Climbing Sunneplättli

The weather forecast predicted five days of sun followed by two rainy days followed by five sunny days. Guess what the two rainy days were supposed to be? Exactly - the weekend! So I sent an email to the climbers mailing list whether anyone would be willing to spontaneously take Friday off and join me for some action outdoors. I didn't expect much on such short notice, but in the end Jochen, Ivan, Michael, Samuel, Vinay and I went up to the Sunneplättli crag at lake Lucerne. Andrey didn't join because a coin flip decided he had to go paragliding instead. Oh the opportunity costs! ;-)

Samuel and Vinay

It turned into a beautiful and very successful day of climbing. Michael won "most hardcore of the day" trophy for mountain biking up to the crag and back. Last week on the same crag, we worked our way West to East. This time we went the other way around. I have now climbed all of the routes on the wall, except for the two hardest ones. We've tried them on top rope. Fingerschliesser 7a+/7b features an overhanging boulder problem right from the start. We sort of managed to force our way through the first move but got completely stuck after that. Hexentanz 7a felt a lot more reasonable. The crux move up a polished foot hold is still quite far out of reach for me, but for the rest of the route I can at least see how I could climb it cleanly. This time I was sitting in the rope a lot though ;-) Vinay however put up a very strong fight and given a few more burns should be able to send it ("davai, davai!").

Ivan, Samuel, Vinay
Scrambling back down to the road.
Someone converted a conference room at Google into a big camera obscura, so we got to watch the partial solar eclipse in the morning and this beautiful dusk in the evening. Not bad for a day!

I climbed:

  • (Unnamed) 5a
  • Fantasia 5c
  • Flamenco 5c
  • Rasta 5c+
  • Moritz 5c+
  • Chilbitanz 6a
  • Alter Weg 6a+
  • Löchliweg 6b
    (my last climb and crowning achievement of the day)
  • Hexentanz 7a
    (struggling through and cheating on top rope)
  • Fingerschliesser 7a+/7b
    (wasting energy on just the first few moves)
Me in the start of Alter Weg 6a+. Rusty pitons ftw!


Climbing Sunneplättli

Switzerland is still blessed with good dry weather so Andrey, Cyril and I set out to climb on the Sunneplättli at Lake Lucerne. It's almost 1000m above sea level, but facing South and, true to its name "Sun Slab", gets a lot of sun. It was a weirdly twilight day with haze hanging in the air. Towards the afternoon strong winds picked up, so the climbing ropes would vibrate. It got quite chilly. We still got some long single pitches done, although with three people the rotation takes a bit long.

Those blurry dots between my legs are Andrey and Cyril.
For some reason it seems physically impossible for my helmet to stay on straight.

As is usual in Switzerland the routes are well protected and bolted. The limestone rock is of great quality and the routes a very homogenous difficulty level. And the views across the lake towards the mountains are fantastic. Definitely a place to return to and explore more of the (many) crags.

Cyril photo bombing Andrey.
Cyril trying to figure out the small roof section on Abigdächli (6a).
A lonely sailor on Lake Lucerne.

I climbed:

  • Abigdächli 6a
  • Schwartenweg 5c
  • Wassermann 6a+
  • Electronic 6a+
  • Gugger 6a

Andrey on the lead. With his foot behind the rope. After clipping all his quick draws the wrong way around. That's what bouldering does to your head kids! It poisons the mind and corrupts the soul. Just say no to bouldering!


Climbing Rivella

It's on! Alex is visiting from the Dublin office and we have a stable high pressure system - good reasons to start the outdoor climbing season! Alex, Adrien, Vinay and I head for the Rivella climbing area at lake Lucerne. An easy approach (you park right next to the crag) and low altitude make this our first choice. Also, someone promised us the wall would be South facing. Having been to the area a few times this felt wrong to me. And indeed, we'd be climbing in the shade all day. In the morning this led to numb fingers and shivering belays, but it got better during the day.

Such an ugly country...
Cell phone camera struggling with difficult light.

At some point a car stopped and two people got out, heading straight for us. They didn't look much like climbers being a little heavyset and old-ish. It turned out they were interested in us climbing there because the guy had bolted a few of the routes more than 30 years ago. He's now two years away from retirement and no longer climbing actively. One of the routes, Via Bella, is named for and after his wife. We had a nice conversation about crags in Switzerland and traded injury war stories. It's the first time climbing outside for me since my accident and Bella had just recently broken both her wrists and her elbow. Anyway, nice chance encounter!

I was quite happy about my climbing. I managed clean leads on most routes and only cheated by top roping and resting on the 6a+ and 6b. It's still a bit frustrating seeing the tick marks in my guide book next to routes I cleanly redpointed (and often even on-sighted) and now struggling on easier stuff. I'd sometimes reach for holds I knew I could hold onto only to then discover I can't anymore. Somehow my brain is a bit sluggish accepting this new reality. Ah well. More training I guess.

I climbed:

  • Pfeiler 5c
  • Flower-Power 5c+
  • Little Edge 5c+
  • Just do it 6a+
  • Eidächsli 4c
  • Schmalspur 5c
  • Späckstei 5c+
  • Parallele Lärmzone 5b
  • Lärmzone 6b

Alex rocking a 6b+.