2017-03-25

Climbing Haldenstein

Our newborn daughter, Leonie, is a week old and we've had our first two nights in a row where I could get more than two hours of sleep at a time. This leaves enough energy to go climbing! And so we did. Arne, Luigi and I were looking for a multi pitch route, that is close by; at low altitude (so it'll be climbable this early in the season); with a short approach; South facing; and climbable within a time window of three baby feeding cycles (roughly 8-9 hours). A tough set of constraints to satisfy. Yet Haldenstein near Chur delivered in spades. A beautiful crag right next to a parking lot off the Chur highway exit. Perfect.

The wall.
Luigi and Arne.
Luigi in action.

We chose the classic "Plattenwand" line. Five pitches of steep slabs graded 6b. I got to lead the first easy warm up pitch and the final two crux pitches at the exit which we linked into a single one. As the name implies the route is mostly about delicate footwork on steep slabs using small crimps for your hands. The crux traverse is sparsely protected and any fall here would lead to a nasty grating pendulum swing. Better watch your feet! I gave away a clean on-sight when I failed to find the crucial hold past an overhanging step in time and took a lead fall. Annoying.

Great weather!
Blurry Arne.

Arne and Luigi had their own little adventure while following when a hold broke in Arnes hand and he fell in a way that nearly castrated Luigi with the rope. Good times! This crag was a great new discovery and I'll definitely return to climb more routes here. The only drawback of the line we climbed is that it was zigzagging a bit too much for my tastes and crossed a few too many other routes. I prefer routes that follow the logical line up the wall, always sticking to the path of least resistance and ideally going straight up.

If this had been a first ascent and I were to name the new route I'd call it "Who needs sleep anyway?!". I nearly fell asleep at the steering wheel on the way back - great day that we ended with pizza and beer on our terrace! ;-)

Weird dance across the slabby traverse.
Luigi running up the final slab.
Topping out after an easy finger crack that is pure joy to climb.
Comfortable descend.