2017-04-08

Wildhuser Schafberg, "Sandührliweg" 6b

Leave it to Luigi to come up with the soundtrack for a climb. If I thought "Summer Jam" was a low point when we climbed "Durststrecke" he proved me very wrong with Saturday's inspiration: He kept humming Samwell's "What What In The Butt" (click it! I dare you!). A terrible earworm and stupidly prolific setup for all kinds of terrible puns when you are climbing on cracks and holes... Anyway, from the beginning.

Von den blauen Bergen kommen wir...
The approach.
Gearing up for the wrong climb.

With a stable high pressure system, Arne, Luigi and I decided to go for another multi pitch climb. Our choice fell on the "Sandührliweg" (hourglass route) on the Wildhuser Schafberg. 7 pitches and 200 meters of climbing on a steep limestone slab of perfect quality rock. None of us had been to the area before, but the SAC guidebook praised the route thusly: "Grossartige, genussreiche Plattenkletterei. Sehr beliebter, oft besuchter Extrem-Klassiker." (Awesome, highly enjoyable slab climb. Very popular and often frequented extreme-classic).

Scrambling up the ramp to the proper start of the route.
See? It's even marked!
What What In The Butt!

The guidebook also warns about an exposed and alpine approach. We hiked up to the massive wall (so much potential!) in 1.5 hours and scrambled along the base. We passed a bunch of routes and eventually settled to climb one of them, thinking it was the extension of our desired "Sandührliweg". There was even another party of two climbers who also consulted their topo and agreed with us on the location. They started climbing to our right. Arne was on the sharp end of the rope and promptly got stuck at the very first bolt. He gave it his best and barely made it to the second bolt. Now this was supposed to be a 6a+ pitch, a grade that doesn't usually cause us much trouble. The other party didn't fare much better, hangdogging from one quickdraw to the next. We eventually decided to bail and abandon one of Arne's carabiners. A tradition by now: on each one of our outings one piece of Arne's gear needs to be destroyed, lost or abandoned.

Cruising up the beautifully structured limestone.
Slab-Dancing on the traverse.
The traverse pitch as seen from above.

So we scrambled up the steep ramp to the regular start of the route and Arne again led the first pitch. This time without much trouble. Whatever route we've been on before must have been way harder. We continued to make good progress. Luigi wasn't in the right headspace for climbing that day and felt insecure and clumsy. He abandoned his leads after the first so we ended up with the following sequence:

  • 45m, 6a+, Arne
  • 15m, 6a-, Luigi
  • 35m, 6a-, Sören
  • 15m, 6a-, Arne
  • 25m, 6b, Sören
  • 40m, 5c+, Arne
  • 40m, 6b, Sören

Look Ma - no hands!
Luigi on the final stretch of the last pitch.
Mission accomplished.

The two crux pitches of the route were a traverse on very delicate foot placements and the exit pitch which also required smearing feet into the smallest depressions with tiny holds to match. My favorite pitch of the route was the second but last one and supposedly easiest. A diagonal following a natural fault line in the rock, with lots of beautiful and interesting features. In particular, lots of hour glasses that allow for natural protection using slings. Taking advantage of this was a good idea, as the pitch is sparsely bolted.

We topped out just before five'o'clock in the afternoon. A clean on-sight and a great day out!

Rappelling back down.
Look at that beauty! So many more routes to return to.