Brüggler (1777m) via "Meister Franz", 200m, 5b

Krzysztof graciously agreed to write this blog post from his perspective. Here goes:

Brüggler - my first multi-pitch climb

  • Let's go rock climbing! Oh, you haven't done it before? No problem! I'll lead the climb and explain everything to you, it's perfectly safe! We can climb Brüggler, I've been there many times - it's a technically easy crag, totally beginner friendly!
  • Sounds awesome! I have always wanted to try rock climbing but mainly done via ferrata so far - and enjoyed it.
  • Climbing is safer than via ferrata because you are properly belayed, you won't be hurt when you fall off the wall.
  • Yeah, let's do it!

We had this conversation with Sören about a year ago. I had known Sören's climbing adventures even before I met him because I read his blog and used it as an inspiration for some hikes in the Alps. I had little experience with rock climbing but I was determined to try it, so I was very happy with the proposal from Sören.

Scheduling the outing took quite some time. In the meantime I fractured my leg in a ski touring accident but now the bone is healed and stronger than ever because it is reinforced with a lot of titanium. Finally we set out on the Brüggler on 17 September in a group of 5: Klára and I were the beginners whom Sören was supposed to introduce to the climbing world, Christian and Björn formed an independent climbing party to assist us when Sören was belying us from above.

The route which we planned to take that day was "Meister Franz": 6 pitches long, with difficulty of 5a except for one pitch rated as 5c+ (5b/A0, meaning that one could cheat by pulling on a quickdraw). Those numbers didn't tell me much - I had no comparison to other routes because it was my first real rock climb. But how hard can it be?

Approach to the bottom of the Brüggler wall.

Very soon it turned out that it can be hard (at least for me). The exposure on a vertical 200 m high wall, combined with some non-trivial climbing moves was a bit overwhelming… I had just recovered from a broken leg and again I found myself in a situation which did not feel secure. Obviously, I was completely safe - I was belayed from above and if I fell off the wall, I would be stopped immediately. I knew that but I really preferred not to verify it.

I was wearing lightweight knee protectors. I must say that they worked pretty well for climbing, protecting my knees from scratches from frequent contact with the rock. Well, my climbing technique probably needs some refining ;)

On one of the pitches, I belayed Sören. When he reached the anchor and attached himself to a bolt, I dismounted the belay device and was putting it away - then I dropped it. It fell far, far away… "Ok, that's it. This is a sign - I guess I'm not meant to be a climber, I won't do it ever again", I thought. But the lost ATC wasn't a problem, we had enough reserve ones.

Klára takes a little break. She looks quite relaxed, doesn't she?

    - "I'm not sure if we are on the correct route. Can you verify it on a map?" - shouted Sören at some point. Björn checked the plan and responded:
    - "Yeah, it must be it. The other one goes to the right, we are on Meister Franz." "Interesting…"
    That conversation raised some doubts in my mind. Before I said anything, Klára verbalised her thoughts:
    - "If an experienced climber says it's interesting I think that's a bad sign for me."

The difficult pitch was the second one, which we have already passed - the rest of the climb was supposed to be very easy… What did Sören see?

Sören simultaneously belying Klára and me.
Klára is belying Sören, I'm resting and Björn is waiting for us to make them some space at the anchor.
The climb is over, the final part to the top leads on a hiking path on the ridge. It took us 4.5 hours to get to this place from the bottom of the wall! But the time passed very quickly. I recently spent a similar amount of time moving furniture between 2 apartments and it felt infinitely longer than climbing Brüggler.
We all made it to the top! In a retrospect, the climb wasn't that difficult. I am sure that if I did it again, I would find it effortless.
Beer/Apfelmost on the way back to the car - we deserved it! As usual in the Swiss Alps, the bottles with drinks were cooling down in a cow water reservoir at some farm.

After we went down to the base of the climb (there is no need to rappel, there is a hiking path), we searched for my lost ATC device. We found it quickly, it was right in the middle of the path under the Brüggler wall! "I can't wait when I will go rock climbing again!", I thought to myself.
Thank you Sören for introducing us to the world of climbing! It was wildly satisfying!

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