Agricantus

For few years now, I’m dreaming of doing an 8a multi-pitch in Anića kuk. So, after finishing the Corrida project, I switched my focus to that. Who would say that only one week after Corrida, I would tick-off this thing as well from my life time list? So, yesterday, I did Agricantus in Paklenica! It’s 200m long route, with 7 pitches: 6c, 5c, 7b, 7b+, 6a, 8a, 7b. You can read below few words about the whole experience.

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We were too busy with climbing, so I only have this blurry photo from the top of Agricantus.

I’m so happy to share another news – Perica finally did some climbing as well. He did Johnny (7a, 200m) in Debeli kuk. And he did it in superb “Huber” style: leading all the pitches onsight. Heck, he even improved the “Huber” style, he had two ladies belaying him 🙂

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I think Perica’s photo is miles better than mine 🙂

About the Spider-Agricantus experience:

On Saturday, with my friend Uroš, we went to try the legendary route Spider in Anića kuk. We were making good progress, but the 8a pitch stopped us, and we retreated. I actually managed to flash all the pitches up to the 8a (2x6c, 7a+, 7c, and 7c+). Also, I came agonizingly close to flash 8a as well. The victory jug was within reach, but I got scared and fell while I was trying to clip the bolt from wrong holds, instead of going for the jug. It’s a bit different when you have 200m of air below your ass :).

I was quite disappointed, only once in a lifetime you get a chance to flash Spider. Well, with 3 more 7b pitches after the 8a, Spider is far from over, and who knows whether I would be able to pull it off. In any case, it would have been an epic fight, and I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to indulge into it.

The next morning, we were both feeling shattered and super tired. However, we went to check Agricantus, with the plan to climb until we were feeling it, and then abseil down. I first checked the route few weeks ago with Siniša Škalec, and wanted to remind myself the moves for a proper try next weekend. The first go in 8a pitch was disaster, just barely climbing from bolt to bolt. However, the next go, something happened and I entered the pit-bull state of mind, and screamed myself Ondra style to the top of the pitch. I hope somebody didn’t call the rescue service :). The whole Spider experience actually helped in this case, during the ascent I had one thought in my head: “F**k it, I let Spider slip away, I will not let this one go”. It’s amazing how far the mind can push the body.

But it was not over yet, there is one more 7b to the top, which I didn’t check before. I’m so lucky I didn’t brake anything off and managed to onsight it. This pitch is horribly fragile. It was an epic onsight, with cramps in my body all over the place. All the suffering was compensated by the beautiful moment, when on the verge of exhaustion, I pulled over the lip, the sun hit my face, and I realized it was over.

Big thanks go to Uroš! I know it was a suffer fest for him when I did the 8a pitch and we had to go to the top. I hope I will be able to return the favour soon!

Thanks people for reading! Stay strong and motivated!

Jurica

P.S.

Power bars are a fraud, Kosana mast (aka Zaseka) rules! Thanks Marjan!

 

Corrida

It happened today, I climbed Corrida, my second 8c! Of course, the route is located in the temple of climbing – Mišja peč. It was almost exactly one year ago, when I did my first 8c. It seems other people’s off-season in Mišja is my season in Mišja 🙂

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The crux move of Corrida. Photo. Luka Tambača.

This time, the path to success was a bit easier, especially from the mental aspect, but still it was a bumpy one. Again, I had to go into full on projecting mode, obsess over the route, lose some weight and pilgrimage to Mišja peč few times a week for a couple of months. I even stopped eating sweets for 2 months!

However, since I went through similar process last year, this time I was better mentally prepared for all the tricks Corrida has prepared for me. For example, one day I fell 0.5m from the anchor, then the next two or three visits to Mišja, I was nowhere near that point. What a mind fuck! But, I knew it’s just a natural rhythm, you cannot operate at you maximum all the time. It happened in Vizija as well. Just be patient, and you will arrive at your high-point again. And indeed, eventually I fell again 0.5m from the anchor. Then once more. Then once more 0.25m from the anchor. Then once more in the lower crux… Today I finally managed to stay relaxed enough, not get over-excited when pulling through the last moves, and clip the anchor. Actually, I felt quite solid, with still some gas left in the tank at the top.

In retrospect, I was probably pushing it too far, often going to Mišja peč when the body was not rested enough, and more importantly, when the mind was not fresh. Each try required 100% focus, and it’s not easy to push the body and mind to their limits day in, day out, for weeks. Eventually, the brain will start to scream “Not again!”. Trying the route at your limit will stop to be fun at one point, but I’ve learned that, rather than giving up, you have to overcome that barrier. The success is usually very near on the other side of it. Sometimes it’s not. But anyway, are we here to have fun, or to send hard routes? 🙂

At the end of the day, I’m really grateful to be in this position, living 1 hour away from Mišja peč (and a ton of other great crags), and having a flexible job which allows to escape to climbing at odd times. And most of all, I’m grateful for having a loyal (climbing) partner. It would not be possible without Petra, and her endless support. Recently, she also send her big project: Rodeo, her first 7a! It’s the first pitch of Corrida, so it was really nice experience to project the route together. Sometimes she was even more psyched to go to Mišja than I was. Try to find a girlfriend like that!

As always, author of the photos is Luka Tambača. If there is no Luka, who likes taking photos as much as he likes climbing, most probably me (and better part of Croatian climbers) would’t have any nice climbing photos. You can check his work here: http://lukatambaca.com/.

Hmm… now the question is, whether to eat that chocolate cake, or to find a new project while I’m still fit? I guess I know the answer. Who likes chocolate anyway? 🙂

Thanks for reading people!

Jurica

Marjetica

Hi fellow readers of levaticbros! After a long silence, we finally have some news to share with you. This weekend I climbed Marjetica (8b/b+) in Mišja peč! I’m very happy about this one, since I didn’t do a route this hard in a while. Also, I’m super syked to try harder start of Marjetica which bumps the grade to a holy grail number of 8c 🙂

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Entering the crux of Marjetica. Photo: Stefano Staffetta

From the beginning of the Mišja peč season in November, I started trying Marjetica seriously. With each visit, I was making good progress, however, this came to a sudden stop in a form of loud cracking sound from my knee. Diagnosis: dislocated knee-cap. Luckily nothing was broken, but climbing was out of the question for a while. On the positive side, this happened right before Christmas, so I could enjoy vacations in peace, without the usual itchy climbers’ fingers. Fast forward one month, and I was back on rock – of course without even thinking about knee-drops. It still took some time for Marjetica to happen – doing the upper crux when climbing from the bottom was harder than I thought. Lesson learned: no matter how easy the moves feel, doing them pumped is different story. Lesson two learned: get some endurance!

There is a good month of training left before the after-work season of climbing starts, and I’m keen to make it count. It is really surprising what one month of hard, thought-out training can do – check this for inspiration: https://fullpsycheahead.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/the-return-of-the-masochist/

Thank you for reading,

Cheers,
Jurica

Siurana

Siurana is a piece of climbers’ heaven in the heart of Catalonia in Spain. I briefly visited it few years ago, and was completely blown away by the place. That time, we also visited other major crags in Spain, like Rodellar and Margalef, but Siurana, with its magical atmosphere and rich climbing history, left the biggest impression on me. Yes, I have an itch for places from old climbing movies and consider that the early Masters of Stone series are the best climbing movies ever made :). This time we decided to devote the entire trip just to Siurana. My girlfriend Petra, and I teamed up with the crew from Zagreb: Pavao, Nikola, Sven, Ana and Ljubo – the psyche machine, for a two weeks of climbing.

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The village of Siurana sits on top of the cliff, surrounded by endless amount of yellow and gray rock.

The climbing in Siurana is more on the old school side: technical routes on gentle overhangs mainly with crimps and pockets. More than 60 sectors scattered around and 1000+ of routes, can keep you busy for years (or lifetime if you surname is not Ondra). Today, you can often encounter a phrase ‘Spanish grades’, but the locals are vigorously guarding Siurana from soft grades. The grades are not super stiff like in Buoux, but you will rarely find an easy tick, and if you do, it will likely be downgraded in the next guidebook issue.

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Anabolica, one of the most classical 8a’s in Siurana.

We ended by taking just 2 rest days on the entire trip. This was not optimal for climbing performance, but the psyche was too high for sitting in the camp. I climbed around 45 routes up to 8a, with several 7c onsights. My Siurana highlights are: Antuan Pirulero (8a, 2. go), Skateboy (7c+), Pequeño saltamontes (7c+), Solos a solas (7c, OS), Boys don’t cry (7c, OS), Der palo torete (7c), Malcarat (7c). We also visited nearby climbing area Montsant, where I onsighted amazing 50 meter long 7c called Kamaleon.

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Nice interior decorations in Bar Siurana 🙂 As always, thanks to Bim sport d.o.o. and Petzl for support.

It’s been three weeks since we are back, and I’m finally starting to recover from the post-rock-trip depression :). We flew from golden Catalonian sun directly to the season of endless rain and fog in Slovenia. Sometimes you get a desire to drop the job and spend few months dirtbagging under the cliff. It amazed me how many people are actually doing exactly that. We meet numerous people from all over the world who are traveling for months just visiting top climbing venues. Climbers are really innovative when it comes to traveling cheaply and fitting jobs around climbing. I met a guy who is doing (a part of) his PhD in Siurana! Well, it’s time to start ‘innovating’ :).

Thank you for visiting Levaticbros! Until next time, Jurica.

Photo gallery from Spain:

Belgian sensations

Last week I had the privilege to compete at the competition Biover Sport Open Bouldering Sensations in Gent in Belgium (although to be honest, you get this privilege by showing up and paying 15eur, but nonetheless, it makes a man happy when there is even a small adventure away from home).

The competition

The format was simple – you have 4 and a half hours for 45 boulder problems, in flash format. The six best proceed to the finals in the World Cup format (meaning counting the tries and waiting in the isolation room to compete).

The often mystical slab world

Problems were very varied in difficulty and angle – from easy grade 3/4 slabs which would barely warm you up, to several Fb7c problems that were meant to be for Guillaume Gui Gui Mondet, who competed here in the past, but did not show up this year. At the end I managed to do 25 of 45 problems, and this placed me 79 of around 130 people. It was not the place I got used to on BWSC earlier this year, but competing sure is fun.

And watching the finals was a treat – after an even battle in the mens field, local hero Micha Vanhout won in the last minute of the last problem. I was only sad not to see my friends Lowie and Maja compete, as they were working in the gym facility during the competition.

Gent climbing scene

What impressed me the most was the quantity of really good climbers, and even more so how many people simply lived climbing to the fullest. My hosts and long time friends Maja and Lowie are doing this – they work and train hard whilst saving money for the next several months (or years) long climbing trip. And what surprised me the most was that there were quite a few people living this lifestyle around this gym. Here in Croatia you could barely count truly dedicated climbers on fingers of the hand (myself not included, except for the purposes of winning the BWSC in Paklenica :-).

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“It is better to fail in superior style than to succeed in any other.” Leo Houlding

Anyways, it was really great to see how Gent climbers train and plan their next climbing trips. For me it was really fun to spend two full days climbing in the gym – I did a little rope climbing, a little route-setting, a little bouldering, a coffee or two in between, and I even squeezed a great fitness training session with Maja – who is determined to take her climbing to the next level and is training very seriously, if I may sound a little American with my climbing sleng.

Here are some photos from my dear friend Zvonka Gveric, who was also competing as she is living in Brusseles now.

New record!

BWSC competion was held yesterday, and my brother and I managed to win again, with a new record! The bar was high, and Čorko&Mucko team started the day with a time of 15:55. We answered back with 15:16, giving everything we had and putting a great closure to the last 3 months of hard preparations!

We want to thank out sponsor Bim Sport d.o.o. for the support – excellent Petzl gear helped us win.

Here are some short results and photos, with more coming soon in the following days!
1. Jurica and Perica Levatić 15:16
2. Igor Čorko and Emil Mucko 15:55
3. Ivan Pevec and Siniša Škalec 22:07
4. Luka Mudronja and Luka Trumbić 39:29

[UPDATE] You can read, watch and see more about our win in the following links:
Report – Planet Mountain (English)
Report – 8a.nu (English)
Report – eVaraždin (Croatian)
Video – VTV (Croatian)
Photo Gallery

Speed is coming

Our final preparations for the competition have begun – we arrived in Paklenica 3 days ago, and we stay here until the competition day (3rd of May). The “work” parts of training are done, cardio levels are high and now there is only one (most important) thing remaining – pure speed.

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Jurica focused in third pitch, with Perica handling the gear on second anchor.

For the next two weeks the main accent of training is on quality speed attempts of the route. We have worked out all the moves and sequences, achieved all individual pitch times as planned, perfected gear management – what’s left now is to put all the training elements into one big picture – or better said raw speed.

New rope, new speed

Our sponsor BIM Sport provided us with a new Petzl 9.2 mm Volta rope. Petzl is already known as the leading gear manufacturer, and they have recently started making climbing ropes. We won’t be surprised if Petzl also becomes a leading rope manufacturer, as we can both say this is the best rope we ever climbed with.

Best rope ever -Petzl Volta 9.2mm

Best rope ever -Petzl Volta 9.2mm

Petzl Volta is ultra-light and super smooth rope – we were both surprised how easy is the handling. In speed climbing, belaying can also be very tiring, as the second climber is at some points so fast you barely manage to take in all the rope – so easier rope handling and less friction can save you some valuable energy for later pitches of the route.

Fast anchor clipping session

So far our plans were (again) disturbed by the rain. Waiting for the route to dry in the nearby cave, we had a fun practice session with Pevec and Škalec team. We used velcro, tape, pants and hope to clip the anchor as fast as possible. You can see the rather funny results of the session below:

Stay tuned for more this week!