Sunday, April 26, 2015

Valtsu in Austria

Valtsu came to visit us a while ago.  The weather was quite bad when he arrived but he didn't complain. After all, he was stuck at Vienna airport, as I forgot to pick him up. 

Luckily there was free Internet and a McDonalds at the airport to cheer him up while I tried to figure out how to get him to Mödling. We managed in the end, so here are some photos from the trip.

 After some mandatory weizenbier,  I managed to convince Valtsu that scrambling in the rain would be fun.

 On the top of Cimone, we slipped the rain with just a few minutes. 

  The top of Cimone is actually pretty exposed. This photo from last fall shows better how it is. 

 Next day at Adlitzgräben, it was still pretty cold.

 Valtsu on King size 7a

 This is a "must do"-route for everyone

 Me getting spanked on Out of work 8a

 "Maybe we should try something easier?"

 Me getting spanked on Street fighter 7c

 Valtsu on Street fighter

 I think I wore a down jacket twice this winter; the other time was while climbing ice at Altenberg.

 Next day at Hohe wand

 Valtsu looks a bit suspicious about the day's adventure

 The plan was to climb Kronjuwel 7+, a 10-pitch long route, but for some reason there was a no-no sign at the beginning.

 So, without a guidebook, we decided to climb Zukunftsweiser 7+ . This I had already climbed with Sampsa so I knew the route.

Anu on the sharp end after I convinced her that the rock would get more solid.

Anu at the long reach 
© Valtsu

 Valtsu enjoying the overhanging, juggy dihedral

 Anu at the crux

 I have to dyno the crux. Somehow, both Valtsu and Anu did it statically...

 Valtsu looks pretty suspicious still

 Anu at the last overhanging part of the route

 The weather got even worse in Mödling, so we headed to Hochkar.

 A good idea, but the wind got so strong that they closed the whole ski resort. (Five minutes after we had bought the tickets...) 

 No crowds at the top

 Valtsu riding some virgin slush

 Hochkar looks like a nice place. Too bad the lift is not on.

At least the bar was open

 Later they opened one lift...

 ...which they closed again after a while.

It wasn't the best weather I've seen in the mountains, but probably better than a rainy day in Mödling. Or a rainy day in Helsinki.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hatschi Bratschi Luftballon goes free!

Hatschi Bratschi Luftballon (8- A0) is one of the steepest and hardest long routes at Hohe Wand. The route is pretty sustained at UIAA 7, 8-, A0, 7+, 8-, 7+, 4 but the crux pitch (A0) is obviously harder free climbing than the rest of the route.

Andreas told me that the aid pitch is a steep hand crack, and if I am good with cracks I might be able to do it. The crux pitch has been tried to be freed for a while, and the latest info I found was that “redpointing is close, free climbing grade would be 9+ (7c+) ”. 

 Me on the route for the first time

 The second pitch is super steep and juggy 6c+. We decided to go light and fast. No backpacks and with only one 40-meters rope, which makes rappelling the route pretty much impossible.

Andreas on the second pitch

 Working the crux pitch. It’s hard, but very doable.

However, the biggest problem wasn’t climbing, but belaying. It doesn’t get much more uncomfortable than this. 

 Andreas working the crux. We both did all the moves, and thought it would be a bit easier than the proposed 7c+. However, I don’t think these suggestions matter until it’s done.

After the crux the climbing gets more vertical. 

Andreas on the fourth pitch, still pretty exposed climbing

Andreas starts his block 

Superb climbing on a pocketed wall, almost like in Verdon

 Higher up on the wall, one more pitch to go.

 The route tops out in the center of the Skywalk

 Next time at Hohe Wand, now with Anu. 

 Good friction day?

 The weather got finally better

 Starting the second pitch

 Advanced top roping skills

 This time we decided to haul the gear

 And use a belay seat

 Can you spot me in the photo?

It was still too cold so we decided to rappel down

 Third time on the route

 Lowering down back to the anchor is a bit trickier than usual

The beginning of the crux pitch is also a bit tricky

Andreas in the hand jam section

 Double score! 

 Time to move on

I don’t usually use rope organizers, but they are great if you are hauling

The top part was as good as ever. 

It was a long day, but we climbed everything free, and we both redpointed the crux pitch. Our grade suggestion for the crux pitch is UIAA 9- (or 7b+). This was one of the days to remember.