Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Austria Update from Italy

First off, Merry Christmas. I hope everyone is finding a way to do something they enjoy over Christmas. I have spent the last couple weeks in Austria with Cody Roth. Things have been mellow thus far, with more skiing than climbing going on, but it looks like the weather is improving so maybe our attention will return to the rock soon.

Yesterday Cody and a host of other Austrians went to Italy for the day to go sport climbing around Arco. I had visited Arco earlier this year but this was my first chance to climb there. The limestone is very nice overall though it changes quite a lot from one climb to another. Also sadly there is a long tradition of artificial routes at Arco and many of the climbs have chipped holds or even rocks glued onto the face in order to provide handholds through a difficult section.

The routes we climbed on were natural however and quite enjoyable. The first one I did was about .12d / .13a and had a long sustained section of small pockets. I just barely got through the upper section, but the encouragement coming up from below was helping. The other difficult route we tried was a .13b called Dolce Misere, or Sweet Misery. Cody went up it first and sussed some beta, then Much Mayr (one of Codys friends from Austria) stepped up and flashed the route. I thought I was done for the day, having already un-taped my fingers and washed my hands in the spring, but after watching Much I was psyched again. I gave the route a solid flash effort, and managed to find a key hand jam to get me through the upper crux. I topped out the route and barely had the strength left to clip the rope through the rusty carabeeners at the anchor. Cody then rode the send train and the route saw its third ascent in about twenty minutes.

Afterwards, we got some pizza at a nice restaurant. Again, a humbling situation as the only non-German speaker at the table, with everyone trying to keep the conversation in English for my benefit. The pizza was awesome, and we drove back to Innsbruck and I fell asleep immediately.

The short winter days and tricky weather are limiting my filming activities, but I remain optimistic that I can find what I came here for. More on that as it develops.

Again, Merry Christmas.

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