Sunday, December 15, 2013

Starzlachklamm - drytooling

When most iceclimbers now climb at the Bozeman Icefest (we don't have the money to go there) we enjoy the snow, rocks and ice in Germany this weekend.

Living in Southern Germany gives advantages and disadvantages.
One of the great advantages are the magical climbing areas; of which one of them a dark cold wet, if luckcy frozen, cave with loose rock a.k.a. Starzlachklamm.

Last weekend our colleagues wanted to go there and we were really curious.
Our roommate didn't want to go at all as he just found it an ugly dark hole.
After a slippery icy walk in we figured he was right. And we loved it.

We started with an M8. Daniel Gebel, who bolted most of the routes "commanded" and forbid us to break any of the growing icicles. So it became rather tricky to climb around the fragile curtain instead of into the curtain. Fun!
I think we'd get fired at Edelrid if we'd touch that icicle. So, after some clear comments by Daniel in another route ("don't touch it!") Dennis managed to break off an icicle. Daniel watched it happen. He closed his eyes and shook his head. He mumbled something about "tourists" and "less salary"...

Daniel pointing out how to climb the route. Simon climbs.
Dennis yoga-ing around the curtain.
And then there was this new route Daniel bolted, an extension/direct start of an already existing route. If Dennis could please climb it first so he could flash the route he joked to us.
And so Dennis went up and unfortunately popped off a sketchy tricky hold on one third of the route.

Dennis clipping in one of the safer points of the M10, Daniel belaying.
The tricky route traversed the roof just above the ground. If you'd fall you almost hit the ground making the name rather fitting the route: Arsch bumpe (or something like that). Every clip in the roof was a 100% grounder.
My turn.
I used a different hold in the roof, not really knowing if it was any better then the thing Dennis had popped off. But it worked. Flash :)
We guess, but I have to say I'm not too good in this guessing game, that it's around M10.
Daniel himself was rather ill and the antibiotics gave him too much gravity force around him. The flash attempt unfortunately didn't work out for him.

Daniel figuring his way up the M10.
The next day we were convinced by Ritchi to join him at Chinesische Mauer (Chinese Wall) a beautiful sportsclimbing area in Austria not far from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Dennis isn't very fond of the vertical stuff and really didn't get it how we ended up here. Icicles and snow all around and we are sportsclimbing?!

Ritchi in his project. He took an extra day off this Friday to try it again. Maybe he did it...?
I didn't do a very good job either and felt rather challenged in the 7a's and 7b's that I climbed.
Maybe climbing and running every day and working long days for a whole week doesn't help much either. Guess we just needed a restday.

Next weekend. "Fully rested" after the annual Vaude Christmas party with our colleagues. We went to bed around 02:30 and promised to go climbing at Starzl again. Simon and Simon would pick us up around 11. It took us a while to drink enough coffee and eat enough Brezen before we finally headed for Starzl.
On the way in I read Will Gadd's blog-post to the others in the car. It's about modded tools, grading routes and the Olympics. A fantastic honest piece of writing about all the things that also have been in our heads the last weeks. The ridiculous grading of some routes (like the M12 I onsighted in Ouray, which I wasn't allowed to donwgrade), the 'tweaking Worldcup rules' by adding extra length to your iceaxes and the "so called" iceclimbing at the Sochi Olympics where some iceclimbing athletes are going. But also the feeling of recognition in the writing about the Gecko sisters and the failing&falling issue I also feel when I climb.
It's a must read for every mixed climber.

Rather broken, even after all the good coffee, we slowly hiked up to the dark hole again.
The ice had clearly grown and the curtain that we were forbidden to touch was twice the size now.
Meanwhile Simon (Herr Graf) promised himself the only thing he came for was drinking good coffee.
Still he managed to find himself swinging his way up the classic WI4 on the right side of the cave. More then he ever expected to do this day.

Herr Graf and his coffee
Meanwhile we climbed the M8 again without touching the curtain. "Dennis, your helmet almost hits the curtain now!" With his head turned in a awkward way sideways he yoga-ed his way further up.

Now the goal was to climb the big roof. Traverse from right to left through the whole cave. Michi Wohlleben bolted his M13 called "Pray for Power" in there. Crossing all the "easier" roof climbs (M11, M11+, M12...)
We looked, walked up and down, watched and discussed all possible ways and figured we'd need a local for figure how that thing would go. Suddenly the roof looked like a big mess of bolts and pitons without a proper line in between.
Defeated we decided to go up a line that we tried at the end of the day last week. "Pappi's kleine Liebling" an M11 yet again bolted by Daniel. He told us that once you find the right sequence it's not that hard anymore. He was right, we didn't find the right holds and thus didn't figure the right sequence back then.
One small hold at the start. You step on a bunch of balancy stones to reach the thing, then hang yourself in a figure of four and reach for the next thing. And then you hang yourself a big bunch of figure of fours and figure of nines to reach the end of the roof.
Right there, if you don't have the right hold your axe with you hand still fixed on it will get stuck, squeezing off your fingers causing rather bruised knuckles. So I failed. I had to kick the axe out with my feet to get it back again...
The clipping is as tricky as in the M10: fail and you'll hit the ground.
I wasn't that scared actually.
But Dennis was.
He held the rope so tight that I had the feeling I was pulling it out of the grigri myself when climbing. At one point the rope was kind of stuck in the grigri. Hanging in a figure of four, having cold hands and having to pull the rope out of the grigri without falling off didn't really help me. Fail. Again.
Meanwhile Dennis did climb the thing. Making gorilla-tennis-player sounds on his way up the route. A good mixture of scare and power. "Clipping, no not clipping, you got me, got me, watch me now, ergh, clipping, okay, okay, urrrrgh, uhhh".

Dennis at the end of the negative roof in the M11.
Meanwhile it was dark and snowing. I really was frustrated. I wasn't even too pumped, could do all the moves static and none of the moves felt really hard. Okay, let's just take the headlamps out and give it one more go. Now rather give me a grounder instead of a tight rope, now I know that I should skip the nuckle-duster hold and then it should just be fine.
And it was. Completely silent, the two Simons were surprised of my silent climbing, I figured-of-foured my way easily through the moves. The long, long move after the roof bit was just a nice static lock-off and I didn't use the tree that was silently calling "kick me, swing your axe in me". Top. What a hassle.  Tum, di, dum, dum, dum. Suddenly the song "Clint Eastwood" from Gorrilaz popped up in my head after watching the pictures of my own shade on the wall in the dark. Reminding me of the videoclip of the music. The song stayed.

Tricky clipping in the darkness. Picture by Simon Graf.

Awkward shadows in the dark hole. Picture by Simon Graf.
Now one question remains: how do we need to climb this M13 roof thing? Because I need a real project now :)

Read Dennis' view on this Saturday here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

couple more finished pictures:

See you soon!!