Saturday, September 05, 2015

Climbing around the Stockhorn

Our original plan was to head to the Stockhorn on Saturday, do some climbing in the Klettergarten there, spend the night at Oberstockenalp, then climb more on Sunday. The weather didn't exactly play along.

From the train from Bern to Spiez we could see that the Stockhorn itself, along with most of the top of that ridge, was completely in clouds. Andrea has the very clever idea to stop at Burgholz (a few stops before Erlenbach and the gondola up to the Stockhorn) and go climbing at Burgfluh, the old quarry there. Fortunately, the conductor in the train tells us that we need to move to the front of the train to be able to get off in Burgholz (we'd forgotten about the long-train -- short-station problem in the Simmental when boarding). We pile off the train there and head up to the quarry, it's a short walk and luckily it's not closed today for skeet shooting (apparently a thing there). The quarry has easier routes at the edges and harder ones in the middle. The right-hand side is already occupied by a large group that includes a bunch of kids, so we go left. There's another group of two there, but that's no problem. We do a number of 4s and 5s (not all in the Plaisir book) and generally enjoy the nice rock (though not the quiet: the group to the right grows as we are there and ends up being fairly loud). After a few hours the weather is looking a bit better, so we head back down to the train, go to Erlenbach, then take the gondolas up to the Stockhorn.
Climbing in the old quarry at Burgholz
We're pretty much alone up top (the weather really isn't all that great). After enjoying out the observation platform over the dramatic drop (the glass floor is cute, but we can't see much of the panoramic view due to the clouds), we head over to check out the Klettergarten. What we see is pretty tempting, so we decide to do a bit of climbing before heading down to Oberstockenalp. Andrea starts by doing part of "Flash oder Cash", and finishing with Nume für Afänger. Paul does the same thing, but while he's climbing it starts to lightly snow. This quickly turns to sleet, ick! Paul finishes the route with sleet running down the limestone, but that's definitely it for the day. We pack up, pull on the gore tex, and head down to Oberstockenalp. This is, apparently, an amazingly family friendly place, because it is packed full of kids. There are probably 15 kids, mostly young, along with a sprinkling of adults to take care of them. There's one other group of climbers, who are also looking somewhat bemused by the situation. After settling in, a good meal, and a bit of hanging around, we head off to bed. Between the snoring and one kid who spends a lot of time crying, it's not the most restful night.
snow/sleet collecting on the rope bag
We're the first ones up in the morning. The weather looks much better (yay!), so after breakfast we follow the trail to the Strüssligrat and take this very nice path along the ridge with great views to p2043. Here we break out the rope, put on the climbing gear, and follow the route Chum u Lueg along the ridge. This is very well bolted (probably more than required for us on something that maxes out at 3b) and a lot of fun to follow. When we get above the climbing area, we leave the ridge and follow the rope down to the bottom of the routes, where we meet the other climbing group from the alp. We climb Flash oder Cash (the whole thing this time), Märitfroeli, Bergdohle, and Pistache before the weather starts to look overly threatening and we decide to quit. After lunch at the restaurant up top, we take the gondola down and then make our way back home.

along the Stockhorn ridge

Wasserrillen climbing in the clouds
Very nice climbing on good limestone with pronounced Wasserrillen on a couple of routes that were a blast to climb.

No comments: