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snippets of blackwings life

In the Alps – DAV Glacier Tour

Already some weeks ago, I took a DAV course on “basic ice & glacier” stuff – The course was on 10th to 13th of July, but as always it took me quite long to upload the pictures and get some blogging ready :)

The glacier as seen from the valleyThe GlacierSo lets get to the point… We left Erlangen at 5 in the morning taking the long ride to Matrei in Tyrol, AT. Two DAV trainers and 6 participants. We left the cars at the Matreier Tauernhaus, just right around the corner from the Felbertauern-Tunnel. After changing clothes we took the whole stuff including climbing iron, ropes and ice axes and enough clothes for 4 days (altogether like 12..15kg) and started walking the valley. Starting point was around 1500m – and the destination was the Neue Prager Hütte at around 3000m… Waling up there in the glacing sun took us about 4.5 hours… Very exhausting – I thought I was gonna fall apart. But walking up there rewards you with an impressing landscape and a very quiet piece of nature.

PanoramaThe hut itself is quite nice – but gonna renovated next year. Neue Prager HütteAfter getting some food (quite good) we digged into some theory and got to bed quite early being exhausted from the long walk. Breakfast took part at 7.30 in the morning, so we were out on the glacier at around 8.30. Starting with some basic training on how to stop sliding at steep snow/ice we continued the day with training on walking with climbing iron and how to use an ice axe to support walking. Jumping over gaps with climbing iron and climbing with them in steeper parts continued the training. Steep slopeThe weather was…. absolutely great. Sunny, few clouds and quite warm – So most of the crew got a pretty intense sunburn. Walking up and down the glacier is really exhausting, so we quit around 17oo – but mainly because a thunderstorm was gonna arise. Instantly as we reached the hut, the rain started. Having a great dinner with Kaiserschmarrn and a Tyrolian Ham&Cheese Plate I fell into bed at 22h and slept instantly.

Climbing upFor the next morning it was planned to climb the Grossvenediger Peak with around 3666m – We decided to start at 5pm, but at this time it was raining like the end of days, so we slept some longer til 8 and started then after breakfast to reach the peak, which took us like 4 hours. The last part took forever with storm, snow and step parts… Thomas in the IceBut when we reached the peak, we got some sun! After a short rest we virtually ran down the glacier and reached it after about 2h before another thunderstorm started… and it continued raining/snowing the whole night til Sunday. On Sunday we climbed down the hill in the rain and storm being completely soaked when we reached the cars – And it was a great amusement for the people sitting and eating at the Matreier Tauernhaus to see us “stripping” and changing the clothes in a bus-stop-booth.

So: Very good and interesting course! Very exhausting, but it made “hungry” for more tours in the Alps!

End-of-Season Skiing in Hochfügen, Zillertal

Zillertal - Winter on top, Spring in the ValleyIt’s already April and spring is coming – without any doubt. But winter is still present – at least in the alps. So Martin, Alex and me finally decided to get back to the Alps for some Skiing. Basically, some people from my old dormitory got to Hochfügen in Zillertal on Thursday night, so we figured out to meet them there.

me on Ski.After getting up quite early in the morning (around 4.15am) and a 330km / 3 hours drive, we reached Hochfügen around 8.15am – Actually we were a little too early (Martin, go to hell for your “we have to leave at 4.30″), but this gave us the chance to change clothes in a relaxed manner and prepare mentally. We Team chillinjust arrived when Jo, who we were planning to meet somewhere just went by. At 8.40 we took one of the first gondolas uphill. Snow was just perfect – with 25cm of fresh powder snow and about 1m of crust snow… The first track down to the valley station (which is at around 1500m above sea-level) was a black-rated one, but I don’t agree with that rating. So we got onto the second ascend when most of the buses just arrived.

Scenic view from HochfügenAround 9.30am the sun came out and the sky got more and more blue – Together with almost empty tracks and excellent conditions this made a perfect scenery. I got quite used to my new Ski gear (Head XCR 1200 Crosscarvers) – to be honest: It is just the kind of Ski I was looking for! The tests in magazines are completely right – a good Ski for almost all areas. Later in the morning the others convinced me to go off-track to try some deep powder skiing… Yes, it was fun – And if you fall, it doenst hurt at all, but it sucks to search for your ski and get them back on!

Alone in the powderAfter some lunch break with the mandatory (and always overpriced) “Kaiserschmarrn” the group split up – Martin, Alex and Jo decided to go for more off-track Skiing while Selina and me decided to optimize our carving technique on some red tracks. Completely exhausted we met at 16.30 at the car – My legs were burning!

So, to conclude all this: It was definitively worth to get up this early – We got the best skiing day for this winter!

Out into Franconian Switzerland!

View of Röthelfels - Section What a day! Blue sky and decent temperatures around 15°C in late February – Thanks to global warming! So Alex and me decided to use that to open the outside climbing season with a trip to the well-known Röthelfels, one of the most prominent spring/late-fall rocks in Franconian Switzerland. To make a long story short: You could easily climb in T-Shirt and Shorts without freezing. It was sunny and just…. wonderful. Of course we were not alone – A whole bunch of people got the same idea – But it was not as crowded as you might have expected.

Chillin'Actually, after a long time just bouldering inside, it was quite a change to get back onto real rocks… And quite discouraging how much of fitness and skill you loose during winter… But anyway – Completely relaxing day!

Skiseminar Pruggern 2008

View from our LodgeOh yeah – yesterday I came back from a pretty exhausting Skiing-trip to Austria, namely to Pruggern, which is closely located to Schladming in the valley of river Enns. Together with loads of co-workers and the affiliated chair of Prof. Jess at Bayreuth we stayed in a nice hut at the “Pruggern Hüttendorf“. These huts are “pure luxury” having a huge table for about 20ppl, a Sauna and whatsoever. This skiseminar is a nicely balanced mix of going on the track for skiing in the morning and having scientific presentations and discussion in the afternoon til late.

Sebastian, Berthold and Katharina at PlanaiActually it was my first time back on Ski after some years of absence – And this was quite changing, cause I tried carving ski for the very first time… But after one day of trying out how to use them I finally found the right way and had a lot of fun. The Ski region around Schladming is gorgeous – A lot of nice tracks, mainly at red level. We had been skiing at Hauser Kaibling, Planai and finally Reiteralm – We were lucky and at least Sunday til Wednesday we had blueish sky and excellent conditions – On Thursday the weather got way milder, so that after around 11.oo the snow was just… wet.

The scientific part was also very nice – got a lot of good new ideas how to solve problems arising in my Ph.D.-Thesis – But after a day of skiing and 5-6h of discussion and talks you are completely exhausted… So I gonna spend this weekend with relaxing…

Sweden

Middle of nowhereYowhey everybody! The last week had been really realxing. Having excellent wind and weather conditions we did a good set of miles from Hudiksval down South to Öregrund and the Skaregard of Stockholm. After staying for some nights in quiet bays somewhere close the middle of nowhere, it was pretty impressive to sail in front of full-sized ferries and see those beautiful Swedish houses everywhere.
Nature and quietness in Sweden is absolutely impressive: Wonderful sunsets, trees on every little island and fresh air…
Stockholm MarketStockholm itself was flabbergasting – Impressive architecture and a very relaxed feeling. The Royal Palace was a definitive must-see with its unique setting and style. We spent a day in Stockholm doing some “refueling” and buying loads of food such as Raindeer-Steak, Salmon and Blueberries – Just to spoil ourselves a little bit ;)
Random harbor in UtöWe did our track further south getting back to the open Baltic Sea doing around 50 miles per day. The longest day-track was the crossing over to the Island Gotland which took something like 60 miles – We arrived there around midnight in a mild thunderstorm…. Right now we are on our way to Visby, where the anual Mideval festival is on the run…
Tomorrow we are gonna do a hop back over to the Swedish mainland in order to reach our final destination Loftahammer.
On Wednesday we take a train to Arlanda Airport and get back to good-old Germany.

Sailing in Sweden

Alex the SkipperHeya people – Greetings from my pretty spontaneuos summer vacation to Sweden together with Alex.
On Wednesday we took a flight from Frankfurt over Gothenburg to Stockholm. Unfortunately we arrived at Arlanda Airport around 2000, so we missed the last direct train to our destination (Hudiksvall) by something like 15 minutes…
So we asked around at the train station for some alternate transportation… We had quite a lotta luck finding a very nice Swedish Railway employee that directly used her PC to get us some tickets for some Night-Bus (ybuss.se).
The alternative would have been to stay at the airport overnight and take the first train in the morning – So we preferred the 4 hour nightbus ride, which was also a lot cheaper (22€ instead of 60€ pp)…

Finally we arrived at Hudiksval Gas Station around 01:30 in the night and we were lucky again: Some pretty nice Swedish couple gave us a ride to the harbor (like 6km) and so we reached the boat after altogether like 12 hours of transit…Boat
The next morning we got to the city to get some basic indegredients to prepare an opulent breakfast… Blue sky, 15-20knots of wind and glazing sunlight.
We spent the entire afternoon to rig up the boat, replenish water and buy enough food for the next days on sea.
Of course we kept a pretty low standard of living and got some fresh salmon for dinner ;)
The boat itself is an 11.5m sailing boat with the jargon classification “coffee pot”, which means: full featured sea-bound camping with all the stuff you need to have a pretty comfortable time at the sea :)

Golden SunsetRight now we are sailing at around 3 knots relative speed having around 10 knots of south-bound wind … But we were spoiled by stopping in the middle of nowhere seeing a wonderful golden sunset. Nobody around here, very very quiet.

Riding the windAfter the first days, we had a lot of luck concerning the wind – now at around 15knots we did some “race days” going more than 50 miles yesterday! Today the wind got a little slower, so this day will be less “stressy”. All in all: Very quiet, relaxing and the perfect chill-out for the second half of my diploma thesis :)

Climbing in the Franconian Switzerland: Season Opening 2007

The last two weeks had been pretty eventful and kept me away from blogging bout it – My beloved Girlfriend finally returned from her China-Trip and the great weather paired with a lot of free time… My project to find a final thesis to complete my university stuff is making progress, but I’m not yet completely decided what to do…

Chillin' RobertSo lets get to the topic: Weather has been great: Blueish sky, spring feeling with flourishing trees& plants and pleasant temperatures in the mid-twenties made it pretty interesting to go out for some climbing. In order to get back into good shape, I spent a lot of time at my Universities climbing facilities taking several sessions a week…. So finally today we decided to hit the road and get out to the rocks.

Martin rockingBecause it got pretty hot in the sun, we chose some location, which was nicely in the partial shade of the bright-greenish of the trees… Wonderful spring impressions! At the Münchsner Wand (Google Maps), which is located between Hiltpoltstein and Leupoldstein at the B2 highway and easy to get to from Erlangen – This rock is frequently used by DAV groups to give beginner courses, because it offers a good variety of easy to hard routes in wonderful lime stone.

Sebastian in PotzblitzOur group consisted of Martin with his girlfriend Ju, Robert, Dominik and his girlfriend Mirja and finally my girlfriend Mirijam and me. Actually it was the first time on “real rocks” for my girlfriend – SunsetAnd I think she liked it… Besides complaining about her shoes.  So we spent the whole day in all kinds of routes… Being finally exhausted we got to the “Alte Post” Inn in Leupoldstein having Schäuferla (roasted pork shoulder) and some refreshing Radler (shandy).This place gets u pretty good value – But be prepared to wait some time for your food… Climbing season 2007 is open – Looking forward to improve my style a little bit: Maybe I can flash some grad 7 route in the end of the year… Being more realistic: Getting secure in doing 6/6+ routes red-point.

filed in adrenaline

under wasps attack

Swollen arm after wasp attack. Yesterday evening, after the (everlasting) rain stopped I decided to go out for some jogging in the Sebalder Reichswald (to be more precise: Buckenhofer Forst). It was quite nice: shutdown and me got some nice run at pretty good speed (actually ~54min for 12km). But suddenly I felt some stinging pain in my left arm and saw in the dawning light some kind of insect flying away. After some inspection I found a big brown spike, so I assume it was a wasp or some aggressive bee… But we continued jogging cause it did not really hurt. After some drink at my dormitories bar I finally went to bed.
But this morning I woke up feeling my left forearm completely swollen, hot and red. So I decided to get to the Doctor, who directly got me some strong antibiotics in order to prevent a sepsis. He suspected some kind of bacteria to be the reason of this overnight reaction. Finally the assistant got me a bond for the arm impregnated with some antiseptics in order to get the swelling down.

This whole event actually sucks, cause I was just gonna finish my thesis (studienarbeit) and have some relaxing / sportive weekend off…

filed in adrenaline

Rodenstein climbing session

blackwing @ walberla :)Today shutdown- and me got out into franconian suisse for a superb climbing session at Rodenstein mountain on the backside of the famous Walberla. We started quite early to use the “early-bird” bonus :)
Surprisingly there were just few people there so we had enough space to try whatever route we wanted. There a lots of pretty nice routes in Levels 5 to 6 available, but I highly suggest to have some halfmoons with you, cause distances between the permanent anchors are, lets say…. sportive, so be prepared.
Most of the routes also have pretty slicky handles, so much chalk and finger power is needed.

Having great weather over 30°C I finally got sunburn :/

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