Thursday, August 12, 2010

Epic on the Piz (Badile)

About five miles away from the camp I live at is a little 600 foot tall rock called the Piz Badile. It's named after a similar formation in Europe. I have wanted to climb it solo for a long time and Monday at about 11:45 AM I decided the time was right.

I drove down the road. I packed a tiny rack. My four link cams, six nuts, four regular runners, one double length runner, a few locking carabiners, rock shoes, chalk, and my 60 meter 7.5 millimeter dynamic rope. It all fit in my 18 liter backpack. The approach from my van to the base of the climb took nine minutes. There is a 5.0 or even fourth class variation to the first pitch on the left side of the main ridge and I quickly free soloed to the bolts at the first anchor. Feeling good I free soloed another 20 feet. Then there was a move I just was not feeling comfortable with so I plugged in two cams and tied into the rope to begin rope soloing.  by the time I had all of that worked out it started to drizzle. I made the move I had been worried about and it began to rain harder. Instead of continue up into the lightening on the wet rock I decided to detour to a tree 20 feet away and rappel off.

I climbed to the tree, wrapped it with a sling, rappelled back to the two cams, removed them from the rock, and climbed back up to the tree. All that time the rain kept pouring harder. I took a quick video because I felt safe enough and I feel that I never video enough during the "epic" moments. I rappelled maybe 25 meters to the ground and walked back to my van. I was soaking wet, and of course wearing cotton. All of my gear was wet. It was kind of scary.

It was a very good experience for several reasons. I knew exactly how to do everything safely. I didn't waste time sitting around. Also for the perhaps 150 feet of vertical climbing that I wore my rock climbing shoes I made good time. The whole trip including approach and descent was only one hour and nine minutes. I will no doubt be back in the near future. The Piz is great because of the easy climbing, short approach, and length of the route. It is a great place to develop skills such as self-rescue, speed, technical independence, efficiency, and confidence which can be taken to larger mountains. Watch the video:

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