Magic Wood is the bouldering area where I spent most of my weekends when I was a teenager. A bunch of friends and I would drive to Averstal and enjoy the perfect granite for two days before driving back for school on Monday. It is also the place where I climbed my first 8b, ‘Riverbed’ back in 2010. But lately I did not pay this valley any visits, mostly due to its crowdedness and my interest in other climbing areas. This weekend, my buddy Alfons Dornauer and I decided to head back.
I had spent the past month indoors to train for the upcoming World Cups. An escape from the dusty gym was all I needed before the upcoming World Cups would keep me gym-bound again. We wandered through the forest, climbed some boulders and simply enjoyed the moment. I also wanted to check out two potential projects : ‘New Base Line’ and ‘Steppenwolf’. Even though they had been on my mind for a long time, I had never gotten around to trying them.
On Saturday, Alfons and I paid ‘NBL’ a first visit. In the end, Alfons found a solution for all the moves and I was only missing the foot-move to the left, for which you set yourself up with the worst hold of the problem. The decisive move. Nonetheless, I was really satisfied and already a bit sore, so we moved on to ‘Steppenwolf’. After figuring out the moves it got dark. Tired, we left the forest and checked into the ‘Generoso’, the climber’s hotel. This was a novelty and an upgrade since my high-school-days. But I must admit that the shower felt priceless!
The next day, we had an easy start and headed to the blocs at around noon. We decided to reverse the order since ‘NBL’ stays in the sun a lot longer than ‘Steppenwolf’. After a while I found some perfect beta for my size. I rehearsed all the sections a few times and was ready to give it a go. This is when I entered my zone, where everything falls into place like in a dream: I climbed fast and with precision. Everything just came together and I found myself on top of the beautiful ‘Steppenwolf’.
Since Alfons had rested all day it was his turn on ‘NBL’. He checked out the moves again and climbed the upper section a few times. His first go was promising, but somehow it did not work out. I was motivated to check out the moves once more, in order to recall them on my next visit. Trying to climb the entire boulder did not even enter my mind. Suddenly I stuck the crux move that just minutes before had seemed out of reach. I had now done all the moves! At first, I couldn’t quiet believe it, but then my wheel started turning…
I decided to give it my all. I stuck the first move and without knowing, I was, yet again, in my zone. The place you can't reach with sheer will, but you still occasionally find yourself there. It almost felt effortless. My intuition took over and I reached the crux. I took a breath, used a bad toehook to get the gaston and pressed hard to move my foot out left. I focused on my body tension to match a vertical rail, threw myself to the next hold, and used the next gaston with my right. Another breath and I went to the final jug with my left hand. Feeling the jug in my hand, I had a hard time to realise what had just happened. I turned to Alfons and all I could say was “ZACH", a typical Tyrolean word that means “unbelievable”… I finished the problem and had to sit down on top of the boulder.
I had actually climbed Steppenwolf and NBL in one day!! It was even more meaningful to have such a day in a place that is special to me. When I was a teenager standing under these blocs in Magic Wood I would not have dreamed about climbing these two gems in one day. As I am writing this, I am still overjoyed and I cannot stop smiling.