Zeke and I went on a weekend trip, planned was to climb one mountain and travel a few hours to another climbing possibility where we wanted to spend the night.

To improve our climbing stamina and to get more in the direction of our real purpose in climbing — mountaineering. We decided to climb a mountain called “Altmann” direct translate to English “Old guy” or “Old man”. Well, I call it Old guy because over last Saturday we developed some kind of relationship to this mountain. zeke and I haven’t climbed a “real mountain” until then, and this one is the second highest mountain in our area, about 2'436m.

There are a lot of easy ways to climb or “walk” up to “Old guy”. We thought we would take the hardest one (with bolts) because the most difficult track was in 6c; therefore not over our abilities.

In the guidebook was written that the route was too less secured. Our interpretation of it was that every 5m instead of every 3 m we would find a bolt. (Well, last Saturday the old guy taught us, that we have been wrong.) Even though with my manic security need I bought a set of black diamond stoppers. In the same shopping occasion I brought a headlamp for Zeke.

After about 11.30 am we reached the bottom of the mountain. You should know, it’s always like that, we start climbing when the sun is on the highest position, not really on purpose but it doesn’t matter once you have climbed in Thailand or Malaysia. You can get used to it therefore you can climb in Switzerland at any daytime. DAYTIME! I said DAYTIME, remember it while you read along.

We searched for the entrance of the route and it was not really on the place the guide told us. After a while we found bolts and finally we started climbing. Zeke did me the favour and took the lead. While I belayed him I noticed that he had unusual problems with climbing.

After half a minute of own climbing I understood completely why. Climbing with backpacks was completely different. Both of us had a weight of 15-18 kg on our back. It was possible to climb but it took a lot more time and the feet were hurting as hell. That was the beginning and we still had bolts — secure climbing. Well, that changed soon...

It took time and a little of swearing to reach Zeke’s belay position, which was on an old anchor. Zeke saw that I wasn’t in the mood to climb the next pitch in the lead. As he started climbing I asked him from my lower position if he found a bolt, nope, none, he climbed over 60m only with the stoppers and one friend. At one place he even had to leave his backpack, which I gave him up over the rope. During his climbing time I heard voices from far away, a few people looking up to us, a man told to the others «Can you see the three climbers up there? One on the lead and two on the lower position…» They recognised my backpack as the third climber… ;)

My climbing of the second pitch went much better and my mood became better as well. We hade a break afterwards, we were excited about the whole situation.

Why should we take drugs, climbing without a clue inebriates (flashes) you as well. ;) Not sure where to move on. Our break was long — too long, fog and clouds came up, and for a while it looked like dirty weather. But the weather was not the final problem. Zeke started to climb the last pitch when it was about 7 p.m. but when we noticed that it started to dawn very fast, we made the decision — down, fast to a place were we could walk down secured without a rope.

We already needed the headlamp for abseiling. But we got down, tired and happy anyway. The time ran away, we spent 7 hours on our way up. If you count our way down, we were 10 hours in the wall.

We slept in our sleeping bags outside and it got about 5°. It was a wonderful night, the sky full of stars and silent.

The old guy teached us a few things, even though we failed, we will try it another time, with backpacks on the bottom of the mountain an easy trip.

2 Responses to Climbing a mountain –
more than we expected,..

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