|"There's an icefall at Kandersteg, deep within Switzerland, that not even in Canda..." This is how Anna Torretta describes her recent trip to Kandersteg and her ascent of Crack Baby, the truly impressive icefall first climbed by Bongard and Gruber in 1993. This line had seen only a handful of ascent over the last decades since it very rarely came into condition, but 10 days ago conditions were perfect. |
After her ascent she reutrned to the valley head and, to some surprise, found herself in great company: Will Gadd, Tim Emmett, Chris Cubitt, the Anthematten brothers, Ines Papert, Harry Berger, Kirstin Buchmann, Israel Blanco, Beat Kammerlander... all there for the Ice climbing Festival at Kandersteg. Jack Muller and Steinbrugger set routes for the occasion, but the real news, according to Torretta, is that these possible World Cup finalsists chose not to climb the steep overhangs at Ueschinen, but instead decided to ascend the spectacular Crack Baby and a series of other long, exposed mixed lines at Breitwangflue. As Torretta puts it, perhaps the future of modern mixed climbing "isn't more difficult routes, but simply much more beautiful ones!"
3 days ice climbing at Kandersteg
by Anna Torretta
1280m. The icefalls are located on the wall behind the Kandersteg forest . Recommended routes: Grimm/Groll, III 4+, 180m, Armonium, III 5, 260m, Rattenpissoir, III 5+, 70m, Reise ins Reich der Eiszwerge, III 6+ M6, 175m. The icefalls all have all been equipped with belays for the abseil.
1632m. Dry-tooling par excellance, hosts Robert Jasper's Vertical Limits, M12. Recommended routes: Pink Panther M9 and White Out M10 (approach with skis).
Crack Baby, V6, 340m (approach with skis). Take the private cable car used to transport cows to the high alpine pastures in summer. Phone the farmer to organise departure and return times (Herr Kunzler, 0041(0) 794053931, 40 FCH. being Swiss, he's as punctual as his own clock!). Abseil descent down equipped belays, apart from the first abseill from the top of the icefall (abalakov). Strong nerves recommended!