Ötztal Sessions

In the past view weeks spring has finally arrived here in Austria, the cold and snow has vanished of our valley grounds, uncovering the near by blocs in the Ötztal from their hibernation... I personally love winter for all it's beauty and pleasures it offers here in the center of the Alps, hiking up the mountains and ride powder really can catch up with climbing that's for sure! But at the same time I can't wait to escape the crowded and dusty gyms and go climb for real again as soon as the local crags are on.

It all started a couple weeks ago when I headed out of office on a friday afternoon to go and meet some friends at Tumpen Bloc for a quick session. It's the bigger one of the two major areas in the valley and thanks to some highly motivated and creative young guns and locals there's always something new to try. This time Flo Schmalzl has digged out and First Ascended another gem called "The drunken Master" (8A), a big line that sit starts in a small cave and tops out at about 5 meters off the deck, 15 moves of brilliant climbing! When I got there only one of my mates Flo Murnig was still there but the man is a beast and brought 3(!!) crashpads just by himself! So it would be padded nicely.... I warmed up quickly then tried another bloc called "Am Wasser gebaut" (7C+), a cool roof-climb with tiny crimps and a weird swing at the lip! I was able to hold it tight and top that one out, fingers where more than warm and psyche was high.
Flo just did The drunken Master earlier that day and had some nice beta to offer! With 15 moves it still took me a while to get everything dialed but when the puzzle seemed solved, I gave it a rest, cooled down my tips and gave the rig a try... The moves felt fluid and everything clicked perfectly, Flo gave me a good spot and motivating shouts and moments later I stood atop of the boulder... Infected with that bouldering virus once again!!! ;)

The drunken Master 8A

Soon after that motivating session I went to check out the other area in the valley, the Sherwood Forest. It was my first visit and so much fun to have so many new boulders to get on! The blocs are really close to each other so you just drag your pad from bloc to bloc and climb climb climb.... We did a lot of bouldering that day and also set eye on two cool lines there: One of them is a traverse on really polished granite with some bad slopers and moves that require a lot of feeling... It's called "Das Individuum" (somewhere in the 8A/B range, it's hard to grade!). The other one is just around the corner and marks the highest line of the area, really eye-catching and still a project... Both where cleaned by local ace Bernie, who did the FA of Individuum  and many of the other hard lines there.... respect!!!

FA of Robin Hood 8A

Those two boulders really got me hooked. Bernie was keen that I got on the project so I brought a rope the other day, cleaned the topout and figured out the moves.... After struggling at first I found a really cool sequence for the tricky crux, with some crazy heelhooks and toehooks..... Dam I was on fire! I pulled off the rope and immediately started trying it from the ground... It's quite high, the lip is at 5 meters I would say but the landing is good. I took some falls that first day and realized it's no problem.
I was back on it a couple days later, racing away from work, psyched to get on it again! This time I was well rested, cleaned the mantle once again, did the crux a couple times, pulled the rope and it went down first try..... What a boulder, Bernie was there too and he said he always wanted that proud one to be named Robin Hood when it's finally climbed, so that's what we named it then.... Big moves, cool moves a proud line! Around 8A I think but others should tell! Thanks to Tobi for a good spot ;)

After Robin Hood I put my focus on the Individuum and two days ago I was able to "Feel" through the crux moves and topped it out as well (thanx to Boulderschof for the spot!)..... Good times!  

The Sherwood - ascents were caught on film and below is a little clip of the action, enjoy!



After being in Kalymnos last year we were looking for a new destination for our short summer trip of 2012 and stumbled across Mallorca. From a climbers perspective, the island is mostly known for it's great Deep Water Soloing (DWS) opportunities. Not such a commonly known thing is the great amount of top sport climbing crags it has to offer. And besides all the climbing possibilities it simply is an extremely beautiful island with a wide variety of different landscapes and atmospheres, amazing beaches and mountains up to 1500 meters above the sea. So a ten day trip was booked, a perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of this amazing place and all it's treasures...

Having returned just a couple of days ago I can tell that our expectations were totally met! Great sunny weather (a bit too hot for hard climbing but whatever), great beaches and places, the cliffs were really impressive and we even just saw about a handful of them... and we also spent one day going to Cala Barques for a  DWS session, the first time I actually did DWS and I really really dig it! This free feeling of climbing high above the water without a rope or anything that's hindering you  is truly breathtaking... It's playful like bouldering but flowing like route climbing and you're doing it above deep blue water, the sun shining and a cool breeze from the ocean... Great experience and something I will get back to in the future.

Here are some pictures of our trip and a little video were I am climbing "Commando Madrid" 8b in Les Perxes. This route out of a horizontal cave is one of the best sportclimbs I set hands on so far... It has  different types of cruxes all the way up and a really hard last move!

If you haven't been, go there! Mallorca is rad!

La Coka Nostra

Footage of sending "La Coka Nostra" 8A+, a quite new line in Tumpen, Ötztal. It's a great compression climb that reminded me a bit of Black Shadow and The Vice in Rocklands....

Bouldering Nationals 2012

Yesterday, April 14th 2012, the Austrian Bouldering Nationals were held in Kitzbühel, Tirol.

This year I decided to take a break of the comp scene because I am doing my diploma at Uni besides working half time so there would not be much room and time flexability for comps and I'd rather spend my free time on the rock than on comp walls. But the nationals were one of the events I wanted to attend anyway so I was well excited when the day came and we drove to the comp site.

discussing beta

I trained a lot indoors the past months and felt in good shape, but had no clue what to expect, just that making finals would be a cool thing. With 44 starters in the male category, of which the best 8 would advance into the last round, it seemed like quite a challenge! The growing amount of strong comp boulderers and kids in the last years is just crazy!!

The quali went really well, I was able to top out 5 of the 8 problems and qualified for finals on 5th place, very pleased!

worst enemy

time check
A couple hours later the finalists got introduced on stage and shortly after the first climber was on the wall. The atmosphere was cool, there was a nice crowd watching and cheering, the DJ played some classic austrian country style music which sucked a bit I have to say, but nothing's perfect.... In the final round we had to climb 4 problems in onsight mode, meaning you have 5 minutes time to climb the first problem, 5 minutes rest, then 5 minutes time for the second one, etc.... This means that you better do problems fast or you'll get really pumped, 5 minutes rest is not much!

The first problem was a tricky slab I think only two climbers were able to do in the end, I wasn't one of them and got shut down there. On the second problem, an overhang with slappy, powerful compression moves of a style I prefer, I hustled arround on my first tries, got high up on my last try when the time run out and I endend up being totally pumped without making it to the top!

The third problem was amazing: a jump start on two opposing slopers, followed by some big compression (again!) moves to the top. Still tired I just couldn't crush it right away and tried hard my full 5 minutes falling after the bonus hold (a hold up half the climb that counts in the ranking), completely out of juice... No top still.

Volume wrestling on problem 4

The last problem was the hardest of them all. You had to make your way arround a huge corner to get to the bonus hold and then mantle your way up a chimney to the top. Yet again this bloc was super powerful!! On my best try I was in a good position to go arround the volume but missed a toe - hook that you were supposed to place in order to get to the bonus and fell. This cost me my 5th place I made in the qualifiers and I ended up 7th after finals. Kili (Fischhuber) once again showed his amazing skills and power, flashed the first three problems and won the title! 2nd, 3rd and 4th each did one top.

How do you do this one?! Curious looks after the last problem.

It was a really intense and fun day in Kitzbühel! I am having the harshest muscle-ache in quite a while as I type this... one hell of a compression work-out it was!! A good thing to make use of on some projects of the same style on rock that I have in mind, so stay tuned!

Just gotta do some streching now to hopefully get outa bed in a smoother manner tomorrow than I did today...


Pics by Flo Murnig, www.dynamo.at

La Proue

Just got back from a short trip to ticino right after new year. I hadn't been down there in quite a while so I was very excited to climb on good old swiss gneiss once again! As some snow dropped down at the higher spots the days before we arrived the desicion was made to climb at Cresciano. We got there in the afternoon and just climbed around randomly, enjoying the rock and the forest and meeting people I hadn't seen in a while...

The following day we went all the way over to the La Boule sector as I was keen to get on "La Proue". It's a short and powerful line established by Fred Nicole in the late 90's of the past century, classic and quite technical, around 8B. I had randomly tried it every once in a while over the past years but with little success... I kinda expected it to be the same this time but to my suprise I felt stronger on it. I stuck the crux move for the first time that day and fell off on the next one because I kinda had no clue what to do after... So the plan was to rest one day, return back, warm up, then first do the upper part isolated to get the beta and then start from the bottom again.

The crux Move, pic by Korni Obleitner

Being a lazy b**ch and full of confidence on my return two days later I thought it for sure will go without sticking to the plan. So again, I stuck the crux move perfectly and yes, again I punted somehow and fell off. I did try the upper moves after that, figured out the foot-moves which are the tricky part but the power was gone and I couldn't get up there anymore... Idiot.

The following day was my last chance. It was sunnier and warmer as the days before and the tries didn't feel good, I was pretty sore as well from the day before. I made a long rest until 30 minutes before it got dark and started my last set of tries, already making up plans in my mind of returning the next weekend because I didn't feel like it would go anymore today. So I set off with no expectations and everything clicked, some surprised and adrenalized roars later I stood atop of the boulder... happy and with a big smile on my face that didn't go away the whole drive back to Innsbruck.... 

Video below!


The Love(story) 2.0

Love 2.0 is a sportroute located in the Zillertal Valley in Austria. It's background isn't the typical "found line-bolted it-climbed it" one, it has a different story to tell...

In the mid 80's of the past century, Gerhard Hörhager, austrian sportclimbing pioneer and living legend, bolted a line going through the middle of the north face of the "Wächter" bloc at a crag called Ewige Jagdgründe. As the wall was totally blank he drilled some holds, wich was a common thing to do back then, and climbed the route, calling it "Hounts of Love", 8a.
Years later in 2007 he returned to take out the bolts and close the holds with sika because he saw the potential for a natural line starting further left. New bolts were set, Kilian Fischhuber was called up to the set and he soon after did the FA of the new all natural climb, they called it "Love 2.0" and it's grade is 8c.

The route  isn't just natural, it's simply amazing. A crimpy and bouldery beginning leads into steeper terrain, the holds get slightly better, the feet remain of their allmost non-existent character. This creates a series of brutal lock off gaston moves on full body tension, where at any time you feel like you will fall out of the wall within the next moment... It's pretty dam hard, even Adam (Ondra) needed like 3 tries! ;D

Pic by Norbert Lanzanasto

I started to try the route in spring 2011 and got fascinated by the challenge it offered me: small crimps with s**t footholds all the way isn't exactly what I would call my speciality! But for sure something I want to get better on so I got motivated to work on it.
As I had solved he individual moves quickly, dreams of a successful redpoint emerged on a very early stage... But every time I went back thinking I would sure do it this time I returned home empty handed... Spring didn't offer the best temps but still I thought it could go... Negative, greasy fingertips on redpoint links and constant falling convinced me to wait for fall.

Pic by Norbert Lanzanasto

By the end of September I was back. Temps were way cooler and I got psyched again! After some more sessions on it and redefining my beta on a crucial clipping position for like five times I finally made it through the first and hardest part on my last attempt of the day and found myself at the o.k. rest halfway up the route, defenitly more pumped then I expected to arrive there.... "keep cool, keep cool, don't you f**k it up now, you climbed out from here so many times, relax, keep cool, don't punt!" - I kept thinking. I climbed on, numb hands and a bit shaky but felt good on the moves and arrived at the big ledge almost at the top, just a couple more easy moves and it will be done! I took my time, warmed up my fingers and then went for the anchors.... Success!! My first 8c in the bag...

Pic by Norbert Lanzanasto

In the end all the work I had put in paid off and I learned a lot as a climber going through the process. For me, projecting a sportroute at my limit is defenitly different than doing the same on a boulderproblem... It's more about patience, optimizing beta over and over again and to not force things but stay positive and relaxed all the time... It makes you climb better.

Psyched for the next one!

Video of the ascent below, enjoy!


Kalymnian Summer

The potential for climbing on the greek island of Kalymnos was discovered by the end of the past century and since then it rapidly turned into one of the best and original spots for sport climbing on the planet, with more than 2000 bolted routes to date. With many friends of mine having been there and telling me such great stories of how beautiful and unique their trip was, it was only a matter of time until I decided to have a look by myself.
Despite the best season for climbing in Kalymnos is either spring or fall, our decision was to go in summer. The conditions for climbing would be on the warmer (boiling) side, but chilling at the beach would be prime! More of a holiday and perfect to have a glance on the climbing there.

So my girl and I booked a two week trip and psyche was high, I got me a nice 80 meter rope, lots of quickdraws and extention-slings, sunscreen lotion - I was ready to do some kalymnian monster - routes!

We arrived at Masouri, the place to stay as a climber, and first got ourselves one of Eric`s scooters at Best Moto. His scooters will let you shine on every steep road and besides he and his wife Irma gave us so much information and tips for what to do and where to go on the island... not to forget "Best Moto beer-time" everyday at 8pm and the BBQ... thanks a lot guys!! Once mobile, we headed straight to one of the biggest cliffs of the island, the Grande Grotta.

Well... it's huge! Just looking at it I felt pumped already and looking up to the pitches first was really intimidating: all you see is a forest of tufas and stalactites and no ending... but the climbing looked more than fun! I had a good first day on sighting some classics there, such as the "Priapos", a 35 meter 7c with literally just jugs and good rests all the way but it's so steep and confusing with all the stalactites that I got pretty pumped. And taking out the quickdraws is even harder than climbing the route....

The Grande Grotta

After the first day we were infected. Our days consisted of getting up early in the morning for breakfast on the terrace with a beautiful view on the neighbouring island Telendos, climbing on a bad ass cliff afterwords and hanging out at a bad ass beach in the afternoon just to round up the day with some nice Greek food...

One of the more outstanding days we had at Sikati Cave. This incredible phenomenon of nature is a giant amphitheatre - like cave stamped into a hillside just above a beautiful beach. At first you have to hike there for about 40 minutes but your efforts will pay more than off: you lower down into this giant pot to find yourself surrounded by some of the craziest and longest routes I've ever seen! 

Approaching Sikati Cave
 At the highest point the walls are about 70 meters high and there are routes up to that point! Basically my 80m rope was worthless if I had wanted to go for the real deal, so I did the "shorter" ones: first warming up on a 30 meters 7b, "Mort aux Chevres", incredible, then moving on to on sight "Morgan Adam" 7c+, 35 meters, even better. After that I thought it was time to test myself on an on sight attempt of one of the bigger ones, the 45 meter route "Super Lolita" 8a.
It was more like an expedition! About 20 quickdraws, most of them doubled and two long slings to get control over the ropedrag. I started climbing and it seemed endless... Every time I climbed up around an overhang I was facing the next one. It took me 40 minutes to get that route done on sight and about 20 to get the gear out... I was worked. Completely out of steam. But satisfied!
We went down to the Sikati beach to chill and swim and then hiked out. A perfect day...

Sikati beach

Another epitome for climbing in Kalymnos is the 40 meter roof "Fun de Chichunne" 8a in the Grande Grotta. First eye contact was made on our very first climbing day and after gaining confidence at Sikati I felt ready to give it a on sight burn... The climbing on it is so much fun!! Just imagine 40 meters in a roof full of giant tufas, blobs and stalactites... the best tactic for me seemed to always eye for the next big stalactite that looked like I could sit on it and race to it. I worked my way through that endless roof and clipped the chains with a big smile on my face that stayed for quite long that day.

Back in Innsbruck now I can't wait to return. What I saw and climbed there was just the tip of the iceberg and if I imagine those cool and windy conditions at other times of the year... I will be back!

Check out the gallery below for more pics of our trip.