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.

9 Oct 2013

Sardegna Autumn Trip

I first visited Sardinia back in 2003 with my Dad and a good friend, Luis. We had planned to escape the bad weather in the UK and had visions of climbing in the sun, whilst the rain continued to fall back in Manchester. As we approached the island, the weather was looking bad and, flying through dark stormy clouds, the hopes of climbing in the sun started to diminish. I remember that we attempted to drive to Cala Ganone but had to give up and stay in a village above the port because snow was blocking the road. We ended up drinking lots of grappa and having a massive snow ball fight in the local market square. Fortunately though, the weather improved and we were eventually able to climb.

Ten years later, I was off to Sardinia again, this time with Sabby. The weather in Tirol was horrendous but as we drove south the skies began to clear and the autumn sun began to re-energise our batteries. We were ready for a climbing trip! We met up with Kili, Anna, Reini and Tanja and started to explore some of the fantastic climbing areas in Sardinia. The harder climbing areas are a little out of fashion so it is very unusual to meet anyone else at the crag. I can recommend the climbing area of ‘So Telergin Oro’ for climbers who sought after steep tufa climbs.

We had some fantastic days climbing and swimming under the Mediterranean sun. One unforgettable day was when we decided to climb the Goloritze. There are two possible ways to approach this limestone spire from Cala Ganone. You can drive a good two hours and walk down towards the coast for an hour. Alternatively, and much more fun, you can hire a little speed boat from Cala Gonone and race across the choppy bay until the spire becomes visible. Cala Goloritze is a protected part of the coastline so boats should not anchor close to the beach. We decided this wouldn’t be a problem for us. We protected our climbing gear in bin bags and made a few trips back and forth from the boat to the shore, with the climbing gear balanced on Sabby’s lilo. We climbed the spire in four pitches and were able to enjoy the awe-inspiring view on the tiny summit before jetting back to Cala Ganone enjoying the evening sun before it hid behind the mountain range.

We will definitely be returning to Sardinia in the near future, possibly to explore some more of the multi-pitch sport climbing on the island.

photo: Kilian Fischhuber

photo: Kilian Fischhuber
photo: Anna Stöhr