Last weekend I climbed Spirit, an old route in Belgium. It’s short, bouldery and most importantly, it’s in the shade!

So far this year I’ve been extremely busy with basically everything, except for climbing or training. When I had the time to do anything related to climbing, I was mainly searching for some interesting lines or trying ridiculously hard moves.

A process with its highs and lows; I went back and forth from cheering and bouncing around like a happy child to a depressed, droopy clown. People who open routes will recognise this feeling. But let me paint the picture anyhow:

The Highs:

-When you find the perfect line: being in a good location, with high quality rock and very hard and cool moves… within reason

 The Lows:

-When you find nothing

-When the newfound line is always wet

-When it turns out to be too hard (meaning: if I train for the next ten years then MAYBE I’ll climb this on a good day when there are two moons in the sky and pigs can fly)

-When it turns out to be too easy (strangely this is even worse than when it’s too hard)

-When there’s a fair amount of blank wall in the middle of the route (there isn’t always something…)

-When you work out the potential route and it becomes the home of a bees’ nest

-When you find a line shaped by nature to perfection and literally ALL holds are too fragile and break off

-When you realise that most great lines are already bolted and the amount of rock in your country is very limited

-When some bloke claims that he’s seen that particular line four years ago and calls it “reserved”

 Anyway, enough of my nonsense… I did get something done in between; Spirit, an old route that I estimate to be around 8b comparing it to other routes on the wall. Because of the era it was bolted in it has some chipped holds, which is unfortunate but more the rule than the exception in Belgium… It’s far from being the greatest line, but it was good fun.

Back to the projects now. Back to my never-ending search!

Pictures by Tim Van Der Sleen