Friday, March 20, 2015


Altenberg an der Rax is about 100 km from Mödling and one of the closest ice climbing areas to us. Ice falls are at an altitude of 1200-1300 meters and facing west, so there is a good chance that there is some ice even when winter feels like a summer in Mödling.

Altenberg area consists of five or six icefalls, but the steep amphitheater with three icefalls is the one which is worth even a longer drive. Andreas had a mixed project in the area and he didn't have to ask me twice to come along.

 Icefalls are visible already from the parking lot. 

 The approach is about 40 minutes uphill.

The plan was to make a new route between the icefalls, and connect to the icefall A-vitamin on the right side somewhere after the overhanging part. 

 Me on the first easy pitch.

Andreas on the virgin ground

 Tagline is pretty handy for pulling up heavy gear

 Andreas hanging on a shitty hook while drilling

 Last meters before easier ground

Me following the pitch

It was much steeper, harder and looser than I expected. I couldn't do it free, not even on top rope.

Then it was my turn on the sharp end. The third pitch started as an easy ramp, but then it got tricky. There were basically two options, to traverse right to the ice and continue "A-vitamin" to the top, or climb straight up to the top of a block through a crack filled with loose stone, which was way harder than it looked from below. 

Another problem was that the gear was pretty bad, at least for me who is used to granite, and without a bolt I wasn't going to climb any further. On the other hand, adding a bolt right next to gear, and pretty close to the ice felt also like a bad idea. Maybe next year there will be more ice? Or a climber with bigger balls? 

So I climbed down and let Andreas figure it out. He climbed to my high point, tried to find a good solution, but after a while he decided to climb back down as well. 

 Back at the anchor. For me the most logical way to connect to A-vitamin would be from here. Andreas didn't mind, there was still time to rappel down and redpoint the new pitch below.

Andreas sending the pitch. Vitamin-B M6+ WI3 (not Rjukan grades)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Austrian winter

Our first winter in Austria is slowly turning into spring. Even Laxenburg's ice cream shop just opened its doors again. I'm not sure if this winter has been an exception, but it's been quite warm. On the other hand, you can still find a real winter on the mountains.

We have been free climbing throughout the winter, and it's not as badass as it may sound. When the sun is shining, it's like Finnish summer (without the rain).

 Draschgrat (5+, 200m), a very nice arete at Hohe Wand

 The first pillar on Draschgrat

 Simulclimbing on De wüde Posteline 6+, 240 m

 We climbed the whole route as one long pitch. This is the last overhanging section. I run out of draws but I was lucky enough to have some trad gear with me.

 A raven enjoying the view

The mandatory sunset photo

A rainy day at Hohe Wand equals powder day at Stuhleck

 Stuhleck after the rain

 Kneedeep, helt okej

 Snowy forest

Snowy barns 

Winter & summer in the same photo

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hohe Wand 21.2.

 Sonneuhrwand at Hohe Wand. Sonnenhur (7- UIAA) follows dihedral systems on the left side of the photo. 

The weather was pretty warm considering it's still February. No need for long johns. 

 Anu and some elegant moves on pitch 3

The route was pretty sustained, (7-, 7-, 6-, 7-, 6+, 5+, 5) This was the last 7- pitch.

Me on the sixth pitch. The last 60 meters of the route was pretty juggy, or "schön" as the guidebook says.

 A local hero impressing the audience

 We climbed with only one 50 m rope, (and didn't have Sampsa with us to arrange the transport...) so we had to hike back to the car. On the way we found a restaurant so it took a bit longer than expected.

 The spring is on its way

Hohe wand, an Austrian version of Rösås

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Osp mit Johan

A while ago Johan asked me if I would be interest to travel to Spain again. Some might remember our epic trip from last year. Even though Margalef is one of the best sport climbing areas I've been to, I found it very hard to see any reason to buy plane tickets to Spain. Osp is just a few hours away, and offers more steep lime stone you can handle.

So, instead of travelling to Spain, Johan came to Vienna. Unfortunately his baggage didn't arrive, but as he was smart enough to have his climbing shoes in the hand luggages (free tip for everyone), we decided to live on the edge and drive to Osp without his spare underwear.

 Osp, once again

 Misja Pec

 Johan getting peppad

 Soncni dnevi 7b. "Så jävla bra".

It's very technical and definitely steeper than it looks 

Johan enjoys Slovenian sun

 Me & Dalec stran je sodni dan 7b

Last time we met a biker with a full face helmet. He told me where to find a nice downhill track. He also said I would need all protections. I didn't believe him.

 A two-meter drop with bad landing... I guess the guy was right.

 Luckily most of the track was like this 

The track is pretty easy to find, just head towards Tinjan until you see the track beside the road. The other solution is to start from the end of the trail and push your bike up.

Back at the crag with Rex

Crni Biser 7c, yet another awesome line

 Johan & Suznji vertikale 7a+

 Party at the town

 Slovenia is a catholic country so they have their own carnival. It's like Rio de Janeiro but on a bit smaller scale. 

 Age of rock

Mandatory sunset photo. Nothing special but beats Vantaa.

Back in Mödling with 5 liters of Slovenian wine