Climbing Schwarzbrunnenfluh, "Ds Traugottli", ~200m, 6c

Another pilgrimmage up the Grimsel pass. This time with Mark. We are headed for a smaller wall than the usual suspects, the Schwarzbrunnenfluh. While not as tall as most of the other Grimsel granite, it is significantly steeper. This suits me well. I don't particularly like slab climbing where all you can do is sneak up low angle smooth rock. Our route instead follows a series of cracks and flakes. It's nestled in a small canyon cut into the mountainside. A waterfall falls from the top but little of it makes it all the way to the bottom. Most of the water gets dispersed into a fine spray by the wind. This means that we are moving in a mist most of the time. It also means that we are basically farting rainbows: looking back you can usually see a nice rainbow in the mist below us.

Approach. Our wall on the right.

The waterfall.

First pitch. Promising!

The route is quite sustained with only a minor blemish half way up where you have to traverse a bit over easier terrain. I led the first pitch and at seven pitches total this would have gotten me the final, crux pitch, as well. However we somehow confused an anchor on the easier terrain in the middle and climbed an extra pitch. This means Mark got to lead the money pitch. It's a long pitch that starts out as a diagonal traverse on easy terrain. It would probably be a good idea to split this into two sections to avoid excessive rope drag. We didn't and Mark continued up over a small roof section that we expected to be the crux. However that part actually turned out fairly easy - you could reach a giant jug and pull yourself up on that. The real difficulty was the steep terrain after that. It offers only tiny ledges and structures and requirs delicate technique. Mark almost managed a clean on-sight but ended up having to rest on the rope for a bit to figure out the sequence. I had it much easier as the follower and managed a clean ascent of the entire route.

Mark following on the first pitch.

Nice surroundings!

Rainbow halo.

We topped out at 3pm and expected a quick rappel and hike back to the car. As it happened, instead our ropes got completely stuck on the second rappel. We were both down at the next anchor, trying to pull down the ropes. Try as we might, they wouldn't budge even a little bit. So Mark starts ascending the ropes to get them unstuck. At first we didn't have the technique dialed in perfectly for doing so and since he needed to climb almost the full 60 meter rope length, it took the better part of an hour. Meanwhile, the sun had moved on and at this point we were in the shade. This meant the spray from the waterfall was no longer drying off and the wall was getting wet. And I, standing around idle at the anchor, got cold and started shivering.

Climbing a relatively fresh scar in the rock. Remember this for later.

View across to the Mittagflue wall.

Having a terrible time.

Mark rappeled back down to me, untwisting the ropes as he went. We started pulling down the ropes and - again - they got completely stuck. This time it was my turn to climb back up. A chance to warm up and employ our newly improved technique. I got up significantly faster. Once there I used the little saw on my pocket knive to cut away branches of the bush that caused us grief and rethreaded and retied the knot at the anchor. Third time is the charm, this time they came off without any issues.

Mark negotiating the small roof in the crux pitch.


View towards the dam at Räterichsbodensee.

The wall shows some fresh scars from broken out rock. Quite a few of the bolts have been hammered and bent by rockfall. We cleaned a few more lose boulders from the wall. Some intentionally, some involuntary when pulling down the ropes. Definitely a more alpine experience than on the neighboring well frequented Mittagflue wall.

That little snafu on the descent didn't spoil a fantastic climb and a great day out. I wish there were more routes like this! So good, you fart rainbows like some climbing unicorn ;-)

What an enticing ridgeline!

Farting rainbows even on the descent.

Remember the scar from earlier? It's all wet and difficult now.

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