Archive for Juni, 2008

Berlin – Kirchbachspitze

Montag, Juni 23rd, 2008

Hot weather in Berlin yesterday, temperatures at around 30 degrees. Nevertheless we met up with Heinrich at the Kirchbachspitze. My injuries from the Brunkensen incident seemed to be almost gone before the weekend, but the ribs played up a bit before the climbing already. Heinrich started leading on most routes and although I wasn’t hurting too much, the pain did definitely constrict my movements a fair bit. I just did the lead on a 6+ (5.10a) Heinrich wanted to toprope and finished a compartively hard 5+ (5.8) for some girls, who couldn’t get the crux on the lead (they managed in toprope afterwards). However, there I had to twist a bit, and that definitely didn’t do my ribs any good. By the time we got home, I was in agony.

I hope that everything will be back to normal for the next weekend, as we are considering to spend yet another weekend at the Ith, provided the weather will be ok.

Brunkensen – Crash test at the Helleberg

Montag, Juni 16th, 2008

We had just one day for a climbing trip this weekend, so we checked out another area in Brunkensen, near Alfeld, roughly 35 km away from my place. The weather had been alright whilst cycling there, but as soon as we arrived it started raining. Fortunately, it were just a few intermittent showers, and we started off on a 6- (5.8) sport route to warm up. The rock was a tad wet and slippery in the lower regions, but it got better the further up you went. Rikta toproped that route too and the tried a 3+ on the same anchor, which she had considered doing on the lead – but after having a few minor difficulties she decided against it under those weather conditions.

Getting into the Abendweg

We continued with another easy route, this time a 4 (5.5) trad route, and Rikita did this one and another one of the same difficulty in toprope. I wanted to do something a tad more difficult – and this particular rock offered two 7 (5.10c) trad routes. On the first one, I couldn’t even get into the route, it starts off with a little roof, and I couldn’t find a good hold after the first two or three moves. After trying several approaches, I got frustrated and went on to the next one. This one had an easier start, which it shared with another easier route (6-/ 5.8) from which it diverged in about 5 meters height. I placed the last piece of protection there with a sling extension, in order to get a decent rope line. I managed to place another piece on the other route, but was stopped there as I couldn’t figure out one move as there were no holds whatsoever. By that time I was really frustrated and after several unsuccessful attempts I resolved to abort and return to the easier route and finish that one. I place one more piece of protection, but did that somewhat fitfully and tried to proceed – and came to a part which wasn’t that obvious, so my first attempt didn’t work exactly – being wound up from all the other frustrating experiences already, I resolved to take a chance and just scramble up there using friction. Next thing I know is me falling and Rikita screaming and the ground coming awfully close. I heard two distinct „pings“ of protection popping out and smashed onto a ledge before one good piece of protection stopped my fall about a meter above the ground.

Placing protection (Abendweg)

Well, apart from some bruises on my left upper thigh and ellbow, as well as on my ribcage nothing untoward happened. After a cigarette break to calm down I went up there again and this time I placed a decent piece of protection, but somehow I had lost my confidence. So in the end Rikita went up the rock from the other side and put in a toprope, as I didn’t want to take any more chances. I was really annoyed went I went past that point really easily in toprope – all I had needed to do was assess the options calmly instead of  letting my frustration dictate my actions and take unnecessary chances. After getting up that route, I went back to the point where I had been stopped cold by the 7, but I had neither the concentration nor the shape to get over that point, so I came down again. Rikta mangaged the 6- in toprope too, although she needed the support of the rope on the crux.

By now the adrenalin had worn off and the pain kicked in – when belaying Rikita the pressure from the harness was starting to really hurt. So we cycled back, and not a moment too soon, as we got drenched on the second half of the journey.

Well, it was a good afternoon after all – I note it as a learning experience, which will certainly make me more cautious in future, making sure that all the pieces of protection I place will hold a fall, even on easy routes. At least for the next few weeks, I will have palpable reminders of why I have to do that 😉

Berlin – Kirchbachspitze

Sonntag, Juni 8th, 2008

Since I was spending the weekend in Berlin again, we went climbing at the Kirchspitze with Sigrid and Jonas on Saturday. It was quite hot, which made the use of chalk mandatory for once.

Rikita did quite well, and managed all routes I did on the lead, and even climbed two shorter ones on the lead herself, as did Sigrid.

I managed to do all the moves for a 7+/8- ( 5.11 a/b), but need to do it one or two more times in toprope before taking it on the lead. In the end we had climbed for almost 5 hours, and on the last route I did I took a bit of a tumble due to the lack of concentration.

Anyway, altogether a good climbing afternoon.

Harz – Bouldering in the Okertal

Donnerstag, Juni 5th, 2008

I had planned for some time now to head down to the Harz in order to get the bouldering going again, which I have neglected this year so far. The weather seemed ideal, not too warm and not to cold, and thus I cycled bravely the 60 or 65 km to the Studentenklippen. Unfortunately it was extremely windy, so the ride was anything but pleasureable – on top I missed the darn parking spot again, thus losing valuable time.

I had somehow hoped to meet other boulderers there, perhaps being allowed to use a crashpad or join in, but I was the only one there. So I had no choice but to look for easy problems, which I could surely manage without crashes or other mishaps. That wasn’t as easy as it sounds – even if I found more boulders than the last time, most of the time I spent swaggering about the rocks.

Nevertheless, I found a few problems I could try, the highlight was „Nostromo“ at the Alien boulder. In addition to the few new ones, I repeated some of the ones I had already done.

The idea to go there wasn’t bad in itself, but I had left home much too late, had too little time and was too done in to enjoy the outing properly. And without a crashpad and someone spotting you the risk of injury is just too high.

Ith – Second climbing weekend

Montag, Juni 2nd, 2008

Heinrich, Sigrid and her son Jonas joined us this weekend at the Ith. We arrived on Friday in the early evening, and although we had scheduled a BBQ for the evening, we obviously couldn’t wait to get to the rocks. We climbed a few easy routes at the Hexenkanzel to give Heinrich and Sigrid a first impression of the feel of that rock, until it was getting dark and we headed back to get our well-earned steaks in the end. Although it was quite late until we finally managed to sleep, we nevertheless agreed for a early start the next day. The camping place had been astonishingly empty when we first arrived, but I had the distinct feeling that this was about to change on Saturday.

Since Sigrid and Rikita needed a bit more time to get ready in the morning, Heinrich and I went ahead to lead a few routes, so that they could climb them in Toprope afterwards. The early hour procured empty rocks on usually beleaguered rocks like the Teufelstrichter. After climbing a few nice routes there, we went on to the Breite Wand, as it was getting fuller by the minute. There I managed a couple of nice routes, one called Kir Royal (Trad, 6 (5.8/5.9)) and another called Pernod-Dach (Sport, 1 bolt, 6+ (5.9/5.10a). Again, Heinrich was afflicted by his muscular problems, which wasn’t remedied by taping, so he passed on that roof problem and only Sigrid and Rikita attempted it – Sigrid came close in toprope, but didn’t quite manage the crux sequence, whereas Rikita didn’t even get to that, since the move before that puts you in an really awkward body position, which bugged her that much that she had to jump off in the end.

Rikita at the Pernod-Dach

Then we marched on to the Kamel, which has a nice face climbing route that goes on for almost 30 meters on its west face – which is of course beleaguered at all times. Since it was afternoon already and it was getting hotter, we decided to go back to the camping place and eat instead, rest a while and return in the evening, although it wasn’t quite as hot as it had been forecasted. The camping place was packed when we returned, as I had suspected, most of the climbers had arrived on Saturday morning.

After a hearty pasta meal and a bit of rest we went to the rocks furthest away from the camping place, in order to work our way back to the tents from there. Unfortunately, most of the really intersting rocks like the Zwilling were still too full, so that we ended up at the NW-Buchenschluchtfelsen. Heinrich started off with a route, which was at least on the lead really quite harsh in the last bit, as you have a rather claustrophobic crack, where you have to jam your body in, since it isn’t easy to protect in the end.  We did one more route there and went on to the next rocks, ending up at the Mittagsfelsen, where Heinrich managed to climb one last route, before the onset of rain forced us to return to the camping place earlier than planned.

Heinrich in action (not sure which route)

Unfortunately, the rain was there to stay, so we went to sleep early and decided for an really early start the next morning (the plan was to get up at 5:30) in order to avoid the masses – but a short look around at this hour showed us that it was definitely still too wet, and we went back to sleep again. The rocks were still quite wet, when Heinrich and I went off at around ninenish, but at least we had the opportunity to climb some nice trad and sport routes at the Wilhelm-Raabe-Klippe (which were of course a little bit more difficult under those conditions), with only a few nice climbers present, whom we had met the day before at the Teufelstrichter already. The ladies went to the Probierstein instead, which is ideal for beginners and kids, so that Jonas could climb a little bit too and there you can put in topropes from above.

Jonas at the Probierstein

Eventually we met up with them at the Kamel, where we finally could climb the West-Kante route after half an hour of waiting. The route itself was fairly easy until shortly before its end, where I just muscled my way through an unclear passage, which promoted a fair amount of adrenalin not only for me, but also Rikita, who had found a vantage point about half way up to take some photos (where you can walk up from the other side) – in addition I was quite angry with someone who had just carelessly thrown another rope from the adjacent anchor for rapelling down – but just letting in hang there right where I wanted to climb (I gave the chap an earful when I finally got up). After my experience there I dissuaded Heinrich from trying the route on the lead with his injury, but neither he nor the girls had any problems toproping it.

On the lead on the West-Kante of the Kamel

It was much too full and noisy at the Kamel (there were two youth groups there), so we headed on for the next rocks and ended up at the Mittagsfelsen again, where Heinrich went up a crack route that was still really wet and didn’t look particularly inviting, so I didn’t do that one, but rather the one he had done the day before when it started raining as the final route, as it was time to head back to the camping place and pack our stuff – apart from that my energy level had dropped significantly already, and that was definitely not just because of the now palpable feeling of hunger.

Sigrid getting into the West-Kante of the Kamel

The fact that I still do feel quite done in today seems to indicate that we did quite a lot (I think I did about 15 routes on the lead). I think we were all more or less quite happy with the weekend, even if not everything went according to plan – I for one had planned to attempt two slightly more involved routes, one 7+ (5.10d/5.11a) sport route and a 7- (5.10b) trad route at the Krokodil – but that didn’t materialize. However, I am pretty sure that Rikita and me will return there pretty soon, and perhaps Heinrich, Sigrid and Jonas also again sometimes.