2017-05-21

Wildhuser Schafberg, "Langstrasse" 6a+

Luigi and I had to bail from the Wildhuser Schafberg wall because there was too much fresh snow on the approach only a few weeks ago. This time it was free of snow and in great condition. Björn, Arne and I hiked up the steep slopes in order to climb the Langstrasse. 220 meters and 6 long pitches of beautiful limestone.

Blue skies? Yes, above the clouds ;-/
Björn on the approach.

We had to wait a bit at the base because Ilona and a friend were just working their way up the first pitch. They had set out a full one and half hours ahead of us, but they had to wait for the party ahead of them to clear the route and it took them a while to find the approach - it is quite a maze. I got to lead the first pitch and it proved to be a challenging warm-up indeed. It is a long 45 meters of leanback moves up a wide off-width crack with feet on blank slabs. Mentally taxing. More so because the bolts are spaced four and more meters apart. You really don't want to fall here.

Arne.
Slabby McSlab.

I made it to the anchor and started belaying Björn and Arne as followers. Björn was struggling and took a few falls before he decided to bail. His fingers had gone all numb and blue from the cold rock, making climbing difficult. He has issues with circulation in his hands to begin with, and unfortunately the weather forecast turned out to be only mostly correct: instead of blue skies it was overcast, windy and chilly. He returned to the car and waited most of the day for Arne and me to finish our ascent. Thanks for your patience Björn!

Crabbing up the slab.
Selfie.

The second pitch is another nice long crack before the route turns to classical limestone slab climbing. Super fun moves on bomb solid rock. Two thirds up the route another party rappelled down past us. The guy stops and greets me with "Hey Sören!". Turns out it was Kornelius who I've shared a rope with on a few occasions in the past. "Die Welt ist ein Dorf" as the German saying goes.

The final pitch is the crux of the route, graded 6a+. It is a steep slab with parallel vertical grooves cut into the rock by running water. The appropriate technique for climbing this is "spread your legs and trust the rubber". Spread both your legs and arms outwards and keep enough pressure on your feet so they'll stick to the vertical structure. An unusual way of climbing and very intense on your calfs. Fun ;-)

Spread your legs and trust the rubber.
Springtime.