Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gaisberg: Right Side

Last week, Stefan Schöndorfer and I bolted some two rope-length sport climbs on the Gaisberg crag. These routes complement the easy single pitch routes we bolted last fall. The topo (click on the topo to enlarge and copy) above shows the nine well bolted routes (in bold). The doted lines indicate existing routes that are not up to safety standards due to various reasons. The three two-pitch routes are bolted with a two-bolt belay at the mid-point. there are rappel anchors for each of the routes. Additionally, we also bolted a near by rock outcrop that is designed for rope technique practice or for young children to climb on.

This time around, we worked for a total of about 11-12 hours, replacing lower-offs, cleaning vegetation and loose rock and of course putting up the routes. All together we put in 12 lower-offs and easily more than 50 bolts. The hardware was donated by Stefan through his climbing school denkundstein, and we donated our time, energy and know-how. We will be using the new routes for Kletterhalle Salzburg outdoor courses. The course offerings include a basic outdoor course called, Baseclimbs, and a course for those wanting to do multiple rope-length bolted routes, Mutipitch.

The main compact wall of the Gaisberg is made up of a number of bolted routes of varying safety standards and quality. Stefan was one of the first to bolt the early sport lines on the wall almost 20 years ago. These routes are 6b/6b+ (5.10d/5.11a) or harder and are generally a bit under-rated. The descriptions and topos are published in a number of area sport climbing guide books.

denkundstein was granted permission by the city of Salzburg (and other responsible government and private organizations) to monitor and develop the Gaisberg for bolted sport climbing. This is part of a two or three year old initiative on the part of the city to make the Gaisberg a local natural get away on the outskirts of the city for sport and nature activities. We plan on further cleaning up the older routes and putting in more new ones (single and multi-pitch) on the various crags.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Follow Your Bliss

"You have to decide what you love the most, I think. And go for that. And don't believe people who say you can't do it. I semi-believed those people and it really held me back. It turns out they were wrong. They're still telling me I can't do it even while I am actually actively doing it! This is kind of comical."

It's funny the things you say in response to people. I teach myself a lot that way, which is why I like doing Q&A sessions and interviews. But it's really true. There seem to always be naysayers who delight in cutting you down and trying to make you feel like you're not capable. It's important to know how to tell those people to go fuck themselves. Sometimes you have to say it politely. Sometimes you have to say it only to yourself. But it's important to be able to say it.

The above came from Bard Warner's Hardcore Zen site. It is something I have learned in the few years since I decided to concentrate full-time on earning my living though working in mountain sports. I have thought of writing about the nuts and bolts of how things have worked out for me, but It always seemed too self-promotional so It's never happened. (That's why I not a big facebook type of guy.) Anyways, how I am able to earn a living doing what I do is a question I get quite often, the last time was just yesterday. The answer could be explained in a very complicated and involved manner on one hand, on the other, I am just trying to responsibly do what I love, feel an honest goodness about myself and, as author Joseph Campbell said, 'follow my bliss'.

I also have to emphasize that my good fortune is due to many circumstances that have allowed me to follow my path: my family and my wife's family, friends, and most importantly my wife. However, the process of life is always changing and the pressure to fit into what general society deems is "right", or for that matter what other types of organizations stipulate is always present. Sometimes I catch myself saying, "why am I doing / worrying about this?"

I think a lot about how my life has turned out in comparison to that of my ten-month older sister. We were both rebellious, fiercely independent, stubborn, anti-authority, non-conformists, etc. Her energy ended up being channeled in a direction that has caused her untold problems in her life. My energy generally has led me in a positive direction.

I think, to be more punk about it, I have been more successful at the proper application of the fuck you attitude.