With the goal of climbing higher then our previous multi-pitch record, 55m, yesterday my climbing partner and I sent out for the Laberdolomiten just outside Ettal, Germany. Here is some info on how exactly we found the climbing, some tips, resources and mini review of my new Arc’teryx Alpha AR 35 backpack.
Laberdolmiten, translates to something like babbling Dolomites. Its basically a set of 75m - 100m tall limestone walls overlooking the Ettal. Starting around 400m above the Abbey along a rarely traveled mountain trail. Compared to some of the more beginner 2 pitch 55m crags we had previously visited in Oberammergau this was a big step up. There are approx 20 routes but only one or two below grade UIAA 7. For finding routes highly suggest this guide book available in the DAV library here in Munich.
We linked two two pitch routes, “Blaue Gams” & “Schenkelspreizer” into a 4 pitch climb. Unfortunately only making it 3.75 pitches / 90m up before getting chases off by rain. I strongly recommend the route for its verity and challenge. The second pitch offers a body width crack which proved awkward for both me and my partner. I ended up to deep in the crack and had some neck spasms half way though. Defiantly a technique to work on. End of second pitch has a super nice belay ledge with views down 450m to the valley floor, just don’t look down to long. The next climb starts at a anchor two bolts up to the right inside a large crack. Its a two pitch chimney to the top with a not so comfortable hanging belay in between. Rain started soon after we went in the sort of cave but we were able to nearly make it to the top dry before having to turn back because of slippery rock and shifting weather conditions.
We rappelled out though a break in the rain directly though a layer of fog. I’ll remember the sight of the rock below me disappearing infinity down into the fog for a long time. One of the most scary but rewarding experiences in recent memory. I’m looking forward to the day we return and finish the route.
Now for a bit on my new pack:
Not having a day pack or climbing pack I recently picked up the Arc’teryx Alpha AR 35 pack to fill this void in my gear collection. So far I’m thinking 35 liters is perfect for climbing. Fits a big rack just find while not having room to temp over packing. With no exterior pockets or water bottle holders its more minimalist then any thing I’ve previously carried but I appreciate how solid it is. When scrambling and making precarious maneuvers you can just rely on nothing going rolling down the mountain. I started wrapping pack contents in plastic bags to keep them dry but this pack as so far proven to be very water proof all on its own. The only major down side I would say is the hip belt and shoulder straps can dig in a bit if just wearing a t-shirt but not a deal breaker for me.