Almost exactly four years ago I was stood beneath a piece of grey pockety rock in a German forest, having just put on a brand new pair of 5.10 climbing shoes, about to get onto my first ever outdoor sport route on the sharp end of the rope.
Have you ever heard of Tirolean climbing grades? Neither had I until very recently, when my brother told me a story about him and his climbing partner struggling on routes that were supposed to be far, far below their abilities. Having spent around three weeks climbing in various parts of Tirol, I can now testify that this is indeed a thing.
There’s nothing like a different type of rock to make you feel like a bit of a novice again. Austria has been a country of many firsts for me, and one of these was my first experience of climbing on granite. And it well and truly kicked my ass!
Indoor climbing in Germany is really hard work, and now I know why. The last time I went to a bouldering gym in Germany – Boulder Habitat in Bonn – I was in pain for days. It felt like I had never climbed before, despite training three times a week for over a year. But after climbing in Frankenjura, in northern Bavaria, I now realise why…If that is what they have to train for, no wonder all the indoor routes are overhanging and pumpy!