Route 5, WI5, 550m

A lot of the long and more difficult routes were on the opposite side of the valley compared to route 4. The first route we Carsten and I climbed in this part of the route was really great as it was fairly sustained (3 pitches of WI4 and 1 pitch of WI5) and had fewer WI2-3 intersections compared to most routes in the valley.

Route 5 seen from route 4. A long and fairly sustained route with several pitches of WI4-5. The crux pillar is seen in the middle of the picture.

The lower part of the route was the easiest and we climbed several rope lengths of WI2-3 ice in parallel until we met the first WI4 pitch.

Hans leading a WI3+ section of the lower part of the route.

The second WI4 pitch was quite broad and had an easier variation to the left.

Hans (hard to see on the right) at the belay before the first WI4 pitch. The crux WI5 pillar is seen at the top.

However, Carsten was in great spirit and decided to climb the pitch directly on the harder right part of the ice wall. Way to go! The ice was quite wet and Carsten thus tried to find a dry path albeit with limited success -> cold hands :-(

Carsten leading the second WI4 pitch.

As I approach Carsten's belay below the crux WI5 pillar I take a good look at it. Its my first WI5 pillar of the season and I thus wonder if I am in physical and psychological shape for it?

Carsten at the belay below the crux WI5 pillar.

Well, there is only one way to find out and I thus grab the gear and make the traverse to get to the bottom of the pillar. I climb up to look at the backside of it and decide that it looks fine. It is not completely free-standing and looks thick and stable. I thus climb the characteristic flakes of the cauliflower bottom and continue up the increasingly steep and difficult ice. It has a lot of structure and it is thus relatively easy to find good footholds. The downside is that it is difficult to find good protection as the isn't solid but just a large collection of icicles frozen together..... Well, the trick is not to fall and test the gear - then you will be alright!

Hans leading the WI5 pillar.

The next section is a 120m long WI4 pitch which we climb in two pitches. The ice is much more solid here and it is thus quite straightforward, but still great, climbing.

Carsten leading the first pitch of the final 120m WI4 section.

I climb the second pitch of the final WI4 section, and enjoy the great view of the valley while I belay Carsten. The ice upwards seems to be endless, but the steep part is over and we thus decide to turn around. The sun has started setting and we realize that we were going to rappel in darkness and would not be able to make it down to the arranged pickup time.....

Hans at the final belay. The route continues for hundred of meters, but the steep part is over and we thus turn around.

As Carsten approaches the belay he yells "Man, I just got a major blood blister!". I didn't believe my eyes when he took off the glove - the little pinky was black and bloody - the biggest blood blister I have ever seen! Before the trip he had purchased a new leach system for his ice tools and it was quite clear that they could have been adjusted better as his hands had been too far down the tool shafts. Carsten had thus hammered his hand rather than the ice.......

The blood blister on Carsten's left little pinky.


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Last update: 8-4-2006

© Hans Bräuner-Osborne