Prinzip Hoffnung was always a perfect line in my mind. It’s really close to the place where I live and I drove by a lot of times in the past. It’s a fantastic place, the slab is located in the town, right next to the houses. And the line is really beautiful. Truly unique! But I’ve never found the courage to try it before. It looked so scary for me and my experience with trad gear was a little bit limited. Of course at that point I’ve never had a fall into a nut and the route is mostly protected with nuts.
This year at the end of January Jacopo and me spent a lot of time in Bludenz (just 5 min away from Bürs) and Jacopo got motivated to try Prinzip Hoffnung. For me it was still far away to realise this route, but the turning point was to start trying this project together. Jacopo spent a lot of time in the route to check the gear placements and to clean it while I was working in the hospital and after work we tried together in toprope. We made a really good progress, I was able to climb it on my third day. But this was only the start of the game. Placing all the gear is a completely different „ball“ game compared to doing it in toprope.
The first 20 meters are quite dangerous, up the first 8m I didn’t place any gear because the only nuts you can place are so small they probably wouldn’t hold a fall. The pro then improves a bit and fortunately there’s a camelot that protects you should the 3 nuts at the crux come out. After my first attempts I decided to only place 2 nuts, since placing them costs energy, it requires great body tension on poor footholds and you’re never completely fresh when you do the whole sequence.
Jacopo made the first lead tries and he sent the route quickly before we left to Spain. I also gave my first tries ground up. I felt very scared before to start, but while climbing I could free my mind and concentrate my self just on what I had to do… I was so concentrated that I forgot to place one of the best nuts before the crux! When I found the blue nut in my hand, that I had to place before, instead of the pro I used to protect the crux … I thought just—–OMG!!! Please don’t fall. Luckily i kept on climbing, I placed the next nut and I got really close to climb the crux. That was my first mental challenge on the first ground up attempt. At this moment I thought I’d send it quickly, but then things turned out differently. I started to fall off the same section, again and again and again. I had just one thought turning in my mind—please don’t fall at the dangerous first few meters.
In the meanwhile we flew for two weeks to Spain to sport climb in Oliana… but this is another story. When we arrived back home I was a little bit stressed because the weather got warmer and warmer, the sun hits the slab alll day long and you have to wait for at least one hour after it gets in the shade if you want to give yourself a chance to climb it. The best time of the year to climb this route is from November to January.. Things didn’t feel good, maybe this was the key and so I wasn’t stressed or under pressure, and then suddendly I found myself above the crux.
Thanks to Beat Kammerlander, who opened this masterpiece back in 2009.
And big thanks to Jacopo Larcher for all the support and the great time together.
pics: Beat Kammerlander, (firstname.lastname@example.org)