Sunday, September 21, 2014

Renting an apartment in Austria

Renting an apartment in Austria was trickier than we expected. There are a plenty of free apartments in Vienna and Mödling, but it’s hard to decide where exactly to live.

How far from the work? How far from climbing? If we move close to Wienerwald forest we could train on the hills. Or maybe we should live close to the freeway, we are probably going to drive somewhere a few times a week and on weekends…But there is also climbing in Mödling, should we live in that part of the town? After all, it would be pretty cool just to walk to sport climbing!

How about indoor climbing? Close to a climbing gym is always a safe bet, but close to which gym? It’s hard to know where we are going to train, or where our future friends will be training. On the other hand it’s possible to free climb year around here. So are we going to use a climbing gym as much as we did in Umeå? Probably not.

It’s difficult to choose, but what makes it even harder, is the Austrian law that says that whichever apartment we rent, we have to stay there for at least one year + 3 months notice time. And a two-months' provision plus three months' deposit (= 4000 €) makes sure you will actually stay in the apartment.

 Wine fields

Anu & corn fields, Wienerwald in the background

 A road

Hiking somewhere in Höllental. When you have a guidebook in German and cannot really read German… the approach can become a bit longer.

 Views from the road to Semmering

 More serpentine roads

 Aperol spritz is a popular drink here. It’s surprisingly bitter (and strong). Easy to drink too much.

 And we finally got an apartment. It’s in Mödling, right next to Wienerwald. The closest crag and gym are both 2 km from the apartment.

I found my inner hipster and decided to make some chili-walnut-protein-bread.

 More hipster stuff. I started to grow some herbs.


 Pepperoni. Sadly not a strong one.

 A lemon tree

 Husarentempel and a view to Vienna. This is on Föhrenberge in Wienerwald. 

 Naschmarkt in Vienna

 Findings from the market

 When you find a 3 kg tomato, it’s good to remember that also Arnold Schwarzenegger comes from Austria.

 A rainy day at crags. I guess there is a point in living close to gyms.

 Kletterhalle Wien. This hall is 1200 m2 and 16 meters high. There are 2000 m2 climbing surface and 400 m2 bouldering surface. 16 meters doesn’t sound too high, but as the wall overhangs more than 10’s enough.

 They also have slab walls

 This is probably the best solution for a climbing wall structure I’ve seen

 Austrian way of belaying

 A small wall and a lowline for kids

 The outdoor part of Kletterhalle Wien. 3000 m2 area and 200 m2 bouldering surface

 150 m2 bouldering surface on real boulders. Looks like someone forgot a baby here.

A slackline


Friday, September 12, 2014


We haven’t been bouldering too much lately. Mainly because we don’t have to. Sport climbing around Vienna is pretty damn good and many of the crags are closer than bouldering areas (which actually are not that far either). However, we did an exception for a day, just to try some limestone blocks.

Merkenstein is one of the best known bouldering areas around Vienna. There are a lot of boulders in this area, most of the guidebook's 1000 boulder problems are here. We checked out just one sector, and it was enough to convince me about the quality. 

This was the first time we did some bouldering on limestone, and it’s quite different to granite. Climbing is very dynamic. Holds are usually better than on granite, but as the angles of the lines are often very steep, climbing feels more like an indoor climbing. Grading feels also much harder. On the other hand, this seems to be the case with sport climbing as well, so it might be because we are just not used to Austrian limestone.

Here are the pics.

 According to the guidebook the approach is 3 minutes. I'm not sure if we parked too far but it took about 20 minutes for us.

 Uga aga iga 6C. Only jugs in this problem, but I still couldn't do it! Swedish bouldering grades are good for your self esteem, but only if you live in Sweden

 6A traverse. It was quite dirty and has not been climbed for a long time. Still, one of the best traverses I've done.

 Some steep problems at a roof

 There are a lot of traverses for lowball -fans in Merkenstein. This was a 7A+

 6C+ crack. Jamming in limestone cracks is so painful!

 A big roof with some glued-in holds 

 This is one of the most climbed 6B's around Vienna. Pretty steep for the grade!

 A lot of holes in limestone walls, some are quite big

 Someone said the forest looks like a zombie-land. I have to admit, it was just like being in Walking Dead

 Merkenstein is nice and shady even when it's super hot.

 Anu got tired

 Enough with bouldering...

 Culture act of the day, a castle

 Another one, this was in a bit better shape!

 Anu was more psyched about the castles than bouldering

Art photo of the day, a zombie house

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kranjska Gora

Random fact of the day: Austria is a small country.

When I open Google Maps and search "Sweden", the scale of the map is 1:200 km. When I change the country to Austria, the scale changes to 1:20 km. Of course, this is partly because of the shape of countries, but the fact is that Sweden is about 5 times bigger than Austria.

For us who are used to driving 300 km in one way for a climbing trip, the difference is huge. We once drew a circle around Vienna with a 320 km radius (the distance from Umeå to Niemisel), to understand better what we have for weekend destinations. Within the circle, there are climbing destinations in Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. (A bit bigger circle and Italy is also inside.) There are also six capitals within the circle.

And climbing is not the only thing you can do around here. When Jouni and Janne went to Slovenia for downhill biking, they didn't have to ask me twice to come along.

Kranjska Gora

Åbo-boys getting psyched

Slovenian style to attach knee pads

 A lift and some Slovenian mountains

Yes, we are too fat to "earn our turns"

Here we go!!

 Me on a track

Janne in the woods. He was the only guy who actually knew how to ride.

Jouni and Janne enjoying Slovenian tracks. It's pretty damn fun even if you are a beginner.

Janne dropping from a ramp

Me taking some huuuge air

It's funny how little these drops feel until you are at the very end of the ramp and have no time to chicken out.

Some guys play it harder

It was quite warm with all protections

Jouni cooling down

It was not a bad day

Especially as there was a beach volleyball world tour in Klagenfurt. Somehow we ended up at the party...