Monday, April 9, 2018

Kalymnos 2018 Season: Programs & Info

Kalymnos 2018

I will start my season on Kalymnos on May 16, 2018. I will be on the island through the autumn, until the end of October or beginning of November.

To get an overview of what's going on this year, go to www.kalymnosprimalclimb.com. You can also find out more through my Facebook page here, or on Instagram here.

Kalymnos Program Schedule 2018


PROGRAM
SHORT DESCRIPTION
DATES
COST
ENROLLEMENT
Transitions in Outdoor Climbing
Intensive three-day course for climbers with some experience
Saturday, 19. May through Monday, 21. May 2018
€325,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of five participants
Multi-Pitch Basic
Beginning-level course for bolted, multi-pitch routes
Thursday, 24. May through Saturday, 26. May 2018
€325,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of three participants
Multi-Pitch Supplement
Intermediate rope skills: partner assistance, emergency retreat, double rope technique - complements the Multi-Pitch Basic Course
Monday, 28. May through Tuesday, 29. May 2018
€225,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of three participants
Climbing for Fitness & Longevity with Dr. Peter Battre
Lifestyle climbing as primary means of fitness and health, nutrition, supplemental activities, medical consultation and evaluation
Thursday, 07. June through Tuesday, 12. June 2018
€750,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of five participants
Primal Climb Interactive
with Dr. Peter Battre
Interactive seminar with a focus on outdoor rock climbing, lifestyle adjustments and personal growth, nutrition, supplemental activities and medical evaluation
Thursday, 14. June through Tuesday, 19. June 2018
€750,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of five participants
Fundamentals of Sport Climbing
Entry-level course for outdoor rock climbing
Thursday, 12. July through Tuesday, 17. July 2018
(five days of climbing in six day period)
€325,— per Participant
Minimum of three participants to maximum of six participants
Transitions in Outdoor Climbing
Intermediate-level course for climbers with some experience
Thursday, 19. July through Tuesday, 24. July 2018
(five days of climbing in six day period)
€350,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of six participants
KALYMNOS REUNION
10-Day Private Invitation Only Group
Reunion of past climbers who have taken various courses with kalymnosprimalclimb.com in previous seasons
Friday, 03. August through Sunday, 12 August 2018
(nine days of climbing in ten-day period)
€450,— per Participant
Minimum of three participants to maximum of six participants
Private Lessons & Personal Training
Individual and small group custom lessons, training & coaching
Thursday, 16. August through Wednesday, 30 August 2018
€90,— to €280,— per Participant per Day
(Click on the “Private Lessons & Personal Training” icon under “Services” on kalymnosprimalclimb.com)
Minimum of two participants to maximum of five participants
Fundamentals of Sport Climbing
Entry-level course for outdoor rock climbing
Thursday, 30. August through Tuesday, 04 September 2018
(five days of climbing in a six-day period)
€325,— per Participant
Minimum of three participants to maximum of six participants
Transitions in Outdoor Climbing
Intermediate-level course for climbers with some experience
Thursday, 06. September through Tuesday, 12. September 2018
(five days of climbing in a six-day period)
€350,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of six participants
Multi-Pitch Basic
Beginning-level course for bolted, multi-pitch routes
Thursday, 27. September through Saturday, 29. September 2018
€325,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of three participants
Multi-Pitch Supplement
Intermediate rope skills: partner assistance, emergency retreat, double rope technique - complements the Multi-Pitch Basic Course
Monday, 01. October through Tuesday, 02. October 2018
€225,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of three participants
Transitions in Outdoor Climbing
Intermediate-level course for climbers with some experience
Thursday, 04. October through Tuesday, 09. October 2018
(five days of climbing in a six-day period)
€350,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of six participants
Multi-Pitch Basic
Beginning-level course for bolted, multi-pitch routes
Thursday, 18. October through Saturday, 20. October 2018
€325,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of three participants
Multi-Pitch Supplement
Intermediate rope skills: partner assistance, emergency retreat, double rope technique - complements the Multi-Pitch Basic Course
Monday, 22. October through Tuesday, 23. October 2018
€225,— per Participant
Minimum of two participants to maximum of three participants

To book any activity simply reserve your spot by email at fratiannijoe@gmail.com or click on “CONTACT” at kalymnosprimalclimb.com. I would be happy to give you advice and answer any questions regarding my various program offerings.

If you do not see a program or date that fits your schedule, just contact me about arranging an alternative.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

When It All Goes Wrong - Tragedy in Cogne

Last week in Cogne, 21. February 2018, a young Italian ice climber died when the detached pillar on the climb of Pattinaggio Artistico Diretta broke off while he was climbing it.
I was walking into the Valeille side valley from Lillaz near Cogne the day of the accident to climb something else. The column broke off on the right side of the fall where you see the obvious fracture line. I had seen the formed pillar earlier in the week and it looked okay, a bit smaller in diameter at the base than at it's attachment point and not as massive looking as when I last saw it well formed about three or four seasons ago.
The above photo is the larger of two pieces of the broken pillar about 250 meters below the icefall. I do not know any exact details of exactly what happened such as whether or not the climber had placed ice screws in the column or not. There was a report in Italian in the local mountain rescue website for the Aosta valley that said there was a three-person rope team led by the accident victim who may have been in the role, or was, a mountain guide.
The second piece of the pillar resting further up slope from the first and just a bit smaller. Both chunks of ice are massive weighing hundreds of kilograms each. The site www.icefall-data.org outlines the accident with temperature information here. There has also been some back and forth on icefall-data's Facebook page about the comments written into the ice conditions books in Bar Licone and the ice conditions website from Hotel La Barme in Valnontey.
Above, the rescue helicopter set down on the snow slope 100 meters from the ruptured column that had been embedded in the rock walls of Pattinaggio Artistico Diretta.

On the 17th and 18th of February there was a major warm front that moved through the west Alps pushing the snow level up to 2000 meters and the freezing level to 2200 meters. There was very heavy precipitation, which fell as rain on the majority of ice climbs in Valeille including Pattinaggio Artistico Diretta. In the couple of days prior to the accident, temperatures swung in the other direction getting to around -10 to -12 degrees centigrade at night. The air temperature difference was easily as much as 15 degrees within a 48 hour period. Additionally, climbs on the left side of Valeille (the side of Pattinaggio Artistico Diretta) come into the sun in the afternoon and receive the effects of very strong solar radiation.

In the first photo that starts this post, one can see the deep blue color of the ice. This indicates very compact ice that has been warmed by solar radiation during the later part of the day. (At the time of the photo it was probably +2 or +3 degrees centigrade.) The ice becomes infused with melt water that then (hopefully) refreezes in the night, the ice structure expands as the water turns solid. This process is fickle as extreme fluctuations in temperature, humidity, sun, etc., will cause instability and when the fluctuation is shifting towards drastically colder temperatures, the ice is full of tension.

This is a photo of the classic WI5 icefall Stella Artice a couple hundred meters further in the valley, and on the same side, as Pattinaggio Artistico Diretta. The photo was taken two days before the accident. What do you think of the ice structure and conditions of this climb?

The ice season in Cogne usually goes from mid-December through March. Stella Artice was photographed above at the end of February. However, the conditions show an icefall in a state of typical early season ice. There are large hanging massive icicles, the pillars that touch down are much smaller at their base than at their attachment points and the difficulty of the icefall is clearly much harder than WI5. Additionally, if you have seen this icefall in good conditions, you can easily evaluate the difference between the February 2018 structure of Stella Artice and how the icefall looks when it forms in a much better and fatter way.

The take-away from all the above is that the ice in the 2018 season in Cogne is much more sensitive to the weather and other environmental factors as the season comes to a close because the ice structures, most notably at the beginning of the side valleys and under 2000 meters, are much more susceptible to the sun and temperature because they are more or less in early season conditions, far from 'fat' and far from massively stable.

In the condition reports in the notebooks in Bar Licone or Hotel La Barme there are multiple descriptions of "very good conditions". There is a little bit of self-inflationary reporting as some climbers do not want to say that a grade WI4 or WI5 icefall is harder than the guidebook grade or that they are somehow challenged at this level. But, a lot of climbs that are noted as being in good conditions are clearly not when viewed from the experience of the perspective of over a period of ten years.

What someone else writes in a notebook or on-line is just their opinion, which they are clearly entitled to, however it is just one bit of information from one human being who we usually have no contact or knowledge of. Ueli Steck was asked how he decides to climb something, if he calls hut guardians for information or talks to mountain guides, etc. He said "No", he makes is evaluations with all the information he collects and what his personal observations are. His point was that he did not want to be influenced, one way or another, from outside people with their own set of judgements, experiences and personality make up. Further, he felt that he has the experience to make his own decisions. He also needs the quiet, inner, reflective state of mind to really evaluate exactly what he is feeling, sensing and interpreting.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Resilience? Mind Over Bone? or Just Some Pig-Headedness ...

Here I was on the 20th of January a bit less than five weeks ago. I had broken my left wist when I took a fall skiing. I was free riding in terrain in a heavy snow storm with very poor visibility. I slowly traversed a very steep slope that unknown to me was above a small cliff. The lip of new snow broke away and I fell three to four meters on to a hard landing, ejected from the bindings and impacted my wrist. The injury, of course, couldn't have happened at a worse time ... A few close friends knew about this. Shit, I hate being injured.



I had courses in which I was both registered as a participant in for my own continuing training and education as well as courses that I was leading as an instructor -- predominantly with ice climbing. I had to cancel the work, but I was determined to  partake in the courses that would be prerequisite certifications for the American Mountain Guides Association. I also wanted to keep commitments to some friends for ice climbing and ski mountaineering in the west Alps in the second half of February and into March.



I went through the standard check ups after a three day hospital stay. I had the cast changed three times as is standard procedure. The wrist was pretty severely broken. The operation, which happened on the evening after my accident on the 19th of January took over three hours and was a little complicated. The surgeon put in a plate with eleven screws, and basically asked, "What the fuck did you do?" The photo above shows my unauthorised, super customised tweaks to the soft cast that was put on just before my trip to the west Alps on the 12th of February. This allowed me to ...



Climb this easy couloir in Cogne on the 20th of February. It was my first time using ice tools on the real stuff. I had done some easy indoor climbing just two weeks after the injury. I also did swings and hangs with my ice tools, plus other supplemental training. I felt that my wrist was healing up well. I believe that the body is really magnificent in it's ability to adapt and recover. it is a phenomenal system that needs to be listened to with a calm mind. It then tells you what it needs. Mine needed to move, climb, ski.


When I was first climbing in the the indoor gym, about two weeks after surgery, one of the regulars asked me, "Are you allowed to climb?" Well in one sense, of course not. In another, why do you need permission? How many doctors do you know that have any idea about climbing? Less about ice climbing. And none that know my body. Even in the very good Austrian health care system, you go to your short follow up appointments, that take a handful of minutes at best, and are not really regarded as an individual but as a case with a standard protocol. It is very clear that as an individual patient you are not really seen or heard. 



As you heal and recover, any stress applied in the right doses causes adaptations and improvements in the body. The trick is listening to your body and finding the right dose, which fluctuates day to day. The happy Joe face above shows just how very lucky I feel being in a narrow, rocky couloir with perfect styrofoam snow and solid ice. I was, however still climbing with my customised soft cast. The previous week, I was also wearing a cast as I completed some avalanche courses (as a participant) in Chamonix. I had to be a little imaginative with glove systems as I was skinning and skiing at that time.



I removed the cast. At the last check up about ten days prior, the examining doctor said I could have the cast removed on the 23rd of February. He said it would be no problem to have someone remove it in a hospital in France or Italy. I Just took it off myself. My wrist looked like a deformed sausage. i guess the hand modelling career has gone the way of my underwear modelling career because the wrist scar complements a pretty good scar I have somewhere else from a bouldering mishap.



Yesterday, 25th February, I got a little ambitious. I climbed a nice little 35 meter stretch of ice at WI3 to warm up and then did the approach to "Lillaz Gully" in Valille. I have soloed the gully before. It goes at WI4 and M5, or maybe it's WI3 and M-whatever. It doesn't matter. It's a nice couloir with steep ice steps, snow bowls and about ten meters of mixed climbing. I think it's around 200m long. It all went well.


Another happy face just before the crux ice and mixed pitch in the gully. I climbed with my wrist completely free of the cast and without using a removable splint. The range of motion is of course restricted still.  My wrist is weak and painful in certain positions. But everyday will bring more mobility and strength.



An old, injured climbers standard treatment: a beer and ibuprofen. Icing the wrist, range of motion exercises and stretching are also clearly helpful. But, thank God for 'vitamin-I'.



Injuries make me feel as if I am behind a gate and I can't come out and play. I hate the state of being injured, yet I know that this state has come about because it is exactly what i need to learn a little tidbit about myself. The how and why of how you got yourself injured is something that absolutely needs to be examined. You find out that the injury is not something that has happened to you, it is something that you brought about. This realisation comes about by reflecting on your inner state at the time of your injury with honesty -- it is usually very enlightening.



It is far better and much nicer to be able to choose when to kick back and take it easy instead of being forced to. However injuries are always tools to learn about yourself and they end up teaching you very valuable lessons. Of course, it's always good to have the luck and good fortune to survive your injuries. That realization right there is a pretty good lesson.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Off-Piste Skiing Course / Schitechnik im Gelände OeAV-Salzburg




On Sunday, March 18, 2018 I will have a one-day course for the OeAV-Salzburg focusing on Off-Piste Skiing (Schifahren im Gelände). The course is through the Alpines Ausbildung Programm. For all the details click here.

I also have a Intermediate Ski Touring Course (Schitouren Fortgeschritten) Friday evening, 23. March through Sunday 25. March 2018. For information click here, and then to register follow the link under the course description or click here.

It looks like there is only one place left for the one-day ski technique course on 18. March. If there is more interest, I will add another unit of the course in March. Contact me directly using the contact form on the right if you want to do the course but did not get a spot.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Training, It's All Training Anyways *

Well, we all want to train, at least that is what we tell ourselves. You work hard, you're busy, there's a lot to do, a lot going on. Training...

It is never optimal. You're too tired, didn't sleep enough. There's that nagging injury. It's raining.
There was no ice in early winter in Vermont when I was there in 2016. Here I was with time to use to get fit, train, get better... but what to do? I didn't accept that I was screwed. I built a training wall and got after it. You see the small logs at the bottom right on the ground? Those were the trees I cut down by hand with an axe as I cleared the land. My training was climbing the "ply-ice", chopping down trees & splitting wood.
Later, some ice formed around the area. By a freak of nature, an ice drip formed on the telephone pole in our front yard. Don't ask me how, I have no idea. I climbed it and thought of it as a gift for the iceless purgatory I endured in November and December. It was a first ascent, free solo, I named it "Pole Dance", WI5. Maybe I should have shone better style, and have done it with less clothes?
Some people peel the casing from their Weißwurst before dipping it in the sweet mustard and washing it down with a swig of Weißbier. Some don't. I first saw that peeling thing somewhere in a finer establishment in Munich - too fancy for me. that's for sure. I just eat the sucker. No peeling. I want everything that life has to offer, casing and all.
On this day, I wanted to climb something else. The days goal held the lure of a test-piece, tick-list, sparkling little nugget that i could wear on my sleeve to satiate my ego. The object of my wanting wasn't fully formed and wasn't safe - though it was running with a small cascade of ice-cold water. My partner and I climbed the routes next door. They were easier, but we got pumped out silly until we couldn't hold on to our tools any longer. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Consciously or unconsciously, we all spend time in this corner. Try to recognise it sooner and sooner in yourself and your soul will appreciate it. Laugh at yourself when the realisation hits you. Maybe reflect a bit on why you've gotten mired in the gooey mess.
There are prices to be paid when you start smelling the remnants of sitting in the wrong corner of the bar. So you change, reinvent yourself, try to do a little better. "Wow!", you think to yourself, "this is great!" But, some people get threatened. You have left the main stream. Bonatti climbed the north face of the Matterhorn alone, in winter, by a new route. He persevered, fought for his life, suffered. What happened when he gave one of his first presentations to fellow climbers about his groundbreaking assent?  His tires were slashed on his car outside of the venue. Don't expect a parade with roses. It ain't gonna happen...
So, I try to just do my thing and smile at all of it. The freezing cold, the wind, the rain, the less than ideal conditions - both internally and externally - and just let it be for what it is.
At the end of the day, you sometimes can descend by hitching a ride on a comfy lift to the valley floor, there's just one more sip of hot tea left in the thermos and you've had a day that flows by as if in a dream. Let it be. Let it go. Be Grateful. But don't expect it.

* paraphrasing the well known quip by the late Alex Lowe

Monday, January 22, 2018

Teaching

There is a quote ascribed to Brazilian Jiu-Jiutsu legend Marcelo Garcia that in order to achieve mastery you need to have three relationships in your practice with others: 1) one in which you are further advanced, 2) one of balanced equality, 3) one in which you are clearly less advanced.
Working together with those in a student - teacher relationship is one way to place yourself in a position where the relationship is one in which you are further advanced. However, the overriding feeling for me when teaching, instructing or running a course is a humble sharing of my experiences along my journey.
A very important, strong indicator of good coaching is the feeling of the teacher sharing experiences, asking the student what they are sensing and thinking about and creating an environment where learning is a mutual sharing of information.
Teaching is not spewing verbal facts and information to demonstrate how much one knows. Teaching is not arrogantly telling someone everything they need to do. And teaching or coaching is certainly not cheerleading.
Good coaching is setting up the conditions where the student, client, athlete, etc., teach themselves. This is so foreign to both those in a role of student as well as in the teaching role that it often creates a  sense of initial disorientation.
The instructor, teacher, coach, etc., overcomes the student disorientation by modelling and transmitting that there is 100% trust in the relationship. There must be a feeling of being protected, cared for and valued. But the point is to make the student better, not to make the student feel better.
There is not some quick fix, "hack", short cut, or whatever, to mastery. The greatest in any sport are always humble, open, honest and reflect that they are the eternal student.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Improve Your Climbing! Free PDF Download

A flowing sea of limestone high above the aegean
Dave MacLeod's book, 9 Out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes, was a thoroughly transformative book for my personal climbing and effectiveness as a climbing instructor and trainer. You can get the book direct from Dave's website here. Dig into the other valuable information on the site and check out all the other books, dvd's, etc., as there is a ton of instructive and inspirational content the Dave generously publishes.

I made notes from 9 Out of 10 Climbers ... when I first got the book in 2012. Now, five years later, I decided to revisit my notes and rewrite them. I believe that the principles and concepts in these notes will immediately transform your climbing.


The notes are my interpretation of the book and all the things that apply to me first and foremost. You need to get Dave's book and have it in your library if you are a serious rock climber who wants to get the most out of your body and mind while devoting time and energy to climbing.

So, download my notes and start incorporating some of the ideas in your own climbing. You will see immediate positive results.

USE THIS LINK FOR YOUR FREE PDF DOWNLOAD!