2013-05-05

Climbing Hertenstein (near Baden)

I went on a tour with the SAC on Saturday. The idea was to climb the Brüggligräte as a multi pitch route. Unfortunately it was still raining when we arrived at the base of the climb. So we hiked on to a restaurant and waited around for two hours, discussing rope technique and climbing safety. It was still drizzling and the rock soaking wet, so we decided to bail and return home. Annoyingly the weather got better once we were on the train back. Ah well.
Climbing weather?
On Sunday Andrey, Volodymyr, Eduard, Courtney and me went to Baden to climb on the Hertenstein. It's a very small climbing area and we pretty much exhausted the interesting routes in a single day. The approach is conveniently short, taking only around 40 minutes from Zürich to the wall. This also means that the area is heavily frequented. Sunday was no exception. The weather was good and a lot of people were climbing.
Courtney in a warm-up route.
Volodymyr and Eduard brought their trad racks and could avoid the crowded bolted routes by climbing on natural protection. I chose a different approach and started working on a route that was too difficult for most people there. Unfortunately it was too difficult for me as well ;-) After a first attempt huffing and puffing up half the route, taking frequent rests and still not making much progress I bailed and we put in a top rope.
Andrey in a 6a+ which felt much harder and had the crux in a spot where you'd taken a ground fall if you failed.
We then took turns trying to climb it, pushing a little further every time. A lot of fun watching each others attempts, cheering us on and cursing at the wall. We even inspired two Swiss guys to join us and try themselves. In the end no one succeeded at an ascend. I managed to link all but one move. That crux however is a real bitch. I have no idea how to solve it.
Nice belay spot.
The route is rated at 7a+, but I believe time has made it a lot harder. The rock has been climbed so many times that the holds have been polished to a state of smooth marble dipped in butter. It was so bad that I started avoiding the obvious holds and instead reached for tiny, seemingly hopeless crimps. Though desperate, this worked a little better. It had the side effect of destroying the skin on my fingertips - they are completely smooth now, no fingerprints from me officer! ;-)
Eduard scanning "the bitch" for holds.
Fun times.