The comfy seat envelops me, its squidgy cushion supporting my tired body.  I can hear the hum of the trains engine, and whirring past the window I see mountains suspended in spider web like clouds.  I am on my way home, from an amazing outdoor climbing trip!

Quite a last minute flight booking saw me packing my boots to go and visit friends in Tirol, Austria.  I’d met Toby and Marissa around a year ago in the UK where we’d climbed on the grit together.  They’re the kind of people that are always psyched for an adventure and really want to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.  I was really looking forward to catching up with them and getting to climb at some pretty cool venues!

The first climbing day saw us up in Galtur/Silvapark/Silvretta.  It was BEAUTIFUL! The walk in, up the mountain, was totally made worth it by the stunning view.  I really liked it up there, there were so many world class lines, and often cooler temperatures too due to the altitude.  I’d already found some projects and really wanted to go back.

On the next cool day we did just that.  Toby and I headed straight to the top area to begin the day.  He knows the areas like the back of his hand, so could just point me at blocs he thought I would like.  We started trying this amazing line, but I couldn’t get my heel to stick on the pebble – definitely an excuse to go back.  After many attempts we moved onto a steep arete called Zwiederwurzn.  The moves at the start were super stretched  for me and to begin with the last move was also proving challenging.  I persevered and man am I glad I did!  Having found beta that worked for me I started going for proper attempts.  I really, really wanted to climb 8a and this seemed like a good bloc for me.  After a couple of goes where I fluffed the top I managed to send it!  It was a very odd feeling to complete my goal for the trip so early on, especially as it was something I’d wanted for so long.  I also finished the day with a send of Crimpy Slut (7c+/8a), a problem which I’d tried earlier in the week.

I was so happy, I hadn’t anticipated this would happen.  Looking back I think I was also a little taken aback.  8a seemed like a big deal to me, but when you climb it you realise its just another problem.  Its only a number.  You feel really happy for a day and then its just normal, you’re thinking what the next goal should be.  Its funny really, you put so much training and energy in and then when you succeed you only enjoy it for a short while.

Crimp Slut(7C+/8A) Photo: Toby Saxton

Crimp Slut(7C+/8A) Photo: Toby Saxton

The weather grew hotter, wetter and more unsettled.  It turns out climbing in August in 38C heat isn’t condusive to climbing particularly hard!  We managed to get some slightly cooler sessions in though, visiting an amazing new area, along with places such as Tumpen and Sherwood Forest.  Everywhere has something slightly different to offer.  Probably one of the funkiest boulders I’ve done outside has to be Deadhang (7c) in sunny Tumpen.  I’ve never been inverted with a heel-toe cam above my head before!

The boulders are BIG! Photo: Toby Saxton

The boulders are BIG!
Photo: Toby Saxton

I also managed to squeeze in a  few yoga sessions, some climbing in the gym on rainy days and plenty of ice cream.  I can’t thank Toby, Marissa and their lovely friends enough for making me so welcome and showing me around.  I think you’d be mad not to have Austria on your list of places to go.


One to go back for…. Photo: Toby Saxton


Demon Roof, Tumpen Photo: Toby Saxton


Go to the top he said, I’ll take a photo. Then I got scared….

1 Comment

  • Richard Newman 14th August 2016 (5:38 pm)

    Sounds like you had a fantastic time Gracie, well done and a great read too 🙂

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