So for the past month I have been wandering around Austria, visiting friends, hiking, climbing and eating very well. Sadly, less climbing than hiking but it has still been super. Something I have really come to enjoy while touring some of the endless mountain with names that sound like your trying to cough up a cat, are fixed rope climbs. Here they are called "Kletersteigs" (I am not responsible for any injuries resulting from trying to say this word). I had no idea what they were before this summer so I will explain for the people’s sake. So you have a normal harness on and attached to it are two elastic slings with carabiners at each end. Helmet and Gloves are also a good idea. Then you start up the designated route, climbing on bolted metal rungs. Alongside of the rungs there is a hefty cable to which you attach both of your biners into. Every 10 feet or so the cable is bolted into the face, and you have to unclip and reclip the biners around this point. ONE CARABINER AT A TIME PLEASE. Anyway, the climb goes on in this manner until you reach the top where there is a hike down. Yesterday, I hit up a 1000 feet "Kletersteig". It had overhanging sections as w ell as vertical sections without metal rungs. For climbers it isn't necessarily a huge challenge but its a great work out if your trying to maintain climbing strength. Has anyone heard of or done one of these before? I know there is something similar up the back of Half Dome in Yosemite.
Starstruck - The first people I climbed with here in Austria turned out to be some kind of super hero family. The father is a professor of Bio-Mechanics at the University of Graz. He has the coolest job in the world. He does research on the human body while it is doing extreme sports. Skiing, climbing, gymnastics and everything else. He designed the profile of the most state of the art ski jump in the world and has changed the style of ski jumping through his research. Apart from this he rocks every sport, writes travel books and his name his Wolfram...Could it get any cooler? The daughter is a sponsored free skier who is dating the Austrian bouldering champion, Zlu Haller (in the upcoming movie "Get Naturized" and who previously dated Anna Stohr). And the mother kicked my ass while were climbing... Obviously I fell in love with them immediately and was lucky enough to spend the next week with Zlu and Romy (the Skier-climber Extraordinar duo). We went bouldering next to crystal clear mountain streams rode in rumbling technicolor V W Hippy Vans and drank beer who's recipe hadn't changed since 1500. One day we climbed at a crag who's name I don't remember and as I walked up to the face a saw a professional looking photographer suspended about 50 feet up. I thought this was mighty strange and asked Zlu what was going on... Ten minutes later we found out that Adam Ondra, Patxi Usobiaga Lakunza and Ramon Julian Puigblanque (the three top sport climbers in the world) were climbing there. Adam Ondra looks absolutely nothing like a climber, more like an 8th grader that is awkwardly tall. But damn could he climb. I was too chicken to talk to him but we did we an intense moment of eye contact. Listening to the guttural cries and curses of climbers in (or some type of Slavic language) is hilarious... I recommend it. I hope everyone has been climbing hard this summer, or at least slacklining. I'm looking forward to the next semester at UIUC and all of the crazy fun, supper chill stuff climbing club will accomplish.
P.S. I want a trip report from Kevin and Chrissy.
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