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)