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Mixed climbing in Kandersteg and Danish first

I spent the past week in the Bernese Alps¸in the heart of Switzerland. I was traveling with Kristoffer Szilas and Simon Lund, with the goal of doing some hard drytooling and mixed climbing above the small city of Kandersteg. We spent the week in the super steep crag of Ueschinen and had a most productive time. Kristoffer, having trained hard most of the fall and winter, proceeded to crush some of the hardest lines of the area, redpointing Flash (M9+), Powerbat (M10-), Slice of Scheiss (M10) and Twin Towers (M10), which was made even more impressive by the fact that there was almost no ice. This also happened to be the first time a Dane climbed a double digits mixed route!

We were sharing a flat with Alpkit athletes Rob Gibson and Ramon Marin who did some very hard climbing (and extreme falling) while we were there. We also had the pleasure to meet young British prodigy Tom Ballard and his father Jim who were camping in Ueschinen to avoid the long approach, and had been on the road for more than two years. Tom ticked nearly all the lines in the crag, including the hardest, a 40 meters M12 traverse, Vertical Limit. Very impressive to watch, to say the least!

As for myself, having never done any proper drytooling other than via Scottish winter climbing and training in the gym with my figfours, I went hoping I could send M6 by the end of the week, so was both surprise and very happy to come home with an M7+ (Grohundhog) and an M8- (Steinzeit) in the bag!

Numerous photos were taken, of course, and I also have some good video footage of Kristoffer on Twin Towers which I will edit in the days to come. In the meantime, here are some of the best images from the trip:

Kristoffer on a power move of "Flash"".

Kristoffer on a power move of “Flash”.

Ramon belaying Rob on "Tooltime" above a snow-free Ueschinen.

Ramon belaying Rob on “Tooltime” above a snow-free Ueschinen.

Kristoffer finishing "Powerbat" (this was a repeat, the screw was placed on lead during the redpoint).

Kristoffer finishing “Powerbat” (this was a repeat, the screw was placed on lead during the redpoint).

Ramon resting on the icicle finish of "Pink Panther" (M9+).

Ramon resting on the icicle finish of “Pink Panther” (M9+).

Kristoffer on the crux traverse of "Powerbat".

Kristoffer on the crux traverse of “Powerbat”.

Kristoffer on the upper section of "Twin Towers".

Kristoffer on the upper section of “Twin Towers”.

Kristoffer on the finish of "Twin Towers".

Kristoffer on the finish of “Twin Towers”.

Kristoffer working the moves of "Twin Towers".

Kristoffer working the moves of “Twin Towers”.

Rob in an interesting and unorthodox position, working the moves on "Twin Towers".

Rob in an interesting and unorthodox position, working the moves on “Twin Towers”.

Ramon resting (!) on his flash of "Klara Winter" (M8+), belayed by Rob.

Ramon resting (!) on his flash of “Klara Winter” (M8+), belayed by Rob.

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