Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bavbav & Damoklejev Mec

Today the weather was too good to sit around - which is all I wanted to do to be honest with you. Martin said, "Lets go to a very cool place!" Trouble I knew. We drove for 50minutes across the border into Italy and parked by two small lakes that looked like they would be a very busy but beautiful place in the summer for families to picnic. I turned in the other direction and my jaw dropped, this is what I had come to Slovenia to see and climb. Holy %$#&!! Such a cool wall. So many alpine routes and then Martin pointed out two 500m ice routes that were just small white smears from where we stood. But I was assured they would be huge when we got closer. An hour later he was so right. Amazing position, super ice, and once again not a soul anywhere to be seen nor heard. Totally amazing.
I started up the first Pitch of Sword of Damocles, WI 5, 290 m, 90 degree cruxes - and man the thing hangs over your head - like 20m of ice hanging off the overhang - about 300m above your head when you start. Immediately I knew I was in trouble. About 8 cm of snow clung to the wet ice underneath. I had to scrape, shovel and swing to clean the snow away from the ice, I was only 20 m up the apron and I was cold and tired. I placed a screw and lowered off, stiriphobia had taken its toll yesterday, and Martin eagerly jumped at the lead. 2 hours later we were on top of the first pitch. More snow clung to the second pitch and we laughed and agreed to rap off. As Martin did to me yesterday, he then admitted that The Sword wasn't really in condition, but thought it would be fun to try and since I didn't know any better...... We will return. Bavbav - which translates to "boogey man" (the one that haunts childhood dreams, not something up your nose) was 100m to our left. It is a 12pitch grade 6, with four pitches that have 90+ degrees ice. Super cool, again for another day. Photos are: Mangart Wall, Italian Side, Top half of Bavbav, and Sword of Damocles.