His hands are dry, cracked and covered with white magnesium powder. The climber hangs from the steep, rocky wall, sitting safely in his harness. His strong muscles are clearly visible under his t-shirt, his dark trousers are covered with powdery white fingerprints. He is one of the brave ones, who dare to tackle the new 131 metre climbing route up the Schlegeis dam.
Climbing is not just a sport for the brave. It’s a sport requiring mental strength. Overcoming your fears is a large part of successfully scaling the steep, smooth wall. Good climbers have strong legs which, if you have a good technique, should provide most of the power in climbing. Experienced climbers don’t rely on finding the perfect handholds but try to grab onto a small dent, a minute crack or a tiny crag in the seemingly perfectly smooth wall. And they demand quiet! This is an art form for daredevil extreme sportsmen and women. Psychological strength is key. Climbers need both physical and mental agility.
A Display of Muscular Strength on the Dam
I’m really glad that I am only here as a spectator, and it is really some display! The climbers use every muscle in their bodies as they move around the challenging wall, categorised as level 7+ in climbing jargon. The final ascent is especially tricky. The climb starts at a level 5, which leads on to a level 6, before graduating to a level 7+. At the top of the dam, there is an abseiling station where, after 131m of strenuous climbing, those who want to can abseil back down. A cleverly devised system brings climbers safely back to the valley. Abseiling costs 20 euros per person, but there is otherwise no charge for using the sport climbing route.
Children’s Climbing Area for Little Adrenaline Junkies
If daddy is tackling the challenging adult sport climbing route and mummy is taking photos (or vice versa!), the kids can burn off some energy on the children’s climbing area. Little ones can also climb the dam on the new children’s via ferrata or choose from three children’s climbing routes. The easy route is suitable for children from 5 years old who want a taste of adventure and the thrill of climbing. The children’s via ferrata route is protected by a cable throughout and includes footholds.
The children’s sport climbing route also has fixed handholds. Equipment is available to hire if required. A complete set for children costs 8 euros and then the children’s climbing area can be used for free (under adult supervision).