I’m taking a break from the project. For weeks everything has just been pissing me off.
Why am I doing this? There is no sense in it, no meaning. There is no sense in climbing in general, obviously. This project is nothing but a random list of names that I’m trying to collect. But even if I manage to add the last stamp to my collection – what’s it gonna do?
I’m not sure now how I even came up with the idea or why upon having the thought it seemed so imperative that I do it.

I hate approaches. I hate hauling heavy backpacks up mountain slopes. I hate not knowing when I will be back at my car. I hate climbing with random people.

Why am I doing this?

It’s not exactly like I could just stop now, when the project is getting bigger by the day. And of course, it makes me happy to see it grow. Just an idea in my head once, and now it’s a full-grown film project with several people working on it and supporting me.
It’s been six months that I’ve thought of nothing else. Even if the number of routes accomplished is not that high yet, I’ve been at it for five months, waiting for the rain to stop, waiting for the snow to melt, waiting for the walls to dry, running to the mountain just to find it covered in ice. Just the number of metres I’ve hiked up just to hike down again because we couldn’t climb for some reason or another. I’m tired. I’m thinking maybe I should have started the year in June, not in February, so I had more of this burning energy left to tackle the big shit now.

The things I’ve learned from this project until now have been completely unexpected. I thought I’d run faster and push harder the more routes I’d accomplish, but in fact with every route I climb,

I become more defensive.

Turning back yet again is easier every time. I don’t try to steal summits at all costs anymore. I hear my mind and body more and more clearly when they say, it’s not the right day. Maybe next time I will even know that when I’m still at the car and will be able to say no before we’ve even started the approach.
It’s a mystery to me how some people can just go on and on without tiring.

I’ve done nothing but climbing and carrying packs for months.

I would say that I’m pretty much at the height of my fitness. But I need breaks. After two days I’m spent, maximum three. I need to eat and recover. My body says no, otherwise. So does my mind. I need to be in a house sometimes. I don’t want to see mountains on rest days. I need to turn my brain off.
I’ve started allowing myself to go home more often, even though home often means six hours plus of driving, and another six going back down.

I need sleep, too. I can sleep just 4 hours one night and climb the next day, but I cannot do that two nights in a row. It makes me weak and unstable, also emotionally. It is an absolute mystery to me how some people can take this without blinking.

Are you all machines?

How can you get by on 4 hours of sleep and carry 20 kg backpacks without wheezing?
I got my nickname because people said I climbed like a machine, but that machine switches into maintenance mode as soon as it overheats. Otherwise, it explodes. That happens pretty often, too.

I’m taking a break at home. I chose the best weather window I could find and used it to take a few days off. Even though I earn no money doing it, climbing is kind of my job right now. This project is a full-time job for the two of us. When I’m not climbing, I’m sorting video material, keeping lists, writing blogposts, editing Nico’s videos, planning shootings, filling up stock, mending my gear, and checking the weather every couple of hours. I’m checking the weather at the belays, too.

The first thing I do when I get to the summit is check my phone.

That’s okay. I used to always check the times before this project already. But sometimes I don’t know in the morning which part of the alps I will go to in the evening, much less which route I’ll climb the next day. The weather as well as people have been completely unpredictable. I’ve done all I could to switch plans, sometimes daily, and climb all that I could. But having no consistent partner means adapting to others all the time. Someone who has time to climb in Switzerland will not come to Styria for the day. But the weather may suck in Switzerland, so what can I do? Someone who might be up for Pause Plaisir on Furka will not be up for the Dolomites.

I have it less under control than I would like. Often I’m just wishing for someone to share this project with me. I think we could have climbed twice as many routes already.