BD athlete Adam Pustelnik climbs Action Direct (9a) at Frankenjura
Black Diamond athlete Adam Pustelnik became the third Polish climber to redpoint 9a in early October with his ascent of the historic Action Directe in Germany's Frankenjura. Long consider the benchmark for 9a, Action Directe is one of the most coveted sport climbs in the world (only 13 ascents since Wolfgang Güllich's FA in 1991). Below is Pustelnik's report about his successful ascent.
I first visited Frankenjura in 1999. Squatting in the bushes behind Barenschlucht Wand, we spent two weeks crimping the best pockets available. I went there annually for next four years, and it really pushed the level of my sport climbing. After repeating Shangri-La (8c+), Action Directe (9a) seemed the next logical step. But the mind can play dirty tricks on you, so I decided not to try Action until I felt ready enough for it. This way, just another climbing route became my nemesis, and was harder to break than anything else.
Fortunately, you can always count on your friends. When it comes to partnership, crags are not the usual place to discover its true value. It is more in the mountains where you can understand just how much climbing is a team sport. Surprisingly, this time I've found friendship on the 15 meter-high Waldkopf.
I've been trying to redpoint Action Directe for two years. Going back and forth 800 km (or 8 hours of driving, if you prefer), I've made nine 3-day trips to Frankenjura with a friend of mine, Konrad Saladra. In this time, we've both injured ourselves twice, and have encountered probably all conditions possible on the route. From mint conditions to absolute pouring rain, with +30° C (86°F) heat in between. But thanks to working on it together, we kept believing in realizing what is a dream to many sport climbers.
Last weekend, after two long years, I finally linked it all up and sent the route in perfect conditions. On midday Sunday, with slight wind, clear blue sky and—finally–dry rock, I fired the 17 hard moves without a good rest, thus completing Action Directe!
A dream come true, for sure, but it involved a lot of hard work as well. For many reasons, finding the time to come to Germany has often been more difficult than giving all I could on the route. The same thing goes for training. It's funny, because before when I had time to go on three-month-long trips and get myself in really good shape, I was often afraid to fight for it. Now when time is not easy to find, belief has to be stronger than ever.
It's all in the mind... stay strong!
[Adam Postelnik is 28 years old and lives and works in Poland. He focuses on sport-climbing, multi-pitch routes, big walls, and even route-setting for World Cup competitions. He took part in climbing some new, big routes in the Charakusa Valley in Pakistan with Nicolas and Olivier Favresse and Sean Villanueva. With his brother Paweł, he put up a new route in the Kara Su Valley in Krygystan. He's freed Silbergeier in Switzerland's Ratikon, Air Sweden in Indian Creek, Utah, and several 8c+ sport routes. Adam lives with his fiancée, Anna and their two dogs in Łódź, Poland.]