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17.05.2017

Bouldering in the mountains

Bouldering in the mountains is a sort of micro-mountaineering.

Around the Lunag Ri basecamp (and in many other Himalayan valleys) there are boulder fields that would immediately get developed if they were at a more accessible location.

Even if people like me, who enjoy bouldering at home, visit these places, the main goal of the expedition kills any sort of ambition on the boulders.

Conrad Anker, my partner on that trip, was constantly putting cream on his hands so they wouldn’t crack in the dry high mountain air. If Conrad, who has seen just about anything there is to see in expedition climbing, thinks good skin is important to avoid frostbite, then it probably is.

You inevitably have that on your mind more than the top jug when pulling on a small crimp. The same thing applies to the landings, you see them just like you see the abyss when traversing a scary ridge. Every move must be 100% calculated.

You climb as if you were on a high mountain, never risking a fall and trying to be on the safe side, because you know that the slightest error could mark the end of the expedition: This is not bouldering, it’s waiting in basecamp - at least mindset wise.

By the way, Stefan Voitl took this photo near my tent below Lunag Ri in 2016. This weekend, Stefan has an exhibition of his best photographs from Nepal, including a few more from that expedition. If you are around, have a look at the Alpinmesse Innsbruck!

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