Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer vacation, part 1

Zillertal, 24/7

I'm sitting in the rain, trying to chop some onions without a table. I had totally forgotten how much pain in the ass camping could be. It's been years since we opened the tent last time. Going back from campervanning to tent-camping was a bigger step down than I ever would have expected. No heating, no shower, not even a f***ing table. We have been in this sport climbing mecca for only a few hours, but I'm already done. If I have to sit in the rain, I'd rather do it in the Dolomites.

Dolomites, 25/7

I'm sitting in the rain, once again trying to chop some onions without a table. My rain jacket doesn't hold water, which I kind of already knew. The rain jacket has only one job to do, to keep me dry, but for some reason it just sucks all the water in and stays wet for days.

Anu asks if there is anything we could do to make this more fun.

"Yes, we could drive back home"

In Mödling, the sun was shining, climbing was good, and beer was cheap. And it never took more than an hour to drive back home. But this is also the reason why we decided to drive a bit further this time. It's way too easy to get stuck at nearby crags.

Dolomites, 26/7

The weather forecast is like a wet slap in the face. It's going to rain every day for the whole week, but surprisingly the best weather should be today. And in fact, this might be true. At least it's not raining anymore.

Few minutes later we are racking the gear. It's too late to climb anything big, but as long as we are moving fast, at least we should be able to climb something.

Tofana di Rozes. Our route was Southeast Arete V+, 14 pitches, 482 meters of climbing. It's the sharp arête in the middle of the photo.

 Anu getting ready

 The first pitch was quite steep and loose...and the rest of the route was pretty much the same

 We were simul climbing and for some reason I expected that there would be more fixed gear. There was usually only one or two pitons for every pitch...  I had a single trad rack, which would have been great for normal pitching, but was way too thin for simul climbing.

So I climbed until I run out of gear and then made an anchor to collect gear again.

It wasn't very fast climbing, but still faster than traditional belaying as we could climb 3-4 pitches in a row

 Anu enjoying her first route at the Dolomites

Despite the name, the route doesn't go on the arête, but instead wanders around it. Routefinding was sometimes difficult, as it was pretty easy ground everywhere, and there was no fixed gear to follow.

The route tops out through a hole

The top was a bit cloudy

Exposed trail

Views on the way down

Holy moly! I drank only half of my water?!

 So this is how the locals do approaches

 Tofana di Rozes in clouds. Cinque Torri is barely visible on the background.

Well, that was a big pile of loose shit

 Cinque Torri

 Torre Grande

 Anu on Via Finlandia VI+

 Via Finlandia is only five pitches long, so it's a good choice for days when the weather forecast doesn't look too good.

 Most of the pitches are a bit overhanging

And yes it's pumpy

More photos from another team nearby

Me on the 4th pitch

 Anu on the top of the 4th pitch. Torre Seconda on the background.

 The last pitch was a nice black wall

This was my second time on Via Finlandia. It's still pretty good!

Time to find some rappelling anchors. Tofana di Rozes on the background.

We had a 50m single rope and a 60m 6mm Rapline for pulling down the ropes. I'm testing a new method to tie the ropes together, without a biner. In my experience, while using a pull-down rope, the screw biner (which is usually clipped back to the single rope) is the reason why the ropes get stuck. It's also very difficult to swing the ropes free as the biner keeps the knots close to the single rope. This method still needs more testing, but so far, it seems to be better than the traditional method with a screw biner. Using this, I also attach myself to the pull-down rope, so it's not dangerous if the knots go through the rappelling ring.

More advanced top roping skills, trying to help out another team with a stuck rope

 Torre Quarta Alta and Bassa

 Torre Seconda

 Tofana di Rozes, once again

 More smoky pillars

 Camping Cortina with the usual weather on its way

Enough with this

 A mandatory stop - La sportiva factory shop

 Finnish celebrity climbers spotted (spotting?) on the sweater tag!


Nothing wrong with loose rock and shitty weather, but trad climbing in the sun is also a way to spend the summer vacation.