On Saturday a buddy and me made a short trip to Switzerland to tackle the Fürenwand
fixed rope route. We started at 6.30 AM and reached Engelberg
in central Switzerland after a 180 km drive 2 hours later. Already from the parking lot near the small cable car station that leads to the Fürenalpe
refuge we got an impressive look at our route.
The Fürenwand is a 600m high cliff and the route basically climbs almost vertically up the mountain for most of the time. From a climbing point of view it's not a very difficult route although it's extremely steep, requires quite a bit of physical endurance as well as familiarity with great heights.
After a short 20 minute walk we reach the start of the fixed rope route, put on our safety gear and start climbing.
Up, always up... sometimes the cliff is actually a bit overhanging, which really puts some strain on your arm muscles.
For my buddy it's the 1st really steep
route, so we take our time and I repeatedly make sure he's OK and enjoying the action.
Yeah, that's actually the "path".
It's just one of several such traverses, and looking down definitely gets your heart beating a bit faster...
A bit of an optical illusions due to weird camera angle: the cliff's essentially vertical.
After about 1 1/2 hours we reach the Jägerband
, a small wooded horizontal recess where we rest a bit for a tasty Brotzeit
and enjoy the scenery.
We climb on and arrive at another traverse, this one's actually a bit tricky since both the security cable and the metal steps are rather slick from water. We really take our time with that one since by now it's a 400-meter drop straight down.
Looking up; the final step of the route is a 20m steel cable ladder which, the photo doesn't really show it, is overhanging a slight bit. Very
nasty. We wonder a bit why the other climbers obviously take so long to climb that ladder, we're about to find out soon enough...
One more traverse...
Then, after about 3 hrs, we reach the ladder. The instability of the ladder together with the slight overhang makes for some seriously exhausting climbing. Every 2-3 steps I hook in an elbow into the ladder to rest the other arm. It takes us a good 5 minutes to climb the ladder and we're both happy when we finally reach the top.
Then we just follow the trail to the Fürenalpe
... and celebrate the tour with a well-deserved Weissbier
Really enjoyed the tour, we both had a great time.
Unfortunately I couldn't take pics of all the awesome views because more often than not it just wasn't possible to handle the camera and still be in a safe position.
Still, hope you enjoy the pics.