Ettringen, Deutschland – Exciting onsights with a project to boot that ego right back down to nil. Re-exploring the basalt quarry.
Ahh, a weekend in Germany with nice weather in the forecast. This seems to be less of a rarity as we are fast approaching summer. We had a few ideas on the table that we were tossing around. After deciding that climbing the Matterhorn was a little too ambitious for our britches this early in the season, we opted for a casual weekend of hard cracks and technical faces at our nearby single pitch playground – Ettringen. This was my second visit to Ettringen (read about the first visit here) and I was chomping at the bit to get a better look at the regional classic, Mayflower (8-, 5.11b), but more on this later.
We arrived at Ettringen with countless hours of daylight to pick, prod and shove our paws all over the place. In fact, our day ended when our fingers declared a strike and there were still about two hours of daylight. After playing with the idea of stay or go, we opted to stay in Ettringen for the night so that we could climb again on Sunday and boy did we make the right decision. We ended our long day of climbing with a trip into the cute neighboring town, Mayen, where we indulged ourselves with some mouth watering Argentinian steaks and ice cream treats.
- Agonie (7, 5.10 c/d) – Fun face, corner, seam, roof, crack – all in one climb and bolted to make friends
- Im Taumel der Triebe (8-, 5.11 b/c) – Boulder problem into beautiful stemming
- Fitness Center (8, 5.11 d) – crazy face crux, crazy crux move establishing into corner, crazy awkward move out of roof to get to the anchors, you pick your crux poison there are 3
- Toxoplasma (8-, 5.11 b/c) – Splitter finger crack
- Purple Haze (7-, 5.10 b) – Pleasurable jaunt up a fun crack (trad) with a closed fisted face slap to the anchors
- Unterm Fallbeil (7-, 5.10 b) – Chimney
- Nautilus (7+, 5.11 a/b) – You might want to stretch before this gymnastic adventure
- Flying Circus (8+, 5.12 a/b) – yup, tried this last time and yup, failed to red point again.
- Unnamed dihedral (7, 5.10 c/d) – next to Merlin (10-), deserves a name.
- No Room for Cows (Based on how much I had to focus on keeping my legs from shaking somewhere between 7+ and 8-) – awesome technical climb. A handful of routes to the left of Merlin (10-)
Still disgustingly full from our gluttonous fest the night before, day two was off to a rather slow start. My climbing partner, who climbs significantly harder than I do, warmed up on the very aesthetic Mayflower (8-), which I had my eyes on as a project for the very near future. While on route, some storm clouds rained on our parade while still maintaining an uncomfortably warm climate which drastically reduced the selection of climbable routes. In light of the disgruntled weather, my warm up actually ended up being Aucune Plaquette (7) and I rather excitingly onsighted it making it the first trad climb that I have onsighted at that grade.
Feeling good about cracks and my steak fueled climbing I wandered back over to the Mayflower and with some encouragement from my climbing partner, that project became a harsh reality all so soon. I hopped on and immediately discovered that it was not going to be a comfortable push to the anchors. My hands were not as small as I would have been happy with in the slightly overhung crack making it a very awkward and unstable jamming session. After pushing and pushing, an exciting fall and a pair of obliterated tape gloves later I called it quits, right after passing the technical crux. It’s my first project and I am so excited to return to it with a fresh mind and some freshly taped paws.
After all my effort on the Mayflower, it was my climbing partner’s turn to pick an inspiring route and boy did he. He opted for Q.E.D. (8). Us both being math nerds, enjoyed the reference. It took a few goes to work out the moves and try to find the most static way to bust out the dyno crux. Thankfully a family was climbing next to us and was able to shoot some pretty awesome photos of him sending. It ended up being a satisfyingly full day with both of us pushing our climbing limits.
- Mayflower (8-, 5.11b)
- Aucune Plaquette (7, 5.10 d) – Best dihedral crack, ever
- Mut der Verzweilflung (8+/9-, 5.12 b/c) – Damn you green alien
- Q.E.D (8, 5.11d) – … Quite Easily Done, if you are 6 feet or taller sure – static, if you are 6 feet or shorter you might want some vertical, you might also want a cool day
Quick Reference Guide:
Location: Ettringen, Deutschland
Chance of Rain81°/59°
Chance of a Thunderstorm79°/54°
Guidebook: Schwarze Säulen: Kletterführer Mayen, by Alexander Schmalz-Friedberger