Monday, June 22, 2015

Citydownhill in Bratislava turned into a riot

Long story short: Neo-nazis started a riot and destroyed the downhill track. Here are a few photos before and after the incident.


 Bratislava


 The downhill track started from the castle of Bratislava


 Redbull brought a movable boombox


 The track starts with a nice drop.


 The next jump was at the gate of the castle


 The jump seen from the other side


 A small jump leads to the wall of the castle


 Followed by a big drop from the wall


 This was a pretty crazy jump


 The jump seen from the other side... it's about 13-15 meter gap and you don't want to make it short...


 A competitor testing his luck


 These little bumps looked like a bad joke after the previous jump.


Of course there were some stairs to ride as well


 A worried looking competitor checking out the next drop


 If you go too fast, it's almost impossible to make the turn left to the wallride.


 Only one way to find out....


 Slope style jump at the finish area


 After free practice, there was some slope style action







 Then it was time for some beer


 Leffe vs Saris


 We missed the qualifications, but were just in time for the finals


It started to rain, and soon the staff added some mat to the landing. I think the jump was scary enough even without the wet and slippery landing. Also, most of the bikers made the jump just barely over the gap, as you can see from the rubber on the banner.


The first finalist is making the jump. He did it, but just. The next two competitors didn't even try to jump.


 Bernardo Cruz was riding fast and landed nicely

However, after he was gone, there was a longer pause. The next competitor never came, and soon we heard police sirens. For a second we thought the biker had crashed, but then we heard a sound of an explosion.

And then this happened:




We heard more explosions and saw a few paramedics running the downhill track up as well. At first they were shouting something in Slovak, but then in English..."Run, please run!"




We took our stuff and started to run. Everyone else was doing the same thing, so we couldn't move too fast. The only way out, apart from the downhill track, was to climb up the stairs and then follow the street next to the wall of the castle.



When we got a bit higher we saw why people were running. The downhill track was now filled up with rioters. They all were wearing black and their faces were covered with a scarf.

This is what had happened on the lower part of the track:


Neo-nazis came to the track


 Bernardo Cruz's headcam


 The incident seen from the live Broadcast




More high IQ activity (link to the video)


We tried to get out, but the road was blocked by rioters. I was tempted to take more photos, but these guys didn't look like they would like to be photographed. We hid our cameras and waited to see what would happen.

The group of neo-nazis came right next to us, but they didn't do anything. They started to talk with the other rioters which were on the downhill track and even though I didn't understand anything, it sounded like they were a bit lost as well.

Now the road was free so we decided to walk away. That felt like a good move, but suddenly we realized we were walking in the middle of group of rioters.


The forest right next to us was covered by policemen. I was pretty happy I didn't wear black that day. Still, it didn't feel like the best idea to walk along with rioters so we slowed down a bit and let them walk ahead of us. They saw polices as well, and soon they took off their scarfs.


Not saying this guy had anything to do with the riot, but quite a few also took off their black sweaters. I guess their plan was to blend in with the viewers of the downhill event.


We went inside of the castle walls, and from there it was relatively safe to watch what was happening.


"Thanks for ruining the show"


The police was clearing the area


The finish area seen from the castle, quite many civilian police cars


The police arrested around 140 rioters altogether.


The crowd was cheering when they took out this guy.


Policemen clearing the downhill track


It looks like army police was also helping


The police also closed some of the main roads


It was quiet at the beer tent


The bar in the middle of the track was also closed


If you want to destroy things, wooden chairs are probably the easiest way to go.


The first sign of peace, "window-bar" started to sell beer again.


A competitor is pushing his bike up the track. For a while they tried to start the competition again, but they couldn't. Gear for timing was destroyed and a big part of the staff had run away.


"They should have forced the rioters to ride the downhill track, that would have been justice!"


A photo from the train while heading back to Austria


Later we found out that there had been a big demonstration of thousands of people (14 000 according to the organizers) in Bratislava against immigration, organized by the extreme right. Apparently some started to fight the police and for some reason decided to destroy the downhill track as well. They also attacked a cameraman and some staff of the event. Three policemen were wounded, but apparently no one was seriously injured.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Stadlwand

Stadlwand is one of the biggest limestone walls in Höllental. It is located on the southern part of Schneeberg, but doesn’t continue to the top of the mountain. The top of the wall is at 1407 meters.

There are a plenty of good-looking routes on the wall, but we decided to climb one of the easiest and longest ones. We started with the direct start to Richterweg, then climbed Richterweg and continued to the top via Stadlwandgrat. This continuous buttress/ridge is altogether about 800 meters (25 pitches) long and the hardest parts are around UIAA 5. Nothing too difficult, but it's still a lot of climbing. 



 Racking up the gear…40 meters of rope, 40 draws, 4 cams, 2 nuts, 2 tri-cams, 5 slings...


 The approach takes an hour


 Richterweg


 Advanced top roping skills


 The route follows a buttress, but the direct start is not too obvious. The directions in the guidebook are quite detailed, and there was even a metal wire to show the starting point. Still, there was a Hungarian couple that was about to do the same route as we but wasn't sure where to start. We were pretty sure where the route would go, and started to climb. The other party was still not convinced and decided to bail even before starting the route. 


Higher up on Richterweg


 Stadlwandplatte on the left side of the buttress looks very good


 I run out of ropemans but tiblocs works as well for simul climbing. They are less safe but better than nothing.


Richterweg turns into Stadlwandgrat


 Very nice scrambling


 Anu on the last pitch of Stadlwandgrat. It’s nice to have routes like this only 85 km from home. 


 We simul climbed the route in 5 hours, stopping three times to gear up. 40 draws was a bit overkill compared to 4 cams… For some reason I thought that there would be more bolts. Next time (for simul climbing) I would take 30 draws (10 x 60cm), 10 extra biners, 8 cams, and 10 slings (120cm), and also a few 200cm slings. Nuts and tricams are slow to use and don’t work with ropemans so I wouldn’t take those. A 30-meter rope would have been better for simul climbing, but we decided to take 40-meter rope in case we would need to rappel.


 Misfortune of the day: They don’t sell beer at the top! The descent starts from here, following an easy path through the forest.


 The never-ending ridge seen from the walk down


 It was a very hot day, +30 degrees and a south face. I run out of water on the last pitches of Stadlwandgrat, but luckily we found some water on the way down.


 A river in Höllental, right next to the parking


 This felt pretty good


Yet another kick-ass day in eastern Alps. Prost!