Monday, October 21, 2013

For Sale: Ice Climbing Equipment / Verkauf: Eis-Ausr├╝stung

I am selling some high-quality ice climbing equipment. There is a post on at this link: Ice Climbing Equipment / Eis-Ausr├╝stung. The same post is on www.

Included are BD Fusion Ice Tools, BD Stinger Crampons and more. I am expecting that it will all be sold very quickly. Contact me at, use the contact form on the right with "Ice Equipment" in the heading.


Last pair of brand new, never-used Black Diamond Stinger Mono-Point Crampons with an extra set of 2 front points, now reduced to €135,-- including shipping - THIS IS AN EXCELLENT DEAL!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Old School Mojo

My client and I finished our personal training session in the climbing gym with a strong, positive vibe. He had a good climbing workout and was motivated to steadily train and improve. We set our next appointment. I was satisfied that I had constructed our time together so that we ended exactly with the atmosphere that I wanted - positive motivation and desire for personal improvement. I had two hours before my next client. Time for me to train! Alright!

I planned a boulder session that included warming up, some movement & mobility work, a power endurance set of 10X15 moves, trunk stabilization, learning new problems & moves (towards the level of max strength), and wrapping up with an endurance 4X4.

One of the route setters of the facility had set two new boulder problems earlier that morning. He wanted to know if I was planning on trying the new boulders. "Sure, after I'm warmed up", was my reply. I do not like someone to disturb my focus when I am training. One of the most irritating things is the very common habit of some climbers to spew bata about how to climb a route or boulder. The verbal directions of, "put your left hand there, then switch feet ...", or what ever, is the absolute worst form of instruction and training advice.

A climbing coach or trainer has to first and foremost try to grasp what the client is feeling and experiencing. A good coach then needs to create the atmosphere in which the client teaches themselves the most productive mental and physical things that are appropriate to their level of individual development at that time. Wow - that was a mouthful, and if i succeed even a little in coming to this state, then I am doing something right with my client.

Back to my boulder session. I warmed up and was doing my stuff when the setter came over to see if I was trying his new boulders. I hadn't yet. "They're not old school boulders", was his comment. What the fuck does that mean? Am I too "old school" to do them? I admit, I have a chip on my shoulder at times, and I can be a surly  overly sensitive, scruffy bastard (just ask Jennifer or Steve at Glaros!) too, but already my ire was raised.

He had come up to me the last time I was doing supplemental trunk exercises to show me a "really good, hard core exercise" with a thera-band. It wasn't hard. It wasn't good. It was just his ego saying, "I know something more and better than you". Yeah right. Here's a good core exercise: dead lift twice your body weight.

I really didn't want to do the boulders with the setter looking on because I wanted to work them out and do them for myself. But, I relented out of a competitive, "I'll show him attitude" and the knowledge that I sometimes shy away from climbing in front of sport climbers who have climbed higher grades than me.

I tried the yellow problem and right after the first move the spewing of bata started. He had a comment for everything I was doing, "Yeah, that's right, put your foot there, no, use the hold in your left hand", and so on. Most times this is given as encouragement, but the intuitive sense was that all the verbal banter comes from a place of superiority. Pretentious as hell. I couldn't on-sight the boulder, nor did I really care, was completely out of focus to sense what was going on in my body, and was irritated with myself for placing myself in a situation that I knew would come to this. I spoke politely in general, meaningless, phrases with the boulder setter and excused myself by saying I had to finish my planned workout in time to get ready for my next client.

"Your muscle at the front of your hip - what's it called? - that raises your leg is weak. That's why you can't lift your left leg high to place it on the foot hold", he told me as I got a cup of tea behind the cash register. "Yeah, I have to work on hip movement and flexibility so I can step high, like a lot of men", was my polite, sort of general, again meaningless, response. The guy then went on to explain how I could "test" my movement and strength of my psoas (yes, that's what the muscle is called) by raising up and holding my leg in that position, further adding that, "lucky for me, unlike most men, I don't have problems with hip flexibility or (psoas) strength".

Motivation can be an elusive thing. The widely held belief is that we are motivated by something outside us. I think your motivation is solely your responsibility. You have to find the "wanting" inside yourself and tap into this energy to push you through obstacles and discomfort. I think success comes from looking inside yourself and harnessing the personal power that is within every individual.

The next day, my late morning bike ride to the climbing gym felt great. I was primed. I had done my supplemental strength workout at home earlier that morning. (Weighted pull up ladders, 300 various kettlebell swings & presses.) I had had time to get some personal, professional development work done and and listened to this podcast (Nr. 55) - - with Elliot Hulse. Boy the ride felt great as I was pushing a big gear - flying!

It got me thinking of JT's "Steamroller", a "hefty hunk of steaming junk". 1979, senior year of high school. I have come a long way since then, but also I am the same person inside, but just more of it. 34 years later it was just pure testosterone turning the cranks. "a churin' urn of burning funk"!

I had a two-hour session with a school group in the climbing gym. Afterwards, I would do a short, intense boulder session.  I finished up with the school group at 14:30. The teachers and students where all smiles. The first of their three, two-hour sessions went well and they were excited about coming back to continue in a week. They all felt good about themselves. They were more empowered than when they came into the gym at noon, earlier that day. Now it was my time.

Warmed up. Worked some harder boulder moves. Sent the new red problem. Sent the new yellow problem. Time to go home. 16:00

Never, never, never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Never, never, never tell yourself you can't do something. You're a steamroller baby!

Well I'm a steamroller baby
I wanna roll all over you
Yes I'm a steamroller for your love, babe
I'd like nothing better than to roll all over you
I'm gonna inject your soul with some sweet rock & roll
And shoot you full of rhythm and blues

Well I'm a cement mixer baby
A churnin' urn of burnin' funk (Yes!)
I'm a cement mixer for you baby
A churnin' urn of burnin' funk
Got down right now baby
Well I'ma demolition derby baby
A hefty hunk of steamin' junk
Mr. McD got the blues for you and me

(Solo break)

Well I'm a napalm bomb for you baby
Stone guaranteed to blow your mind
I'm a napalm bomb for you babe got to tell you one more time
To sit down, stand up, go home, back to Raleigh
Stone guaranteed to blow your mind momma, yeah
And if I can't have your love for my own to take home 
And keep me warm there won't be nothing left behind (Oh!)
Broken heart, broken heart, oh
I just don't seem to can lose
This here low down
No where
Half life
Freeze dried
Deep southern funky fat fried
Chicken chokin', mother f*cking pain
Come on, oh, roll on over
and help me lose the steamroller blues

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ice Climbing Training Seminars, 2014: Pre-Season Notice

Wolfgang climbing steep ice in Cogne, Italy, January 2013
Here's a short notice that I have fixed the dates for 2 group ice climbing training seminars for the 2014 season.

Seminar I: Maltatal, Austria, 09.01.2014 - 12.01.2014. This is a beginners level training from thursday evening through sunday late afternoon.

Seminar II: Kandersteg, Switzerland, 13.02.2014 - 18.02.2014. This is a follow up to the first seminar. It is a intermediate level training starting on thursday morning and finishing on sunday, mid-afternoon. You should plan on a wednesday evening arrival time.

I will post more details on the blog and in the outdoor section. I am also planning on having day events as the ice conditions warrant in the Salzburg area. Just use the contact form on the right if you need more information. I will only be able to accommodate 4-5 persons in each seminar. Let's hope for a great ice season in 2014!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Snow Safety at the Season's Start

This is copied from Jimmy Chin's Blog ( It is one of the best accounts of living through an avalanche that I have read. There was a major snow fall in the Mont-Blanc range when I was there last week and we have had the first real snow fall in the north-eastern Alps last week and again above 1400 meters today.

The best defense against an avalanche is not even coming close to getting caught. Rescue equipment is nothing more than a last-ditch hope at survival when everything else has already gone wrong. 2 friends of mine died last year in avalanches. Reading the story below brings back the memories.

Surviving an Avalanche - ‘There is Clarity I Need to Remember…’

jc-turn-iiThe following is an entry taken directly from my journal. It is rough. It is raw. It is a personal recounting of the avalanche on April 1, 2011 in the Tetons that nearly took my life. I share it in part to inform, but also to keep the memory fresh, for selfish reasons. You’ll understand why as you read on…
I watch Jeremy (Jones) carve effortless turns. He cuts left onto the steep wall onto a small safe zone. I make sure he is clear. He looks back. I see Jeremy’s line and drop in just right. I make my first two turns and lay into the third. It feels heavy but so good to carve. The feeling of weightlessness as I come out of the turn is like no other. I am happy.
Then the world shifts, something feels unfamiliar and I hear someone yell. I look up over my shoulder to the right and see the whole mountain moving. At first it looks like slow motion footage, then, snap! My eyes widen and suddenly everything moves into fast forward as I watch the mountain begin to fall apart into huge slabs. The cracks grow and the speed of reality pitches me off balance. I try carry my speed, to get out to the side but there is notside. It’s an ocean of snow and I am being pulled downward. Faster and faster. I am part of something too big to comprehend.
I see trees ahead of me. They bend and snap as I head towards them with the massive waterfall of snow. I see Jeremy. He is yelling. I brace myself hoping it will only go a short distance and I will be ok. But the accelerating speed, the forces tell me differently. I kick and swim to stay on top, then feel weightlessness and acceleration. I know I’m pouring over the first rollover and my heart sinks. I have one last glimpse of where I am going as I get drawn into the darkness.
Hope fades and fear rises. It is a dark time. I feel speed, velocity, power, forces unnatural for a body to experience. Then comes the weight. It pushes down. It compresses. It is more and more and more and more…..It is unbearable. I hear myself roar from a place I knew a long time ago. It is primal. It comes from my stomach and into my chest. I hold on to my body. Bracing, bracing, tightening for impact. The impact never comes, but the weight gives me no release and I feel my chest compressed and crushed. No chance to breathe. No chance to expand my lungs. It is dark and it is dark.
I think about fighting, but there is nothing to fight. I can’t tell which way is up or down. I am completely overpowered and overwhelmed with the weight. I don’t have a breath and I know there is no out. Sometime in this moment I become only my consciousness. I don’t leave my body per se, but I am no longer a part of it. The roar of the avalanche diminishes and I am only a thought “I always wondered how I was going to die and now I know….I always wondered how I was going to die and now I know….I always wondered how I was going to die and now I know.” Then it became “If I’m thinking, then I must be alive, if I am alive, if I am alive, I should fight.” The conversation is strangely unattached or emotional. It feels like it could have gone either way. It seemed merely a second thought that I wasn’t ready to leave yet…but it becomes a decision.
The roar returns. It sounds like a wave crashing. I am held under. I know I must let go and let the wave take me for now. It is too powerful to fight, but I can tell I am moving back up the snowpack. The weight is lessening. I hope the avalanche does not stop, because I know I am still too deep and if it stops now, I will not survive. I still have no air. I relax, submit. There is a glimpse of hope.
I finally feel the weight subside and I punch for the top and gasp for my first breathe of air. The sun is blinding and my lungs fill. I roll onto my back. As I turn to look around me, the fear stops for a moment as I look in awe at what I am a part of, an ocean of snow, a whole mountainside undulating around me, flying down, down, down. The sheer magnitude of size and power is incomprehensible. I am a part of something utterly chaotic yet beautiful, devastating and unstoppable and for the moment, I am riding it like a dragon.
I look down and see the valley below. The trees look tiny and I know I am going all the way. I see the next roll over. I feel the presence of my mother. No joke. She is looking on from above, from around me. She is only present, not wishing anything. She is not judging, she is not worried, she is only watching. I feel sadness. This time I know what’s going to happen and I brace as I pour over the top of another cliffband and disappear back into the darkness. Repeat. The weight, the roar. I laugh at the thought of creating an airspace, at the thought of any semblence of control.
I submit to the forces, but I do not give up. I think of being held under a heavy wave while surfing. I try and save my breath, my strength for the right moment. There is snow pushing into my eyes, down my throat, its crushing my face. I hope there will be another moment. It is black and I feel true fear, panic rising. I push aside the thought of death and focus on what I will do when the moment is right. Let there be another moment. Let there be another moment. I feel the velocity. The elevator drop feels like forever.
Again I am astonished by the forces. I wonder if I will be torn apart, limb from limb. I don’t know if I was making a sound, but another roar. I wait. I feel the weight subside again slowly. I can feel I am moving back up through the snowpack. Now the speed is slowing. Please don’t stop now, not yet. Please, please, please…..I am slowing down, but the weight is still too much to move. I am encased in concrete. They will never find me….Slower, slower, slower.
I am almost at a stop when a feel a surge from underneath me pushing me. Up, up and I am being birthed towards the light. The snow stops and I’ve been pushed to the top standing upright in chest deep debris. I gasp for air. The debris sets instantly and locks me in place. I cannot believe what I am seeing. I am alive. I look at my arms. Then I hear it.
Another sound of rushing snow. I look behind me and see a 10 foot tall secondary wall of snow blocks crashing towards me. I realize it is going to knock me over or cut me in half and bury me. I can’t move and I know I don’t have the power or force to stop it. I will die if it goes even a foot past me. They will never find me. I do the only thing I can and brace my back against it as it bears down on me. I feel it against my back, the weight, the power and I take a deep deep breath…..and it stops against my back. My face is two inches from the snow. It is over. I am alive and somehow, uninjured.
As I dig myself out, I look up to try and figure out where I had come from. I am so far from where I started I can’t see the starting zone. I am guessing I have gone over 2000 feet. I wait to look for Xavier and Jeremy and Matty. It takes them 15 minutes to show up in view far above me. The avalanche had ripped everything to the ground and getting down couldn’t have been easy. I swing my arms to try and catch Xav’s attention. I’ve seen Xav drop into some insane lines and never seen him even wobble, but now I see him point his board through the refrigerator size debris trying to get to me and watch him cartwheel. Again, he gets up, points it and stacks. Somehow, he is down to me in a couple minutes through the concrete debris. It looks to be several hundred feet from the top to the bottom of the debris pile. I see trees everywhere around me, snapped and protruding from the snow. Jeremy and Matty make their way down.
Jeremy arrives breathless and starts repeating himself, “I would go down and look and say to myself, no one is going to survive this, then I would go down and look again and say to myself, fuck, no one could survive this. Then I said, if anyone is going to survive this, it’s Jimmy….Fuck man!” He steps aside and sits down. He is silent for a while looking off towards the mountain.
There is strange clarity for me…..Life’s priorities are stacked perfectly in front of me. I know it is clarity I need to remember, that I can never forget. I know it but I wonder if it will last. I wish it will last. I know life will I pull me apart in different directions. I know I will get distracted and I will try to remember the clarity….to live fully, to act for the right reasons, for the right people, to let go of other people’s expectations, to live with intention, that time is short, our life is a gift, use it wisely….but I know it will not last. Nothing this clear could last. Can I keep it close to my heart? Will it stay? Remember….Remember…..Remember.