Their primary objective for this trip is undoubtedly climbing: tackling challenging, fissured, overhanging routes. "The rock is similar to our home climbing spots of Cuenca or Margalef, but not as abrasive and therefore a bit kinder to the skin," says Ana. In 2022, in Cuenca, she achieved a monumental milestone by conquering her first 9a route, Cordia Maleficarum. This remarkable accomplishment marked her as only the second climber, following Alex Garriga, to ascend the route founded by Dani Andrara. During her month-long projecting, Simon, despite being injured at the time, provided unwavering support. He ingeniously borrowed a different car from a different cousin for each day of climbing throughout March, as their own van required repairs. Simon would drive Ana two hours from Madrid to Cuenca for each session, offering belaying, motivation, beta assistance, and then tirelessly chauffeuring his exhausted girlfriend back to Madrid in the evening before returning the borrowed car. There were instances when they made the lengthy trip in vain, misled by inaccurate weather forecasts that rendered climbing conditions unsuitable. Yet, no matter the obstacles they faced, surrender was never an option. Even today, reflecting on this journey, both of them radiate joy and motivation, cherishing the memories they created together.
Motivation plays a big role in their life. Since his youth, Simon has had a mantra: EAM—escalar a muerte. This means "give it all" or "go big or go home!" For Simon, it means not only giving everything for his goal on a route but also for the trappings of life in general. "This mantra has been my guiding principle for a long time. For a while, I classified nearly everything as either EAM or non-EAM. If I drank water, it was EAM. A big slice of Franconian cake would have been the complete opposite of EAM," he exclaims cheerfully. "Ana has instilled the try hard mentality into our relationship from the very beginning. She always finds a way to motivate me, whether it's for projects or overcoming an injury."
On their trip through the Wiesent, Trubach, and Pegnitz valleys, the couple discovered a good blend of small-scale challenges, iconic classics, and enjoyable climbs. They retraced the steps of Kurt Albert and climbed Sautanz (7b+ | 9-) and the photogenic Supernase (8) in Gößweinstein. Ana impressively flashed Wolfgang Güllich's Slimline (8a+ | 10-) and took only two days to conquer Roof Warrior (8c | 10+/11-), even in the scorching summer heat. Simon had come across the legendary tale of Jerry Moffat's barefoot first ascent of Ekel, the first German 9+ (7c+), in Moffat's book Revelations. This inspired the two to venture to Obertrubach and tackle this iconic roof.