it is the third ascent after Franz Widmer and Fred Nicole after 8 years also honors me. Unfortunately, I can't say much about the level of difficulty, as I've never been to this level before. I have already climbed a few boulders up to 8b and already tried 8b +. I can only say, it was the hardest I have ever climbed and so I just join Franz and Fred and leave the number there. You have more experience than me and I may have woken up this boulder a bit. Hopefully it won't take another 8 years until the next ascent.
The video by Kevin Heiniger in the Durchstieg you find in the following LACRUX article:
Credits: Picture Kevin Heiniger