Saturday, January 5, 2019

Seasonal Shift In Climbing

I returned to Austria in the second week of November. I took a bit of time "off" and did some unstructured training that was mostly fun climbing at the alpine crag at Barmstein above Hallein. I love Barmstein, especially after being on Kalymnos for the season. Barmstein is such a great home crag - hard climbing, sparsely bolted, trad lines, multi-pitch climbs - the crag has it all.
The Salzburg area had some excellent autumn weather in November. Sometimes a bit frosty in the early morning, yet nonetheless warm enough to climb in the sun on the west facing side of Barmstein by 11:00 or so.
 The yard boss, Mimi is an exceptional climber. She prefers to stay on the farm and do her circuits where she can keep an eye on the mice and chickens running around.
The short days of November and early December come around and force us climbers to go indoors to the plastic. It is kind of a purgatory to be endured at the worst of times and never taken too seriously all the time.
Eventually the snow comes to you or you go to it. If you're fortunate, you may be the first one to glide through it in the immense stillness. Walking meditation.
Then the rain comes, or it gets warm, and you are consigned to train on plastic because it serves the purpose. Putting in your time on the indoor walls always dreaming of ...
Ice. Thankfully, it still shows up. Thin slabs, delicate icicles, hollow tubes. We take it anyway it comes, just grateful that it's there.
If the inevitable damp, warm weather makes only a brief appearance early in the ice season, the frozen waterfalls will stay around. And, like people who weather other types of stressors, the ice perseveres, grows and becomes stronger. If your icy friend is well situated, you can bring some of your other new and old friends and make an introduction.
However, climbing the multitude of frozen structures is an intensely personal and individual pursuit. Interacting with the medium. Climbing meditation.

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