Archive for the ‘Sport climbing’ Category

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 ūüėČ

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.

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.

Berlin – Kirchbachspitze

Sonntag, Mai 25th, 2008

Fine weather in Berlin, so we met up with Heinrich and went climbing at the Kirchbachspitze on Saturday. We mainly did easy routes, which went rather smoothly, apart from two little snags, once I didn’t have enough quickdraws on me, the other one was a weird little mishap, when my quickdraw somehow got entangled in my harness when going past it.¬† Later in the afternoon Carl joined us, and I rounded off my day with working on an 8- (5.11 a/b), which I managed about half-way – so I will have a little project the next time(s?) we are there.¬† I had a good point of reference with the route I did before that, which had stopped me cold last summer, when I first attempted it and I actually had to ask someone to bring my quickdraws down – this time it was almost too easy, apart from a little artistic intermezzo that prompted Carl to almost pull me down, as he assumed I was about to fall – in reality I just took one hold dynamically and needed a few seconds to balance out the movement.

Rikita starting the second route of the day

Me at the same route

Heinrich had to be careful with an arm he had injured first during our Harz course, so I went on the lead on all 5 routes we climbed. Rikita did very well, and seems much more confident.  I think there is some definite improvement, as she managed some routes she had struggled with previously with some ease.

Heinrich on the first route we climbed

If everything goes according to plan, we will climb together with Heinrich and Sigrid at the Ith next weekend. As much as I enjoyed the Kirchbachspitze, I prefer real rock by now and am looking forward to that.

Ith – First time

Montag, Mai 19th, 2008

We had planned a three day weekend at the Ith, but unfortunately the weather on Saturday was so bad, that it became a two day trip instead. So we arrived on Sunday, after a rough cycling tour, which started anything but auspicious, since Rikita had a sore throat and considered turning around half way. Fortunately she changed her mind and we arrived at lunchtime on the Ith camping place that is owned by the DAV.

From that camping place you walk like 5 or 10 minutes to the first rocks, which are all very well marked and lined up by nature for an easy scoop. There are quite a few interesting sport routes, but we focused on trad routes, first of all, because the grades Rikita can climb in at present fall more into that category¬† and secondly, because we both need the exercise to get the necessary routine. Still Rikita didn’t trust her protection enough to go on the lead, but placed protection when going up in toprope.

Me at the Torkopf Ost-Riß

Rikita at the Torkopf Ost-Riß

This was our first experience with limestone, which is different from all the other rock we have climbed thus far, as it was very smooth, almost polished and at least at the routes we ventured on, with a plethora of holds. Most of the routes we did were between 20 and 25 meters and were fairly good for placing protection, although we could have done with a bit more gear.

Rikita rappelling down

Me at the Pieksriß of the Teufelstrichter

We climbed 5 routes on Sunday, one of which had two bolts in the lower part (the Pieksriß in the photo above) and 3 today Рthen we had to head back again.

Well, all in all this was a great first taste of that fabulous area, where we will almost certainly spent many a happy hour in the foreseeable future. I think for the time being we will focus on trad routes, in order to hone our newly acquired skills.

Considering that this was our first visit there, we both did well, while for me it was more or less an exercise in climbing trad on the lead, Rikita did very well climbing routes close to her limit (one 6- and possibly a 6 (unclear because of mismatched topos) (5.8)).

Well, I can’t wait to go there again…

Berlin – Kirchbachspitze

Sonntag, April 13th, 2008

Good weather conditions today, so we went to the Kirchbachspitze. We didn’t do too many routes, most of them were fairly easy ones. I did sort of ok, Rikita was struggling a bit with her fears and eventually got really frustrated at her apparent lack of progress. However, I think we isolated the courses for some of her problems and hopefully concentrating on eliminating those consciously in the next session might go a long way to improving her overall abilities and, even more importantly, her confidence.

Berlin – Kirchbachspitze

Sonntag, März 30th, 2008

Finally the weather was good enough to open the outdoor climbing season in Berlin as well. Unfortunately, the last extremely busy weeks and maybe even the climbing session yesterday took their toll and I was struggling a lot – even on comparatively easy routes. I don’t think I can blame it all on the shoes, although they might have played a role too, but I was mentally and physically run down a bit, it took me ages to figure out the next move on certain routes and I didn’t quite get the complacency and confidence I usually feel going at all.

Rikita most likely strained her left upper arm muscles on the first route, so she couldn’t do much either.

Anyway, since not every day can be a revelation, at least it was getting more experience and a feel for that particular outdoor place again.

Bodensteiner Klippen – no sloppy seconds

Sonntag, März 9th, 2008

The weather report was good enough to go and try for a second time to find the main towers of the Bodensteiner Klippen.  However, despite dry weather being forecast for Friday night as well, we were unpleasantly surprised to find the roads wet and puddles all over the place when we started off our journey, fearing that the rocks might be too wet and slippery to climb.

I had got much more information about the Bodis since our last visit, and this time we went more or less straight to the main towers without getting lost at all (yay…Rikita wants to mention that it was her superior sense of orientation that got us there…).

Me on the West-Wand

Most of the routes there seemed pretty well protected with bolts and anchors on top, the easier ones of course less than the more difficult ones – but since this was our very first time actually climbing in real rock, we didn’t want to take any chances and started off with a 4+ (5.5) called West-Wand. The route was easy enough, it was just a bit of a psychological thing which made it a bit strenuous and me move very cautiously, since the first bolt was at about 6 meters height and no good place to put in extra protection really. That being said, I felt quite exhilarated after having done my first „real“ route.¬† Rikita managed it in toprope as well, and we both had a¬† second go at it thusly too.

 Stefan coming down

We met another pair of really nice climbers, who have been climbing there for quite a long time already and gave us some good advice for anchor points for routes where there weren’t any and the guy Stefan was belaying me later, when I toproped a 7- (5.10.b), called Emmanuel Strubich Ged√§chtnisweg after several attempts at the crux though (couldn’t have done that on the lead yet without seriously hurting myself).

Me on the Emmanuel Strubich Gedächntis Weg

In the meantime Rikita belayed Christina on the only other route we did, a 5- (5.5/5.6) called Nord-Riß (Northern crack). It was a bit awkward to lead, since I used two bolts from a route next to it, but else really nice to climb.

All in all a vast improvement to our last visit there, and we went home quite chuffed – even the bike journey seemed much less strenous than before. We are both looking forward to the next time there.

Unfortunately, there are just a few pictures of me and one of Stefan from this trip, since I couldn’t figure out Rikita’s camera well enough to shoot her while belaying her at the same time – but we gathered a bit of material for the upcoming topos page already.

Bodensteiner Klippen – first time

Sonntag, Februar 24th, 2008

After a week of somewhat botched preparation (the area topos which I hoped were to be found in an discontinued guide turned up not to be, the one where at least a few are included hasn’t arrived as yet, there were no hiking maps for the area detailed enough to be helpful either, and I only managed to fix our bikes on the very last minute (Saturday night at 9…)) we went down to the Bodensteiner Klippen for the first time anyway.

Unfortunately, Rikita does have to work next week, so she had to arrange for a ride back to Berlin this evening at seven. That still seemed to give us ample time to get there, check out the main routes we had no topos for but at least some names and a few descriptions and head back at daylight. The journey to the Klippen took us much longer than expected – three instead of two – as it turned out that the cycling distance is around 40 km or above rather than 30, on top of that in a rather hilly terrain, and we are both not really in the best of all shapes after not having cycled much throughout the winter.

Still there seemed to be enough time to get a first impression of the area and climb a few routes, provided we could find the rocks in question. However, we assumed to be in a completely different part of the Klippen and headed North on smaller trails rather than using the main one – a costly error, as it turned out. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get to some area called Sofaklippen, which we wanted to use for better orientation (and we weren’t the only ones lost there – we met several hikers staggering about, who, on enquiry, confessed that they were looking for the same thing but had the hardest time finding them as well). There were supposedly several routes on that massive, I could only make out one, where a shiny b√ľhler protruded from an overhang – but then again, I just had a couple of minutes as a glance at the time revealed that we already had to head back, lest Rikita wouldn’t have sufficient time for the much deserved shower and some food before heading back to Berlin.

It was a huge disappointment – all we did was to traverse on a boulder we found, where distinctive chalk traces (why anyone would need chalk on that problem was beyond me though) revealed a problem easy enough for both of us.

Since we found the way back to our bikes in half an hour and finally figured out where we had been too, we have high hopes that the next time we can approach the right area without mishap and do some actual climbing (by that time the other out of print book will have arrived).

We saw quite a few rocks that could have been climbed – none of which seemed to have prepared sport routes though, all of the them were clearly either trad or barred from climbing altogether (which we couldn’t figure from our list, since we couldn’t identify them). Since neither of us have any trad experience though, we will have to leave any attempt on those to a later date – we are actually signing on for a course in trad climbing in the Harz at the end of April.