Whilst most days pan our perfectly, with amazing climbing in beautiful area’s, not every day follows this strict plan. Sometimes even the best laid plans can fall apart. The other day was frightfully hot in Innsbruck, with temps around in the mid 30′s, so instead of being sensible and driving to higher altitudes we decided to keep it local and go to Junglebook. It’s a crag we hadn’t visited nor had we heard anything about it beyond what the guidebook offered.

We waited until late afternoon before driving the 10 minutes to this limestone crag. It’s also south facing, so any sort of shade or respite from the sun seemed unlikely as we parked the car and tried to muster up enough energy in the heat to actually leave the car! We dragged ourselves up to the main crag, walking ever so slowly and without any climbing gear as I thought it was probably a good idea to check it out first.

We found the crag (always a good start), but we were at the right hand end and the routes we wanted to see were at the left hand end. We began the walk across, only to first come across a fence made of red/white tape. No problem stepping over it, so on we went. There may have also been a sign saying something or other, but such is the state of being when you don’t understand 99% of the language around you. We went further, until we came across this sign;

You don’t need to speak German to know what this sign was trying to convey. James was unperturbed, so we pressed on with caution. It was then that we realised why the sign was there. The forest to our left suddenly stopped and was replaced with rubble. Looking up revealed the fact that the quarry which we now found ourselves in was clearly being excavated on a higher level. The rubble, ranging in size from footballs to cars, must have been coming down for a fairly long time, as it was built up to a level which left us standing (foolishly!) about halfway up some of the routes. We did find the routes we wanted to find, but to say they were unclimbable was an understatement. This is no longer a climbing venue, which I’m sure would garnish an outraged reaction back in England, but when you have hundreds of crags so close to hand I doubt a tear was shed. It is perhaps a small shame as there is an 8c route from the early 90′s and these old school routes are always good benchmarks to remind yourself just how good people were “back in the day”. On that point, I’m always constantly impressed when I realise just how strong and fit certain climbers were in the 70/80′s…

Not having a crag to climb on, and the heat still punishing us, we decided to ditch the climbing and head down to the river for a swim. We spent about 15 minutes looking for somewhere that wasn’t too fast flowing, but it wasn’t looking very promising… until we noticed a whole fleet of cars parked just off the road, next to a small path leading through some trees to the river. We innocently followed the path, noticing that there was a somewhat disturbing collection of condoms on the floor. On we went, and popped out at a nice beach, which seemed nice until we noticed a couple of interesting facts. It was populated only by men, and all of these men were naked. Oh. James and I were stood there, tops off, and strangely enough we felt a bit out of place. After some naked guy came round the corner to find James in his undies about to go in the river, we made haste and left.

In the following days I tried to take a visiting friend to the Zillertal in order to answer his question of “Why Austria?”. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas so visibility was appalling and the rain poured down all day. I didn’t let this stop us from doing at least one part of the plan, so even during a lightning and thunderstorm we stripped off and went for a quick dip in the river. It was amusing to get so cold, then get out of the river bring stood in the pouring rain, and feel hot as all the blood rushed around my body! I think this river thing is getting addictive… but I don’t see anything wrong with that! It’s essentially good for me so I’m beginning to wonder how long it will continue to be a part of the daily schedule… I can’t imagine how cold it’s going to be in a month or two!

As for now, I’m back in England for a few days to see an old friend, then over to font for a little shindig at Maisonbleau (congrats to Neil and Chris!). Then it will be back to Innsbruck and back to editing. The film work is coming along and I hope to have something to share by the end of September. Keep your ear to the ground and you’ll begin to feel the distant rumble…