Ettringen isn't scary.
Really, it's okay to fall in a cam.
...if you place it correctly, it the rock holds, if your foot doesn't slip, if you don't get tangled in the rope, if you don't pull out any holds, if it's not onsight, if it's not raining, if...
Last week I vistited Ettringen together with Frank Penders (pro photographer and climber) and maybe the most awesome climber in the Netherlands: Arvid Kegt.
Frank and Arvid wanted to know more about trad climbing. We invited ourselves for a long weekend to the German Basalt cracks.
It rained quite a bit but it gave us time to practise skills and figure what those weird devices are used for.
I thought them all about cams, nut, friends and their functions, differences and placements.
On the second day we vistited two different areas and figured we are all so chilled that we almost forgot that climbing is 'work'.
Frank and Arvid got more confidence in the cams and even dared to fall and place them in harder routes.
I was surprised how fast they developed the skills and got enough time to climb as well.
In the evenings we cooked a big meal together full of veggies and other healthy stuff.
After a day I felt we were already a team.
We never climbed outdoors together before but we just had so much fun!
In the weekend I decided to try 'Seepferdchen' and Arvid went onto another hard sports route that is beautifully situated on the corner of a Basalt pillar: Exquilibrium.
Frank hung in the nice line called Harakiri just right of the other two routes.
I wanted to climb Seepferdchen with placing all gear. Toprope would be fake, with in-situ gear it's not the same either...
I failed on my lead attempt on the first day after I toproped the route quite easily.
So next day.
We had a good night and took it all easy in the morning. Slacklining, another cup of tea, good breakfast and some theoretical stuff about trad climbing.
And then...it started raining...
I called my weather-channel (my brother Diederik knows a lot about weather forecasts because of his Windsurfing addiction) and figured it would stay bad for the rest of the day...
We decided to visit the nearby city Koblenz.
After a little drive a visit to the (boring) climbing shop we found a small coffee-bar in the Center of Koblenz: Kaffeejunge. The coffee was delicious and the brownie was perfectly tasteful.
What made it all even better was the surprisingly entertaining view.
The coffee bar is located just at the side of the actual shopping quarter. So it had a slight touch of the people visiting the shops and got the 'other' people walking by as well. People visiting the bank, the hairdressers, the University...
It became a blend of entertainment for us. The woman with the broken bike, the Chinese guy on the children's bike, the woman that cleaned the bank after closing hours (she was just perfect and did the classic bend-over for Arvid...he loved it...) We unfortunately figured that the German woman are not too pretty there.
Later we took a drink somewhere else and ate pizza.
Restdays are always hard when you really want to climb but this one was just fun!
The next day, our final day was fresh and good. I climbed Seepferdchen and Arvid realised he needs to train harder. He did a brave try in Seepferdchen and almost flashed it (with half in-situ gear), scared to let go and fall :)
Loads of unfinished things and new projects to try. So reason enough to visit Ettringen again next week.
Time to go home again, but with a little butterfly in my stomach. This weekend was good!