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Austria Climbing Trip

After looking through the guide book that I recently bought
from the climbing shop, I began organising a trip to Austria. My Mum and Step
Dad live out there and I usually travel alone too visit them; this has always
limited the climbing I can do when there. My Mum is a competent belayer and
happy to hold ropes for me at the local crags. I had always been inspired to
climb the big mountain routes Austria is famous for. Therefore I organised a
group of friends to travel with me, along with them and a guide book I knew
this was going to be a trip to remember!

Following trips abroad where I had travelled alone, it was
great to have companions with me during the airport experience and the flight.
Landing in Munich (Germany) I was amazed that before two of us had even got
through passport control, all our bags had been taken off the conveyor belt and
stacked together by Luke and Dan who had got through 30sec before me, a fine
example of Europe efficiency.

Shocked by how nice our rental car was were drove down to
Austria and to our apartment which was 1hr south off Salzburg in a town called
Tamsweg. The drive was pleasant and amusing due to Will trying his best German
in a service station’s McDonalds.

After collecting our shopping for the next few days we
headed 10mins south to the small crag of Ramingstein which is situated by a
huge mountain castle. The majority of climbing involved sharp crimp, slab
climbing with some routes climbing corners and small overhangs. Some routes
were done in two pitches, adding to the feeling of insecurity when pulling on
small loose holds.

The next day we went to the large crag at Mur, my favourite local
crag. The rock here is very dense and routes follow very faint lines of weakness.
After completing some lovely slab climbs, me and my partner Will moved onto a 3
pitch route which was graded 7-. We were required to traverse the crag to the
far side on via ferrata like wires and then abseil to the start of the
climb.  The route was superb; it involved
slab climbing on sloper holds, relying purely on the skin on rock friction. A quick
abseil back down led to the next route which was one huge 40m single pitch
which really got my muscles ready for the rest of the trip.

After a short, steep walk through woodland we reached a cave
which supplied us with a day off steep climbing overlooking the local town of
Tamsweg. With only a small amount of routes we manage to complete most in a few
hours leaving only a few routes that we all tried to work together. After mucking
around on some hard climbs that none of us could do, we retired for the day.

After a few more days of exploring the local crags we
travelled further north to a 150m crag that reminded me of the huge orange and
blue limestone faces native to Spain. We fought our way through the overgrown
bushes and nettles (bad day to wear shorts) and arrived at the base. I could not
believe how sharp and positive the holds were, they were that sharp I actually
had slice marks in the rubber of my shoes. This rock face was over 200m long
and had only 7 routes on it, a crag like this would have a route every metre if
it was back in the UK.

The next day we headed back north and to an immense cliff located
15 minutes from the busy city of Salzburg. Heading up to the base of the crag I
realised I read the guidebook wrong by mistaking the approach time as 30minutes
when it was actually an ascent of a 30 degree steepness.  Hot and sweaty we reached the start of our
chosen routes; we racked up and began the ascent. The route was graded 7+ and
was 300m long, with a crux pitch involving overhanging climbing and a dyno!! It
also had a traverse section that was up there on my list of most technical
climbing I’ve ever done! Following 5 long abseils back to the base we were relieved
to gulp down some water and take of our rock climbing shoes. After a quick
night dip into the freezing river on the way back to the climb, we headed back
to the apartment to enjoy the rest of the holiday (which mostly involved spa
treatment and swimming).

On arrival back the UK I immediately booked my flights to go
back to enjoy and explore even more of the climbing that is available out

Definitely a place to visit for all you explores and
climbers out there!

Dan :)

The BEST holidays

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