With a little motivation from Grandma, BD Athlete and employee Roland Hemetzberger was able to send Europe's hardest multi-pitch. His story shows how dedication and hard work can make your dreams come true. Today we want to tell his story and give you the chance to win a piece of gear he had used on the route!
Rolo Hemetzberger was feeling down. He thought sending WOGÜ - considered Europe's hardest multi pitch - was out of his league. He had tried the seven-pitch monster of the Alps, first done by BD colleague Adam Ondra, but was shut down by the fierce nature of the climbing - a techy, fingery style that clocks in at 5.14b. Plus he had torn a pulley in his finger. However, a routine trip to his Grandparent's house changed everything. Sometimes all it takes is a little tough love from Grandma to find that spark of motivation. This is Rolo's story of making the coveted third ascent of WOGÜ.
Nalle Hukkataival asked me approximately 1.5 years ago if I would like to join him on WOGÜ. But after only the second day my pulley ligament in my middle finger was torn - a big setback for three months. I had never had a injury in my life! However, I committed it all to Nalle and belayed and supported him - but unfortunately, we were shut down by bad weather.
What I had perceived during that spring mission with Nalle was that WOGÜ was for sure not in my reach.
So what did I do for three months of being injured? Oh, the usual stuff. I shared beers with good old friends, studied for exams and visited my grandma more than I ever did before.
She gave me the advice: "I should have faith in big objectives!"
After that I made up my mind and followed a plan.
I had new wind in my life. I moved to Innsbruck and started working at Black Diamond. And it was time to try the monster of the alps again.
This was my schedule.
6:00 a.m. wake up. One hour of hang boarding and core strength exercises
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Office time at BD.
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch with one hour hang boarding and core strength exercises
1:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Office time then one hour hang boarding and core strength exercises
I did that over weeks. The truth is, my favorite phrase "effort is the answer" fits for every project, otherwise it isn't a project.
Sometimes I drove alone to the mountain range and rappelled the entire route and filmed the handholds with my phone and talked to myself about the sequence. Does that sound super weird? Trust me, I would laugh about it later. But honestly, I was discovering new ways to become more efficient. That is the cool thing about climbing. There is always space to be a better, smarter climber, not just physically stronger.
Time passed. An expedition to Tibet and another try in the Rätikon passed. I got back to the weekly office life and started to gain new strength. Two weeks later my friend Zeno Hamberger gave me a call.
"Hey, Rolo. As I promised, I will support you on your project … because the university is closed."
We both started laughing.
The first day on the wall I was unexpectedly close …
Three times I fell in the last 40-meter long 8b+, always on the last few meters to the anchor. However, my mental batteries were so empty, and I had insane cramps in my arms.
Two days after that, on September 30, I found a unique flow.
I sent every pitch on my first go and reached the summit at 7 p.m. with tears in my eyes. I coiled up the ropes, hugged my friend and realized I climbed one of the hardest multi-pitch climbs in the world. Then, 15 minutes later, it began to rain.
Now for your chance to win 1 of 2 Black Diamond Vector Helmets...
A revolutionary helmet that's ideal for long routes, alpine climbs and other weight-sensitive missions, the Black Diamond Vector Helmet combines lightweight protection, excellent ventilation and "barely-there" comfort like never before. The geometric, co-molded EPS foam and polycarbonate shell provide full-coverage protection while remaining incredibly lightweight and comfortable, and the generous ventilation ports keep air flowing on warm days. The ratcheting suspension tucks away for easy storage in your pack, and when the sun gets down before you do, the Vector's in-mold headlamp clips provide an ultra-secure attachment.