Saturday, November 15, 2008

Alex De'vaud, the Dreadlocked Swiss Guy

If you have spent any length of time in Hueco then you may have run into this interesting guy.

His name is Alex and I went bouldering with him yesterday at a sandstone cliff about one hour Southwest of Zurich. The area has sensitive access issues so I wont name it here. Alex is a great guy. Very strong, motivated for strange problems like 200-move traverses. If there were a 2000-move traverse, he would probably be on it right now.
His manner is strange but it's easy to tell that he posesses a very unique intelligence. Proof: his lifestyle. He works five months a year as a chemist here in Switzerland, and goofs off and travels and climbs the rest of the time. He spent the first two hours of our visit to the cliff picking up tiny bits of trash left by other climbers. Mostly cigarette butts and pieces of tape.

I dont think he brought any food for the whole day, but when he wanted to have some of my almonds, he said this:

"Do you know me to have some nuts?"

We climbed on a very hard problem for the whole day. I was told the problem was about V14 / V15, with only one repeat since Fred. Fred's beta looked interesting but I didn't even bother trying it because I find it slightly challenging to suspend my body weight on one finger with my feet pasted onto slippery pebbles. Alex gave me perfect beta but of course I tried my own way first and it didn't work, so his way was the best. On my best try I linked past the crux and then fell on the V6 drop-knee move. My hands were frozen and my forearms were completely dead. Darkness began falling and it was time for beer. I left empty-handed but it felt great to come so close to a hard problem. This was the first hard bouldering I have done since Rocklands this summer, and it felt good to pull hard again without too much pain.

I may have the opportunity to meet Fred's brother Francois who is also an amazing climber. Stay tuned for that. There is much happening here, especially when it comes to Fred's climbing. I wont discuss it here but maybe do a nice long post at the end of my trip. Long story short... Fred is the man. By the way, the above-mentioned V14/15 was first done by fred in 1994.

Pass the Humble Pie please.

1 comment:

sock hands said...

word to the stewardship. but good post for multiple reasons.