2 weeks ago I went climbing at Freyr in Belgium. In my opinion it was one of the hottest weekends of the year!
I was accompanied by Valentina & Arnold and Tanya. I didn’t climb much, but I had a lot of fun being outdoors. It felt like +25 degrees and during the evening our car got attacked by hail as huge as gumballs. We survived it and we’re all doing good for your information.

During this weekend I ran into my friend Paul Lahaye. He forgot his rope and carried his camera with him. It was too hot to climb anyway, so he ran up the rocks and took some photos while I was working in Surplomb Davaille. I still need to come back and send it though!

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I’ll be back in cooler conditions.

Last week of May I flew to Treviso with Tanya and Sven. We flew on Saturday and planned a week in Arco.

From Treviso we drove to Arco. It took 2,5 hours to get to our campsite. The weather was nice and sunny however we noticed that there are a lot of local showers especially above our campsite.

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Sunday we visited Val d’Agone. The description in the topoguide was quite accurate. I drove towards Sarche > Ponte Arche > Banali > Val d’Agone. I dropped Tanya and Sven near the crag and went to Trento to pick up another friend Anne who I invited to join us in Arco. On my way back our navigation led us to a different place. Nevertheless it took a long while to get back to the crags and called it a day.

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The next day we visited Massone. The familiar stories about polished routes came true. I climbed the most polished route of the crag called Pegasus. Warning: Don’t ever climb this route, it’s not fun at all and should be deleted out of the topoguide. Next to this crag on the right, 30 meters further, there are better routes with more overhang. I climbed 5 routes in a row which was awesome!

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Tuesday until Friday we visited Nago. This area is quite accessible by car and takes 10 minutes to walk to the crag. There are benches to sit, a big square where the sun shines, easy routes to warm up and hard routes in the shadow! I can’t wish for anything better. When you walk more into the forest, you’ll find walls and routes up to 40 meter! The view is amazing and the routes are lovely.

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1 week sounds too short though. I left a project behind which I think I can send under better conditions. The route is called Ghost Rider and is really awesome! I was able to test my new Boreal Satori shoes in this route. These toe down shoes are perfect in the overhang. I just need to link 3 moves together at the beginning of the route. Anyway, I will come back to finish it, hopefully very soon.

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I climbed 5 days in a row and felt exhausted but happy at the end of the week.

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I had a great time with friends in Arco! See you soon.

A few weeks ago I went to Berdorf with some friends.

I haven’t been there for a while and it was good to be back at the sandstone rocks. We arrived on Friday evening at campsite Martbusch, set up the tents and tried to get some sleep.

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Usually I can sleep well in a tent, however this time there were some loud Germans who kept everyone awake until 4 AM. Fortunately I brought my earplugs with me and I could reduce the noise :) To those who tried to get some sleep that night, I feel sorry for you.

The weather was actually quite cold in the shadow. I brought my hammock with me and set it up between 2 trees. I was tagging along with some friends and didn’t have a belay buddy. Anyway, for me it was a relaxing day and met some other friends as well.

That day I warmed up in Heinz (6C) and continued to set quickdraws in Daiwel (7B+). Right after that route I climbed Gincobiloba (7B) which I think is much easier than Daiwel. Last try of the day was Cima Ovest. This route contained a dyno which was really nice. I saved this route for the next day.

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At the campsite I was offered a huge hamburger from some friends. Later we went to this pizza restaurant and spent some time there in the evening. When we went to sleep, again this night our German youngsters stayed up all night. There was a discussion on the campsite and other climbers tried to ask them friendly to keep it down. No sleep until 4 AM, unless you had earplugs.

Sunday morning I saw sensed small eyes from my friends who barely slept this weekend. I wanted to climb some more routes on Sunday. I started to warm up with Voleur de Spits (7A+).

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Here my friend Alvin is climbing the same route (Voleur de Spits).

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Then I wanted to set the quickdraws for Cima Ovest. However I managed to climb Cima Ovest (7C+) in the same time. Jumping with quickdraws is possible. That was really cool.

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In the afternoon I climbed the route of Hasta La Vista Gringo (8B) however I didn’t managed to pass the crux. Now I know it’s impossible for small people like me, I just wanted to try it for myself. Such a pity of this line. Tall climbers should definitely try this route, it’s a must!

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I finished my day with a send of Infernale (7B) which I think is fairly easy for the grade. Here’s photo of my friend Chris, tried to encourage him through the route!

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Overall, I had a great weekend (besides the noise at night) with friends in the forest. I bought myself a topoguide. My goal is to climb all the routes Berdorf has to offer, sounds like fun doesn’t it?

Anyway, thanks Den Tserkovnyi for shooting the photos and see you around in Berdorf :)

Salaam Aleikum!

Exactly a year ago my friend Jérôme sent me a message and invited me to climb together in Gorge Taghia. It’s a place far away from The Netherlands, namely in Morocco!

I had never been to Morocco and figured it might be nice and said yes to it. I booked myself a flight to Tanger where I met my friend Jérôme Vercoutere. We climbed together before in Berdorf and Fontaine Bleau! It was good to catch up again. He was living for a few months in Tanger for work. I had my climbing stuff with me: harness, climbing shoes, quickdraws, helmet and a chalkbag.

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First we drove up 10 hours to Taghia. Jérôme just received his new car and it was a nice test to see if the car could handle such a big roadtrip. 900 KM, from Tanger to Rabat – Casablanca – Beni Mellal to Zaouiat Ahansal.

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Meanwhile the road went from good to bad to worse. Just before it got dark we couldn’t pass this small road which was flooded by water. We had 2 options here, drive back 2 hours or build a dam and stop the waterflow and try to pass the water. We decided to play with the rocks and 30 minutes later we managed to pass the waterflow.

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From here it was about 50 KM to Zaouiat Ahansal, however we couldn’t drive faster than 35 km/h because of the bad road.

When we finally arrived at Zaouiat at night, we had a nice welcome of our guide Mohmed. The next morning we left the car behind to walk another 2 hours to get to the simple life in Gorge Taghia. It was a nice walk in the nature and we had our own mule which carried our luggage.

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On our way to Taghia Gorge we ran into Hazel Findlay and Emily Harrington, with their crew just done filming for Reel Rock 8. Crazy though!

We stayed a week in Taghia. It has sport multipitch routes on perfect limestone bigwalls! The best season to visit this area is the middle season (april/may/begin of june). After the middle season it can be too hot to climb.

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Day 1: We just arrived and climbed the multipitch Belle et Berbere. It contains about 10 pitches of an average 6b climb. My experience: I wasn’t used to climb multipitches. It was my first multipitch! My competition shoes were too small for such a long continuous climb. Carrying a bag with equipment / food was okay in the beginning but your moves in the routes can be quite limited. We started slow, I had to learn how to fix myself safely in the wall. Belaying went well and we had to communicate when one of us was on top. The rock was good however climbing in the sun (35 – 40 celcius) was fairly hot. We climbed 7 pitches and exited the route.

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Day 2: Jérôme and I decided to have an ‘easy’ day. We could climb easy pitches again but other climbers recommended us to climb La Zebda. This multipitch was also close to the guesthouse. 15 – 20 minutes of walking, jumping on stones on the river and we were at the wall again. It contains 8 pitches. It was a beautiful climb, however climbing with a bag stocked with equipment / food it wasn’t the easiest climb. Actually this day we had minimal food with us. 1 bottle of water and 1 pack of chocolate cookies.

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Day 3: Today we had a rest day. My skin on my fingers was still good however my body was exhausted. My back was sore and my legs were tired. Every time we climbed up the routes, it was 1 hour walking back to the guesthouse. We figured to make it a useful restday by figuring out the which multipitches we were going to climb for the next few days. We went out to the rocks and explored the start of the routes. It can save a lot of time for the next day! Eventually we were hiking for another 5 hours :D

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Day 4: We woke up at 5.30 AM. We wanted to climb the multipitch Au nom de la Reforme and try to avoid the sun as much as possible.

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We went hiking at 06:00 AM and started climbing at 08:00 AM at the rocks. It was a long hike, quite steep but eventually worth it. Fortunately we were well prepared this time.

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The first pitch we used a few friends, the start was a bit undefined with only 2 bolts. After that the climbing was really joyful. When we reached the top at noon the altitude was 2600 meter! Getting on top of the mountain was nice and a good time for a lunch and a break.

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Hiking back down took 2 hours! We were exhausted when we got back to the guesthouse and recharged ourselves for an hour.

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Day 5: We woke up again at 5.30 AM. It was still dark but after a simple breakfast it was bright enough to see the path. Today we were going to climb the multipitch Canyon Apache. This one contained another 10 pitches with an average of 6b. The hike towards the route took about 1,5 hour. It was no problem after so much hiking this week. We filled our water bottles at the mountains.

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We had 4 bottles of water with us and carried it up the rocks just for training. The water is clean enough to drink. I was still climbing in my sweater. When Jérôme was on top of the 7th pitch, I managed to lose our blue reverso…I pulled out the reverso and in my hand I was holding a rope and a carabiner. I thought the reverso was attached onto the carabiner but it wasn’t. Fortunately no one was walking or climbing below us, when I saw the blue reverso flying in the air. It landed on the 4th pitch of Canyon Apache, including a silver carabiner. So a warning to all of you climbers, if you run into this blue reverso + carabiner, don’t use it cause it’s not safe after a 100M fall. Anyway, we still managed to finish all the pitches.

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Day 6: We had a rest until the afternoon.

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We went up in the rocks to find sport climbing routes. However it was the last day of climbing and somehow we weren’t too motivated today. We climbed 2 routes and enjoyed the sun the rest of the afternoon.

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In the evening we packed our stuff and hiked with Mohmed back to the car in Zaouiat Ahansal.

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The next day we drove 5 hours to visit Marrakech. We stayed there for a weekend and it was quite impressive. This city is crowded of tourists.

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We visited La Kasbah and the Medina. According to the Lonely Planet it was a must do. In my opinion we could have skipped the Kasbah. In the narrow streets there are lots of salesmen and bikers.

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In Morocco they speak Arabic and French, however when you’re in the touristic Marrakech or medina, lots of salesmen speak English as well. They want to hook up with you. Help you out, find what you’re looking for, sell you as much junk as they can and eventually ask for a tip because they helped you out. Be careful and don’t accept anything which is being handed to you.

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Furthermore I visited Assilah and Tanger for a few days. The food was nice, fortunately I didn’t get sick of it. I had lots of tajine, couscous, yellow soup and flat bread with La Vache Qui Rit!

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The last evening of my holiday we celebrated in a nice restaurant near the coast. We celebrated Jérôme’s birthday. Happy 24th anniversary! It was a nice surprise dinner with friends and coworkers.

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I enjoyed the trip, the multipitches, the landscape, the hiking, the travelling, the food, the sun and not to forget the time together with friends. Taghia was awesome and thanks once again for the invite Jérôme!. Soon I might go on another multipitch trip :)

Guess who’s back in town? I know I disappeared for a while. Sorry, I was too busy…climbing :D

Anyway, today I received a big parcel from my Spanish friends Boreal. They sent me some new models and one of them is the Satori.

I always love to unbox and take some snapshots of it. So enjoy these photos!

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I was surprised the middle part of the shoe is really flexible. The rubber is ultra sticky. Even on top of the shoe there is a lot of rubber for toe hooking. The front sole is hard and the heel is also quite high in comparison with the Falcon or the Kintaro I used to climb on.

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I think this shoe looks very technical. I like the colour combination. It is a toe down shoe, which means perfect for overhang climbs or bouldering. The strap on top of the shoe can be tightened.

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As you can see, the heel has an extra cut. When I fit the shoe, my heel doesn’t fill up the shoe, there is a little room for air in the corner. As I mentioned before, the heel is high but it doesn’t bother because the material is soft.

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I climbed on these shoes today. The first time is usually really tight. Inside the shoe, there are cushions. It feels as if there is a pre printed sole inside, whereas other shoes are just flat inside. Also behind the lip there is another lip. It is made from a soft material, it feels as if you’re about to go diving.

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I climbed 2 hours on it. Heel hooks and toe hooks are no problem.

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My feet looks a bit bluish from the material however I’ve seen worse from other shoes like La Sportiva Cobra. The shoes are really comfortable and soft. There is still a lot of rubber on it. I think the shoe will wear out a little bit as I will climb more on it.

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Overall the shoe is pretty cool. It will be a good replacement for my Falcon. So far my review about the Boreal Satori. So what is your opinion about these shoes?

Time for another movie.

Check out this cave! 160 meter deep. Do I need to say more?

Video: Into the Light

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