Zillertal climbing shock. Part 2.

11th Jul 2013

Enjoying the sun Cross Poor finger Looking for holds Gone purple F7c onsight- nearly

Part 2…

So to the climbing in Zillertal:

I was a little apprehensive about climbing on granite, as it’s not my favourite rock and had heard it was quite burly with not many holds to choose from. But I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of routes and styles and I really enjoyed the climbing here.

The first couple of days were a bit grim with rainy, cold weather and quite a bit of wet rock. But we all persevered and managed to get stuff done. I shocked myself by flashing a f7a+ (on top rope) on the first day, then onsighted a f7b on the second day, so my visions of only being able to climb f6c, were dispensed with quickly.

I don’t really know how I was managing to climb these grades, having really done nothing for months but can only put it down to the access work keeping me quite strong and I felt I was climbing really well and moving efficiently on rock.

The weather improved all the time and by the fourth day I got to the last move onsight of a very blind f7c. I really hung in there and was searching about for holds but couldn’t find anything and just jumped for an obvious chalked hold that was just too far away. I was pretty gutted at falling off right at the top but also had to feel pleased too, as this far exceeded what I thought I was capable of at this time. What also made me feel slightly better, was that a f9a climber got on straight after me and did exactly the same thing, falling off where I had. I was pretty surprised but it showed me that it wasn’t just me and it was a very blind sequence.

One of the new Marmot stars is a young lady from Sweden called Matilda Soderlund. It was fantastic to see her in action and pretty much out climb the boys. You don’t see women do that very often and it was a real pleasure to see how she does it. She just gets holds and pulls on them come what may…and is also very strong and fit. She was made for climbing, being tall, light and has exceedingly long arms- but has the movement skills to back it all up. She is doing the leading world cups this year, so it’ll be interesting to watch her progress.

So by the end of the week, I was really starting to feel like a climber again and thought, well if I can nearly onsight a f7c, then why not get a harder redpoint project.

So I got on an f8a at Monkey Island thinking it would be a fun process just to try some harder moves and see how it all felt. Well, shock horror, if I didn’t redpoint it on my third go!! To say I was elated was an understatement, I was unbelievably happy with that! Doing an f8a in a day is no mean feat and it was certainly not what I was expecting to achieve when I arrived in the Zillertal a few days previously.

After this the van died and I was caught up in sorting that out but on the Sunday, went out climbing with a load of the Austrian locals. All mates of Gerhard Horager, which was the Marmot pro we had all stayed with. They were a nice bunch and all very good. Well yet again I surprised myself by getting on an f8a and coming very close to flashing it! It was not my style at all, having very beefy moves and being quite steep but somehow, I was managing to get through the moves and plough on. But I was thwarted by a long shouldery move to what turned out to be a very small hold and by this point my fingers were uncurling and I just couldn’t hold on. I was so pumped when I got back to the ground, that there was no chance I was going to recover and be able to have a go at redpointing it. But after a long rest, I onsighted a f7b+, so another fantastic day.

Image above: Some of the Marmot gang at Nasenwand on Day 2

Image below: Bouldering in the woods


After this, I was on my own for a few days waiting for the van to be fixed, but I was lucky enough that therewas bouldering an easy walk from where I was staying and I had a lovely time exploring the forest and finding cool problems. My weakness definitely showed up on the bouldering though, as technique can only get you so far and when you just have to pull hard, my arms were like “erm I don’t think so”. I had fun though which is surprising, as I don’t normally like bouldering that much but it is a very special place and was sheltered from the very hot weather that had arrived.

Finally I got the van back on Friday and headed off back up through Germany, feeling like I’d found a bit of me again and knew what made me happy.

Now I’m back at work in Leeds but seem to be quite psyched for climbing, which is a nice feeling after so long of being in what felt like a state of limbo.

The conditions on the limestone in The Peak are amazingly dry and I’ve been down to Cheedale a couple of times and have really enjoyed it. There’s an f8a called ‘Powerplant’ that I haven’t done, so I may get on this as a project. It is way beyond my power levels at the moment but will get me stronger by working it. Unfortunately the next few weekends are tied up with work and family dos, so I hope it doesn’t rain and get wet at the crag before I get a chance to go back there.

On men’s finals day- well done Murray!!!- (I knew he was going to do it this time), I was down the dale and got a very strange injury to my finger (see pics). I was going to try and redpoint a f7c, got on it and was working the moves, then felt a very large swelling in my finger. It was very odd and didn’t hurt but the bruising has been immense. I must’ve burst a blood vessel; I’ve never seen anything like it before. But needless to say, I had to stop. This meant by the time we got back to the car park, Murray was on match point, four times! I had bought a cute little digital radio the day before and it picked up five live at the crag, so I’d been listening to the match while we were climbing, it was great. I have been totally into Wimbledon. When he won, I just shouted out to anyone in the car park who would listen, “ Andy Murray’s just won Wimbledon!!” Yeah a bit mad but what an achievement, brings a tear to my eye thinking about it now.


An impressive waterfall I found on one of the many walks I went on, whilst waiting for the van to be fixed. Not a bad place to get stuck!