Day 11 – Gone Climbing

Hot today. Late start. Rock climbing at Nassereith (Mieminger Plateau, Austria), Tieftal area. Non-climbers may tune out for the next paragraph. Please resume reading at ‘…a pretty picture…’

Climb called Sonntagsspaziergang; Grade 4a (not hard); 4 pitches; circa 100m; 4 abseils to return to Tera Firma. Top pitch, the hardest and the most exposed; Balancey about sums it up; or lacking in positive holds; or scary; Nice additional practice for swapping leads and multiple abseils.

Here is a pretty picture or 2 to sum it up…

Mrs P lead 2 of the 4 pitches in beautiful style.

We even had a lesson in how NOT to abseil. The method for multiple abseils, or any abseil for that matter comprises the following steps:

  1. Make sure you are both attached to the rock by something other than the rope
  2. Make sure the rope is also attached to the rock
  3. Untie one person from the rope (checking carefully that step 2 has been closely adhered to)
  4. Pass the rope through the inadequate looking steel ring which is itself attached to the rock and from which you will shortly commit your weight and life to
  5. Pull through the rope to the halfway point e.g. if you have a 70m rope you should have 35m of side-by-side bits of rope through the steel ring (Such genius description – not!)
  6. Visually check that the rope is DEFINITELY through the loop so that when you complete step 8 you will not watch the rope fall 100 m to the bottom of the climb leaving you in something of a pickle
  7. Say a little prayer
  8. Untie the 2nd person from the rope
  9. Open eyes and check rope is in fact still looped through ring
  10. Offer up thanks to whichever God, deity, djin you currently follow
  11. Coil up rope and hurl it out into space having ensured it will not get snagged on anything on the way down. This is not always as easy as it sounds and is loaded with comic and not so comic possibilities. We went with the former i.e. comic option. Hurled rope out into space and…
Austrian cousin of Charlie Brown’s kite eating tree

…it got eaten by a tree. Much to Mrs P’s amusement.

11a. Pull up rope and try again

Steps 12 – about 16 are too unnerving for a delicate audience but at some point involve trusting the 6mm steel loop and 8.5mm rope and hurling yourself out into space and down the mountain.

Abseiling is scary and something I am still waiting to get used to.

Lesson to self: Hot day, long climb, don’t leave rucksack with food and water at bottom of climb.

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