Friday, September 12, 2014

Merkenstein

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...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peilstein

Peilstein is probably the closest climbing area to us where it is possible to do some multi-pitch climbing. Routes are not too long, but long enough to make a difference to one-pitch sport climbing.

Superb rock quality and glue-in bolts make this a perfect place for anyone who wants to train for longer routes. Also, this is very nice place if you want to do some easy climbing on rest days.

There are also some harder (7b-8a?) routes in caves, but unfortunately our “pleasure climbing” guidebook does not cover these routes. Peilstein has its own guidebook with 1400 routes. On the other hand, if you want to do harder routes, Thalhofergrat (with a 3 min approach) is just around the corner.

Few photos:


 Peilstein, 28 km from Mödling, helt okej!


 Approach is about 30 minutes. However, there is a sign at the top of the crag that says a bus stop is 20 min of walking on the other way. It’s pretty cool when you can take a bus to a place like this.



 The view is nice already from the base of the crag


 First pitch on Weg der Ersterteiger 3+ 90m. I think the route is usually done in four pitches.


 A thunderstorm hit us on the last pitch. Fortunately these showers seem to be very short.


 Anu on the top of Cimone



 We did also another route, a variation to Ballounsteig 3+(?). A fun way to spend a rest day.


 Top of Große Teufelsbadstubenwand


 Matterhorn (not the famous one)


 Cimone, it’s about 80 meter high and quite similar to Svolvaergeita on Lofoten.


 A sharp arete, you can see how the light comes through the holes in the wall


 Safety first


Austria is green.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

R.I.P. Juha & Antti


Last Friday our friends Juha and Antti died in a tragic accident in Chamonix.

We remember them both as always smiling and being in a good mood. They brought a lot of joy to people around them. Thanks for everything, you are greatly missed.

Our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last bits of Umeå action

There has been a lot of development in Rösås (before the ban of course), and five new routes/projects have been established. The easiest is Anu´s Flapjack (6c+), a nice but tricky route. Nearby Ässä mix (7b) is a steep route with big jugs. Two no-hand kneebars in the steepest section!! A few meters to the left is super steep and bouldery Missä X (7c+). The steepest line in the cave is an open project. Also, I decided to bolt the old project at Ravinen. It’s too hard for me, but something for Urban, Mikko and other hard core crimpers in Umeå.

I also climbed a new route to Blåberget. “Ranka” (7a) is an impressive arete, a bit similar to Kanten but easier and even more exposed! Climbing is very technical: compression moves, pinches and hooking.

The route starts from a big ledge, 25 meters above the ground. It’s possible to reach the route by climbing Skiljelinjen´s first pitch (6b+) or a hard and bold variation to Steneld, or rappel from the top. Ranka is completely bolted, you need 11 draws.

The variation to Steneld is a straight line and a logical “individual” 1st pitch to Ranka. It is basically 20 meters of Steneld and then after the crux you climb straight to the Skiljelinjens mid anchor via short crack. I cleaned the crack, did all the moves, but I didn’t have time (=balls) to climb it. But it’s very doable and open project for anyone.

So, a lot of new climbing around Umeå, have fun! Here is a topo to Rösås.


Btw. Swedish climbing association did a short interview about me. You can find it from associations new website Bergsport.se



Flapjack 6c+


 The new sector in Rösås is pretty steep! Me coming down from Missä X 7c+


Blåberget. Ranka is the obvious arete in the middle of the photo.