INTERVIEW – Barbara Zangerl, Speed Integrale 9a
Last week the strong austrian climber Barbara Zangerl completed the ascent of Speed Integrale, a 9a route located on the perfect limestone wall of her home crag of Voralpsee in Switzerland. The crag is known for its committing and demanding climbing, which requires proper foot placement and forearm strenght and endurance. Barbara, who has already done several 8c+ sport routes, boulder problems up to 8B, Alpine Trilogy in the Alps and Magic Mushroom free climb on El Cap, sent the route in a “totally unexpected way” going to the crag directly after the night shift at the Bludenz Hospital, where she work as radiolpogy assistant. We asked her a few questions about the send:
Q.: Hello Barbara and congratulations again for sending Speed Integrale. What’s the story behind the route (location, bolting, first ascent, etc.)?
The route is located in my home crag of Voralpsee, in Switzerland. Beat Kammerlander bolted Speed in 1995, calling it “the perfect line” and made the first ascent a couple of years later. He proposed the grade of hard 8c+, which is still standing. In 2011 Cedric Lachat bolted a 7m extension to a higher anchor and called it “Speed integrale“. The extension adds a rather hard boulder problem at the top of the route, which is very difficult to do when you are fully pumped. This brings the grade to 9a.
“Speed integrale” is the hardest route at the crag and one of the best lines of Voralpsee. The name of Speed rules. You really need to climb fast with a steady rhythm an flow, otherwise you get totally pumped on those small crimps and powerful moves. And for me “Speed integrale“ was hard just until the very end. The crux move on the upper part of the route is a very long and shouldery move. When I was too pumped I couldn’t get enough reach to complete it. It was a big mental challenge to climb through all those hard moves and still have enough mental clarity and power to do the last bouldery section at the end. That was a great fight. The hardest single move is at the start, a hard bouldery sequence which took me quite some time to figure out.
Everytime I have worked on the route I was pretty psyched by all those crazy moves. I had some hard but fun training at the gym, where I worked on speed and fast climbing and the more I tried the route the more I got obsessed about it.
Q.: when did you decide to try it and how long did it take you to send it?
This year I wanted to focus on “Speed Integrale” because I thought it would be cool to invest more time in such a mega sportclimbing route and try to be a better sport climber. So I started trying the route and programmed a specific training at the gym at the end of March of this year. My only goal, since the beginning, was to send “Speed Integrale” entirely. Funny enough I never managed to send the route to the lower anchor until the day I free climbed it to the upper anchor. I climb a lot in Voralpsee, but until now it was mainly on the “easier” routes, and this used to be part of my training regimen for multipitch climbing in the Alps. Last year I tried the the lower moves of Speed a couple of times, but with no real commitment. This year I spent 13 climbing days trying the route.
Q.: which were the emotions after sending and what was the send like? Was everything smooth?
Speed Integrale is one of the best routes I know and it was a big goal for me to climb 9a one time in my life. Voralpsee is my homecrag. It was really easy to stay motivated by trying such a beautiful line. It’s a unique place up there. Me and my friends are always climbing a lot in Voralpsee, so we shared great moments together. Everyone was psyched to invest time in a different personal project..so the good vibes were all over.
I had a big fight on the route when I sent it. I was on my very limit….and I almost fell on the top because my foot slipped….definitely a proper fight and a big mental challenge.
I feel super happy about this route. It is such big goal for me to be able to send Speed Integrale. It’s definitely the highlight of my sport climbing. Now I can focus on alpine and trad again 🙂
Q.: Which was the most challenging part?
The most challenging thing is managing the pump. It was really hard to climb through the first 5 bolts, which is power endurance without rests and includes some hard boulder moves. After that you have a decent rest…but I couldn’t get rid of the pump…so somehow you have to keep the pump level low, which is hard. The real crux for me was the long move on the upper part. With the pump in my forearms it was really hard to do it, especially the nasty gastone move near the end. I was pretty lucky to stick it during my send. 🙂 And as you climb for a while (35m long)—the route offers a great mental challenge as well.
Q.: how do you feel having sent your first 9a? A step ahead compared to other 8c+ routes you have made?
This was the hardest single pitch I have ever sent. And, compared to other 8c+ routes I made before, Speed Integrale is way harder.
Q.: what’s next now? What are your goals for the future?
Next Monday I will start a trip to Canada, so it will be mainly crack climbing. Completely different style 🙂 I love to do a bit of everything in my climbing. This is the best way to keep my motivation high. I couldn’t do just sport climbing all over the year. Anyway my all-time-favourite still remains Big Wall climbing. I would love to go on a bigger expedition or open a new route somewhere. That would be a great adventure and a new experience as well.
Q.: you and Jacopo (Larcher) are one of the few existing couples climbing at these levels. Climbing in general is a very individual sport. How do you set your goals and projects and how do you support each other?
Oh that is really easy. We both share the same values in climbing. He loves big wall climbing too and is psyched for sport and trad as well…so we mix it up all together. We always choose our projects together. Every year we have some projects as a team. It is really easy to push each other when you have the same goal in your mind. It’s definitely my favorite person in life and on the wall 🙂
Q.: so how is living with him like, does he wash dishes or cook?
Ahahahahah … with him it’s really an easy life….He is not super psyched about cooking but he definitely washes the dishes!!!! (ahahah sometimes he has to…)
Q.: do you ever have arguments or disagreements while climbing at the crag or on the wall? Who is winning them most of the time?
Yes, of course we have arguments, as everybody. On the wall I am quite bad with the haulbag management…I always want to be fast….so if stuff doesn’t fit in the haulbag, then I just fix it on the outside. That makes him crazy!! He is a really tidy person an the wall (less less at home :-)). I would say he wins 60% and I win 40% of the discussions. And if we just don’t agree then we prefer to stop arguing. 🙂
Barbara Zangerl, climbing achievements:
First Female Ascent of the Alpine Trilogy:
2013 Kaisers neue Kleider (Wilder Kaiser) (6c+, 7c+, 8a+/b, 7b+, 8b+, 8a, 6b, 8b+, 6c)
2013 Silbergeier (Rätikon) (8b, 7c+, 8a+, 7a+, 8b+, 7c+)
2012 End of Silence (Berchtesgaden) (7a+, 6c, 6a+, 6a, 7b+, 7c+, 7b, 8b, 8b/+, 7c, 7a+)
2017 Magic Mushroom, El Capitan, Yosemite (5.13d/14a)
2016 Zodiac, El Capitan, Yosemite (5.13d)
2016 New Age ( 7a, 7c, 8a+, 7a+, 7b)
2016 Golden Shower Verdon (7a+, 8b+, 8b+, 7c+/8a)
2015 El Nino, El Capitan, Yosemite (5.13 c)
2015 Unendliche Geschichte (Rätikon CH) (6a, 6b+, 6c+, 7b+, 7c+, 8b, 8b+, 6b, 7a+, 6b, 7b+, 7a)
2015 Bellavista (Tre Cime di Lavaredo) (7b, 6c+, 6a+, 7a+, 7b, 8b+, 7c+/8a, 7a, 6c, 6b)
2015 La Ramirole, Verdon (8a+, 8a, 8b, 8a+, 7a)
2014 Moonlight Buttress, team ascent (Zion-Utah, USA) (5.12+)
2012 Super Cirill, Ticino CH (7a+, 7a+, 7b+, 7c+, 6a+, 8a/+, 6c+, 6c, 6a+)
2012 Delicatessen, Corsica (8b, 7c+, 7c, 8a, 6c)
2011 Hotel Supramonte, Sardegna (7b+, 7c+, 8b, 8a+, 8b, 7c, 7a+, 7b, 7b, 7b, 6b)
2010 Via Acacia, Rätikon (7+, 9, 9-, 8-, 9-, 9-, 7+, 8, 9+)
2014 Prinzip Hoffnung (Vorarlberg), prima femminile
2017 Gondo Crack (Cippo, Svizzera) prima ripetizione, prima femminile
2016 Achemine (Dumbarton / Scozia), prima ripetizione
2016 Requiem (Dumbarton / Scozia)
2018 Speed Intégrale, Voralpsee
2017 Chikane (Siurana)
2016 Harry’s dirty brother (Vorarlberg)
2015 Helel Ben Schachar (Vorarlberg)
2017 Gondo Crack prima libera (Cippo, Svizzera)
2016 Standhaft (Vorarlberg)
2015 Schwarzer Schwan (Ötztal)
2015 Nobody is perfect
2014 Mind control (Oliana)
2014 Fish eye (Oliana)
2011 Erntezeit (Vorarlberg)
2008 FFA Pura vida (MagicWood, Avers)
2005 X-Ray (Silvretta)
2008 Zwiederwurtz (Silvretta)