2011: frankenjura, the alps…and the frankenjura

2011…well where did id go? busy with school, I didn’t climb as much as I would have liked to during the summer semester. I needed a break from bouldering, so I mostly went route climbing in the frankenjura, which I enjoyed a lot. Having focussed on bouldering the last years, I felt like I can (re-)learn a lot when climbing with a rope: Of course you need to get endurance, but mainly I felt like I had to (re-)learn the tactical approach: when do you clip, how often do you chalk, how fast/slow its best to climb, how warmed up you have to be to not get cold-pumped but still have dry hands,… I kind of felt like a beginner sometimes, doing stupid mistakes (like not closing my shoes properly and not noticing it until halfway up). I think I have all these tactics figured out for me in bouldering, with routeclimbing its a different story though! Nevertheless, I made progress, climbed some of my hardest routesΒ  and had fun with it. Its quite amazing how good and varied the routeclimbing in the frankenjura is, there are many classics as well. One of my favourites one was the ‘Peacemaker’, a pretty long (for a boulderer;)), slightly overhanging crack, which has it all: a bouldery start on pockets, an easy but airy section on a big flake, some layback-climbing, a mantle into a slab, a balancy part with THE move (a cross-over into an one finger-undercling-crack, sounds horrible but feels wicked!), some crack climbing with a handjam and a scary part to the awesome topjug above the last bolt….this may sound like a multipitch, but its all condensed in 25m… the wonder of the frankenjura!

In the summer semester break did a little ‘tour des alpes’. We went to a (for us) new area, “Refugio Barbara” in Italy. Located at 1800m altitude and with severalΒ  sectors with granit boulders (amongst others the Christian Core “Kimera” and “Black Mamba”), this area sounded perfect to escape the heat of August. At first glance, the area is very reminiscent of the Chaos Canyon in RMNP, just a bit more idyllic: a beautiful meadow with browsing cows, circularly surrounded by steep slopes littered with endless boulders. Driving up the steep road we thought “This sounds too good, there has to be a catch. Maybe there is always fog in August…”. Well…the first day we thought we were just unlucky when we climbed in the middle of a cloud. But the cloud with the warm, humid air was there also the next days. Somedays, we would wake up to a view like this:

Which changed to the following view only a few minutes later:

Needless to say, 100% humidity and 30Β°C do not make good conditions for climbing and thus everything felt HARD! We still had fun and definitely want to go back there! For the rest of the trip, we visited some other areas in the swiss and austrian alps. The heat and the rain followed us for most of the time, but well, this is summer in europe I guess.

Then came my favourite time of the year: the golden october in the frankenjura… I was very excited for it and had many ideas what to try, but I hurt my finger a bit and retreated to climbing on slopers in the gym and working a lot at university… there are surprisingly little non-crimpy boulder-problems in the frankenjura, its not at all only pockets (as you might have heard)…

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