Hansjörg Auer, the Austrian climber who has, amongst other things, soloed The Fish route on the Marmolada, free climbed the Hallucinogen Wall in the Black Canyon, road tripped around the UK for The Odyssey, and put up with Hazel Findlay on El Capitan, has now rediscovered ice and mixed climbing in his home area of Ötztal , Austria.
Hansjörg writes on his blog:
"I did a lot of ice climbing over the years, was fanatic searching for it, made new routes up to M9, hiked up the mountains to climb long waterfalls, took my headlamp and climbed during the night. I was totally obsessed. When I made my first sportclimbing trip to Spain to avoid the Austrian winter I stopped ice climbing a little bit. This was in 2006, when I found this new playing field of overhangs, tufas and pumped forearms. I was getting really psyched and couldn´t get the motivation for my ice tools anymore. I made new friends, who gave me space to develop myself further.
But this year it seems to me that I found my old love again. I skipped a sportclimbing trip to Sicily and grabbed out some old ideas of new ice routes in my home valley.
Unfortunately, the conditions for ice climbing were not really good due to the high temperatures. All the classic routes were not well climbable. Some of them came crashing down after the last rainy period. Nevertheless I found some interesting stuff. I just had to walk longer and spent some days looking around in some corners of the valley. Over the last days I established three new routes. The last one is part of my hardest ice climbs so far. Thanks to Heiko, Mathias and Eli for sharing the adventures."
These are Hansjörg's recent new routes:
Spongebob (WI7, 65m):
Amazing line along a nice and steep wall to finish on an icicle. Together with Heiko Wilhelm. Traditional gear, no pegs and no bolts.
Lucky Strike (WI6, 45m):
One of the most outstanding lines in Ötztal. An impressive ice column high up in a side valley.
Rätselburg (WI7+, 80m):
Serious climb along a steep north facing wall on thin ice and overhanging rock for the start. First ascent together with Mathias Nössig on traditional gear, no pegs and no bolts.