27 Oct 2017

Woelkenstein climbing

Playing around

In the car, Barbara laughed, which surprised her. She’d felt really down the whole week without knowing why. I don’t remember what I said, but I should have written it down, I guess!

The traffic was pretty bad…it took more than 5 hours, though I’d been bragging how quickly we could get there. But long stretches were okay. Only once did I get mad…when I was doing the zipper movement to merge, and two cars went in front of me instead of the usual one. That was a little irritating, but then a third car decided he should deserve to get to go in front of me as well. I fought to keep my place and he was right there, nosing up against my car. I yelled out the window that he has to accept his place in line! He gesticulated and made a sour face. I really don’t understand why he felt entitled that way? Barbara liked that I pushed back. Very nice. :)

Later, we were there. We followed a slow bus up to the Sella Pass, but Barbara didn’t mind the long drive. She was enjoying that she didn’t have to do anything, and the sun felt good. I felt so much better on hearing that. It turned my view around on what was going on.

Kissing around

Climbing nicely

At the pass we got our gear together to climb a route on the First Sella Tower, but darn it, the wind was just too biting and strong. We walked up about 10 or 15 minutes, then turned around. It was clear and beautiful though, and I’m glad we had a look around for later.

We went down into the protection of the Langental valley, and visited the little climbing crag there. After the first pitch, we did three short pitches from a high belay stance. The one on the left was probably grade V-, and gave Barbara a really good test. She even did it twice. The middle route was a bit easier, and then the one on the left had a pretty tough move that got my heart pumping. I’d climbed it years before, but forgot how tricky it was. It was really enjoyable to do the move, though.

Barbara did everything below the crux, but it stopped her cold. No problem!

Now we went down to the ground and Barbara led a III+ route. She said it was too easy and I shouldn’t follow it. So we scrambled around to the right and she belayed me on the “Comici” route in the chimney. Oh wow, this was extremely enjoyable! But I ran into a problem right at the end. The belay was up and out of sight, and I’d used exactly half the rope and run out of quickdraws. I’d loved the stemming and liebacking on this beautiful pitch, and wanted to share it with Barbara, but I was pretty sure some of it would be too hard. If I went up to a belay around the corner we’d have at least two problems: a) I wouldn’t be able to see her and coach her through the two cruxes, and b) we wouldn’t have enough rope to rappel down, so she’d be compelled to finish the route, even though it’s too hard. That seemed stressful, so I had Barbara lower me from the last bolt. I wanted to come back with double ropes and divide the pitch into two in order to create a fantastic learning environment for her, but we didn’t get the time in the rest of the weekend.

Climbing rudely


My Barbara

We went over and did a short hike before dinner. The walk to dinner was pretty long, but we finally found a pizzeria in St. Christina. The hotel was nice, and we enjoyed our room.

The next day, we had different choices. I settled on a klettersteig that would climb up to the Stevia Hut. As we walked up we passed a sign that said the klettersteig was closed forever and removed. Later I found out it was because it was built in a wilderness area that didn’t allow such things. So instead we hiked up the Stevia summit which was about 1000 meters above where the car was parked, passing the Stevia Refugio along the way. At the end, the wind was absolutely hilarious, knocking us over and getting us to learn how to “crab walk” and even almost crawl when we were near the ridge. We crawled up to the edge and looked down 600 meters to the floor of the valley to the west. Gorgeous, and wonderful fun!

We went down, absolutely floored by the beauty of this place. Along the way we stopped twice for zen meditation. At one place, we could feel the wind trying to lift us up. What a metaphor, I felt.

We had an easy drive home with zero traffic, it was fantastic.

We’d had such a wonderful time. We seem to constantly enjoy each other to an ever greater degree.

Huts are closed

Gorgeous scenery