Tomorrow I take the English test required to attend an American university, and so I thought I might as well practice my writing. I have intensively practiced listening by watching as many How I Met Mother episodes and Quentin Tarantino movies as I could. ;) I would appreciate any comment regarding my use of English expressions, vocabulary, or the way I construct sentences.
This story will be about my attempt to climb a route called Morgenlandfahrt on the SchŁsselkar, 5 years ago. I was 14 then , and very young. The idea was to climb a route that has no bolts, and is a free climb.
In the guidebook it said it was the first 7(5.10+) of the area, and a very demanding, and good "free" climb.
Scientific results suggest that what I remember now is unlikely to match exactly with events of that day in 2005, but that is an entirely different topic.
We got to the climb and were very enthusiastic. There was no turning back, even when we saw the first pitch. I just looked at it again a week ago, and it truly looks like a pile of sh#t. The rest of the climb does not look very interesting either. More like a weird line up to a huge hole in the wall, through it, and up some corners..
I start up anyways. Moving up carefully, working my way through the crumbling flakes, I reach the piton island 40 feet off the ground. I equalize them, shake out, and commit to the sketchy, loose, and slightly overhanging traverse. 5+! The holds are huge and move, some a bit, some a lot, and I can feel the commitment. Once I reach the belay ledge, I am a little worried. One crappy piton, and a small stopper it is! Off belay!
My friend comes up, and comforts me: A few meters and you get a good cam.
I am a bit worried. There is no turning back in my mind. Not on the second pitch. It is as if I had to prove something to myself... Getting to the cam is easy but the rock makes it interesting. After the cam, I wrestle with the fist crack. At least it is well protected.
The crack turns into a round, flaring, off- width flake, and for some reason I decide to climb the slab on the left of it, slapping the flake with my right hand. My confidence to get trough 10 meters of 5.11 slab is much greater than doing the same in an offwidth. There is no protection, and the belay is out sight. Is this even a good idea? I don't know where to go, and I don't know what to do.
Not that I would need to, I mean, what can I do, but proceed upwards. Slowly I reach the little ledge, on which I mantel.
After this pitch, and 3 easier ones we get to the meat of the climb. It is noon, and the crux awaits. It is the passage they rated 7. The pitch is fifty meters long. The guidebook shows two bulges, and then grass to a niche. 70 meters above us is the big hole. It is full of birds, it seems.
I move off the anchor, slowly but confident. A series of one- and two finger pockets is the crux. The rock gets worse. I am unexperienced at this level of climbing with barely any protection. Unlike most climbs in the Alps, this seems much harder than the grade would indicate.
I clip every piton with both ropes, and the rope drag is extremely bad after I am behind the difficult climbing. Most pitons are so bad it looks like some will come out if I pull up the rope with too much force.
I can feel how I get out off the comfort zone. This was what I had essentially been looking for, but I am not so sure anymore. When does it stop being cool?
The grass in the guidebook is pretty steep in reality. There is rock, and grass. The rock is too loose to be of much use, so I move up the grass. And up. And up. I realize that in the last 20 meters I couldn't place any protection. Some of the birds are angry, and attack me. They fly until they are a meter or so away from my head, turn around, and repeat the procedure. It is truly nerve wracking. I have some good training with two younger brother, but those guys are another league. I move up a bit more, too scared to look down or do anything else. When I am almost at the niche, now 30 meters away from that blue alien, I realize that there is no fixed anchor. One can see the rust of the pitons that must have been there in the past, but nothing remains. I can't see anything for natural pro, and the mantle into the niche looks hard. I decide to climb back down. I hope nothing breaks. It takes a few minutes, and I reach the blue alien. I take a deep breath, unclip it, and keep climbing down. I unclip 2 or 3 other pins that I don't dare hanging on to, until I can finally let go.
I am lowered, and we rappel.
I have not been as scared any time after.
for all those who have gone through the reading, here are some photos from last week!