Showing posts from September, 2016

Berdorf, Luxembourg

After a recommendation from a friend, we discovered a great little climbing area in Luxembourg called Berdorf. The climbing area is perfectly positioned to break up the drive to the alps. It's possible to reach Berdorf in a 4hr drive from Calais.

The climbing is in a forest on soft well-bolted sandstone. The climbing area is quite small, just one line of crags so probably a few days climbing here would be enough. However, I really enjoyed the couple of half days we spent climbing here, once on the drive out and one on the return journey.

Useful Info
UKC crag page.Google maps link to crag parking locationCampsite where a guide book can be purchasedLocal bar with free fast Wifi and tasty Tarte flambée

Frankenjura: Kaffee + Kuchen

After a short stop off in Konstanz for a friend's birthday party we headed north through Germany to an area known as Frankenjura (Franconian) located in Bavaria NE of Nurenberg. 
I had heard so much about Frankenjura climbing with rich history: the origin of the 'redpoint' and home to legendary routes such as Action Direct the world's first 9a graded climb. This UKC article and DMM video give a good intro of the area.  
What was not apparent before we arrived in Frankenjura was the distributed nature of the climbing. There are lots and lots of crags (over 1000 apparently with over 10,000 routes) but all crags are quite small; often with only a handful of worthwhile routes per crag. It took us a while to realise to get the best out of the climbing in Frankenjura you need to move around, lots! Most days we visited at least two different crags, often three! The crags are often very close together with short (10min max) walk-ins so this is not a big problem; it's actu…

Appenzell, Switzerland

Appenzell Next on my mini van tour I picked up Amy in Konstanz, Germany and headed back to Switzerland (1hr 30min drive) to an area called Appenzell in the NE which is mostly known for its cheese!

This area is not well known for it's climbing but the guidebook (Plaisir Extrem Ost) indicated some high mountain cragging and short multipitches (2-4 pitches) in a nice looking setting. Amy was keen not to miss out on cows with bells and mountain air.

The Appenzell mountains were super beautiful, a fantastic area for walking and with lots of undeveloped rock, there was literally limestone crags everywhere! We climbed on the line of cliffs called Ascher below Ebenalp peak. The climbing was actually quite good, 1-3 pitch routes with good bolts on compact solid limestone. The walk-in was about 1hr 30min of steep uphill, or a 20 euro each way lift option. We got the lift up the first day, stashed gear up at the crag then walked up the other days.

Switzerland Alpine Cragging

After climbing Deep Blue Sea on the Eiger we felt pretty pleased, but we still had almost two weeks of Swiss alpine cragging exploration left of our trip! Armed with the Plasier Extrem guidebooks and some recommendations from Sophie Whyte this what we got up to:


We actually climbed here before getting on the Eiger. Spectacularly positioned above Grindelwald the four pitch routes allowed us to practise our tag-line bag hauling and abseil system and remind us not to forget a GriGri!

We climbed the route Todi a fully bolted (6a+,7a,6b,7a), the first 7a pitch had one particularly hard move. Even though the crag is at 2000m it was still baking hot in the afternoon. It's possible to drive up very close to the crag on an amazing private route (10 CHF), the ascent up to 1600m on tight switchbacks was tough for my poor van (2nd gear for 30min!) and the descent down the next day was tough on the brakes; we had to stop a couple of times to let the pads cool down after total brake fa…

Deep Blue Sea 7b+ Eiger North Face

I hunkered face down onto the smooth glacial rock where we were biviing at 2700m on the West Flank of the Eiger, I tried my best to make the breathing hole in my bivi bag as small as possible around my mouth to stop the rain coming in. Luckily, after a while the rain eased, I peeled back the layers of down sleeping bag and gore-tex to see stars directly above us but dark clouds and lightning flashes all around us. The mountains looked amazing illuminated in a silver flash every few seconds. I shut my eyes and tried to get some sleep, but it was difficult to block out the constant strobe lighting; it was like trying to sleep in a silent disco!

The alarm went off at 4:30am; it was dark, but the sky was clear and the rock around us was surprisingly dry. It's on! Excitedly we brewed coffee, ate breakfast and geared up.

Jon and I were 'in position' to climb Deep Blue Sea a 9 pitch route (6b+,6b+,7a,7b+,7a+,7a+,7a,7b+,4c) on the Eiger North Face. The route was put up in 2001 by Ra…