Monthly archives: February, 2014

Climbing Grades | EU – FR – US

Climbing Grades | EU - US - FR

Climbing Grades | EU – US – FR

Just to help you navigate through the grade jungle here a quick overview of the current grading scales, there exist several others (Norwegian, Australian, UK, etc.) but these are by far the most popular ones in the Americas and Europe-Mainland.

Climbing grades are not really objective numbers. The grades listed on the right include several dimensions like route style (slab, wall, overhang, etc.), size of the crimps, quality of the footholds, distance and complexity of the movements, etc.
However what all the grading scales on the right do not include is the mental and security component of the climb, e.g. is the protection sufficient or do you die before reaching the first or second bolt, or how stable are the moves in relation to the protection given. Is the route protected with anchors or bolts or at least protectable with your own gear. The only climbing scales that do include the above mentioned features are the British, the Alpine and in part the Australian system. Both systems are not used outside of their local areas. That is in part due to the peculiar style of climbing in the UK which per default includes precarious routes with limited to no protection possibilities.
You sometimes wish that the scales on the right would also reflect a mental or protection component, as this does not mean in routes with those scales you do not encounter massive mental challenges or issues with the protection. However in cases where the scales on the right are used you need to rely on good guidebooks with comments about the quality of the rock, the protection or potential run-outs. In part that makes the UK system kind of fairer and more predictable, but far from less dangerous. So always scout the routes (e.g. the bolts, their distance and quality) and the area (e.g. for fallen rocks). Particularly in areas exposed to extrem weather conditions watch out for rusty anchors or chains. In all circumstances check the distance to the first bolt and judge the toughness of the route until that point as well as the area below the route, also check the 2nd and 3rd bolt, particularly in areas such as Palatina and the Altmuehltal in Germany the first bolt can be deceitful and even a fall below the 2nd or 3rd bolt can mean certain injury, so make sure you can climb the grade in your sleep and fully control it.

In general climb responsibly and base the risk on your capabilities!

Climbing Videos | Motivation

The Swarm | Amate Films Production, 2012

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Tirol or “how to make sense of Austria”

Climbers Paradise | the cow

Climbers Paradise | the cow

Tirol is a very subjective affair. Normally I hate any climbing area with too many people around, to much industrialized climbing and weekend-climbers with a strong disregard for basic climbing rules. Normally at least… But somehow Tirol is different. Maybe it’s the great food, maybe the stunning landscape, maybe the extremely well protected and stressfree climbing, or maybe I’m just getting old and lazy.

The good thing about Tirol is the location at the heart of Europe. It’s easy to get to, extremely well protected, with great loging, and other spare time activities available.

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equipment | Polar Loop

_Summary | Not quite sure what to make of this… complex stuff…

Polar | loop - package

Polar | loop – packaging

Interesting enough I ordered the POLAR LOOP shortly after buying the NIKE+ FUELBAND SE. And that wasn’t a coincidence. I thought initially the lack of functions and ridiculuous inacuracy of the FUELBAND SE would bother me in the midterm, but after around 1 week with it, I actually started to like the incredible comfort the FUELBAND SE. That’s when the POLAR LOOP arrived. At first ou notice the a bit lackluster packaging of the LOOP (see pic). OK, it’s a lot cheaper (50€) than the NIKE competition but that doesn’t necessarily justify shabby packaging. After unpacking it the next shock, the armband of the LOOP needs to be manually “adjusted” or more precise: you need to get out the scissors and  cut the damn thing on both sides, oh and before I forget it: you need to use the precision gear included in the pack in order to separate the clasp from the armband. In one word: stupid!
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equipment | La Sportiva SPEEDSTER

_Summary | The FUTURA without stability

La Sportiva | Speedster | evaluation

La Sportiva | Speedster | evaluation

To  be honest the heading is probably a bit of a harsh judgement but in the essence kind of true. The SPEEDSTER is indeed based on the same design as the FUTURA, but given the fact it’s a ballerina/slipper it lacks the added stability that the velcro gives its bigger brother. I cannot support some of the other testers coming to the conclusion that this is one of the most aggressive ballerinas ever made. In the contrary I think it’s a relatively tame version of a slipper, the problem is that even if you buy it tight, it lacks in stability what it tries to make up for in aggressive form. At least for me the compromise doesn’t add up. In addition it has the same design drawbacks as the FUTURA, particularly the lacking sustainability due to the ‘edgeless’ sole design. On the upside though the SPEEDSTER is relatively ‘cheap’ compared to the nearly 50€ thus 50% more expensive bigger brother. So if you can forgo the additional stability of a velcro or a lacing, and don’t want to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a climbing shoe, the SPEEDSTER is a decent alternative.
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equipment | Nike+ FuelBand SE

_Summary | stylish motivation missing out on the basics

Nike+ | Fuelband SE

Nike+ | Fuelband SE

Just got the NIKE+ FUELBAND SE in the mail the other day. After months of considering whether to get the JAWBONE UP, the FITBIT FLEX; the POLAR LOOP or the NIKE+ FUELBAND SE I finally decided for the latter. The decision was not an easy one as the FUELBAND SE isn’t necessary the cream of evolution among the activity trackers.

It does not track movement acurrately except walking, it does not work in water, it does not measure pulse, heartrate or anything concretely related to your body, it only connects with iOS devices and actually only really with the iphone.
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equipment | La Sportiva KATANA

_Summary | the best friend – comfy and reliant

La Sportiva | Katana | evaluation

La Sportiva | Katana | evaluation

This one looks a bit strange. The test summary seems to hint at a mediocre shoe, seldom hitting the top ten. That’s not completely true. The KATANA scores best notes in all the key basic feature categories: fit, comfort and stability. Key for the KATANA is exactly this great basic performance. You can wear it all day, in 30 degrees heat, or cold days where you need to wear socks during climbing. It’s the most comfy shoe I’ve ever worn, in all circumstances.

Bottom line: yes it’s indeed not the top performer across the board, but with a consistently strong performance throughout it is the companion you are looking for if you need reliability, stability, and if you need to worry about other things than your shoes. In short, if you just want to enjoy a chilled climbing day, are not looking for peak performance and climb in your comfort zone, this is the tool you need!

Material | mix of artificial leather with natural leather
Sole | Vibram Formel XS Edge (4,0 mm)
Price |
Shop | Bergfreunde | Sporthaus Schuster | SportScheck.CH (men)/(women)

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