The poor weather seems to be following us, but we’re just keeping our noses in front. Vienna is set for a few days of rain, but there’s a brief window today so we’re in the market for a nearly roadside crag (familiar story?)

A quick flick through Jingo Wobbly (European climbing atlas published in 2002 but still pretty handy despite the myriad of Web sources). This yielded Thalhofergrat as a nearby 2* crag – mysteriously it had the word “malaria” in Helen’s handwriting alongside it. Decision made – let’s go and check it out…

It turns out to be a great little crag, up to 40m high in places with 1 and 2 pitch routes across a wide range of grades, all on square cut, positive holds (with the odd bit of polish).

We did a couple of excellent 2-pitch routes, each in one long 40+m run out (with a bit of rope stretch!): Christassteig / Maturaprüfunggut with a tricky finale up a shard of rock; and Dir. Annysteig (actually 3-pitches!) up some very steep territory and a complete sandbag at 6 (felt 6bish not 5c!) but very good… Here’s Helen top roping it. 

Then we spotted a name on the rock

… and it all came back. We’d visited the crag before on our “Big Trip” in 2004 on a wet day – not climbed anything, but marked down this spectacular route as one to come back for. We hadn’t had a guidebook then – turns out it’s a grade 8 (nominally 7a worth a shot even though I’m climbing like a lump and the grading seems pretty stiff). Sadly the 13 year old story doesn’t have a happy ending – I got halfway up and then bailed 😦 Felt slightly better watching a succession of strong young locals also failing… 

Anyway, one to come back for (again!)

… Next stop over the border into Hungary and a delightful campsite on the banks of the Danube. Tremendous sunset for our first night in the East.

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