Aid Climbing Apprentice
For Barbara's first attempts at aid climbing Sigi chooses the route with the appropriate name Techno-Lehrling (engl. Aid Climbing Apprentice). Under his watchful eyes Barbara gives her new 'accessories' a try.

From an apprentice to a journeyman

13.06.2020 - For my birthday Sigi not only presented me with the tour to the summit of the Großglockner, but also with new ‘accessories’. Among other things I got a special daisy chain, but at that time I did not know its true value. Two aiders and two ascenders have been in my possession for quite some time now. Now it is about time to give them a try. Sigi chose the route Techno-Lehrling (engl. Aid Climbing Apprentice) on the Ewigen Wand near Bad Goisern. For the first attempts we set up an intermediate belay on the bottom third of the wall. Thus, Sigi can always keep an eye on me and give me advice.

On the first attempt I mainly struggle with the amount of gear and the order in which it has to be placed and removed. I often block myself and there is not enough space in the ring of the bolt for the necessary gear. For almost every move I need to use my variable daisy chain. This is not because of the small overhang and the long pulls. My technique is still very exhausting. Accordingly, I need a lot of time for a few moves.

The second attempt is already much better. The daisy chain is used a lot less often. I find a certain rhythm and the best order for me to hook and unhook the aiders and to remove the quickdraws. In addition, climbing up and pulling at the aiders works already much smoother, faster and, above all, more efficient.

Afterwards we try jumaring by using an ascender and a garda hitch as a backstop.

Final exam

The sun is burning down on us. It would be definitely too hot for sport climbing today. But we are not here to cling to the rocks, but for aid climbing. Sigi sets off to lead the route Techno-Lehrling. He is quite fast although the route is constantly overhanging. For the last three moves he also makes use of his variable daisy chain. At this point I already notice that he has to make an effort on these moves including a wide straddle, but that does not mean anything yet.

By the time it is my turn, I almost burn up. Quite quickly I leave the first bolts behind me. After that the route gets really exhausting. It is overhanging and it takes a lot of effort to climb up the aiders, and to unhook and reposition them. More than once the daisy chain allows me to gain a few extra centimeters and to rest. The moves between the last four bolts are definitely the most difficult ones. They are wide and diagonally upwards. I guess this is the section the apprentice has to pass his exams. I am proud of Sigi for leading it quite easily. Since I cannot reach the quickdraws, I get some help by extending them.

All in all, it is a great day at the Ewige Wand with plenty of sun. I have not been this thirsty for a long time.

Lessons learned

  • Aid climbing is exhausting. Therefore, I appreciate every deep knee bend and every repetition of the stabilization exercises I have done in the last weeks. At this point a big thanks to my sister Eva who motivated me to do Tabata and thus to do more training.
  • Clothing is the best sun protection. Luckily, I wear my long-sleeved airy T-shirt.
  • By testing, we often discover potential for optimizing the gear and putting it together according to our individual needs.
Written by Barbara