15 Feb 2016

Back to Font...

Heading back to Font on Saturday for a week.

Follow my Instagram account for photos of the trip. Stewwatson is my username.

22 Jun 2015

Beyond the Face

BEYOND THE FACE portrays 30 years of competition climbing. A must-have item for climbers and collectors of climbing literature.

300 pages, 43 interviews, 39 profiles, artistic action photos, a short insight into the history of compeition climbing and a rich tapestry of statistics.

5 May 2014

Ötzerau Sessions

Erkenntis (woodslave productions)
In 2012 Markus and Gabi Bacher took their dog for a walk near their house in Ötzerau, Oetztal. As they ventured through the thick Green forest they accidentally discovered a gully hidden amongst the trees. Sabby's Mum took a photo and showed us the area they had found the following week. The wall looked small on the photo but we agreed to go and have a look. Markus led us up through the forest with a wide grin spread across his face, his dog excitedly bouncing between boulders and felled trees up ahead. We approached a clearing and enjoyed the immense view of Oetztal and Inntal before eventually arriving at the gully. A granite wall stood proud in the evening sunlight.  Within 2 months the Bacher sisters, Heiko, Elias, Hens, Markus Haid and I had bolted and cleaned most of the routes and got stuck into attempting to climb them. Here is a list of the routes described from left to right. 

Thanks to Heiko Wilhelm for providing the bolts and chains!


Waldameisen 7c ... FA Markus Haid
Ninja 7c+ ... FA Markus Haid
Soldier Ant 7c+ ... FA Sabine Bacher
Behind the Tree 8b 
Le Gourmet ~8a ... FA Katharina Bacher
Erkenntis 8b+ ... FA Heiko Wilhelm
Black Mamba dont Text 8a+ ... Bolted by Elias Holzknecht
Bausparen 7b+ ... FA Babsy Bacher
Lokal Matador 7c+ ... FA Hansjörg Auer
Heimort 8a ... FA Markus Haid

13 Apr 2014

CWIF 2014

What an event ...

9 Jan 2014

Israel Climbing Trip

Just got back from a mega climbing adventure in Israel and Palestine. More info to follow shortly...

3 Nov 2013

One Night Stand

Looking out over Längenfeld
Every now and then you come across a route or boulder that just seems to capture you in some unique way. ‘One Night Stand’ at Niederthai was an old project that Reinhard Schiestl started back in the 90s. It later received some attention from the local climbing hero Markus Haid, who finished equipping the route. Jakob Schubert made the much sought-after first ascent in 2010 and graded it hard Fr8c+. I often attempted the route for a day or two in Autumn when every other route was wet or it was just too cold to climb in the shade. I was fascinated with the moves and the history of the route. Niederthai has a lot of history. Reini Schiestl along with other local climbers found the hidden granite blocks sitting quietly between the towering pine trees on a hill overlooking the picturesque village of Längenfeld. However, the climbing area went quiet after Reini’s fatal car accident in 1995. It wasn’t until some time later when Markus Haid and a bunch of keen young climbers including my good friend Heiko Wilhelm continued Reini’s legacy and finished equipping the climbing area of Niederthai. Markus Haid made the first ascent of another one of Reini’s old projects back in 2001 and appropriately named it ‘In Memo Reini’. Ever since, Niederthai is becoming more and more popular and it leaves every visiting climber with a sense of curiosity about what really lies deep in that mysterious forest.

The crux of ‘One Night Stand’ involves a solid toe hook on an arête allowing the climber to make a massive cross-through before a wild cut loose allows you to reach the next crimp. The route is a real test of power endurance and I enjoyed the process of slowly progressing, inching every session a touch higher and eventually having enough fitness to link the entire route and make the 2nd ascent of ‘One Night Stand’. After the ascent I sat up high on one of the blocks that slightly reaches over the pine trees and thought about my own history with the area of Niederthai. I have slowly worked my way through all of the existing hard routes at Niederthai, and thinking back to every route brings back some great memories. This place is special.

What’s next? I don’t know. We have a few new areas dotted around Oetztal. Hopefully I will be able to find something that will push my climbing a little further and give Oetztal something as special as Niederthai...let the search continue!

13 Oct 2013

Climbing Trainer Course Innsbruck

I never realised that climbing is so complicated until attending this course...the Austrians certainly know what climbing actually involves. A great experience and I am thoroughly looking forward to the next stage.