Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon 2017

For the first time I tried out the long course. Markus and Leonie did too and Angela rode the middle distance.

Here’s how it went.

We turned up on Saturday afternoon after driving back from Cortina and met Markus and Angela at the Haldensee campsite. The weather forecast for Sunday promised sunny times so we were happy.

Sunday dawned but without the sunny times. Still it wasn’t raining so we were happy. The race started at 6 am. As usual we started a long way back in the field as we arrived a little late. I spent the first 15 minutes passing people and at some point Markus caught me up again. So did the rain. It began with just a little bit but soon it was “Arlberg Giro Feeling” or perhaps “Tour Transalp Stage 1 Feeling”. In fact it was very much like the Tour Transalp because the course also went through very similar areas and in some parts followed the same roads. The tour-feeling grew stronger as the intensity of the rain increased.

 

Markus, Leonie, and Cris (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Leonie shortly after starting (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: Markus, Leonie, and I had the crazy idea to enter the Tannheimer Tal long course. That’s 220km / 3500 m. It’s not something we train for. Above right: The race started dry.

The route went from Tannheim across the border to Germany and meandered around Allgäu. Then it headed up over Riedbergpass and back into Austria. By the time we got to the pass we had ridden 70 km or so and the rain had stopped. Markus stopped to clean his glasses and I continued alone. The route took us towards Hochtannberg Pass. By now the sun was shining.

I cruised up the pass conscious not to ride too hard. We had also been stopping at the majority of the refreshment stations to top up. I stopped at the next one in Warth just over the pass and Markus caught up again. I waited and we rode together down the valley collecting people along the way.

We ended up with a reasonably sized group for the ride down the Lechtal. At some point a van in front of us started motor-pacing us which I thought wasn’t so cool. We caught up to the next group only to find that they also had a car motor-pacing them!

Cris climbing Hochtannberg Pass (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Cris and Markus on Gaichtpass (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: It soon started raining heavily while we were riding through Allgäu. Luckily it cleared a little after Riedberg Pass and as we started climbing the Hochtannberg Pass it was sunny. Above right: To my surprise my legs felt good ascending Gaichtpass and Markus and I cruised past many people. This is odd because usually by the time I get here on the 130 km course my legs are smashed. I suspect it’s because of the difference in speed. I race the 130 km harder.

We stopped again at the last feed station before the pass back into Tannheimer Tal and then started the climb. Our legs were surprisingly fresh still, in fact the whole race seemed much easier than I had imagined. We sat on someone’s wheel for the flat section to the finish and then did a nasty sprint past him to cross the line in about 7 hours and 57 minutes.

I was surprised how fast we were as I had expected to take much longer. I was also surprised how easy it felt. I was expecting to suffer a fair bit on the last part of the 220 km and 3500 m of climbing. Very strange, I felt much more destroyed after the 130 km version of the race in the past. Perhaps it was a mix of not riding too hard and stopping at most of the feed stations.

Leonie had a very good race coming in half an hour or so after us.

Angela did the 130 km and also had a good first race.

Cris and happy Markus (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Cris crosses the finsih line (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Leonie crossing the finish line (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: Markus didn’t seem at all tired! How irritating 🙂 Above middle: After being towed for the last 8 km by the third guy in this picture Markus and I allowed ourselves a finish sprint. Mmmm finish sprint. That’s one of the best parts of racing. Above right: Leonie had an excellent time coming in just under 40 minutes after us.

Above: This is what Strava thought. Interesting that the reported climbing is so different from what the organizers claim… Hmmm.

More plombergstein multi pitch

We managed to leave reasonably early and headed back down to the Plombergstein crag near St Gilgen where we were yesterday. The plan was to have three rope teams on each of the three multi pitch routes that we knew about. Once we got there we realised though that there would not be enough time for Brendan and Domi to climb as they needed to leave earlier. Instead we decided that I would go up the middle route (Flipperl) with Sebas and Sam while Ari and Johannes would go up the rightmost route (Juniperus).

So we set off. Johannes did the first pitch on the right and I lead the first pitch on our route. Both Brendan and Domi climbed up the first pitch too to say hello before descending again and heading off. Sebas climbed up next and then Sam. We tied Sam in the middle attached to both their rope and Brendan’s rope and then I lead the next pitch. I belayed Sam up on top rope from the anchor and then she belayed Sebas.

Then it was Sebas’s turn to lead and we repeated everything in the reverse order. We caught a glimpse of both Ari and Johannes on the route after our second pitch but then they were gone. Thinking they were probably much faster and already at the top I opted to join the last two pitches together to create one long easy 60 m pitch. I arrived at the top and belayed Sam up, and Sebas followed. The others weren’t there so we sat around on the handy bench at the top and started packing up our gear.

We heard Johannes and shouted over to him. He was looking for a bolt. I tied back in and Sam belayed me over towards their route just as Johannes reached the top and secured himself on an old sling tied around a tree. He seemed to be pumping adrenalin. It had apparently not gone completely to plan. He put Ari on belay and it wasn’t long before she appeared.

Apparently Johannes had lost the route and had climbed up high above a bolt in search of it before having to clip somewhere off-route and be lowered back down. He then had to rescue the rope by securing himself and pulling the rope back down. Luckily there were some experienced climbers that were coming up behind and could help.

But there were other problems too. Ari didn’t have enough carabiners and neither of them had slings that were long enough. At one point Ari had to clip into the anchor with a string of quickdraws. It all sounded like quite an adventure, an adventure that both of them would have preferred not to have had. Still, nobody got hurt and it made us think we should be more prepared next time.

We sat at the hut at the top for a bit before walking slowly back down stopping for an hour or so on the way to explore the cool limestone structures. Then it was a quick meal at a restaurant overlooking the Wolfgangsee and we began the long drive back to Lindau. When I say we I mean Ari.

Multi-pitch 2 (Salzkammergut Adventures)Cris, Sam and Sebas on a multi-pitch route (Salzkammergut Adventures)Sam climbing (Salzkammergut Adventures)

Sebas at the top (Salzkammergut Adventures)Ari and Johannes (Salzkammergut Adventures)Some of the crew (Salzkammergut Adventures)Sebas extreme bouldering (Salzkammergut Adventures)Sam climbing (Salzkammergut Adventures)Extreme coolness (Salzkammergut Adventures)Plombergstein (Salzkammergut Adventures)

Attersee Klettersteig

After a delicious pancake breakfast and some faffing around at our accommodation Brendan and I headed off to the Attersee for some klettersteig fun. It was a bit overcast and windy but not rainy so probably pretty good conditions really. We headed off at a leisurely pace but it seemed more fun to go fast so we cranked up the via ferrata. It was often quite steep and needed a bit of arm-haulage but it wasn’t too difficult. We got to the top in around 1 hour 45 minutes including the walking to the start. After a “gipfel” photo we headed back down at a trot. After following the zig-zags got boring we cut directly down loosing the main track and following some other track back down to the road. We knocked the whole thing off in about 2.5 hours, a full 3 hours faster than the guide. Good fun.

We followed the klettersteig with a quick dip in the Mondsee and then drove back to St Gilgen where we met the others for a picnic lunch at the Plombergstein crag. They had been doing some routes at the AV-Klettergarten there.

I was keen to try out some multi-pitch and Sebas wanted to try some harder routes so we headed around the side of the crag in search of the multi-pitch. They seemed in use so we briefly considered going off to do the Drachenwand klettersteig before deciding it was too late in the day.

Instead Domi and Brendan headed off to do an easier ferrata route (turned out to be the Drachenwand!), Ari, Sebas and Sam went off to do some harder climbing, and Johannes and I set up to do a multi-pitch route.

The route in question is named Taxus. It’s a 5 pitch route that is a mix of grades up to 4+. The first pitch is 60m, then 40m, then three 50m pitches. Here’s the topo courtesy of bergsteigen.at.

I did the first pitch and then Johannes climbed up and past the anchor to do the second pitch. All the anchor points were quite comfortable and sometimes under trees which would be nice on a very hot day. There was a nice view out across the Wolfgangsee.

At some point as we were climbing two shirtless guys climbed past us without a rope. I guess the climb is pretty easy… We topped out and then walked back down passing under impressive looking rock walls. Despite the route being so easy it still took us a good few hours.

We managed to miss the last open supermarket so instead we picked up some pasta from a petrol station and had pasta and pesto with the remains of the salad back at our fancy house. A good day.

Wolfgangsee 2017 I

We woke at the Hofpürglhütte to clouds followed by rain. As this wasn’t the best for climbing we had breakfast and wombled down to the cars. We then drove to the Wolfgangsee with some creative navigation that involved us driving over a pass. Unfortunately this cost us 10 EUR for the entertainment but as we are positive people we saw the positive side and intensely enjoyed the mountain air, the winding road, the cows, and all that could be enjoyed.

We drove to Gasthof Kleefeld for lunch and did the Brustwand klettersteig, the same one that Leonie and I had done a few weeks earlier. Then it was off for a swim in the lake briefly as the sun was coming out. It was then time to look for our accommodation between Strobl and Bad Ischl. It turned out to be a very large arty apartment with room for nine people at least. It had a balcony facing onto a river and it was all quite excellent.

We set about cooking dinner and spent the evening listening to chilled out music, drinking wine, and chatting. Sam and Sebas turned up from Munich in time to enjoy the evening too.

Nice nice.

Brustwand Klettersteig (Salzkammergut Adventures)Brustwand Klettersteig 2 (Salzkammergut Adventures)

Above left: Rain forced a hasty getaway from the Hofpürglhütte and we drove to Kleefeld at the Wolfgangsee and did the Brustwand klettersteig. Above right: All went well.

Hofpürglhuette

On Wednesday night Johannes, Ari and I escaped to Munich in the Ari-mobil. We landed at Sam and Sebas’ and hung out there for the evening.

Then on Thursday the journey continued to Filzmoos in Austria. We drove from there up to a car park below the hofpürglhuette where we meet Brendan and his lady Domi. The weather was much nicer than expected and we sweated our way up the short distance to the hut (about 50 minutes).

The hut is pretty nice. Typical alpine hut. We found a spot in the mattress area and sat out on the terrace for some lunch. In typical Ari fashion, Brendan, Johannes, and I shared most of her lunch.

Then it was off for a via ferrata route that turned out to be mostly a walk with a few not strictly necessary cables near the end. It was nice though and we had patches of snow to cross which amused us and we got to kick steps with our soft shoes in the soft snow.

There was a nice view from the summit of the Steigkogel and we could see back down to the hut.

Suddenly terrified that we might get back too late for our Halbpension evening meal we headed off back down. This time we made use of the patches of snow and we did some premium glissading down to the main track. The snow was suitably soft and the gradient not too steep so as to make it safe.

We were all quite successful except that Brendan decided that his shoes were then too wet and that his bare mountain feet would be more appropriate for the rest of the way back along the stony route.

We ascended a short distance back to the Steiglpass before heading back down towards the hut aided by more snow.

After dinner we got a little bit of sport climbing in on a couple of the 150+ routes in the area. We headed back down to the hut at dusk shortly before 10 pm. A nice day. Life is good.

Heading off for a via ferrata (Hofpürglhütte)Heading off for a via ferrata 2 (Hofpürglhütte)Crossing snow (Hofpürglhütte)

Crossing more snow (Hofpürglhütte)Staunch (Hofpürglhütte)Lazing at the summit (Hofpürglhütte)

Glissading (Hofpürglhütte)Mr barefoot (Hofpürglhütte)More glissading (Hofpürglhütte)

Back at the hut (Hofpürglhütte)Safety first (Hofpürglhütte)