Saturday, September 12, 2015

Climbing around the Mattstock

After being dodgy in the beginning of the week, we end up with a decent weather forecast, particularly for the eastern bits of Switzerland, for the weekend. So East we go!

The bus takes us to Amden, where we take the (very slow, but scenic) chairlift, with great views of the wall we'll be climbing, up to Niederschlag (hope that name isn't foreshadowing!). From there we follow the path up to Walau, take the road to p1506 and then follow the trail past the Schibenchn√∂lli. Here we choose the leftwards set of routes (the right set are all 4s and we want to do some 5s today). We aren't alone up here: there are multiple sets of climbers visible, but it doesn't seem tooooo crowded. A bit further along the path, and then we head across the field and steeply up until getting to the foot of the wall. After a bit of scrambling we are at the base of our route: S√ľdostwandplatte (5a, 5a, 4a, 5a, 5a). There are two other climbers above us, but they are already off the first stand by the time we're getting ready to go, so there seems to be no risk of congestion.

The climbing is on good limestone with plenty of Wasserrillen (which is really fun to climb); it's not easy, but it doesn't push either of us to the limits either. This is the first time we're climbing with the zwillingseil, and the first time Greg is doing a multi-pitch route using the ATC to belay. Though it takes a bit of getting used to, everything goes well, we don't end up with any big messes, and we very much enjoy making it to the top. Once on the ridge we find what we think is the beginning of the abseilpiste, get everything ready, and then head down. In the first stretch down, Andrea figures out that we're actually still on one of the routes, but that she can see the real abseilpiste, so she moves over (fortunately in a relatively flat area under a bunch of bush). Greg comes down to that spot directly (over/through the bush) and then we're properly oriented. We haven't done enough abseiling to be really fluid with the rope management and using the two ropes does complicate things, so the whole trip down takes longer than it should, but we do eventually make it to the bottom. We switch shoes, take off the gear, pack everything up, and then head back down to the hiking trail (better way down than what we took up) to find a spot for a late lunch with a view.

Post-lunch we walk back to the chairlift, enjoy the views on the long, slow trip down, and then head to the hotel (50m from the lift station), where we have a cool beverage before showering, a rest, and then a good meal before heading to bed.

On Sunday we wake to clouds (though no rain) and, after a good breakfast, take the chairlift back up not too long after it opens. Once back at the base of the wall (same route to get there as we took down the day before) we choose to take Gimmi (5a, 5b, 4c, 5a/b) to the top. This is another very enjoyable climb. The top is a bit adventurous (we change routes to the right to avoid an overhang), but it all goes well. Once up top we change shoes, have lunch, pack up some of the gear, and then decide to do the ridge on foot to the top of the Mattstock. Andrea has read hikr descriptions that make this sound quite feasible, the views are good, and we do enjoy our ridge hiking, so off we go. It's a very nice ridge: much of it has a clear use trail (though there is a bit of tramping through/over the evergreen scrub) and it's mostly easy to follow. We do succeed in missing the fork that heads off to the bit where you need to climb down a bit from the "Nase" (I think this is around p1906 on the map), but we figure our mistake out relatively quickly and find the proper route. Nothing too hairy (though certainly T5) and very enjoyable. We're at the peak (which we, amazingly, have to ourselves) before we know it. It's super windy, so after packing up the last of the gear we start down the red-white trail.

Aside from a bit of sprinkling that encourages us to speed up and way too many switchbacks, the route down is uneventful. The chairlift takes us back to down where we get the bus that starts us on our way back home.

All in all, a very nice weekend with a couple of very interesting and enjoyable routes.


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