Brüggler (1,777m) via Direkte Plattenwand (5c)

Since last week's trip to Brüggler was such a success we decided to try again the next weekend. Unfortunately the temperatures had absolutely tanked in the meantime. Some weather stations in Europe recorded the hottest ever recorded temperature in March, followed by the coldest ever recorded for April barely a week later. Not great for flora and fauna who were already in all out spring mode. Climate change for the win ;-/

Into the cloud they went.
Mysterious atmosphere at the foot of the wall. We expected hordes of zombies tumbling down any second.
Slippery and steep approach. We basically skipped the first (easy) pitch of climbing by scrambling up on the snow.

Anyway. We still went. This time Mark and I wanted to guide Christian up the well travelled hunk of limestone that is Brüggler. It would be Christian's first time on rock and first multi-pitch climb ever. There was significantly less snow than the previous week, but still enough to necessitate an approach in snow shoes or on skis. Conditions were markedly different: while I was actively seeking out the shade of the trees to shelter from the heat of the sun and find less slushy snow last time, this time everything was frozen and very comfortable to traverse on snowshoes. It sucked a bit for Mark on skis, but our empathy for his woes on the approach was muted because we fully expected him to make up for it on the descent.

Christian's first few moves.
Getting into the rhythm.
Chilling (literally) at the anchor.

It was cold enough that our water bottles contained chunks of ice once we reached the base of the wall. In return, we had the entire wall to ourselves. Uncharacteristically for Mark and me we actually found the start of the route without issue and managed to stay on route all the way to the top. What's up with that? This ascent means we made up for our previous attempt five years ago where we had to bail in a hailstorm.

Christian seems to enjoy being on rock - why else would he hug it so tightly?
Family shot.
Mark and I alternated leads, bringing Christian up between us.

Christian did remarkably well and climbed the entire thing in good style. Even with occasionally numb fingers and worn through gym climbing shoes. Well done! With snow on the exposed ridge and summit we decided from the beginning that we'd rappel back down instead of walking off. It seemed like the safer and more comfortable option. And it was. Christian needed some habituation with the exposure and height. Made a little more difficult by him discovering labels on my slings that stated they were 11 years old. Recommended manfacturer lifetime for such gear is 6-10 years. Ooops. I shall update my stuff...

One more move to the top.

Congratulations Christian on a great first showing even in less than ideal conditions! Here's to many more outings ;-)

Summit! (ridge)
First rappel ever - with ~200 meters of air under his ass.
Looking back. Some climbers/skiers were staying at this hut for easter. Not a bad choice!
Mission accomplished.

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