When we walked down a trail from Berdorf, into the woods, I did not really have an idea what we were about to do. Climbing - yes; for me, it had mostly been about hiking mountains, sometimes working my way up rocks using both my hands and feet. But now, the three of us were carrying helmets, a climbing harness, and a bag with a rope; our instructor had a backpack with carabiners, quickdraws, and more climbing gear that we did not yet know what it was for. It was still quite early in the morning, and there was no one else around when we walked down through a tiny canyon. We now passed cliffs on our right, and noted that there were metal hooks in the face of the rocks, on more or less straight vertical lines. Slowly, it started to sink in that we were in for a real challenge.
Our instructor, a strong guy with a track record of climbing and other extreme activities, had a very calm and reassuring appearance, while inside of me, I started to wonder how we would ever be able to reach the top of these cliffs. It just seemed impossible to work your way up these rocky walls. We started with some practical lessons, how to handle our equipment, how to make the 8-knot, and got our stuff organized. The instructor climbed first, making it all seem very easy. Our brave youngest guy, not even 14 years old, was next; he did not seem impressed at all, and managed to work his way up. Then, it was my own turn. It took a long time: I wanted to make sure where to put my toes, where to hold on to the rocks with my fingers, and it was not at all obvious to me, as a beginner. At times, I was stuck for minutes on end, frantically searching the seemingly solid rock for a small ledge, a crack, a something to hold on to, to step on to. After what seemed like ages, I finally reached the top, and abseiled down. We did more climbs, and at times, my throat felt dry with anxiousness. The kid was learning fast, leaving us, the two older guys, motivated to catch up. That day, we were getting used to the habit of rock climbing, under the supervision of our able and cool instructor, and we continued until there was no more light in the sky. The three of us were quiet now, and wolfed down our dinner.
The next morning, after a night in which I dreamt only about rocks, we started out bad: we were climbing together, I fell, and a few minutes later, the kid, who was climbing behind me, fell as well. But we continued nevertheless; the setbacks made us stronger, and when we did climbs we had done the day before for the second time, we discovered that they now seemed a lot easier. I felt less tense, and started to open up for our environment more. The rock formations were beautiful enough, but there were also parts with narrow trails cutting right through the rocks, while from the top of the rocks, we could see the forest, and some pastures in the distance. There were a lot of others climbing, much more skilled than we were, and at times we watched them in awe, working their way up cliffs that seemed impossible to us. There was a special atmosphere and energy around us: everyone was here with a goal and a challenge, everyone was here to test his or her abilities, and everyone worked hard to reach their goals, yet the overall feel was very relaxed and friendly. We developed an eye for finding the supports needed to work our way up the rocks, and we were enjoying it more and more. When, at the end of day 3, we had finished our last climb, I realized I was going to miss it.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Berdorf rock climbing (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Berdorf rock climbing.
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