Monday, May 29, 2017

Alpine walls in Slovenia

climbing the wild 8a pitch in "Rajčeva" 

It seems as if I've had to travel half the globe to discover the amazing adventure that was lying right in front of me the whole time. I started climbing in a sport climbing enviroment and looking back now I think it's a bit of a shame I've neglected the endless climbing possibilities Slovenian mountains have to offer. I'll need a few seasons of catching up :)

So this year is the first time I'm out for climbing more serious, alpine trad routes in the Alps. Up to now I've done the classics in the big wall of Osp, the few all-bolts alpine routes, but none of the notoriously chossy and adventourous alpine climbs with no in-situ protection. Now, armed with a handful of big wall experience and a less than ideal rack of cams and nuts, I'm finally getting to taste the Slovenian limestone walls. Every climber I met who knows Slovenian climbing kept asking me what are the walls here like. I could really only reply: "errr... actually I wouldn't know... you'll have to come and see for yourself, but I heard it's really loose and chossy"

As soon as the snow started melting and the first walls dried up, David took me for an intro climb., which was a great time and also a good idea since we've got some synchronizing still left to do for our upcoming Kyrgyzstan expedition. We even established a new line, well probably a bit less epic than it sounds, but yeah, it was piton banging and choss climbing in all its infamous glory.
still hating alpine starts though

I think we severly underrated the last pitch! I remember I was pretty scared up there :P

Next up we were feeling all psyched and went straight for a hard one. "Nebeško zvonenje" in Golarjeva Peč shut us down appropriately :) it's a route from the previous generation, one by two legends - Franček Knez and Silvo Karo who almost completed the first free ascent, too. Routes like that are eye-openers to realize how much ahead of their time people with such vision are.
Let's just say I couldn't reach the ledge for the first belay, so we bailed and could only look at our route from the neighbouring, considerably easier classic "Orlovska",  grade VIII-. I'll have to go back...


amazing post-climb picnic at the picnic table

 The final dose of limestone climbing goodness was last Saturday in Kamnik Alps again. Friday I was lying in bed when mr. Kruder rang me up and saved me from the miserable reality of an approaching exam and the corresponding heap of studying. He's doing a bouldering World Cup in two weeks so I thought some aerobic training was in order! Predostenje Križevnika was the wall we chose, aiming for another high-level free climbing route put up 5 years ago by Andrej Grmovšek. I am constantly inspired by the vision and energy he had for putting in the work of creating such free-climbing masterpieces in our Alps and beyond!
thanks to Uroš Grilj for these photos, there was an iPhone at the right place at the right time
the line of the route. this wall is amazing! really good quality rock, it's overhanging the whole way, the climbing is unique and challenging... hats off to Andrej Grmovšek! (picture source

The route was a full mental/physical package that left me hurting for the next few days, but definitely a great pleasure from bottom to top, really tickling that trad-climbing headiness/hard free climbing/amazing ambiance sense...
I fired the crux pitch onsight, thanks to pre-hung draws and some chalk on holds, it didn't go down without a fight however - really pleased with the good headspace I had, but on the other hand it's the only pitch that is completely bolted, which helped a lot with that :) the rest of the pitches (they are 7a+, 6c, 8a, 7b+, 6b+, 7b, 7a+) proved more difficult to solve and I missed the free ascent on the first and the 7b pitch. It would have been wild to climb this thing in a day...

In other news I've been agonizingly close to send the sport climbing Project at Čreta - I've been going at it in a very on-and-off fashion, so this spring I've been surprised to feel how much more doable it is. Naturally I got all excited and couldn't think of anything else, neglected stuff to do, including training, but hoped to send. After a few sessions I had accounted a number of great attempts but was left empty-handed. No biggie, I wonder when I'll get back to it though (I've abandoned it right now due to rising temperatures making it barely climbable and also I'm in a kind of a shitty shape), and wonder if it'll be done by then since it's receiving more attention from other guys too :)

I'm going to Kyrgyzstan this summer for some big walls - hoping to revive this blog until then! Me and David have great plans for some big wall free climbing, dreaming big as always :) stay tuned! love, Pinti

GRANITE SPLITTERS again, very soon! (from two months ago in Cadarese)