Monday, 7 May 2012

A Couple of Days in the Bavarian Forest

My fellow lodger here in Innsbruck is from the east of Bavaria, a region called Niederbayern (lower Bavaria). He was enthusing about the climbing in his home region, so we decided to pay the area a visit. I was expecting a place very similar to the moors- esoteric and with a few good lines, but a lot of dross.

 It turned out that the area is actually pretty bare of rock, or climbable rock in any case, but the few crags that do exist are superb. I'd go as far to say that the first route I climbed there 'Schwein Im Weltraum' (pig in space) (f6a) was one of the best routes i've ever done. It was so good I led it twice! I was even tempted to solo it, but decided that some of the moves may not be a good plan.

The harder routes were nearly as good- at least matching up to general european sport climbing standards and on some brilliant Gneiss and Schist. I've only climbed on high-grade metamorphics twice before- once near Chamonix and once in the outer Hebrides, but I'd say that the rock here trumped either of them. It often looks rather brittle, but unlike the Hebrides these crags appear to get a reasonable amount of traffic, so you can be fairly confident holds aren't going to break on you.

Demonstrating my appalling overhang-technique on some steep and slopey F7b. This is not representative of the area, with only a couple of bolts of interest and a bit of a crap line- alas twas the only thing we filmed, as Toby's sister Susi brought a camera one day. I need to re-learn how to clip too...

My only qualm was the bolting, which was fairly moronic in places. There were a fair few moments when I was a bit scared- sometimes (as with the video above) it was my fault for clipping in silly places (oh, the errors of the inexperienced sport climber), but most of the time it was evidently first ascentionists wanting to use as few bolts as possible. It wasn't rare to be soloing 4-8 metres to the first bolt...

We were having a relaxed few days, so nothing too stressful, but we did get on about 8 routes from F7a-F7c+, with only one fall the whole trip (on the F7c+). I'd love to get back there and try the F8as and the other great-looking mid 7s.

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