It’s great to get out and do something during Christmas, and today on the eve of Christmas it was the perfect time to try something new.
The weather’s gone a bit warm over the last couple of days, yesterdays skiing was exremely soft and sticky off piste which was hard work but good practice. Today it was +4 degrees at 1000m and far too warm for our intended ice climb and we didn’t fancy skiing again so we headed to a local crag for a spot of mixed climbing.

There was no ice potential at all today so we chose a crag that was completely dry (in terms of ice, it was dripping wet though). Unlike the climbing in Scotland during winter that is all trad gear, this was a bolted crag so we could try some harder lines without the fear of big run-outs on dodgey wires or anything like that.

Vertical Frontiers - Austria mixed climbing

Andy starting another lap, we didn't bother with crampons.

I’d never tried any euro style “M” climbing, so I was excited to find out what it’s like compared with the climbing I’d been doing in Scotland a couple of weeks ago. I’m now a complete fan, and although I’ll always prefer the adventure and uncertainty of Scottish mixed climbing it was awesome to be swinging around on steep, steep rock trying some quite outrageous moves that I’d never dream of doing on the average Scottish mixed climb.

I lead up a curving crack line to get the rope up and then Andy and I played around on a top rope for the rest of the session trying different lines and eliminating holds to make it harder. I got some badly pumped forearms and ended up burning out eventually. I’m gonna be aching a lot tomorrow, but there’s going to be plenty of Christmas food to fuel the arms for the next time.

Hooks, lay-aways, stein pulls, can-openers, bolts and a huge pump. I can report that the new leashless axes were great and perfect for this type of climbing.

Vertical Frontiers - Austria mixed climbing

Pulling up through the overhangs, good hooks but pretty steep.

Hopefully it’ll go cold again tomorrow and boxing day, I want to try some mixed climbs that end in hanging icicles – surely the classic continental mixed climbing. I ran out of battery on the camera so ended up taking a couple of photos on the phone, shame about the quality but you get the idea!