Schöllenen via (partial) "Amatörwäg", 330m, 6a

Good weather! Time for action. Björn, Arne and I headed up to Schöllenen once more. This time with the objective of climbing "Amatörwäg", a ten pitch 6a. We arrived relatively late because I first had to drop off the kids in the morning. But we still managed to find the start of the route and start climbing by 10 am. The very first pitch is a 6a slab that nobody was super keen on leading. I volunteered as the ice breaker and gingerly made my way up. Unfortunately I lost my nerve on one move and spoiled a clean climb by stepping on a bolt. Slabs are often not physically demanding as much as they are mentally draining. Friction climbing by sticking to the rock with the rubber of your shoes and skin of your palms never feels quite solid and as if you could slip at any second from the slightest imbalance. And indeed, all three of us would proceed to prove this intuition correct by taking a fall each on subsequent slab pitches.

Chamois in the morning.
Me leading the first pitch. Not steep, but frequently smooth.
Welcome ledges!

The route continues in a very similar style for most of its pitches. While some are nominally easier, there are multiple 6a's and even the easier ones are either also 5c+'s or, for the 5b's, made more challenging by wet streaks and vegetation. Luckily Björn and Arne found their rhythm and their granite feet and both stepped up to lead subsequent hard pitches. Quite remarkable how different this route is compared to the neighboring "Diagnoale" that I had climbed the week prior. Amatörwäg is almost entirely friction climbing on slabs while Diagonale follows a dihedral and is more about crack / layback climbing.

Arne venturing out on pitch two.
Not much to hold onto...
Family photo.

We had agreed to turn around no later than 2pm. This was necessary because Anita was travelling on a work assignment and thus I was responsible for getting the kids by 5pm. This gave us a fairly narrow time window for a ten pitch route and indeed we did not manage to finish all of the pitches but turned around after the seventh. On the one hand, this was not a terrible loss, as at that point we had already done all the cruxes and were left with only three easy bonus pitches. On the other hand, the weather was great and we had all gotten into the groove dancing on the slabs and had energy to spare. I guess this might be a motivation to return and finish the climb cleanly top to bottom?

Björn starting on one of the easier (but wet!) pitches.
Arne coming up.

The rappel went quickly and smoothly and we made it back to Langnau in time to pick up the kids with 5 minutes to spare. Great timing, great company, great climb, great mood. We finished the day on our terrace with beers and pizza.

Arne leading the final 6a pitch and the last one we climbed.
Zoom. From below, we expected the small overhang to be the crux. Far from it. That roof was entirely trivial and super fun to climb. The slab that Arne is on right now proved to be "mental" though! The smoothest of the entire climb, requiring extremely delicate footwork and balance. At this point we had six pitches of experience with that style and all three of us managed successfully. Chapeau Arne!
Sticking to the wall mostly by hope.
Björn demonstrating the technique.
Just like on Diagonale, this wall completely messed with my sense of scale again. Check out the toy cars on the highway below us!
Waiting my turn to rappel at our high point. Too bad we didn't get to finish it...
Two more rappels to go. At least on this particular wall there's no risk of rockfall or having the ropes catch anywhere ;-P

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