2013-09-08

Climbing "Dr Blau Chäfer" (Cheselenflue)

I left the others at the Melchsee and headed back down in the morning to meet Kornelius. He had casually mentioned a classic route "Dr Blau Chäfer" on our way back from the Grosser Diamantstock. I followed up on that and we set out to climb it. This time the weather forecast turned out to be right and it was cloudy, wet and rainy. Luckily for us the wall is hugely overhanging and a natural roof and shelter from the rain. Standing below the cascading roofs is quite intimidating. Yet someone discovered a line through it that is "only" 6 pitches of 6a+ and slightly overhanging. The route became famous enough that the Tagesanzeiger wrote about it.

I actually found a live "Blau Chäfer" in the route.
The wall. You can barely make out the fixed ropes.

Since Kornelius has already climbed it multiple times in the past I get to lead the third crux pitch. Slightly overhanging and very exposed (as most of the route is). Luckily it features mostly good holds, but it's still a little pumpy. You tend to grab just a little bit harder when your ass is hanging a hundred meters above the ground.

Kornelius coming up.
How's that for exposure?

Kornelius takes a short lead fall on the next pitch when one of his holds breaks off. No damage done. A technical traverse on small crimps leads us out under a huge roof onto the short final pitch. This is slightly wet from the rain, but still very climbable and worthwhile, as you can do nice moves up the corner.

The traverse in the second but last pitch.
Comfy belay spot.

For this particular route topping out doesn't mean the fun is over though. Because of the overhang, rappelling back down is quite exciting. You reach the end of the rappel, hanging 10 meters away from the wall with ~60 more to go before reaching the ground. Better not forget to tie off the end of the ropes! There are fixed ropes which allow you to pull yourself back to the wall and set up the next rappel anchor. Now I'm not wimpy with heights, but dangling in the void did give me pause. I do have to agree with what the guide book says:

"What one needs are strong nerves, fresh batteries in ones pacemaker and good rappel technique - the overhanging rappels are unforgiving." No kidding.

The first rappel.
The final rappel.

In the end the entire operation took us about two and a half hours. It's starting to rain in earnest and we decide to call it quits and hike out. Definitely one of the more memorable climbs I've done. Awesome!