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Matilda Söderlund – Frankenjura Climbing Report

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Osprey Ambassador, Matilda Söderlund, sent us her Frankenjura travel report from her recent climbing trip. She took on many of the classics in this spiritual home of German climbing.

Hey everyone! I just arrived back in Sweden after spending almost a month climbing in the forests of the Frankenjura in Germany. Apart from Käsekuchen (cheesecake), sauerkraut and spargel (asparagus), the area is known worldwide for climbing and its historic contribution to the sport as we know it today. I’ve visited Frankenjura a few times before and it’s one of my favourite places to climb. This time, my objective was to get in shape, climb many of the classic routes while I was there and find some projects for my next visit.

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One-finger pocket, AKA a mono… Photos by Samy Dahlman

Frankenjura is a pocket paradise (a pocket is a type of hold that is basically a hole where one or more finger fits). It was also here the “red point” (or rotpunkt in German) style of climbing was developed. Me and my climbing partner, Samy Dahlman, started off the trip by repeating some of the most classic routes, such as the world’s very first 7a – Dampfhammer – and Slimline, 8a+. We were so fortunate to have one of the local stars and co-founder of the famous climbing gym Café Kraft, Hannes Huch, guiding us around and telling us the stories of legendary climbers such as Wolfgang Gullich and Kurt Albert.

Dampfhammer, 7a+, and Slimline, 8a+. Photos by Hannes Huch

Dampfhammer, 7a+, and Slimline, 8a+. Photos by Hannes Huch

The first little project that I wanted to try was an 8c called Klondike Cat. It was first climbed by Markus Bock in 2001. Markus is a true legend in Frankenjura and has established more than 100 routes, 8c and harder. I had tried Klondike Cat for one day during a visit in 2014, so I had a brief memory of the moves and holds on the route. The route is slightly overhanging with a crux that involves a few tiny two-finger pockets and crimps. After working out the moves I was able to send it on my 6th try, very happy about that!

I had a pretty rough start of the year. In February I got a really bad sinusitis infection that came back two times. During this time I also suffered an injury in my lower back, which made me unable to climb for two weeks and then starting again with easy vertical routes on top rope. The week before heading to Frankenjura I started to feel like myself on the wall again but I was definitely not in the shape I had planned to be in. During the trip I felt like I was climbing better and felt stronger each day. On one of the last days I decided to check out another 8c, called Solitary Man, that several people had recommended. This route was also first climbed by Markus Bock.

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Klondike Cat, 8c. Photo by Samy Dahlman

Solitary Man is a beautiful line that goes up a pillar shaped cliff. The crux, the hardest part of the route, revolves around a mono (a one-finger pocket). Once I had figured out how to do these moves I (quite surprisingly) managed to send the route on my third try!

As it turns out, a couple of weeks pulling on one- and two finger pockets and hanging out with a good crew was exactly what I needed to start off the season and get back from being sick and injured! It has really been an amazing month and I’m so grateful for all the people that I met during this month that made this trip so special. I also managed to complete my second objective of this trip, to find a project to return to… I will be back soon! Tschüs, Frankenjura!

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Photos by Samy Dahlman

This trip I used the Rolling Transporter 120 travel bag and Skimmer 28 pack – two of my absolute favourites! The Transporter is perfect for longer trips, I fit everything I need in it (rope, gear, clothes etc.), it is super durable and easy to transport. This was my first time trying the Skimmer pack and I must say that I absolutely love it. Perfect size for spring/summer days out at the crag and very comfortable carrying system.

– Matilda

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