Mountain climbing and mountaineering definitely doesn’t appeal to everyone. Although I love life in the mountains, if I’m honest, climbing up a near-vertical sheet of rock has never exactly been at the top of my list; but I was assured that, when you’re in the hands of a professional, it can be extremely exhilarating, rewarding and enjoyable.
I had never climber a rock face before but, with my good friend Isabella and our personal (young, friendly, handsome and rather muscular!) coach, Johannes, by my side I decided to give it a try.
There’s a new climbing club here in St Michael, which has coincided with the launch of our brand new climbing wall or ‘Kletterwand’. The climbing wall is a perfect place to practice. I’ve been up and down it now more times than I can remember and, despite once or twice getting stuck with the dreaded ‘uncontrollable shaky leg syndrome’, overall I’ve found it a great way to boost my confidence before taking on the real thing. It’s also great for fitness!
When the day of the real mountain climbing arrived, we had an early start and departed St Michael at 06:30hrs. It’s a 20-minute drive in the direction of Hohen Tauern to the Malta valley, which is located at the base of the Kolnprein dam. From there, it’s a short, 15-minute walk to the start of the climb.
The pitch is called the ‘Seeplatten Wall’, which us graded 5+. The 120-metre multi pitch has a varying gradient, meaning there’s a good mix of strenuous bits and time for recovery! We ascended in a roped party of 3. The climb itself went surprisingly quickly. Johannes is a very capable guide and made Isabella and I feel relatively at ease throughout. And when we made it to the top… What a great feeling!
That was that. After taking a few minutes to get our breath back and survey the views, we took the trail descent back to the car, which took a mere 30 minutes. From there, instead of heading straight back to St Michael, we dropped into nearby Gmund for a celebratory lunch and Weiss bier. A very nice day indeed!