16/02/2014 11:00

A short review of our climbing in Tyrol





We came to Innsbruck mainly to combine our visit of the ISPO in Munich with the normally many ice climbing possibilities around Innsbruck. We stayed at a friends place but in the long days between january 24th and february 13th we had to experience once again that ice is unpredictable: It was supposed to be one of the coldest winter since years, but the weather maps showed a constant change of temperatures and a lot of snow- and rainfall. Many ice falls broke down or did not form at all. Our search for ice was not always rewarded but nevertheless we did find some remarkable ice lines. 





Matthias on the Pilat fall

After the Ispo in Munich we spend some days ice climbing with Arc´teryx designer Greg Grenzke for product testing and idea exchange. We heeded direction Wolkenstein and climbed the “Pilat” fall, a majestic pillar forming it´s way down on a huge rock wall, yet hidden through a dense forest. Though it can be easily spotted by the road, once walking through the forest it remains unseen until stepping out of the trees. It may be by that reason that it´s called “situated in a mystical ambiance” - cause it shows appearance only to those not giving up searching for it in dense forests. The foot of the icefall was covered with huge ice cubes, result of big downfalls of some parts of the fall. The partly remaining pillar made the climb very interesting and Matthias enjoyed some freaky moves on it´s left side between rock and ice. 




Warm Föhnwinds around Innsbruck dropped temperatures further down and heightened the already existing avalanche risks by it´s strong winds. Constant snow and rainfalls built  layers of unsettled snow packs on the slopes, causing new risk evaluation each day. 

Nevertheless ,February, 7th found us tracking along the “Lunga” valley in  knee deep fresh snow. It was the first time we visited this valley and the beauty of it stunned me. There were the Geislerspitzen 3025m on the far end, and Langkofel 3181m and Sellagroup on the opposite side emerging  in all it´s might.


Langkofel (3181m)



We climbed the outstanding  “Zauberflöte”, an icefall with a Mixed start rated M9 if free. I checked all the moves out but could not on sight it. 

me, preparing for the first M9 pitch on good bolts



 on the steep overhang




Matthias came close but slipped with his heel lever on the powerful moves over the overhang. Being keen to finally climb some ice we didn´t go for another Redpoint- try but went straight for the ice part. I climbed the first ice pitch, a sea of ice, brittle and steeper on some parts, but generally good formed. After a long pitch i made a belay on solid bolts on yet another rock wall looming above me. Matthias came up and climbed the beautiful pillar. 


Matthias on pitch three



The climb ended with a big  ice curtain of good ice. A great climb! And a rewarding view above an incredible beautiful valley!


last pitch of the Zauberflöte


knee deep snow  on the way down to the Zauberflöte


wonderful sun set at the Lungavalley after a long day...





a great view above Innsbruck and the best resting place you can get...(Dryland)


With unstable winter conditions Drytooling became a constant choice this year: always 

reliable rock structures, independent  of weather and mountain hazards. We would go for a Drytool place named “Dryland” very close to Innsbruck.

Matthias and me pretty soon climbed “Happy” a wonderful M9 climb. Then we went for “Open end” M11. Matthias soon got all the moves and Redpointed the route the next day.

Matthias going for it...


It took me some work but i knew that the route was in my range. So on the 11th of february we hiked the 1 hours walk there again and i was sure to RP this time. I warmed up properly and then went for it: It took me 4 trys,and each time i climbed straightly towards the crux over the overhang, only to experience a small incongruity in the “red zone”, which could or could not have worked out: once a hock did not hold, once a tool would come down...to accept that i had tried my very best in a row and that it didn´t work out was made easier by a partner able to find the right words. I came down with the best training i could have had in a game where falling does not mean the end of the world ;-)




trying to refind focus after each fall...

and again...


Hängende Gärten


The "Stubai" and "Ziller" valley were iceless, and one of the few ice lines in were the “Hanging Gardens”. Although we had climbed this fall five years ago already, we tracked again into the Lüsens valley, curious what we would find this year. The ice line was towering there in all it´s might, but it had seen some climbing already: a lots of hooks, but still athletic climbing on treacherous holds. While we climbed there were two other parties on the fall, climbing after us,  which added a bit of spice...



Matthias on the second pitch of the "Hängende Gärten"




In the days with heavy winds, on rest days or after the Ispo we went for the great Skitouring area at Axamer to enjoy the snow and the winds and to regain some new energy...


superb snow conditions with Greg Grenzke

stormy days...

regaining new energy...