Saturday, February 23, 2019

Climbing above Oberdorf

Another warm sunny day in February, so we went climbing in the area Oberdörferchlus.

The routes don't have names, but here's what we climbed, numbers from Plaisir Jura, counting left to right:

Sektor Platten:
  • 5 (5a)
  • 7 (5a)
  • 8 (5b)
  • 6 (5b)
  • 9 (5c)
  • 12 (5c)
  • 11 (6a)
  • 10 (6a), G didn't make it over the step on this one, but A had no problems.
And then, as dessert, on the Bubikof: the 2 pitch Südwand (4b, 4c)

A great day with some very fun "Platten" climbing.

There are soooo many of this areas in the Jura that we haven't been to yet.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Another Gerstelgrat traverse

Since the weather was great and very non-February, we went up and did the Gerstelgrat again. As usual, it was a ton of fun. This is a great little tour and awesome to have so close by.

We were pretty efficient this time and only did static belaying on the two bits with actual climbing. The total time on the ridge, not counting breaks, was about 2 hours.

A note to our future selves, if/when our climbing skills improve significantly, the south wall here looks like a great winter climbing area.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Climbing above Orvin

Somehow we've never climbed in the area above Orvin before... weird.

We picked the area because it's south facing and, even with the great weather, we weren't 100% sure about the temperature. Didn't need to worry about that: it was great.

After walking up out of town we followed the unofficial (though marked) path up, up, until hitting Sector Dalle de l'Y, from here we traversed (not the easiest traverse) to Sector Grande Dalle, where we spent the rest of the time climbing.

  1. Les Bénévoles (5a), first pitch
  2. La Ramassoire (5a), first pitch
  3. La Ramassoire (5b), all three pitches
  4. La Brosse (5a)
Great climbing on lovely rock, relaxed level of difficulty, fantastic weather. Pure fun!

After finishing we followed the unofficial (though marked) path up, up some more until it hit the normal path (a forest road, snow-covered) which we turned onto and followed down to Frinvillier.

It's worth pointing out that we used the new SAC Tourenportal to help plan this, Andrea has a subscription for the site and it's just excellent!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Snowshoeing towards the Klein Mythen

Our first attempt to recreate (part of) a fun blue-white hike on snowshoes. The weather forecast is dodgy for the afternoon, so we have something reasonably short planned: heading up to the Klein Mythen Vorgipfel on snowshoes and then doing the ridge to the Klein Mythen itself with crampons.

We start under clouds in Brunni and start our way up to Zwischenmythen. The snow is packed enough to just walk the first bit, but once we're in the woods we put on the snowshoes. Up, up we go, following the remains of a track, but still having to do a fair amount of trail making. Once past the alp at p1353 we lose the old track and it's trail breaking the whole way... slow going in the deep snow, but fun to go through the woods like that. Once we get to the cross at the pass we turn up the ridge and start to climb more steeply. Route finding is interesting here in the steep woods, and breaking the trail makes us quite slow, but up up we go until we emerge from the trees.

The last steeper bit up to the ridge has less snow, making for easier walking but feeling more precarious, so out come the ice axes. By the time we get to the ridge itself greg is ready to stop and doesn't have much interest in putting on the crampons and traversing the narrow ridge, so we stop for a break and to enjoy the fantastic views. The sun even comes out, yeah!

After the break Greg puts on crampons for the first, steeper, bit of the descent and gets to enjoy plunge stepping his way down. Andrea follows with the snowshoes. Once we're out of the steep bit we have a quick lunch break and then head down through the woods, more or less following our route up. Descending in the deep snow sure is easier than ascending was!

Back at the alp we realize that we've got a ton of time before the next bus, so we do an extended break before heading back down the way we came up. We've got time to have a cool drink before getting on the bus and starting back to Basel.

This was a nice trip! For planning future stuff: trail breaking in deep snow, particularly uphill, is slooooow. Greg needs to get used to doing slopes above 30% on snowshoes (with the crampons it was no problem). Doing a narrow snow covered ridge is going to be a psychological challenge. :-)

Track, obviously somewhat screwed up:

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Snowshoeing in the Rätikon

The plan for the weekend was to do a snowshoe tour with the SAC up to the Tilisuna Hütte (not staffed at this time of year, so we would carry our food up with us), climb the Sulzfluh, and then find an interesting route down on the Austrian side on Sunday. The weather and avalanche situation changed that: the avalanche danger is already orange and with more snow expected on Saturday night, it's not going to get any better. We have a joking conversation on the train about having to spend a couple of days in the hut, but it's pretty clear that we're going to have to change plans.

The bus drops us in Rüti and we start walking up into the valley. It's foggy/cloudy, so we don't see a whole lot as we go, but we can maybe convince ourselves that it's getting lighter. At Äbi we put on the snowshoes and then continue along, heading off the well trampled path now, up the last bit to the Alpenrösli hotel (this is where we stayed during an SAC avalanche course some years ago). By this point it's clear that, even though the sun is currently shining, we're just going to be doing a daytrip, so we ditch the food and overnight gear at the hotel, have some hot drinks, and then set off up the valley with lighter packs.

It's great to be out in the sun and the mountains are just lovely, so this is very fun walking. We follow the valley until we can see where it starts to get steep at the end, stand around for a while enjoying the views and looking at the route we originally planned, and then turn back to the hotel. We get to see several small avalanches coming off the face of the Wiss Platte and Schijenflue, which is fun. By the time we're back the clouds have closed up again (bye bye sun). We have a quick snack (really, really good spice cake!) and then head back down the way we came.

It's too bad that the weather/avalanche situation cut this one short; it's a beautiful area and we'll have to go back. Still, it was great to be out and moving and to get at least a bit of time in the sun.