Montag, 2. März 2015

Two First Ascents at the Averstal / Learning Lessons

After some crazy bouldermoves I was able to reach the ice on the first ascent of "Piece Of Mind"

A spicy repeat of "Marilyn Manson" (220m, M7+, WI6+) on the 8th of February with Hannes Kanonier

Hmm ok where should I start, it´s some time ago since my last post on this blog and there is a reason why?
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.

After the return, the backs of my hands were still dump for a view weeks…. While waiting for the winter and the cold I spent some time in the Ticino where we did lot´s of sport climbing. I was very keen to explore Ticino from a total different approach as I did it for the last 10 year with bouldering. There are some 1th class crags with super cool routes on very good rock.
The classic Thron (WI 5) at the Averstal with Jacopo Larcher

Winter finally arrived and we started the ice-climbing season at the 6th of January with the obligatory Thron (WI5) at the Averstal in 2h base to base. Two days later I started up with Wolfgang for a nice icefall at Zillis (Swiss) but in ice-climbing it´s a bad combination if the motivation is high and the temperatures too : ).
So we ended up abseiling from two Abalakovs because the ice was thin and water behind it. For the last rappel we slinged a small tree. I was not connected to it and when Wolfi rappelled over the edge the tree started moving out of the ground. I immediately jumped around the tree and hold it back with all my strength until Wolfi was safely at the ground. He was wondering when I pulled up the rope again and lowered from a more thrust full belay. When I reached Wolfi I just said: ”Don´t ask what happened you don’t want to know!
After a more detailed inspection I realised that the tree was more frozen to the dirt and not very well connected with it´s roots to the ground. Check your abseils properly. 

Two first ascent in the Val Ferrera

 “The Winners loose it all some Day” (WI5/ M6 X/ 300m/ clean)

The amazing and conciliatory ice pitch after the very loose rock pitches below. On "The Winner Losse It All Some Day"
After me and Hanno soloed the “Rotes Vergissmeinnicht “ (WI4+/ 140m) at the Val Fererra, we spotted a crazy looking yellow ice formation hanging in a big overhang just on the opposite side of the small village Ausserferrera. After a view days we returned to try this idea.
The first 200m are easy mixed terrain on snow rock and some vegetation. Then we climbed a traverse to the left that was very loose and overhanging with almost no protection. We climbed this traverse in a big 80 meter pitch. Then the rock gets little better and we continued over huge blocks stacked together to reach the start of the ice. We climbed the yellow hanging icicles in one pitch with moderate difficulty. “The Winners loose it all some Day” (WI5/ M6 X/ 300m/ clean). We left no traces on the climb and took all the gear with us we used for protection despite the slings we used for rappelling. Here is a topo for the archive. It´s hard to recommend the route because of it s very loose rock flakes on the travers pitch. So it´s maybe a good adventure for the lovers of the loose.
Hanno reaching the belay of the start into the ice pitch on The Winner......

Topo "The Winners Loose It All Some Day"

“Piece Of Mind” (WI5+/ M6/ 250m/ clean)

Working my way up the very hollow ice, no screws allowed!!
On this climb we had a close call. In 15 years of climbing you get your routine, your speed, and most important your experience. I had close calls in my climbing life and most of them happened because of a misinterpretation of conditions or that it simply is not what you expected it to be. On clean climbing these misinterpretations can be fatal. I am aware about this fact and very conscious how I behave in the mountains. These close call situations have the character of an accident. You don´t calculate with.
It was Hanno´s first whipper in such alpine terrain on ice and he is climbing now for 30 years. We had luck that both of us stayed unharmed.
After this wake up call there was still enough ice so that we still could climb the pitch. Followed by a moderate mixed pitch we reached the hanging icicles where we thought would be the crux of this first ascent but with some bouldery moves on nice granite we reached the ice and topped out.
This first ascent is a really nice climb with a big versatility from nice ice climbing to mixed climbing on solid granite high above the Val Fererra. A route I can recommend.
We realised this first ascent in clean style. No fixed gear in the whole wall! 
Keep this climb clean and save your gear for following adventures!

Bildunterschrift hinzufügen

Hanno on the last 20 meters of snowslab climbing on the crux pitch of "Piece Of Mind"
Hanno a good friend and reliable climbingpartner 

The big question? Can we get to the hanging stuff above..... "Piece Of Mind"

Topo "Piece Of Mind"

Freitag, 26. September 2014

PsychoGramm - How far can I push my clean climbing ?

pic Beat Kammerlander

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.
He removed the bolts of the only free climbing line in this plate and then climbed it clean; there is talk of the “Prinzip Hoffnung”. With a clear “no” to a in suit protection Beat created something new at the Bürser Platte. Free climbing, mobile protections, that are placed while climbing, or plain „clean climbing“.
I was fascinated early by climbing with natural protection and so it came that in December 2009 I was able to realize the first repetition of the ”Prinzip Hoffnung”. I felt the urge for more, looking for a new challenge.
In the central part of the Bürser wall there is a delicate crack which meanders up, and completely levels off in the middle of the wall. While examining the line, it seemed impossible to climb safely with mobile protection. During the checkout in top rope I realized that the boulder at the end of the crack is really hard. From ten attempts I managed the boulder only once. Bad protection, „ground fall“ potential and a crux sequence I only succeeded every tenth time? A simple calculation – the project was too dangerous, wherefore it was put on ice.
This winter I thought a lot about walls, ice formations and mountains I wanted to try. But after my return from the ice-rich Norway my projects didn´t grow or they were in a ramshackle condition. So it was that I went to the Bürser plate again. The process began anew, boldering, checking the placements …. tactics. After several attempts I was able to connect the very uncertain sequences of movements. I was able to make all the moves, but that was only the beginning of the challenge to climb the route in a clean climbing style.
pic. Beat Kammerlander
When I said that I am going for the lead there was silence at the ground of the wall. My friends Hannes and Flo, who tried to grant for my protection, took themselves back.
The energy surrounding us was palpable. Tension, then concentration. I felt my willingness to give absolutely everything I have, but still to act differentiated, also to decide conscious.
A compilation of all experiences and sequences of motions to a point – here and now. I´m ready.
There were three more falls until I climbed Psychogramm red point.
Alex Luger

Filmed and produced by Beat Kammerlander. Beat followed my process trying to clean climb this crazy line with his camera, so all the shots are real and the climbingshots were took during my three tries and on the fourth when I sent it. The movie is more a documentary than a climbing porn. It´s more than just a hard moves and chalking.....
Enjoy it.

Montag, 15. September 2014

Exposure and the First Snow....

 Fresh snow on the small glaicer autum is here. pic Alex Luger

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.  

 The headwall is steep.

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

Mittwoch, 4. Juni 2014

Aurora Borealis

 pic. Ray Demski

pic Ray Demski

The trip to Norway was amazing, lot´s of inspiring and wonderful ice climbing lines great alpine climbing and a good climbing ethic. The people are very hospitably and they say things straight out, what makes it very uncomplicated.
We have been in the Lyngen Alps for iceclimbing and shooting aurora borealis. So the days where quiet long, but I like the feeling of a harsh nature and the cold with the big sleeping bag in view ;).
We where a nice team with Hanno Schluge, Ray Demsky, Heli Putz, Thomas Schermer and Cameron Sylvester whose kept the spirits high even in darker times.

Hanno Schluge and me managed to realise a cool first ascent as the locals confirmed. The 6 pitches long route is called Stuorraniibi (Sami Knife) and we rated it WI6, M7. The protection is clean. What I really like on this climb is that we didn´t left any traces from our ascent. The rock is sometimes loose but with some alpine experience you can enjoy the climb. A king line.

So now the photo project is online with unique pictures and a short clip of the trip.

The link to the project: 

The clip of the trip:

    Thanks to the team for the nice time. I will be back for sure.