Kristoffer Szilas

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Video of "Twin Towers" M10

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 2:31 PM

My good friend and climbing photographer Alexandre Buisse has just finished editing the video he took of me climbing "Twin Towers" in Kandersteg this winter. The video has a nice mix of different angles and views from a helmet camera, which really gives a feel for what it is like to climb steep sport mixed routes. The video can be seen HERE.

Swedish Ice Mines

Posted on March 9, 2011 at 2:08 AM

Last weekend I went to Sala, Sweden, with Anders Strange and Fredrik Rapp to check out a mixed area that was developed by Stefan Lindblom in some old silver mines. This season has been fairly dry, but there was a few really good mixed lines and lots of drytooling to do. There are some access issues in this area, so visitors need too get in touch with Stefan before going. We had a local climber called Tobbe to guide us around the mine area and show us the best pits.

There are over 30 routes from M5-M10, so it's worth going especially early in the season to get fit as there are a lot of routes that can go without ice.

Here are a few photos from the mines:

Perfect layback crack on "Silverstål" ( M7 ).

Myself getting focused on an onsight of  "Lykantropi" ( M8 )

Climbing the local test-piece "Tzunami" ( M10 ).

Getting ready to climb the ice dagger on "Tzunami" ( M10 ).

First ascent of "Zendium" (M7)

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 3:45 PM

This weekend I was in Rjukan with Morten during the Ice Festival. We had hoped to do some routes in Sector Arne, but nothing had formed properly. Luckily we spotted a potential line while we walked back to Krokan where the festival was held. I linked the moves on top rope and we returned the next day with a drill and placed two bolts to protect the start, which did not take gear. The climb is very short, but quite bouldery and it was definitely worth the effort to bolt this line. The route was repeated by Morten and Mikkel within a day and hopefully more ascents will follow this season.

Another fun experience was giving Vince Anderson a belay when he sprinted up another M7 in Krokan that day. He was in town to give a talk about his alpine style ascent of the Rupal Face at the Ice Festival and as expected he was climbing fast and solid. Norwegian alpinist Bjørn-Eivind Årtun also gave a talk about his new route "Dracula" on Foraker. These two talks really supplemented each other and focused on the high level of commitment involved in alpine style climbing. I only wish more Danes would have been able to hear these two talks as that might have gotten the message through that climbing mountains with fixed ropes is as dead as the Soviet Union!

Malcolm Kent also gave a talk, but on a very different topic. He explained what it was like to compete in the ice world cup and showed photos of the different events and the climbers on the circuit. It was interesting to get an insight in this part of climbing that is limited to the strongest climbers in the world.

So all in all a very nice weekend!

There is a video of the actual first ascent of "Zendium" HERE.

Me preparing for the crux move.

The line of "Zendium".

Twin Towers M10

Posted on February 20, 2011 at 3:26 AM

I finally got at chance to test if the training at Malcolm Kent's climbing Monastery has worked on a trip to the mixed mecca of Uschinen near Kandersteg, Switzerland.

The result after five days of climbing: Flash M9+, Powerbat M10-, Slice of Scheiss M10 and Twin Towers M10!

Conditions were pretty thin, which is why Powerbat and Slice of Scheiss are graded hard. Both routes only had ice at the very end of the climb thus giving much more steep climbing than eg. Pink Panther on which you just swing over on ice and avoid pulling the lip of the roof.

Actually I felt that Slice of Scheiss was harder than Twin Towers, but with variable ice it is hard to give these routes an absolute grade anyway.

The French photographer Alexandre Buisse took some awesome photos on the trip:

Powerbat M10-

Powerbat M10-

Twin Towers M10

Twin Towers M10

Eidfjord avalanche

Posted on January 30, 2011 at 4:16 PM

This weekend photographer Alexandre Buisse and I wanted to repeat Will Gadd's ice climb Skykkjedalsfossen aka "Sketchyfossen" (WI5+ R, 400m) in Eidfjord, Norway.

Despite having scouted the approach the day before we only realised that the first two pitches of the climb had fallen down when we stood at the foot of it and on top of that the whole thing was flushed by one of the biggest avalanches I've seen. It had snowed about 15 cm during the night, but we thought we should at least climb the gully on the right as the conditions were very "Scottish" and ideal for that kind of thing. Seth Hobby had done the first ascent of it the year before.

On the slog up to it we saw an obvious route on the left side of gully that can't be seen from below and it would likely have been a first ascent, so we decided to go for that instead. I had to dig through half a meter of snow for several hundreds of meters to get to the start of the route and in the same moment I reached the base of the climb the whole slope gave way in a big avalanche.

It was a really scary experience because I lost control completely and was under with my head down-hill and couldn't breathe at all. I dropped both of my tools and got on my back and head up-hill and started to swim to get to the surface of the flow and managed to get my head out. It was like riding the wildest roller coaster you can imagine. Luckily there was a curve in the gully, so the avalanche died out after about 200 meters and both Alex and I were close enough to the surface that we could get out although we were tangled up in the rope.

I think what saved us was the fact that we were at the very top of the slope when it slid. Had we been at the base the story could have been very different. Obviously we should have stayed away from the steep gully given that it had been snowing hard all night and I think we both learned a lesson about the danger of avalanches.

"Sketchyfossen" on the left and the avalanche gully on the right:

You can read Alex'  take on the experience HERE.

There is more info about ice climbing in Eidfjord here: