Brüggler (1,777m) via Blümliweg (5c)

We had a "Sundarday", an exceptional day off, named after Google's CEO Sundar Pichai. The weather was fantastic and so Luigi and I decided to start the rock climbing season. Brüggler was an obvious choice. Familiar, only a short drive away, well protected, non-committing and South facing. There was still a lot of snow on the approach. I don't own ski touring gear yet, so while I was making my way up in snowshoes, Luigi skinned up on skis. On the way up this gave me a slight advantage because I could attack the slopes straight on where he had to zigzag a longer route. Of course he'd more than make up for this slight disadvantage on the way down!

Gigi on the approach.
Sören on the approach.

It was scorching hot in the sun. This had softened the snow enough, even at 9 in the morning, that I was seeking the shade of the trees for some cool and more frozen snow. Getting to the wall itself proved slightly tricky. The slushy snow covered most of the first pitch and made it difficult to identify the correct route and actually get close enough to the rock without sliding down. In the end we were about 20 meters right of the route we intended to climb. We didn't fancy another battle through snow, so I led the first pitch as an improvised diagonal. Without bolts I made use of natural hour glasses and some rotting ancient slings for protection. It was a bit run out, but also easy climbing.

This is the grimace I got when I asked him to smile for the camera...

Once we gained the route proper we made good progress. The sun melted more snow and ice above us and we had the occasional shard of ice helicopter past us with an intimidating whoosh. We climbed Blümliweg (5c) which is the direct variant of the Sonntagsweg (6a+). The final pitch goes up a steep corner/chimney. This was still wet. The anchor and pitch were exposed to a constant drizzle of water from above. Luigi still gave it a shot but had to give up half way up the pitch where the route was running with water. He rappeled off the closest tree he could reach.

"Spread your legs and trust the rubber" a typical Brüggler climbing stance.
Bailing from the wet corner.

We had planned to rappel from the very beginning, so this didn't change our schedule much. While you can walk off Brüggler in normal conditions, this is not advisable with badly attached slushy snow on the exposed ridge and steep trail. The entire 7 pitches of climbing, even with the initial improvisation and final aborted pitch, took us only about 2.5 hours. One of the advantages of being routine climbing partners. Gigi skied out while I walked back to the car. Successful start of the season!

Rappeling back down. Please do note Luigi's footwear. More appropriate for a day at the beach than an Alpine rock climbing trip...
Brüggler. I've climbed many routes on this face and yet still have many more to go.
Heading back home.

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