Results for category "Guiding"

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after the dump

Visiting the Carpathians


“Cabin crew, prepare for landing” … I wake up. Snow covered hills below me. Some houses spread in between the fog. A new chapter opens. It’s says: Mountain Guide Training in Eastern Europe. It’s my first visit. And it’s the first training of its kind – after the final rehearsal two years ago.

To take part in the training students from several countries get together. They’re all strong alpinists, some of them are already established national guides. During the afternoon large duffles pile up at the Paltinu hut. For the most part I don’t understand what people say. But faces tell me, they’re happy to arrive and they know each other. The mixed group has mastered the entry test, now they take their first winter training. So, the new guy, that’s me. But soon, the ice is broken and we ski, study and chat.

Thanks for teaching me the roots of the sastrugi, the difference between muschi and schnitzel, and how strong apple juice can be.

Keep up the vibes!

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You may think it’s silly to leave France for rock climbing. Is Spain really warmer? Whatever – let’s go to Siurana, the well-known stronghold of elite climbers. But there is also plenty of moderate climbing around the charming village that sits below the orange cliffs. We enjoyed some last on warm rock before the cold season and got to do some “projects”. Mr “Alzheimer-onsight” – mentally prepared and not drunk this time – pulled up a nasty roof and could hide the pump he got from the roof in the dihedral that followed – thanks to his leopard dress. “Miss like crimps” got in the moves real quick after a two week working break – we know she’s not a climber, maybe rather a science nerd. “Herr Schneider” was around, too, but no one ever caught a shot of the creature. He’s said to have fiddled a lot with a weird open crack, we suppose some American chronical disease he has got. He eventually earned a green leave for the easiest route in the grade .


Chamonix Alpine weeks


Les Courtes, l’Aiguille du Chardonnet, Les Dorées, l’Aiguille du Plan: these names ring a bell?
Granite spires around Mont Blanc rise like needles to the sky. They turn heads of climbers’ who walk the streets of Chamonix. Alpinists point upwards like Balmat once did. In 1786 he showed Saussure his route to the summit of Mont Blanc as the monument in town tells us. Together with Paccard he had climbed Mont Blanc for the first time and before Saussure who had studied glaciers and atmospheric conditions in the area, but hadn’t reached the summit, yet. Captivated by the view of the white mountain from his house at the Lake Léman Saussure returned to complete his project of climbing Mont Blanc.
In the calm wake around his busy majesty we could close some of our projects. Thanks for tieing in guys!


let's ski the backside

Steep at Lofoten


The other Norway adventure. Well, we all heard about Lofoten. But let’s do it different style.

This adventure takes some tough guys with wild dreams iconic peaks in the Arctic. Good, they don’t fear the bushwack. They’re ready for multiple skinning. They got the legs for the backside runs – and they don’t mind to take the long way home.

In the end it all wasn’t that bad, and we found time for great evening cookouts. Thanks chefs!

Here we make memories.


Simplon unite


Boarders and Skiers unite to enjoy fun freeride days and Italian cuisine. As usual work comes before pleasure and so we work our way up towards Capanna Leone. A steep finish challenges our skinning skills just before the mountain pass where we descend towards the hut for an italo-dutch apéro on the porch. Only the next day we get to ride all the meters we climbed the day before – some fresh snow in the morning and some slush in the afternoon. We arrive in the small town of Simplon Dorf and wait for the connection towards Italy at the historic square. A great dinner at Locanda Diei in San Domenico and good night’s rest allow to recover. In the bright morning sun we climb in an ancient chair lift and leave behind the village. Our loop around Pizzo Moro offers views towards Monte Leone, where we started the adventure, but also extends to where we’re headed: Alpe Devero. The day’s second climb we finish with crampons – great job guys! A gap between sheer cliffs leads down into a slush bowl. We’re crusing wide open fields into marvellous trees scattering low sunlight. Finally we feel some life between the ancient stone huts. ‘Voilà!’ – we fuel up with charcoil burgers and beers for the last climb. A winding road climbs between pines. Around the last bend we spot a faint light within a cluster of stone huts. What happened there remains secret.


love the finish

Gallatin Swing – a farewell to the Bozeman cragging


“Let’s head out bros” we gotta finish the “fall project” before winter,
but, are we “ready for the check”?

This one is the “organic rock line”,
“All in” – time to bring on your skill set!

“6b+ (6b+ obligatoire)”
The “Gallatin Swing” is all “no bacon – no flavor”

So “bring some pro”, but no worries …
Ben bolted, it is “a padded line”!

Split the “191 ft” at a halfway stance and enjoy
“Euro-sytle” sweet little pitches.

Feel free to “climb to the end of rope”
Feel free to “leave the rope at home”
But “have fun”

Follow Strom Castle Road from the camping with the “no overnight sign” for 3 min.
Sticks, cairns, slings and signs and a little “mounatain feel” will take to the base.
A fixed line comfort the last feet through “Bozeman style choss”.

Route (no fun here):
Pitch 1: 6b+, 28m, 6 bolts, little cracked buttress (.4″), dihedral, steep face.
Pitch 2; 6b+, 30m, 4 bolts, traverse, short buttress, crack (doubles .4″ – .75″), steep face.

Descent (keep it serious):
Anchors equipped for rappel (2x25m)


Desert season – Red Rocks


The desert season’s on!
The long sunny periods handed over to more changeable weather patterns.
We’re headed south. Nevermind the long drive it’s all new and exciting. Really.

Salt Lake City is so quiet on a Sunday morning. A spot in a coffee bar at 9 is easy to find.
Right, the Mormons are at church.
Same thing in Las Vegas. Almost 9 am and no one’s up for a coffee? What about Nevada’s religion and coffee?
Right, it’s 6:50 am. We missed daylight saving and pacific time.
But, we’re wearing flipflops – this we got right!

The first climb was on mediocre rock. The second a chilly outing on rather tiny holds for the grade.
Why are people crazy for this place?
– “So tonight we go out and play?”
– “I’m not sure I want to see the lavish splendor.”
– “A city build on ripping people off? I mean that’s what it is, isn’t it?”

In wait to finally discover the sandstone jewels we decided to hang out.
People at the campground were so generous to share their site.
So the next day, we spend a happy day on the south faces of the Juniper Canyon.
Birdland put a big smile on our faces: what a varied rock climb on good gear!
– “Should we check out downtown tonight?”
– “A enormous city in the desert that just feels weird.”
– “I mean the Colorado river delta in Mexico is dry and here the lawn is bright green … ”

After Y2K we were not sure whether we wouldn’t extend our stay.
Maybe a reason to put the topo online.
We loved it. And we almost passed downtown on the way home.
In the end we decided not to.
So, we no nothing about that place – time to stop the charges.


High up on the Mountaineers (our 6th pitch)

The Elephant’s Perch – a jewel lies in wait


The sharp ridgeline looks like a sawing blade – despite the dense haze that is in the air. Too many wild fires currently are burning not too far away from the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho – and elsewhere in the U.S. Northwest. This mountain range holds some of the rock climber’s wildest dreams of unspoilt faces, perfect granite and  remote adventures at no more than a couple of hours walk.
As we’re in it for the fun, we took a shuttle across Redfish Lake, set up a camp and enjoyed 2 light daytrips to the Elephant’s Perch – rather than committing to a long roundtrip. What makes this trip still an adventure is that there is no guidebook on this area. We sketched a topo of the Mountaineer’s route – to the best of our memories and photographs.
This first small dose got us motivated … we’re coming back!

Grand_Teton_39 (2)

Durrance Exum to The Grand Teton


“When the guide Paul Petzoldt slowly worked his way up towards the summit of “The Grand” with his guests, his assistant pushed off to the side. Glen Exum traversed a ledge towards the south rigde – today known as Wall Street. He free soloed the to the summit to join his master and guests.” This was when the upper part of the south ridge was first discovered, the lower section was awakened from hibernation by Jack Durrance five years later in 1936. That’s why, often the enchainment of “Lower Exum” and “Upper Exum” is called the “Durrance Exum”.

We like the old stories. And we like to check out the routes. Be amazed by the ancient and genius.

After a calm night between the boulders of the moraine below the Lower Saddle we got an after sunrise start. The route is a flow. It takes you through featured, occasionally exposed rock while you move into thinner air. The Tetons stand tall from the plains and eclipse surrounding ranges, yet being part of the chain of the Rockies.

Why are the Tetons that special? Ask the nerd! After the ranges in today’s western Wyoming had formed millions of years ago, not so long ago, but still more than half a million years ago, Yellowstone’s supervolcano erupted turning the mountains to the northeast of the Tetons into ashes and clouds. What is left behind is  a majestic range with summits hovering more than 2000 m above the plains. In short, the Tetons look like mountains are supposed to look like.

Lyngen fjord with reflections

The 2017 Lyngen Adventure


Another day, another trip – but, different style.

Baggage delayed, flights changed, some guys in late. That’s how it started. But now that we’ve all arrived, there’s no hurry any more. The pace of the North slows us down. There’s no “rush for the slush” here. The sking starts in our backyard so to speak – and tons of great outings begin just a short drive down the road.

For day one we chose Tverrelvdalstinden. It offers a short climb to find the rhythm, an easy scramble along the ridge to challenge yourself and a varied descent to get a first taste of the spring season’s mix of slush and powder.

Day two was “the day with the break at the tree”. This trip took us across two passes, namely Rhieppi and the col North of Skaidevarri. It was all about travelling a mountain range on the island, see where we are and inhale the beauty.
Then, the time had come to tackle the first big piece. We climbed Rundsfjellet just south of Lyngseidet. The calm sea refected the mountains opposite of the Lyngen fjord. Unreal. The light, sugary snow made for some great shots in the evening sun we got into the open forest.

The next morning we welcomed our friends on board of the ferry to Olderdalen. They took us to a quiet island named Kagen. The stunning view from these mountain tops reaches out across the waters of the Northern Atlantic. We avoid commenting on snow conditions.

What’s next? We had already seen so beautiful places … but there’s one thing missing: the full alpine adventure. Lyngen does offer that, too. Indeed, we hadn’t collected any “hell points” yet – although we had earned several points on Norwegian food traditions. Stockfish, Fiskeboller and Karamelskecheese scored high!
So, we got a reasonably early start – Norwegian style. We cruised along the frozen Jaegervatnet and then headed up towards Trollbreen. The couloir appeared and there was no holding back, thus soon we topped out at one of Lyngen’s most iconic peaks. After this day, we had really earned the turns and deserved the relaxing sauna. However, for some of us the relaxing just had a medical purpose, as another day brings another trip …
Day six took us up the very steep southern flank of Sofiatinden. An incredible run to conclude a marvellous week.

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