Dan P. and I had the day to climb. With recent snowfall, we needed to stay at lower elevations, preferably south facing. I chose the Martinswand. I’d been there once before to climb a via ferrata which was kind of “blech.” Sorry, but it’s just not a mountain experience when you are endlessly pulling yourself up metal cables, not touching rock at all!

First we did a 5 pitch route called “Flying Grass.” Rated VII- (5.10b/c), it’s completely bolted. There were some interesting moves, though the VII- crux was too hard for us! We could pull past it, and enjoy several VI/VI+ pitches in better style.

Above this route, we scrambled a ways to the west to reach the start of the Ostriss, rated VI (5.9). This is a 4-5 pitch vertical crack climb. The first pitch was a little scruffy, but had a nice character all the same. The second pitch had the first real crack climbing. This being limestone, there were only a few good jams, but I loved the steepness. At the top of this pitch was an airy semi-hanging belay. Dan took off for another steep pitch while I admired the Inn River far below, and the noisy autobahn. Across the valley the snow on the Stubai Alps was melting visibly. I combined the last two pitches, which had a slab, then another steep corner pitch.

We hiked down to the car, then moved west to climb the Auckenthaler Riss (Auckenthaler Crack), rated VII-. It took quite a while to find the start of this route, and unfortunately we ran out of time to finish it. We climbed 4 interesting pitches. The last one, at grade VI-, gave a foretaste of the consistently hard pitches that would follow. Alas, we’d have to wait for another day. With our single 50 meter rope we had to be adventurous in our rappels to the base. A long downclimb back to the car ensued.

All of these routes are either completely bolted, or just need a small selection of small/medium cams to protect. The Auckenthaler Riss is 9 pitches, climbing almost the entire wall. Not bad for a “climbing garden” right beside the road!