Pebble Wrestling in Murgtal

It had been quite wet recently with even some fresh snow in the high alpine. This severely restricted our options for proper climbing. Thus, for the first time ever, I allowed myself to be convinced to go "pebble wrestling". Bouldering. This abominable form of climbing, where instead of striving for the majestic peaks, you content yourself with crawling around the debris that fell off them. An occupation for slugs and other slimy insects. Deplorable.

Luigi on our warm-up problem.
Nice surroundings.
The road up was still closed for cars, so we had to walk quite a bit.

Mark, Luigi and Piotr provided the necessary gear in the form of crashpads and off we went towards Murgtal. It turned out to be a decently fun day. Trying ourselves at way too hard problems (definitely for my current fitness level). I still managed to scale a few rocks, albeit in more of a grunting and swearing style rather than the weightless elegance you'd expect from me ;-)

Perfect bike path.
I have to admit, bouldering does have some things going for it. If only I had brought beer.
Diagonal Mark.
Piotr demonstrating a proper sit-start.
Luigi crimping hard.
Just about our high point on this problem. It's a 7a and got quite grimy and crumbly towards the top. Not to mention somewhat exposed.
Who came up with the idea of starting in a sitting position? Just jump to the frickin' top already.
See?! I did top out.


Cragging at Holzegg

We had a few centimeters of fresh snow during the night (in the middle of May!). Combined with all the snow left from this unusually white winter this meant our options for climbing outside were limited. We chose Holzegg - a conveniently short approach and Southern exposure makes this a low risk option that should dry off quickly.

Snow in the morning.
Luigi starting up the difficult section.

When Mark, Luigi and I got there around 9 in the morning there was still tons of snow on the ground - enough to make it difficult to find a dry spot to sit and don gear. By the time we headed back home at 2pm in the early afternoon the snow had already completely disappeared again and it was scorching hot and dry. This felt like witnessing the landscape change in fast forward. Unreal.

My view from near the top of `Panorama`.
Mark putting up a fight.

The crag was well frequented that day. Apparently many people converged on the same conclusion we did. It was a nice gang and chill atmosphere with everyone just enjoying time outside after too many pandemic induced hours at home. The crag is split into two halves: you have the first pitches which are usually quite friendly. Then the wall gets a lot steeper and more challenging for a second pitch. We spent most of our time hanging around the anchor trying the second, higher pitches.

Panorama indeed.

One of these is graded 6c and is *very* long. We waited until the party in front of us was done with it and joined us again at the anchor. A veteran climbing duo. She originally from the Netherlands, but migrated to Switzerland for the mountains. Him with some 50 years climbing experience under his belt. He comfortably cruised up that route and she followed without much difficulty. Luigi put up a good fight and led the route for us. We had been warned that our 70m rope might not be long enough. And indeed, it wasn't. I lowered Luigi as far as I could, but by the time we ran out of rope he was still roughly 5 meters above the anchor. So we provided some entertainment for the duo that was still with us at the anchor and climbing another route to our right. Gigi demanded his flip-flop sandals for a more comfortable wait on the wall. I tied in and started climbing towards him. With him coming down as my counterweight on the other end of the rope I felt like the world's strongest climber. Weighing some 15 kg or so ;-) Of course by the time I reached his former position (bringing his sandals!) he was down at the anchor. So we slid the sandals down the rope. Quite hilarious series of harmless screw-ups and good for a whole lot of good natured fun and laughter shared between us and the other party (who couldn't believe someone would bring sandals up here in the first place). I ended up struggling quite a bit even on top-rope. Not in climbing shape yet... Getting down by rappelling, instead of lowering, our rope was just long enough.

This was super slippery and tricky to negotiate with the wet snow in the morning. By the time we left it was a comfortable trail again.