Monday, October 20, 2014

Wo sind die Klippen?

In Austria we have faced new kinds of problems. Those who have been to Frankenjura know what I’m talking about. Too many new crags around, it’s not obvious where to go for climbing. And if you find a nice crag, should you stay there or search for more? Yes, first world problems.

So far we have checked out dozens of crags, but most of them seem to be somewhat abandoned. It’s nice to be alone at the crag, but I have a feeling we haven’t found the best crags yet. Sometimes we have climbed some world class limestone, and other times found just a pile of loose shit with homemade bolts.

Adlitzgräben. 1 minute approach.

 Me looking at King size 8 (7a). Steep and juggy. Very similar to Ton sai roof.

Falkensteinhöhle at Adlitzgräben. Erfolg ist trainierbar reclimbed 11 (9a) on the left side.

Adlitzgräben has 9 sectors. Most of the routes are between 7a-8b. This is a very good place by any standard. For some reason we have been here only once.


 Looks nice but is unfortunately quite loose. 

 Maitre vauban und der basilisk 11 (9a). A 33-meter route which overhangs 12 meters. 

Hardest routes seem to be quite nice here. Anyway, this place offers very little for mid-level climbers like us. I don’t think we are coming back.

 View from Schattenreich.


 Rock quality is very good and it’s quite different from other areas. A lot of slopy pockets.

 A tufa!

Scheiblingkirchner wandl. This is one of my favorite places. It is just a small sector and a couple of routes. I have been here only once, but everything I’ve climbed here has been super good. Steep and juggy and not polished at all. Unfortunately the hardest route is 7c.

Niemandsland. This is the place to go when it’s hot in the summer.

 A local climber on Big sleep 9 (7c+)

Arnsteinhöhle. We have been here a few times and here I’ve climbed my hardest piece of Austrian limestone so far, Das dritte auge kundalini 9/9+ (7c/7c+)

 Energieembargo 9- (7b+). Dynamic belaying is a big no-no on this route. Try to find a fat belayer with a grigri.

 Anu and her shiny 29”. Approaches just became a bit more fun. 

 Thalhofergrat. Ok, this seems to be the place where people climb. 

15 sectors and hundreds of routes up to 8c+. It’s near to us and the approach is 1 minute to the closest sector. It is a pretty obvious choice for "after work"-climbing.

We just got yet another guidebook. 2000 routes only at Höllenthal area. This doesn’t really help with the problem.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hohe Wand

Hohe Wand is, as the name refers, a “high wall”. More specifically, it’s a 8 km wide and 300 meters high rock face with top at 1132 meters. There are several guidebooks for Hohe Wand. A sport climbing guidebook (UIAA 6 - 10, 1000 routes), and a guidebook for easier routes (UIAA 1 - 6, 750 routes) are probably the best known. We have yet another guidebook, ”pleasure climbing", (up to UIAA 7), which focus on longer routes on different areas.

The wall is easy to spot while driving highway A2 towards south from Vienna, and I think you can see the silhouette already in Mödling junction. Hohe Wand is about 50 km from Mödling and as the road is highway it doesn’t take too long to drive there. About the same time than to TKAK-väggen from Umeå.

 Hohe Wand

 Nice exit for base jumpers

 Some grass and loose holds, almost like climbing on Rösås

 Traffic in the air

 Anu enjoying Austrian autumn weather. No need for a down jacket.

 The first 7- (UIAA) pitch on “Traum und Wirklichkeit”. This is a harder variation to super popular Draschgrat 5+, 200m.

 Some traffic on Draschgrat

 A paraglider

 More traffic… Traum und Wirklichkeit goes to right from here. This was a nice 40 meter pitch following overhanging crack systems.

More paragliders

Anu & 7th and last pitch

 Yet another paraglider

 On the top

 Climbing was nice, but this place is made for base jumping

Hohe Wand on a map

 Random fact of the day. You can pick only 2 kg mushrooms per day in Austria.

 Sleep late, climb slow and be at home at 5 PM.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lindkogel-Strecke mit sturm

Climbing is quite big in Austria, or at least we haven’t found a sport shop that wouldn’t sell climbing gear. But even more popular is mountain biking. Wienerwald is filled with steep trails, but the problem is that we don’t know where they are.

We have tried to find some kind of guidebook about trails, but there isn’t any. All trails in the forest are illegal so no-one can put up a guidebook. It would be like making a guidebook for banned climbing areas.

Luckily, I have found some downhill videos in Youtube. The trick is to look closely the last seconds when they ride out of the woods, and then try to locate the place. Once you find the end of the trail, you just hike up to the top to find out where the starting point is. 

Anyway, as we are good citizens, we searched also for legal trails around Mödling and found Lindkogel-strecke close to Baden. It’s about 30 km long trail with a 600 meter height difference. But if you bike there from Mödling, it will become about 50 km long and 1000 meters of ascent altogether. Good training for our skinny legs.

Mödling & Anninger. Anninger doesn’t look too big compared to the mountains in the background, but it offers 5 km of downhill trails with 400m descent. I had to google a bit if that’s a lot or not. In Austria it’s not, but in Finland it would be one of the biggest. It’s twice as big as Ruka or Tahko (both 200 m), and almost the size of Ylläs (463 m), the biggest ski resort in Finland.

 The shortest way to Baden goes on asphalt, but it’s downhill almost all the way and surrounded by wine fields

 There was some kind of a wine festival. Now it’s the time for the first sets of “sturm”, young wine. It is also known as federweißer or federroter (depending if it's done from white or red grapes).

 They closed half of the road and turned it into a 10 km long parking lot.

I have never tasted sturm before. This was made from red grapes and tasted very weird. Not bad, but definitely not what I expected. It was sparkling, sweet and quite strong, 4-10% of alcohol. Yet another Austrian drink for drinking too much.

 Mandatory stop in Baden. For Swedes at least.

Back to mountainbiking. Badass downhill right in the beginning

This is where Lindkogel-strecke actually begins, a neverending uphill..

 Sometimes a bit too steep to pedal


 Anu on the trail

 Finally at the top of Lindkogel! A well-earned descent ahead of us.

 But first things first...there happens to be a restaurant at the top of Lindkogel.

 Mandatory beer & apple juice (which actually was some kind of apple wine) -photo

 Finally downhill!

More hard core riding

 Anu enjoying Lindkogels smooth trail.

 It offers also some trickier parts. Nothing too hard, but hard enough to break my chain-guide.

 The track is marked as “black”, but it's 99% like this.

 Very doable for a hardtail bike.

 In the end the trail got wider and rockier

Sun & trees

 Back in Baden, where to next?

 Wine fields are always a safe bet

 The party was still going on…

 More sturm, this time from white grapes. This was so much better than the red stuff. A bit like Finnish lonkero.

 We also got some local food, small "knödel"s and some stuff I think was made of blood

 Few hours later lost in another wine field

 We bought a two-liter bottle of sturm from the very last wine producer before Mödling 

At home we found out that there was no cork in the bottle! Luckily I didn’t spill it more. Actually, this was the reason why I never had drunk sturm before. With traditional methods it’s not possible to store sturm and therefore you can't buy it from Finland or Sweden. I think it's available only around wine growing areas from early September to late October.