Montag, 6. Juli 2015

Training - First Ascent - North Face

Hanno on the cruxpitch of Land ohne Herren, Titlis north face, soooooo steep

After the winter season with some cool steep skiing I spent some weeks in Valle dell Orco. I visited the valley for the first time and enjoyed some of the classics and high quality variations on Caporal and Sergent. Bernd introduced me to the owners from the Ristorante Gran Paradiso at Noasca and it was like I would visit the place already for years. The people are very friendly and the food they offer is just amazing.
To visit the valley for multipitch climbing or bouldering is highly recommended. 

A very exclusive ride on the west face of the Rote Wand, Lechquellengebirg, skiing direct from the highest point on the picture down some cool terrain..... so much fun : )
Valle dell Paradiso ähh Orco, Noasca
Kostelic Crack on a short weather window, Bernd Zangerl inspecting my jamming qualities

Close up by the one and only Ray Demski on a cool boulder opened by Zangerl B., Noasca

From the superb granite of Orco I spent some training time at Voralpsee and on the campus board in sight of my multi pitch project in the Rätikon. I finished the route last summer but couldn´t redpoint all pitches in one day due to other travels and early snow……
This season I had already two good days in the project and hopefully the wall is dry after the forecasted thunderstorms to give it another go!

Crimping, crimping,cimping! Speed, Voralpsee

The last weekend was way too hot and Hanno and I wanted to hang around in a north face higher up. The Eiger north face still had too much snow and conditions on the long routes looked wet?! So we decided to visit the north face of Titlis. We did the “Land ohne Herren” (7c, 10pitches, bolted) and I could on sight the route with a 6a and two 6c led by Hanno so not a real on sight : ). What a nice and steeeeeeeep climb!

Hanno on the approach, it´s 6.30 am, the superb wall in the background. 
Cruxpitch, so steep but crazy good holds what a route!

Hanno following

Dienstag, 24. März 2015

Dru North Couloir Direct

The overhanging crux dihedral on the direct with a solid grown ice finish

The obvious upper part of the couloir that splits the Grand from the Petit Dru. The Finish of the cruxpitch is wehere the ice is running out into dry rock low left in the picture. The lower part of the couloir is not visible.

Hanno and I where driving through Switzerland and discussed what we should climb in Chamonix. A few hours before our departure I had a chat with Chamonix local Jack Gerdald and he recommended the North Couloir Direct of the Dru. It was easy to convince Hanno for this climb.
The following day we took our climbing stuff some bivi equipment and our skis up the Grand Montets cable car. We stashed the skis near the top station and changed the skiboots with our mountain boots. After 1.5h approach we reached a nice flat area below the Dru where we prepared our bivi and melted some snow for tea and dinner. At 5 o´clock in the morning we started hiking up to the start of the couloir and simul- climbed the first 300 meters of the couloir until we reached the start of the Direct. After 3 long and sustained pitches on best Chamonix rock and mixed terrain we reached again easier terrain. We had some spindrift on these pitches because it was snowing out of a big cloud stuck around the Dru. Hanno had some problems with too tight boots but we have a slogan: Everything has an end! And after the last 300 meters which we climbed in 2 or 3 pitches we reached the col between Petit and Grand Dru around 12 o’clock. Sitting there in the only sun rises of that day the wind was building up and Mont Blanc was already covered in clouds. After a bar and some sips of tea we started rappelling. 
Thanks to Jack and Nick for the solid abalakov abseils I own you some beers.
We reached our bivi at 3 o´clock and walked back to the Grand Montets station for some fun skiing with heavy packs. Beer and a nice dinner in sight. 

What a cool day out there.

On the approach day with perfect weather and a amazing view on the range

Perfect bivi spot.

some posing........
Already in bed catching some sleep before the action.
Simulclimbing on the lower part of the couloir

Not the best weather but excited for the following pitches
Starting into the crux corner

The cruxpitch
Good protection, perfect rock, crazy exposure.

Good but loooooong ice until the top of the col. Hanno had a fight with his too tight boots.

Hanno at the col with the first food of the day yeah!

The well earned bars

Montag, 2. März 2015

Two First Ascents at the Averstal / Learning Lessons

After some crazy bouldermoves I was able to reach the ice on the first ascent of "Piece Of Mind"

A spicy repeat of "Marilyn Manson" (220m, M7+, WI6+) on the 8th of February with Hannes Kanonier

Hmm ok where should I start, it´s some time ago since my last post on this blog and there is a reason why?
I was busy with the thing I love! Climbing! Climbing in the alpine on rock snow and ice. Just being out there I feel happy.
After a very hard alpine summer where I was working on my project in the Rätikon (bailed very close to finish it) the snow arrived too early and I had to abandon the project. But there is always a next summer and I will try again as hard as I can to complete this dream. That’s for sure.
In November I visited the Canyon Lands National Park in Utah for some very adventurous sandstone tower climbing. Our team was confronted with all kinds of rock from super solid to super dirt climbing and we enjoyed it to say the least. Bruises, cuts, broken bones and dehydration that’s the dess aka desert. A more detailed report will follow on this blog.

After the return, the backs of my hands were still dump for a view weeks…. While waiting for the winter and the cold I spent some time in the Ticino where we did lot´s of sport climbing. I was very keen to explore Ticino from a total different approach as I did it for the last 10 year with bouldering. There are some 1th class crags with super cool routes on very good rock.
The classic Thron (WI 5) at the Averstal with Jacopo Larcher

Winter finally arrived and we started the ice-climbing season at the 6th of January with the obligatory Thron (WI5) at the Averstal in 2h base to base. Two days later I started up with Wolfgang for a nice icefall at Zillis (Swiss) but in ice-climbing it´s a bad combination if the motivation is high and the temperatures too : ).
So we ended up abseiling from two Abalakovs because the ice was thin and water behind it. For the last rappel we slinged a small tree. I was not connected to it and when Wolfi rappelled over the edge the tree started moving out of the ground. I immediately jumped around the tree and hold it back with all my strength until Wolfi was safely at the ground. He was wondering when I pulled up the rope again and lowered from a more thrust full belay. When I reached Wolfi I just said: ”Don´t ask what happened you don’t want to know!
After a more detailed inspection I realised that the tree was more frozen to the dirt and not very well connected with it´s roots to the ground. Check your abseils properly. 

Two first ascent in the Val Ferrera

 “The Winners loose it all some Day” (WI5/ M6 X/ 300m/ clean)

The amazing and conciliatory ice pitch after the very loose rock pitches below. On "The Winner Losse It All Some Day"
After me and Hanno soloed the “Rotes Vergissmeinnicht “ (WI4+/ 140m) at the Val Fererra, we spotted a crazy looking yellow ice formation hanging in a big overhang just on the opposite side of the small village Ausserferrera. After a view days we returned to try this idea.
The first 200m are easy mixed terrain on snow rock and some vegetation. Then we climbed a traverse to the left that was very loose and overhanging with almost no protection. We climbed this traverse in a big 80 meter pitch. Then the rock gets little better and we continued over huge blocks stacked together to reach the start of the ice. We climbed the yellow hanging icicles in one pitch with moderate difficulty. “The Winners loose it all some Day” (WI5/ M6 X/ 300m/ clean). We left no traces on the climb and took all the gear with us we used for protection despite the slings we used for rappelling. Here is a topo for the archive. It´s hard to recommend the route because of it s very loose rock flakes on the travers pitch. So it´s maybe a good adventure for the lovers of the loose.
Hanno reaching the belay of the start into the ice pitch on The Winner......

Topo "The Winners Loose It All Some Day"

“Piece Of Mind” (WI5+/ M6/ 250m/ clean)

Working my way up the very hollow ice, no screws allowed!!
On this climb we had a close call. In 15 years of climbing you get your routine, your speed, and most important your experience. I had close calls in my climbing life and most of them happened because of a misinterpretation of conditions or that it simply is not what you expected it to be. On clean climbing these misinterpretations can be fatal. I am aware about this fact and very conscious how I behave in the mountains. These close call situations have the character of an accident. You don´t calculate with.
It was Hanno´s first whipper in such alpine terrain on ice and he is climbing now for 30 years. We had luck that both of us stayed unharmed.
After this wake up call there was still enough ice so that we still could climb the pitch. Followed by a moderate mixed pitch we reached the hanging icicles where we thought would be the crux of this first ascent but with some bouldery moves on nice granite we reached the ice and topped out.
This first ascent is a really nice climb with a big versatility from nice ice climbing to mixed climbing on solid granite high above the Val Fererra. A route I can recommend.
We realised this first ascent in clean style. No fixed gear in the whole wall! 
Keep this climb clean and save your gear for following adventures!

Bildunterschrift hinzufügen

Hanno on the last 20 meters of snowslab climbing on the crux pitch of "Piece Of Mind"
Hanno a good friend and reliable climbingpartner 

The big question? Can we get to the hanging stuff above..... "Piece Of Mind"

Topo "Piece Of Mind"

Freitag, 26. September 2014

PsychoGramm - How far can I push my clean climbing ?

pic Beat Kammerlander

I set off, tension, adrenalin, focus, concentrated willpower, freedom. I fall, the rope catches me, life, relief, joy… The micro-nut has held the fall.
The Bürser Platte in Vorarlberg - it´s climbing history resembles a roller coaster ride. From the quarry to a „techno playground“ of artificial climbing „aka“ piton raging. Then the sport climbing era, free and as difficult as the routes could possibly be, but certainly safe. Then - a long time of silence around this unique wall. Up until Beat Kammerlander had a vision in mind.
He removed the bolts of the only free climbing line in this plate and then climbed it clean; there is talk of the “Prinzip Hoffnung”. With a clear “no” to a in suit protection Beat created something new at the Bürser Platte. Free climbing, mobile protections, that are placed while climbing, or plain „clean climbing“.
I was fascinated early by climbing with natural protection and so it came that in December 2009 I was able to realize the first repetition of the ”Prinzip Hoffnung”. I felt the urge for more, looking for a new challenge.
In the central part of the Bürser wall there is a delicate crack which meanders up, and completely levels off in the middle of the wall. While examining the line, it seemed impossible to climb safely with mobile protection. During the checkout in top rope I realized that the boulder at the end of the crack is really hard. From ten attempts I managed the boulder only once. Bad protection, „ground fall“ potential and a crux sequence I only succeeded every tenth time? A simple calculation – the project was too dangerous, wherefore it was put on ice.
This winter I thought a lot about walls, ice formations and mountains I wanted to try. But after my return from the ice-rich Norway my projects didn´t grow or they were in a ramshackle condition. So it was that I went to the Bürser plate again. The process began anew, boldering, checking the placements …. tactics. After several attempts I was able to connect the very uncertain sequences of movements. I was able to make all the moves, but that was only the beginning of the challenge to climb the route in a clean climbing style.
pic. Beat Kammerlander
When I said that I am going for the lead there was silence at the ground of the wall. My friends Hannes and Flo, who tried to grant for my protection, took themselves back.
The energy surrounding us was palpable. Tension, then concentration. I felt my willingness to give absolutely everything I have, but still to act differentiated, also to decide conscious.
A compilation of all experiences and sequences of motions to a point – here and now. I´m ready.
There were three more falls until I climbed Psychogramm red point.
Alex Luger

Filmed and produced by Beat Kammerlander. Beat followed my process trying to clean climb this crazy line with his camera, so all the shots are real and the climbingshots were took during my three tries and on the fourth when I sent it. The movie is more a documentary than a climbing porn. It´s more than just a hard moves and chalking.....
Enjoy it.

Montag, 15. September 2014

Exposure and the First Snow....

 Fresh snow on the small glaicer autum is here. pic Alex Luger

This summer was not really a summer, in my region it rained a lot but I tried my best to get on my new project on the rare days without rain and blizzards. I did a first ascent on a 350+meters face with the upper headwall constantly overhanging. The steepness of the face made the climbing into the unknown very intense because there is not much to rest on. Now I am working on the redpoint. The day before yesterday it snowed 20cm on the summit. Summer is really over. Hope there will be some nice weather still to come for some quality tries on the route.  

 The headwall is steep.

 Chilling out on a small ledge befor the crux pitch.
All pictures Alex Luger collection.