The Corona Pandemic made climbing hard this season. Without the reps in the gym my partner and I mostly found ourselves hiking and SUPing. We managed to stay in shape but nothing prepares you for the alpine like hanging from a wall three days a week. Disappointing in terms of advancing climbing goals but the adventure we did have really stand out. I’m so thankful for another climbing couple who invited us to Ettal for an easy three pitch alpine traverse.
Really goes to show a climb does not need to be difficult or huge to enjoy the mountains still get that hanging in thin air feeling.
We were not setting any personal bests here the first pitch was a 5 UIAA. Wearing a backpack and not having trust in my arms made it interesting.
Somedays I daysdream of standing on a ledges like this. Just swaying back and forth, feeling the breeze, the hardness of the rock next to the openness of the air below and the sky beyond.
Climbing in four in a single system were there is only a single lead climb per pitch can be tricky. Since the pitches were short we ended up doing a dual rope system. The leader is roped in with a figure eight on one end than the second on the other. Climbers three and four are roped in at ends of second rope which is then connected to second at the half way point. This allowed for a safe lead followed by a top belay for the second. Once the second is at the anchor the leader and second can each one of the remaining climbers. This worked great for the first two pitches but the last one is a traverse. Meaning the double strands between the second and climbers three and four needs to be clipped behind him as he goes. Not wanting the ropes to rub against each other I cam up with a solution on the fly that I swear I read about somewhere but have not been able to locate. I dug deep into the gear were had with up and created quickdraws with two rope side carabiners. This allowed for them to climb at the same time at different rates no problem without ropes rubbing.
The three pitches were a blast. I feel super lucky to have such friends. If there is one piece of advice I would give to the next group to make this climb, it is to rappel down and don’t mess with the via ferrata. We could have safely rapped in 15min with double ropes right to the ground. Instead we spent the better part of an hour fighting corona crowds with crying children. 😭. When in doubt rapp.
Hopefully I’ll have many more climbs to share come spring. Until then stay tuned for ski touring reports.