Winter review 2014

14/05/2014 00:00

Reflections on the

 Ice season 2014


It´s spring now, the beginning of May.

For me this is the time of transformation, of letting go, of finally ending a chapter and starting a new one: Ending the  winter season and the things  connected to it,  letting all the experiences settle down, and starting out setting new goals : it´s never easy - letting go and looking ahead, ...looking towards another season,...and right now- ...looking towards summer


I´m glad this time between the seasons is outstretched, with oncoming snowfalls, strains of sunshine and rain. I´m glad winter is not disappearing from one day to the other, but gives us time to let things let all our experiences, all the countless muscles burns and adrenalin flows we´ve experienced over the season slowly being transformed into something new. It is this transformation, not only of the body but also of our inner self that makes this time so valuable and important. It gives us a chance to change, to become stronger- and maybe wiser. 


 All the experiences we´ve made slowly  transform themselves into our inner selves, all the multiple crystals and sandkorns of challenges we´ve faced, all the new  experiences we´ve made slowly sink down, building  layer above layer, like forming sediments,  creating  an indestructible and unique rock, full  of harder and softer structures: a richer personality.





Many days have past since our last ice adventure. It has been a very long, a very good season, starting in Canada at 25th of october and ending at the 4th of april in Cogne on Monday Money. Since it was that long i will start the ice voyage backwards, beginning with this last climbs in April and then working my way back through the climbs in March, February, January, December. You won´t find pics of Canada here, since that is already put down on another chapter ...:-) ENJOY! 





 Climbing “Monday Money” on the 4th of April was just an official “Good buy “ to the ice season, a nice and easy climbing day in purpose of, letting ice climbing being memorized at something “under Control”, as something rather pure pleasureful...I personally  think of this as quite a  smart psychological  trick and kind of an excellent preparation for the next ice season ... 



MARCH 2014


REPENTANCE, 24th ascend


It started at 5.45 in the morning hour on the 6th of March, Matthias and me clipping our skis at the start of Val Nontey and heeding towards Repentance once more. I decided to lead the first 2 pitches and - as so often in ice climbing, fully got court by surprise: I had expected the ice to have become easier with the ending season and the lots of climbs it has seen- but after all this years i was taught better again: a new layer of ice had freshly formed, a spell of weather changes had renewed the structure and made the ice hard and brittle. Plus , it was cold that day, very cold and my fingers started to freeze and unfreeze again, never really getting warm. I had to fight the pain in them as well as the ice and the 70 meters of steepness ahead got more demanding than thought. It was quite a good waking up again, at a time when i already felt  a bit tired of the cold . The second pitch however was easier to climb, and Matthias and me did not hesitate to climb Repentance to the every end at the plateau. There had been so much snow fallen, it was impossible to find the rock with the bolts for abseiling, so we had to build an abalakov on the ice and abseiled. It was still super cold and so in the end we had much more fun than expected on that particular day- it had been our 24 ascent of Repentance- and it seemed the dragon still had it´s fangs sharpened.... 


Me on the first two pichtes of  "Repentance"


Matthias on the Candle of "Repentance"



We did some easier workouts on real easy ice like Stalacitto di Cristallo before we heeded to Kandersteg on the 

10th of March to climb “Metro” on the Breitwangenfluh the next day.


Metro, (Kandersteg, Swiss)

I´ve never climbed such a thing before, through darkness and ancient rock towers towards the outer light  - it was stunning! First discovered and climbed by the Anthamatten-brothers already in 2004 it  never got too popular.

Matthias went for the first pitch, which had some interesting, starting movements. Then I started for the second one. There were quite some traces in the beginning and the climbing was real fun, but at a certain point the ice got really thin and led to a kind of ice- overhang. Here climbing got really exciting, but once I had surpassed that section the rest was good terrain again. I built a well protected belay on screws in a sheltered Ice curtain, then Mat came up and soon went for the third pitch, steep, but of  slightly better ice quality.

Now we were breathing fresh air again, the sun was full up and we had an beautiful view around. A supercool climb and an extraordinary experience.




Entering the hidden ice climb of "Metro"




Matthias in the first Ice -pitch of "Metro"


Me following up the first ice pitch


Me going for the second pitch of "Metro"


interesting climbing in the second pitch of "Metro"



...and into the light again...3.pitch





Next day was reservated for Drytooling and we checked out the amazing place of “Eptingen”. Despite being just 2 minutes from the Autobahn the place was just great and we had quite a good work out that day before our voyage went on.








Friday, 14th found us on a 2hours walk to the “Ränkfelle” . Once a crowded place in mid winter we found it fully abandoned. No person appeared in this sea of ice and so we climbed “ La Linea /Valentinstag” like it would be the most forsaken place in the world and i enjoyed the absolute tranquility- although my legs were burning from the first two pitches until the steeper fun part finally started. The ice was still good  and climbing became pure joy. 

Who had thought to find such excellent conditions in this time of the year? 


Matthias climbing the first pitch

Matthias climbing the fisrt pitch


The upper pitch of "La Linea- Valentinstag"



The beautiful "Valentinstag" Candle


 Matthias and me at the summit of the "Renkfälle"



PIOVRA   Lungavalley, Dolomites


 Monday the 17th of March found us tracking our way up the beautiful "Lungavalley" once again. The last time we had been here, the avalanche conditions had been horrific and we wouldn´t dare going up that perfect avalanche slope. This time so, conditions were superb and we had an excellent climbing day.

The long snow slope at the approach of "Piovra"

Matthias at the second pitch of "Piovra"


at the top of "Piovra"





22th - 28th of february 

We´ve embarked to Norway  with two intentions: firstly for the Rjukan ice event and secondly for some big lines  discovered last year and still undone by us. My twin sister Heike  joined us for the trip and I was very happy about that.

The Rjukan icefestival turned out to be as superb as expected and we enjoyed it a lot . Thanks here to Jakob Fink, the main organisator and a good friend  of us to make this great event happen!


The "Movie night" at the Rjukan Icefestival- stunning!


Girls clinics at the Rjukan Ice Festival







Our plans  of climbing  big lines in Norway  on the other hand was drawned in water flowing riverbeds, making our climb unaccessable ... we were deeply disappointed until we accepted this years reality: no ice , not now, not here in Norway, not this year...but maybe the coming season. ..we checked  further places, we found local weather fortelling support and we swallowed the bite..running along the rain and wind bown fjord roads and making pull ups we packed our bags again for another  long day of travel by car and plane.



the little ice we found was not in best conditions....





AUSTRIA, Innsbruck and Lungavalley


Between January 24.- 14th of February we were travelling to  Innsbruck, ISPO Munich and the Dolomites. We climbed "Zauberflöte", "Hängende Gärten" , "Pilat" and some other ice falls.  We also spend a lot of time Drytooling. I climbed "Happy" M9 in the Dryland after some few tries and worked on "Open End" M11, which i missed only by a hair´s was a very cool route in a super cool environment  so and i enjoyed working on endurance and concentration.


The wonderful "Zauberflöte" at the Lungavalley


Reaching for the Ice in the superb climbing of the "Zauberflöte"...



super cool ambiance in the Dryland...



warming up for a long day of drytooling...



Matthias working hard...




Returning home to the Alps, ahhhh what a sight when you finally see the mountain- chains again,  mightily arising in the fading light...




January 2014


ice climbing in the COGNE VALLEY




... the ice had formed in many unusual ways this season: many falls, who build only in decades like “Ricami” formed, and others, normally not drawing our attention became interesting climbs. Free standings like “Hard Ice” created themselves and stayed much longer than usually,saw many repetitions, until, much later than expected, they finally broke down ( “Hard ice” in the third week of march). Others, like “Pattinaggio arttistico” came early but broke down unexpectedly (22.01), only to slowly rebuild themselves again. Repentance formed unusually skinny in the second pitch and never got really easy to climb even in the very end of the season. "Leau Bij" was spectacular to climbv when we made the first  ascent of the season on the 3th of January, and the traverse continued to stay intersting for a long time.


So unnecessary to say that Matthias and me got out there very often and had a lot of fun!



Me on the "uncanny" pitch of "Stella Artice" on 22th of January - the temperatures had changed over night and the ice had a lot of tension. On that morning "Pattinaggio Artistico" fell down, as we noticed on the way back...



Me on the first pitch o "Riccami", 23. January, - one of the coolest climbs this year in the valley....


Matthias on  great pitch of "Riccami"


"Hard Ice direct" the super cool Pillar I climbed together with my twin- sister on the 18th of february- unnecessary to say that we climbed it twice... ;-)


 climbing "Sentinal ice" 12th of January  




Drytooling- & Mixedclimbing in the Valley


This year found us checking out a lot of Drytooling-Routes... some of them classic style, others like "Captain Hook" in the Haston Cave on very old, questionable anchors, others brand new bolts in the the end all of them were a lot of fun to climb!!!


"Doccia Fredda", a classical, bolted Mixed Route in the Val Nontey- 3 pitches, all of them excellent!!!



Sending "Captain Hook", M10 on 15th January, after puttiing some fine work on it...




B&B, (now agreed to be M9+) a great, brand new new climb here in Valeille my twin sister Heike and Matthias could RP on 8th of January, although they didn´t go for the ice part, since it was a way too warm on that day. I had some good efforts on that climb but managed to hit my mouth so hard with the tool, i woudn´t go for another try that day..







... and thus the ice season comes to an end, a warm air is coming down from the valley and I already can smell the first scent of flowers unfolding their beauty- but the ice is gone: that bizarre, beautiful world, which is so diffrent from the one arising now. A beauty, which is rather cold, but still, alluring, beckoning. A beauty, which never hides to be brittle and dangerous. It will unfold itself again next winter, and when it returns, we hope to be ready for it!

But for now: Let´s enjoy summer!