Sunday, September 7, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
Just a quick video of Nick Foster and myself climbing at Serpent during June 2014. He was trying one my newish routes out there called Zeus, You Bastard (25), which had a hold break recently making the crux harder. I tried Beiser (27), which is a super crimpy thing! Managed to get it the shot after the one in the video. Enjoy.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Matt - After finishing up in Garmisch, we headed to Munich to get a shuttle bus through Austria and into the Czech Republic. Our first stop was a UNESCO world heritage site, called Cesky Krumlov. My friend Susy Goldner recommended I visit here, and so we did!!!The very small city is located on the banks of a winding river, which makes you feel as if you are on an island. I don't have a lot to say about Cesky, except that it is truly beautiful and worth a visit.Tahlia and I went on a rafting excursion through the towns situated close to Cesky Krumlov, and wound our way through the old city. Highly fun!
Next stop, and last stop: PRAGUE!
Friday, July 25, 2014
Matt - After our 8 hour train ticket into Garmisch, we settled into Bavarian living with some beers and a schnitzel. This was my third time in Garmisch, and I had always told Tahlia how much I love it so decided to add it into the trip itinerary. I have a friend, Florian Werner, who I met in Australia years ago, and we stayed with him and his lovely family again.
Our intention for the following morning was to climb the Zugspitze, which is Germany's highest peak weighing in at 2962m. There are many routs up it, but the Reintal route is the only route which does not involve the use of a harness and crampons. The Reintal route is also the longest walk, 21km, so we knew it was going to be a big day. Most people do the walk over two days, and stay in a hut at the halfway point and continue onto the top the following day. We only had the option of doing it in one day, as the hut was booked out, and we also wanted the challenge. The route takes about 10 hours to get to the top, and from there you can take the gondola back down. We needed to make it to the top before 4pm, as the last gondola leaves than. At 4am we woke up and took a bike ride to the start of the route, which was in the dark. We continued through the beautiful Partnach gorge, and along the trail.
We had a quick rest stop at the 3 hour point with some rye bread and cookies and continued. At this point I was feeling extremely sick, and dizzy, and had to take things slow. I was not too sure I was up for a 10 hour hike.
The feelings of sickness subsided when I got to the halfway point, and was handed a beer and soup from the hut build way up in the mountains. The hut is so remote that helicopters have to drop the food and drink off to it. By this stage we were feeling very confident we would make it. The views were absolutely stunning, and the photos don't do it justice.The next 4 hours went slowly, and the path became looser and looser. The scenery changed, and started to resemble a moon like image.
The top 400m of the climb is a Via-Feratta, which if you are careful on you don't need a harness. By this stage though we were very fatigued, and took it extra slowly, as the drop off the small ledges is a big one! Tahlia, who is afraid of heights did an amazing job and kept on moving quickly. That's the top you can see in the picture. Zoom in and see how small the people are.
The small climb to the very summit was a complete circus, as at this point all of those tourists that took the gondola to the top wanted to do the short climb to the top. It was the most dangerous part of the trip, as everyone was pushing there way to the top, with no climbing experience and a 2962m drop below! The gold spike is the very summit!! We were so stoked to be up there.
We treated ourselves to a lovely meal, and some Weiss beer once we got home!
The following day, Florian took us to lake Eibsee, which is just under the Zugspitze and we went swimming, stand up paddle boarding and slack lining on this beautiful lake
We realised we had forgotten to get our bikes back from our Zugspitze walk, so went back up the track a small way to get them. This photo is the Partnachllamm (gorge), which is the starting point of the Reintal route. It was nice to actually see this gorge in some light this time, even if it was at 8pm.
For our last day in Bavaria for this trip, we went to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which is the castle that inspired the Disney logo. It was beautiful, but the weather was shite! This was the best photo I could take in the conditions we had.
Next stop, Czech Republic!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Matt - Arriving into Berlin late at night, after spending two weeks in an english speaking country was a tad difficult at first. Slowly though, we got used to speaking a little German, and learnt quite a bit about the language in the past little while. We had four nights in Berlin, and had a lot planned for the short time (which we unfortunately got very little of done). The first morning I was craving a sausage of some sort, so I opted for a Currywurst. Hmm. I was less than impressed.
We continued walking past museums and landmarks, including Checkpoint Charlie, and the museum called Topography Of Terror, which is a museum which depicts the SS in WW2. As we continued towards other landmarks in the Mitte district, we were suddenly very aware that the streets were getting continually crowded. Streets were blocked, police were everywhere, and we couldn't access spots we wanted. After a long walk, around all of the commotion, we came to the Holocaust Memorial, which consists of 2711 concrete slabs.
Prior to arriving in Berlin, Matt had insisted on visiting one area in particular. This area was another road less travelled by tourists, as it is forbidden to enter. During the walking tour we started talking with a fellow traveller who said that he too was keen to explore this place. Named the Spreepark, it opened in 1969, and closed in 2001. In it's heyday, it was a popular amusement park equipped with all the latest rides and attractions. The park closed due to a massive debt and lack of visitors. In 2002, the owner of the park shipped some of the rides abroad so they could get repaired, but that was found to be a lie. Instead, 7kg of cocaine was found inside one of the rides and he was jailed, sealing the lonely fate of the park. Until recently tours were allowed through the park, but in March this year somebody bought the land, making it forbidden to enter. This meant that we had to stealthily jump fences to enter and exit the park. We had to tread very carefully whilst exploring, as we had been told that guards patrol the area.
In the photo below, the train tracks appear to be surrounded by grass, but it was actually water.
As we walked through, the rides could be seen just as they were thirteen years ago, like people had just stepped out from riding them.
Afterwards, we had a well deserved beer and burger at White Trash Fast Food, a cool apocalyptic themed eatery in Kreuzberg.
Matt - The day following Spreepark, we went and visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, which is situated not far from Berlin. I don't have a lot to say about it, that hasn't been said before, but visiting a Concentration Camp is definitely a heavy experience. The photo below translates to 'Work Makes Free', and is a sign situated at most concentration camps. Morbid.
Next stop, the mountains of Bavaria!
Monday, July 21, 2014
Tahlia: After our tiring yet exciting few days in Killarney, it was time for us to leave for Ennis to do a few tours from the surrounding areas. On our first tour we went through The Burren, a rocky bare landscape consisting of many criss crossing cracks. It also contains more than 90 tombs (one is pictured below).
The next stop on the tour was the Cliffs of Moher, an expanse of rocky cliffs 120m high which extends kilometres into the distance. It was a gloomy foggy day though, so this is the best view we got.
Now - off to Germany!