Climbing the direct north west corner up the Kampenwands little brother
After Jochen had to leave a view days early Julia, Buddel and I decided to revisit the Kampenwand area to attempt a three pitch 90 meter route (UIAA 5-) up the tower we had been looking at during most of the Kampenwand traverse. We took a fairly early cable car up the mountain and hiked down to the start of the route at the outermost northwest edge of the tower (readers of the website might have noticed that I do have a thing for climbs on free standing towers). We already had noticed beforehand that the route was well visible from the main hiking trail and several viewpoints - so we would be part of the attraction today.
The general line follows the outer corner of the tower for two steeper pitches and eases off for the last one but stays on the edge nonetheless. After sorting out the systems for our three people rope team (we were using a 60 meter rope with the leader tied into the middle and climbing on one of the two strands before belaying up the two followers) it was my turn to start pitch 1.
Very pleasant, exposed climbing at around 4+ and typical alpine protection (read three bolts for 30 meters of climbing). The weather had (luckily) cooled and with the low lying clouds the whole thing did get more of an alpine feel. Julia did follow up to the belay in a dense cloud - a first for her.
Pitch 2 Julia was up and we quickly rearranged the systems to allow her to lead. A bit harder than pitch 1 (a fair 5-) but still great climbing with okay protection. The crux of this pitch was moving out of a pretty good little corner onto a slab to the left, which felt a bit dicey even following.
With everybody reunited at the next belay, Buddel set off for the last rope length up to the top of the tower. Just fantastic ridge climbing to a good belay right above the normal route on the south side of the tower.
In total the climbing took us about two hours - however with the more complicated three person setup and really enjoying the route.
During the climb we already had a few people at a viewpoint point at us and (my interpretation) being very very impressed. However after we reached the top there was actually a crowd gathered on the main hiking trail and while we were setting up to rappel off via the normal route (one single 30 meter rappel) we were joking around among each other that we should go around with a helmet and gather some coins for a good piece of cake later on - of course those cheapskates were already gone when we came down. Hmpf!
PS: We actually did get some good (and fairly priced) food at the Steinling Alm close by - even though we had to pay for ourselves.
Adventurers: Julia, Buddel and Bengt