Bergseeschijen (2820m), via "Südgrat", 270m, 5a+

After Torsten and I worked our butts off for a week in the garden, it was finally time for some relaxation. No better way to relax sore muscles than to spend a day climbing a long multi pitch route in the mountains! Right?

Distributing the gear before setting off.
Clouds parting.

For my brother this would only be the second multi-pitch (or really outdoor) climb of his life. The first one (and a half) were on Brüggler. So we recruited Arne as a reliable and experienced partner. This allowed us to climb in a party of three and have all safety relevant tasks handled between Arne and me, guiding my brother up as a tourist.

Crowds at the base.
Torsten, getting used to the idea of trusting the harness / rope / knots / anchor / us.

The entire week had been scorching hot but now there were thunderstorms in the forecast. They were predicted only in the afternoon and we gambled on having a sufficiently long time window to make it before they'd roll in. As an additional complication it was raining in the morning. Not ideal conditions.

Like a pro.
Cruising up the wall.

We arrived at the Göscheneralp parking lot at 9 in the morning and at the base of the wall two hours later. It's a strenuously long approach that was somewhat more comfortable this time around because at least we weren't blasted by the sun. Given the uncertain weather conditions we were surprised to find a queue of people at the base of the climb. We had to wait for two other parties before we could finally start. Luckily for us, the first party was with a professional mountain guide and thus made quick progress. Unfortunately the party after them made up for that by being extra slow.

Titanic Arne: "Draw me like one of your French girls!" 🤣
Torsten on top of the world.

Arne led the first two pitches, then I took over. Even with us waiting at the anchors and during the pitches, we quickly caught up with the Italian couple in front of us. They were nice enough to let us pass. We embarrassed ourselves by making a proper mess of our ropes at the shared anchor and wasted a ton of time untangling everything. Worse, when Torsten and Arne wanted to disassemble our anchor to start after me, they couldn't open the screwgate carabiner. They tried for a while and then decided to abandon both the carabiner and the attached sling. To add insult to injury, the Italian party caught up to us at the next anchor and the woman presented both biner and sling with a smile. Apparently she had easily loosened it ;-o

Sören on lead.
Torsten on the ridge.

I stayed in the lead for the entirety of the remaining eight pitches of the route. This avoided further rope management issues and also allowed me to lead the final pitches that are shared with the "via Esther" route that I climbed the week prior but only got to follow that time. This suited me just fine as I thought the pitches along the ridge were really the highlight of the entire route. Steep, with a lot of exposure, but never really hard and a joy to climb. As an additional bonus, they are only sparsely bolted and require placing your own gear. By the time we topped out, we had put several pitches of distance between us and the Italians.

Final few meters.

We enjoyed a generous "z’Vieri" at the summit cross. This is a running gag between my brother and me. While I prefer to go extremely light on food during an outing and often don't eat anything at all during a big day, he requires a constant supply of calories at all times. So whenever we do anything together, he'll pack an extra big lunch packet and snacks.

View from the top.
Contemplating the descent route.

Chapeau to Torsten for handling himself extremely well! And big thanks to Arne for making the trip possible in the first place! This was a great day out and a memorable experience for my sailing brother from the flat country ;-P

Blocky terrain on the summit ridge.
Some via ferrata style sections on the descent trail.

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