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

22 Aug 2013

Black Mamba Don’t Text

Last year we found one of the best new climbing areas in Tirol and the projects are slowly getting ticked off by the Oetztal climbing team. Elias Holzknecht bolted one of the king lines at the crag and kindly decided to declare his project open and free for people to try. I was keen to get stuck into a project and started working out the crux sequence. The route is incredible. It involves a pumpy bottom section leading to an amazing rest followed by a few really powerful moves on compact black granite. The upper section, winding up towards the chain, is technical and involves squeezing some wide granite pinches. 

The route is named ‘Black Mamba Don’t Text’ and is graded Fr8a+.
Lukas Ennemoser on the 2nd Ascent

8 Jan 2013


2012 began in the wild fisherman’s village of Whitby, contemplating the year ahead on long coastal walks, with the stormy sea blowing in the wind and in the historical White Horse and Griffin, where sailers from the past rested before their next adventures.

The rest of the Winter was spent training, snow shoveling, lots of ski-touring and free-riding on clouds of deep white dust.

A short trip to Fontainebleau prepared me for the competition season. In Fontainebleau we climbed some classics and some more classics, dreamt about climbing some other classics and so on...it was an awesome trip. However, the competition season started off slow for me. I felt physically prepared but was unable to find the right mental zone required in order to be able to compete well. I had a few lonely training sessions on my fingerboard and at the bouldering wall where I was able to find the balance again. At the following round of the Bouldering World Cup in Innsbruck I finished 6th in the final. I drove home knowing that the rest of my year would be a good one. I finished 6th at the final round of the Bouldering World Cup in Munich and it was a satisfying feeling turning my competition season into a good one.

The year has been full of different rock projects and with the totally unexpected finding of a new climbing area in Ötztal I was able to pick, bolt, clean and climb some new lines. Some major highlights of the year include making the first ascents of some older projects in Ötztal; ‘Ganesha’ and ‘Don Pedro’.  Another major highlight was climbing the classic ‘Wall Street’ in Frankenjura with my Dad and Sabby, it was just an awesome weekend desperately trying to stay warm during a fierce cold front.

The year finished free-riding through Polles Tal in Ötztal with some good friends and, as the winter sun set, I found myself in a new setting contemplating the new year ahead. 

Let’s see what 2013 brings!