Monday, June 25, 2007

Limestone in CH

Last-minute decision with good results - weather being disgusting in the North, Switzerland looked better on the radar map, there we go! It's been a couple of w-ends i worked on my leading skills back home, so this is not a bad test - go to long-planned for places and try some climbing out!

First objective - the Gasts. Gastlosen is a magic place that somehow forewent overcrowding and still keeps its origins untouched. It is usual to spend many minutes on the approach in the car, waiting for all the cows to cross or to smell milk with that particular 'just from the cow' smell when entering a refuge.
Rain greats us in the morning, but the wind is quiet and south faces look good. We start the approach in the rain - not exactly the best thing when planning for a 400m classic, but whatever, we're hungry to climb. The limestone looks good - almost untouched despite all guidebooks calling Nikita the classic of the place. Opened in the beginning of the 90ies for its first part, it was finished in the 2000. The enormous S face looks almost bare of long routes, and we start the fun. Slabs and slabs, friction and more slabs characterize well the 200m to come. Fun, and we're not too tired to try the second part. A bit harder, the first 7a pitch is undecipherable; things get better afterwards with very cool 6bs in the end. We are tired and demotivated enough to leave the last 6a and 6c pitches alone, and successfully rap down for the dinnertime. Good times.

The day afterwards is a 'rest day'. It starts with a perfect bivy at Buufal, a magic valley. We wake up to find wigwams, cows and horses nearby. Oh, this strange world. Up we head to the wall. Alone all day, with perfect sunny weather and awesome climbing - the first pitch of Stern Sturn proves cumbersome, but afterwards it constantly gets better. With almost 200meters, the day turns out well.

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