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Benedikt Purner making the third ascent of "Das Experiment" (WI6+, 50m, Bernhard Schiestl & Michael Höllwarth, 2004), Floitental, Austria
Photo by Klaus Pietersteiner

New ice climbs in Austria's Floitental by Leichtfried, Purner & Co


Two new icefalls in the Floitental (Zillertal), Austria: Excalibur (WI6/R, 120m, Albert Leichtfried & Paul Mair 30/01/2011) and Quasimodo (M7 WI7, 90m, Benedikt Purner & Klaus Pietersteiner 03/02/2011).

Long walk-in's tend not to be the rage, but those who make the extra effort usually manage to reap huge rewards. This is certainly the case in Austria's Floitental, a side valley bearing SE off the more famous Zillertal, which remarkably still contains a number of unclimbed pristine ice lines.

The valley received attention at the end of January when Albert Leichtfried teamed up with Paul Mair to make what is likely to be the first repeat of  "Das Experiment" (WI6+, 50m, Bernhard Schiestl / Michael Höllwarth, 2004). After climbing this stunning line they  set their sights on a drip they had spotted during the walk-in and established Excalibur (WI6/R, 120m). "The line offers fantastic, demanding climbing" stated Leichtfried, adding "a thin sheet of ice at the start requires sensitivity and leads to a free standing drip at the end. A crowning finish!"

On 3 February Benedikt Purner and Klaus Pietersteiner followed their the friends' footsteps and after the three hour walk-in they first warmed up on "Das Experiment", made the first repeat of Excalibur, then climbed a new line directly opposite Das Experiment. The dangerously thin new route is called "Quasimodo" (M7 WI7- 90m) and Purner stated: "Climbing the route ground up was pretty tough and on incredibly bad ice, certainly one of the more dodgy manoeuvres of my ice climbing career. I continued upwards because I couldn't retreat, then the ice improved on the second pitch."

Two days later Leichtfried and Purner joined forces and climbed six classics in the Pinnistal: Magier, Eiszeit, Rumpelkammer, Kerze, Männer ohne Nerven and Gully. 500m ice in an intense 6 hour push, excellent training for their next trip to Norway!





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