Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Drytooling at Römersteinbruch St. Margarethen

Römersteinbruch St. Margarethen is an old quarry, close to Eisenstadt and about 50 km from Mödling. The quarry is turned into an arena for concerts, opera and now also for drytooling! Unfortunately the place is on private ground, and usually closed from entry. However, the local climbing club has limited access to the place.

Römersteinbruch St. Margarethen

Steep sandstone

Me on an M7

My light & fast -solution

 The rock was very soft and I was a bit curious if the bolts will hold. Florian took a whipper... so apparently they hold.

 There was some natural holds, but also a lot of drilled ones

It was a bit strange climbing, but good training for sure

Michael and a technical dihedral

Andreas had a biking accident in October and has been aside from climbing since then. Clearly this doesn't slow him down anymore, he climbed everything at the quarry. 

Culture act of the day, a craft beer festival

Too many hipsters at the same place

Some yellow beer

Some red beer 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wienerwald touring with Sami

Sami came by to try some Austrian limestone. This is Conan Zülzer 9 (7c), one of the best long routes at Hohe Wand.

I've wanted to climb this route for a some time now, but it's been hard to find anyone willing to get spanked. 

Sami didn't mind, as a mountain guide he is used to hang out with fat clients.

After the crux pitch climbing gets annoyingly technical. I was happy to be able to climb rest of the route on top rope.

It was a nice day even though we both managed to screw up pretty much all the hard pitches. 

Next day at Peilstein

 Sami on Viribus Unitis 7

Matterhorn, Sami on his way to Sphinx 6 

 Evening sun at Peilstein

Back at Hohe Wand


 On the right side you can find limestone similar to Demi Lune sector at Ceüse.

 Sami on Bin Bei Passini 8

As you need to rappel to get to Bizepswandl, you also need to climb back up. Sami on 40-meter long Reifeprüfung 7-. It looks a bit shitty but it was actually a very nice route.

Another mountain goat

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Yet another weekend at Hohe Wand

On Saturday the plan was to climb Auf Wildenauers Spuren UIAA 7- /  200m, but the weather looked unstable so we decided to do some sport climbing instead

Rote Wand is a good looking sport sector at the top of Hohe Wand, close to Gasthof Almfrieden

 Looks pretty pumpy to me...

 Rat der Alten UIAA 7+, steep & juggy

A nice rest

 30 meter jugfest, helt okej!

 Rote Wand was pretty nice. A good choice if the weather is not good enough for longer routes. 

Nov 8. and still +22 °C. Sometimes I like Austria. 

Auf Wildenauers Spuren

The route follows  a nice buttress on solid limestone 

Another team close by. Their route didn't look too bad either!

Our route was pretty sustained, 8 pitches and almost all were around UIAA 6+

This is the second to last pitch

 Very nice and exposed climbing

Sport climbing at Rote Wand was nice, but it's hard to beat longer routes. This was my 30th long route at Hohe Wand and I have a feeling that there will be many more.

Friday, October 30, 2015

How to travel to Yosemite by public transport

In Yosemite you don’t really need a car, at least if you are climbing on El Capitan or on other walls close to bus stops (the shuttle bus is free). So getting there by public transport is a nice way to save some money. And if you are travelling by yourself, it makes even more sense.

Information is quite scattered, so I thought that my experience could help someone else as well. So, here is an info package on how to travel from San Francisco to Yosemite without a car:

1) Take the BART metro from San Francisco airport to Richmond (9,85 $, about 1h 40 min).

In the metro, you have to change from the yellow line (Pittsburg/Bay Point-SFO) to a red line (Richmond-Millbrae Line) or an orange line (Richmond-Fremont Line). You can do this in many stations, check out the metro map. (On Sundays the red line is not operating, so then you need to transfer at 19th St/Oakland or at MacArthur to the Orange line)

Also, remember that it’s very difficult to get to Yosemite in the same day you arrive to San Francisco (unless you arrive very early), so I’d recommend staying one night in a hostel in San Francisco. There are many hostels very close to BART stops. For example “San Francisco International Hostel" is only 200 meters from Powell station and a four person dorm is 38$/night/person (+$10 in cash for room key deposit). The hostel is pretty shitty and the elevator didn’t work, but it’s probably ok for one night. Then continue early so that you can take the first train/bus combo to Yosemite.

BART website

2) Take the AMTRAK-train from Richmond to Merced (24 $ / 2 h 40 min).

You can buy the ticket from the station, or an e-ticket at AMTRAK website. It’s a good idea to buy a train/bus-combo e-ticket. From Richmond, CA (RIC) to Yosemite, lodge bus stop, CA (YOS) (35 $).

The first train from Richmond to Merced goes at 7:49 am and arrives at 10:31 am. Lines 713, 714 and 716 head to Yosemite.

AMTRAK website

3) Take the YARTS-bus from Merced to Yosemite (13 $ / 2 h 30 min)

The first YARTS-bus after arriving to Merced goes at 11:00 am - 1:25 am. A later connection from Richmond goes at 1:34 pm - 4:13 pm and the bus from Merced goes at 5:30 pm - 8:22 pm.

YARTS website.  You can buy the ticket from the bus, or at the AMTRAK website.

In all transfers, you need to carry your bags less than 50 meters.

When coming back, you just do the same other way round. It’s a good idea to book a late flight (departs late in the evening) back home. Then you don’t need to stay in a hostel again. The first YARTS-bus from Yosemite to Merced goes at 10 am, and you will be at the airport around 3:30 pm.

Remember, if using public transport, you will arrive to Yosemite earliest in the mid day, and then it’s very difficult to get a campsite from Camp 4. It’s possible to book campsites at Upper/Lower/North Pines (a campsite for six is 26€/night), and this might be a good backup for the first night. On the other hand, then you need to wake up at 4 am or so and hike to Camp 4 to wait in a line. You should be in the line latest at 6 AM. The first Yosemite shuttle bus starts at 7 AM so it’s not helping.

Until you get a campsite, moving around in Yosemite with all your stuff might be tricky. Everything is much easier if you already have some friends at camp 4. If not, you can ask if you could borrow someone's bear box (You can't leave any food anywhere) or maybe leave some stuff at camp 4. A six-pack of beer might help in negotiations.

Also, at least in 2015 it was ok to sleep in the Camp 4 waiting line, so this is also one solution for the first night. Sleeping in the forest is not allowed, but people do it.

And this is important: normally you can stay up to 30 days in the valley, but in the summer season (May 1 - Sep 15) only seven days are allowed. However, time spent on a bigwall is not included, though you can't leave your tent at Camp 4. To avoid extra hassle, most climbers arrive on Sep 15 or later.

Yosemite shuttle bus operates year round, but El Capitan shuttle operates from May 22 through October 12. So getting to El Cap might be harder after Oct 12 if you don't have a car.

You can find more info at Yosemitepark.com and nps.gov

Getting all the stuff checked in as one piece of luggage might be impossible. 

 I tried to pimp my belayseat by drilling some holes... Maybe a bit too light & fast.

Finally... British Airlines takes 72€ for the first extra bag (and 150€ for every bag after that...) The 35 liters haulbag was my hand luggage and the laptop bag didn't cause any problems, even though Virgin Atlantic allows only one piece of hand luggage.

San Francisco International Hostel

 The elevator didn't work

Not so sober american tries to lift the haulbag

So, before you decide to travel without a car, make sure you can carry your stuff.

BART metro map

Richmond station. Here you can by the train tickets 

Somehow I missed this one and used the stairs

Amtrak trains are nice and comfy, and have free WLAN!

YARTS bus time table

Sleeping in the Camp 4 waiting line was a big no-no a few year ago. Now people were sleeping there every night and rangers didn't mind.