2016-06-18

Climbing Brüggler

Desperate for some outdoors action after we've had rain every day for thirty days or so, Iljya, MaVi, Mark and I decided to gamble on the weather forecast and try to scale Brüggler once more. We have a window of a few hours before the daily monsoon is supposed to hit us around noon. The narrow winding mountain road leading to the climb is so wet that some parts are running with almost an inch of water. Not a good sign.

Dark streaks of water on the wall.
Mark coming up on the first pitch.

Mark and I make one rope team and Iljya joins up with his fiancee, who has no multi-pitch experience at all. We set out to climb "Direkte Plattenwand", a 5c, while the others are on "Highway", 5b. Since we are using half ropes, we can link multiple pitches in one go. I lead the first pitch and of course get off route and venture into much harder terrain ("Die Namenlose" 6a+). We do a bit of simulclimbing before the rope drag becomes so bad that I have to stop where I am and improvise an anchor from a single bolt and a sling around an hour glass rock formation. I also ran out of quickdraws - I've used 15 on 60 meters of climbing, about one every 4 meters.

Mark passes me and after a few bolts decides to try to traverse back onto our original, easier, route. My improvised hanging belay is quite uncomfortable. I try to shift my weight a bit to get the circulation going in my legs again, slip and crash painfully into the wall. Mark manages to get back onto the original route and we switch leads again. My next lead ends when the weather finally catches up with us and we get caught in a shower of hail that turns the wall into an unclimbable slide.

Iljya and MaVi on a double (couple? ;-) ) rappel.
Incoming!

The hail plays a staccato rhythm on our helmets while I set up the first rappel back down. I takes us two and half rappels back to the ground which means we were about 150 meters up. We got to climb all the interesting parts of the route, the final pitches are easy bushwhacking through trees and scrub. We meet back up with Iljya and MaVi at the car. They bailed much earlier than us and waited, shivering in the cold.

Try climbing this!
Puddles of hail on the grass below me.