Cinque Torri Climbing

Leonie and I got up at 6 am to avoid the crowds and drove up to the Refugio “Cinque Torri”. The weather gods were happy and the sun was shining. We ate breakfast at the car with the awesome rock towers of the 5 towers behind us.

We then headed slowly up to Averau. It’s a peak a bit higher up. There’s a short easy via ferrata at the beginning of the climb followed by an easy walk to the summit.

We headed back down via a Refugio for hot chocolate and cake and then it was time for some sport climbing. We found a bunch of easy routes around the 4 or 5 grade.

The towers are very impressive and the longer routes look very interesting. I eyed up a bolted 3 pitch route. There are also many longer trad routes. These I didn’t eye up.

Five Passes in the Dolomites

Leonie and I set off for a road ride from our campsite at Cortina del Ampezzo. I was not particularly motivated by the cold gray weather but we headed up Passo Falzarego anyway. At the turn off to Passo Giau we ran into the Montana Dles Dolomitten race and cycled the next 40 km with many other cyclists. They had closed the roads for the race which was nice. No pesky motorbikes. From Passo Falzarego we had a short ascent to Passo di Valparola before a long descent.

With difficulty we managed to avoid crossing the finish line and navigated around the crowds to begin the ride up Passo Compolongo. On the descent the weather closed in and we had some nasty cold rain. It was localized though and as we continued down the valley we were back in sunshine.

We stopped for a pizza just after 5 pm and then decided to tack on another pass. It was a very nice sunny  We reached Passo Staulanza after a short ascent and briefly pondered what to do. How would our track look like on Strava? If we continued we’d have a nice loop but it would probably mean arriving after dark with a long ascent up a valley to finish. If we turned back we’d have a loop with two ugly pointy bits. What a dilemma.

We decided against asthetics and rode back towards the pizzeria and then we began our ascent to Passo Giau. It was getting late and we were getting a bit tired but we first had 29 switchbacks to contend with. We arrived at the pass at 8:30 pm and took a few photos in the last of the light before descending to our camp site in Cortina for a late dinner.

Tour Transalp 2017 – Day II

The second day of the Tour Transalp was much nicer than the first.  Instead of driving rain we had sunshine.

We started in Imst and again due to our second class status as two-day-entrants we were right at the very back. The first 4.5 km were neutralised but as is usually the case with neutralised starts the field was strung out over many kms and by the time the race started the good bunches were already gone. We did our best to try and move up the field a bit anyway and spent the first 45 minutes or so passing groups.

We decided we should save our energy and stay where we were but after the bunch wombled along at under 30 km/h we decided to go searching up the field a bit again. At some point we agreed with two other riders to work together and spent 15 minutes or so riding hard together which was much more enjoyable than wombling.

We were mindful that we still had to climb Timmelsjoch though so after stopping at a refreshment station we rode at a more leisurely pace until the climb. We cruised up the pass arriving at another refreshment stop at the top. The majority of the descent was pretty nice with fun switchbacks and long straights. Unfortunately there were two slow cyclists ahead of us causing a large traffic jam near the end of the descent. It took 15 minutes or so before we could pass and by that time many people had caught us up so we had a large group going into the last 30km or so.

Markus and I worked at the front for quite some time thrashing it out on the flat. It was great. Exactly what fun racing for me is about. We took turns with a strong British female team. After a while I decided we should let some other guys do some work and we dropped back for a bit. I stayed in the first few at the front but made sure I didn’t pull.

It was extremely hot so low and we really noticed it as we hit the next hill. Markus and I stayed near the front as we ascended and then descended through tiny weaving Italian roads. The last part of the race was along a narrow cycle path. I ended up at the front again and towed the Brits along for a while before I noticed that Markus had dropped off with the rest of the group. I was eager to push it to the finish line as my legs were still feeling frisky but Markus wasn’t feeling so fresh so we cruised.

A very nice stage and so much better without rain. Leonie and Angela turned up to the finish not long after we arrived.

We got place 5th and 6th in around 5 hours and 21 minutes. I felt like my legs had worked well but it doesn’t really say much as we had such a handicap to start with.

Tour Transalp 2017 – Stage 2 Schnupper – Men

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.