First Ascents of two Winter Climbs

This year I missed the ice climbing season at home due to my stay at Patagonia. Social media showed that ice climbs in Western Austria where standing solid and my thoughts drifted immediately to some projects I still have in mind speculating about if they have formed or not. While people climbed the extreme classics in our area I was stranded in El Chalten due to the very bad weather in the mountains.  As I had loads of time to let my thoughts drift on this trip I remembered the last winter. For a few weeks we have had crisp temperatures which resulted in some notable first ascents executed with my friend Hanno Schluge.

 

Mottakopf North East Face

One climb was up the North East face of Mottakopf, located close to the skiing village Brand (Vorarlberg). The face measures around 600m of height and the route ascents a direct line ups the face. Starting with some mixed climbing we reached a easy snow gully which allowed access to the water ice  pitches on the upper wall. The whole climb was freed by both of us. the route is clean so no fixed gear. The difficulties are moderate with M5 WI5+ and a easy walk of to the left (climbers view) and down steep forrest. I think its worth repeating and could become a “classic”.

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Final ice pitches. pic. Hanno Schluge

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Ascending the easy snow gully in the middle of the route. Pic. Alex Luger

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Hanno on the base of the crux pitch. Pic. Alex Luger

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Mixed Roulette 

A route with a total different character than the already mentioned line at the Mottakopf. The routes crux are two pitches with hard mixed climbing. During the ascent we had to deal with rotten ice, and little protection. The line was climbed clean. For future repeats we left a wire and bulldog in place on pitch two to reduce the risk of hitting a ledge.

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Hanno trying hard to reach the ice. Pic. Alex Luger

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Second crux pitch. Pic. Hanno Schluge 

 

TopoS

My hardest Route – The Gift

 

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The crux pitch of the Gift, 8c Pic. Beat Kammerlander

 

Inexhaustible potential, walls as far as my eyes can see. Obviously the lines are no longer to be found at the highest and steepest walls, they are often not easy to spot and require some commitment at the access.
There are still enough opportunities for new routes. But what about the kinglines on the large walls of the Northern Limestone Alps, to be more specific – the Rätikon?

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Two First Ascents at the Averstal

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.

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PsychoGramm – How far can I push my clean climbing ?

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. Continue reading

Exposure and the First Snow….

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.

 

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The headwall is steep.

 

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