Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who needs a rope for Stotžič?

Who needs a rope for Storzic?

The other day I was taken out to the local training ground for all alpinists that live in Trizic, the town I am based in - by Martin who runs the Trizic Alpine Club. Every Alpinist in Slovenia is a member of a local mountain club, which dishes out money for the rescue associations, expeditions and it turns out, travel money to foreign ice festivals.

Storzic gains 500m on the north wall. It was my first real day of climbing on limestone, and as I did up the zipper on my Phantom 6000, I asked where the rope was. Rope, who needs a rope, in the summer the route is only given about 5.6 and now it is covered in 1cm of ice, why would we need a rope was the answer?

Partly I had wanted to come to Slovenia to learn why they were the best alpinists in the world, well, I guess that I can go home now. It turns out that most people are comfortable soloing iced up 5.6 for 500m. Luckily there were a couple of snow gullies to rest on, or rather, break trail in while I “enjoyed” the rest of the climbing. Limestone is a bit crap, when I asked how to know what to trust, I was told, “Don’t trust anything.” Cool. A lot of the climbing was easy but about 100m of it was “solid” rime covered 5.6. It was actually fun, minus the two times Martin told me where not to fall because it had not ended well for those who had fallen before me.

I made it up and down, a super fun first day of climbing in Slovenia. The approach was only 40 minutes and we post holed our way down the descent gully and then skied a bunt of scree to get back to the car.