Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Sonntag, Januar 17th, 2010

As I love outdoor sports like rock climbing, skiing, mountaineering I was looking forward to the Banff Mountain Film Festival coming to Beijing. A friend rock climber and mountaineer has opened a bar and cafe down the Wudaoying hutong where my bike shop is. It is called the „Together Cafe“. Inside there are many outdoor magazines and pictures from his expeditions to Tibet. The film festival started yesterday and I actually wanted to go but never checked the schedule. When I finally looked yesterday afternoon I was shocked to see that the first movie screening session was already over as it had started at 9am and the second one was already on going. So we could only go today and went for the early starting screening. There were quite some people even though I think there were only 3 foreigners.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Beijing Screening

We saw a movie called „Cliff Note“ (悬崖笔记) about cliff diving in a canyon. Amazing was a movie about free solo rock climbing and then base jumping from the top. Or just base jumping when you fall during the free solo climbing. Also doing slack line balancing between peaks or cliffs without being secured and also just using the base jumping parachute in case you fall.

I enjoyed the movie called „Searching for the coast Wolves“ (寻狼记). It was the very touching story of the former cross country running champion and biologist Gudrun Pflueger from Austria about her research about the coast wolves in Western Canada. She actually had an encounter with the coast wolves that seem not to have any bad experience with human beings in the past centuries and therefore did not see any threat in Gudrun and just played around her.

The Chinese movie maker Ricard was asked to come up and to talk about his outdoor movies. One is called „Dragon Breath“. On the back of the DVD is reads (including the typos) the following: „During the Spring Fesitaval, four Chinese top climbers came to Shuangqiao Gully, located in Mt Siguniang in Sichuan, to challenge the Dragon Breath, the hardest route in the vally. This documentary record their climbing and life in the vally.“ They only screened trailers of 4 of his movies and of course we recognized some of our Chinese outdoor and climbing friends in these movies.

Chinese movie maker Ricard

After that we met our friend Nicolas Favard who is a French jewelry maker. He does very beautiful jewelry and each piece is unique. He designs pieces of art for his customers. If you are in Beijing I recommend you drop by his boutique in Sanlitun in the Nali Patio on the 3rd floor.

Via Ferrata D’Ugine Hike

Dienstag, September 15th, 2009

Near Thone we went on a short but nice alpine hike. It started off at 1450m altitude.

Alpine Hike near Annecy

The weather was not so good, but we were lucky that it did not rain. The advantage was we were almost alone.

Alpine Hike near Annecy

We had bought some bread and ham and tomatoes and cheese that we ate after quite some uphill hiking for lunch.

The Hikers after the Lunch Break

It started getting moister and more windy. The clouds were creeping up the mountain.

Alpine Lake

Ines Hiking in France near Annecy

The mountain ridges were quite impressive with very steep slopes.

Mountain Ridge near Thone

The route continued up along the ridge until the summit. I did then understand why climbing harness, carabiners and helmet were recommended for this route Via Ferrata D’Ugine.

Via Ferrata D’Ugine

The summit was at 2409m altitude.We had a nice view despite the cloudy weather. This picture shows the valley of Thones.

Valley of Thones

We had a short break at the summit despite the strong wind and watched the fast moving creeping clouds.

Hikers at the Summit

Clouds Creeping over Mountain Peaks

Our hike was a loop so the path we took down was different from the one we came up on. It was a more direct way and the steepness of the rough gravel alpine path gave us a good training for our thighs.

Alpine Descent

Rock Climbing in Franconian Switzerland

Mittwoch, September 9th, 2009

One of the best most famous places in Germany for rock climbing is Franconian Switzerland or Frankenjura. It is where I started climbing many years ago. We went to a cliff that I think I have never been to. Andi chose it because he had also never been there. At least that is what he thought till we arrived.

The Rock Climber on the Phone

The Belayer watching the Lead Climber carefully

I still do not have a digital SLR anymore so these pictures are not nice. But I still wanted to upload some to give you an impression of the wonderful limestone of the Frankenjura.

Rock Climbing in Franconian Switzerland

Rock Climbing in the Frankenjura

Great Limestone Cliffs for Rock Climbing

Franconian Limestone Cliffs for Rock Climbing

Most of the crags in Franconia are in the forests. So in the summer it does not get too hot in the daytime. And you usually have to walk a bit to get to the climbing places.

Walking through the Forest

After climbing we went to a very typical Franconian „Keller“. Those are the caves carved into the hills for storage of food and beverages in the ancient times. Today some of them sell some of their homemade food and have some beer benches so you can sit. So you can get typical things such as „Pressack“ (in Franconian dialect more pronounced like „Brressagg“), „Stadtwurst mit Musik“ and „Obazda“. And they sell dark and strong „Keller“ beer in baby mugs and normal mugs as seen in this picture:

Drinking Beer in a Franconian Keller

The normal mug is 1 liter of beer and the baby mug is only half a liter of beer. The view from this keller was magnificent:

View of Franconian Switzerland Hills and Cliffs

Then we went to see the nearby“Vexierkapelle“ which is the only thing remaining from a castle originally built around the year 1146 A.D..

Vexierkapelle Reifenberg in Germany

From there we had a beautiful view of the famous „Walbala“ where people had been living in the bronze age (about 1000 years B.C.) and was a very important spot for the Kelts (about 500 years B.C.). Till today people believe this spot has magical energy.

Ehrenbuerg Walbala in Franken

After dinner we went to the birthday party of one of my best friends. It was fine for me to drive as the good wine would be a waste for me to drink as all I can taste from wine is  the alcohol. I had not been aware almost all of the taste of wine is received through the nose.

Tall-Bike and Climbing

Sonntag, Juli 26th, 2009

My friends Lulu and Ludwig from Germany are in town. They actually live in Shenzhen now and came to Beijing for a short sight seeing and leisure trip. We met for a late lunch and then they tried out Fede’s tall-bike. Ludwig had some issues getting up onto it but he did manage to smile once he was on it.

Ludwig Mounting the Tall-Bike

Riding the Tall-Bike

Lulu also took her try on the tall-bike after seeing another girl almost crash while trying to ride it. Lulu even was able to do a U-turn in the narrow hutong.

Lulu Riding the Tall-Bike

But Ludwig did seem more happy on a lower bike so him and Lulu took regular bikes to tour around the hutong alleys.

Ludwig on a Regular Bike

In the evening I went to the Ritan park for some rock climbing. It was quite crowded in the beginning and some people taking ages to get up a climbing route. I do not like the new look of the wall with all the advertisements and grey color. But it is still great for climbing.

Ritan Park Climbing Wall

Rock Climbing

Samstag, Juli 4th, 2009

Rock climbng in Franconian Switzerland is great! My former climbing partne and I went to a cliff between Goessweinstein and Obertrubach, just near Allersdorf. Good that it did not rain in the morning even though the cliff we went too was still moist when we arrived. The nice warmup climbing routes were too wet so we had to start with the harder routes right away. But it was still great fun.

Franconian Switzerland Limestone Cliff

My friend was still really good despite not having rock climbed so much lately. He did all the lead climbing.

Getting Ready to Rock Climb

Climbing the Overhang

Pulling through the Overhang

I still enjoy climbing overhanging routes. This one I tried many years ago. It is called „The Swallow“. It seemed easier than I had remembered, despite some grips being wet.

The Sparrow Route

In a nearby village they were just setting up the „Kirchweih-Baum“, or as it is called in the Franconian language: „Kerwa-Baum“. It is a very tall cut pine tree where all the branches except the ones at the top have been removed so it then looks like a „Stekkala“ (I am trying to write in Franconian language, but I am having trouble with the correct spelling). It then has a ring with colored banners hanging just under the top. That tree it is usually setup on the main square of the village. Here is a picture (sorry the top of the tree did not fit onto the picture) of the „Kerwa-Burschen“ (they guys probably all belong to the local voluntary fire fighter group) setting up this special tree. It is probably not an easy job after quite some beers.

Kerwa-Baum in der Fraenkischen Schweiz

Ritan Park Rock Climbing

Sonntag, Februar 1st, 2009

The sky was not as clear today, so the sun did not come through as much so it was slightly cooler. But I still met Lao Hu for some climbing in Ritan Park. Actually it is still warmer than it has been in some of the past years when we came here for rock climbing during Chinese New Year. We used wear down jackets and huge warm gloves in between the climbs. I remember having frozen fingers and toes.

Handstanding Lao Hu

I was taking some pictures of my apartment today. The saddest thing is that the balcony on the back of the kitchen is too small for my bikes. So they are jammed in like chicken in a chicken farm. Or like „Ölsardinen in der Dose“.

Jammed Bikes

First Outdoor Climbing 2009

Mittwoch, Januar 28th, 2009

As every year around Chinese New Year we went for the first outdoor rock climbing in Beijing. It is not outdoors (in nature on real rock) but at least it is in the center of Beijing in one of the traditional parks, the Ritan Park. I remember 2005 being really cold that we had to wear down jackets and extra thick gloves to warm our finger that would cool down immediately after touching the icy cold climbing wall. This year the weather has turned warmer the past few days so it was actually very pleasant. As the climbing wall was not open yet we had to lead climb to get our ropes up. It was the first time for Xiao Ou to lead climb.

Climbing Chicks

Ritan Rock Climbing Wall

As we were standing around climbing and belaying an elderly Chinese guy came closer and closer and watched us. I found it wierd when he was standing between us so I said „hi“ to him. It usually scares such people away when a foreigner talks to them. He did not reply. He just looked at me with his not very friendly face and he kept standing there. He especially found it interesting to see us give lead climb theory lessons to Xiao Ou. Eventually (after a very long time) he quietly walked away. It did not annoy us. That is just how it is in China.

Very Interested Chinese Guy

We all went together with the father of Xiao Ou for lunch. It was not easy to find a restaurant that was open. It is still the Chinese New Year festival and most shops and restaurants are closed.

During lunch my Chinese friends started to discuss what is wrong with me because I currently have a pimple on my right cheek. They concluded that I eat too many things that warm my body up from the inside. They say I am too hot (yeah, I think I am a hot person too ;-). They suggested that I need to drink a special tea that cools me down and also take care to eat things that also cool down my body. And that does not at all mean drinking icy cold drinks. That is in any case considered extremely unhealthy. The Chinese people all know about yin and yang which resembles hot and cold or male and female. Yin and yang can be viewed as complementary pairs. The Chinese believe problems arise when there is an imbalance between them in the environment. Certain foods are thought to have yin or cooling properties, while others have warm, yang properties. The challenge is to consume a diet that contains a healthy balance between the two. So maybe I should look into eating and drinking more of the yin food.

Climbing and Acro Balance

Sonntag, Januar 4th, 2009

Hartmut took me climbing to an indoor wall in Nuernberg: the Climbing Factory. It is a very high wall and most of it is for lead climbing. That is great! There is a lot of overhangs in the routes which I love. The routes are clearly marked by colors and grades, nicely done.

Climbing Factory

Indoor Climbing Wall

I was happy lead climbing some UIAA 7- and 7 routes (French 6b and 6b+ or USA 5.10c and 5.10d). But then I saw another climber climbing the same routes with ease. I had to talk to him as I was amazed. It turned out that he is 66 years old and started climbing when he was 5. He said he has a friend that is 71 years old and even climbs a UIAA 9 route (French 7b or USA 5.12d). That is a goal for me. I want to be like that when I am older.

66 Year Old Climber

After that I went to the Erlangen Juggling Group. I wasn’t juggling at all as Gerhard was there and it is much more fun to do acro balance (partner acrobatics) together with him. He is so stable and just tells me what to do. We finally got the hand on hand to almost work. Even there he keeps his arms so stable despite my right side tilted handstand.

Hand on Hand 1

Hand on Hand 2

Hand on Hand 3

Auditions and Ole Climbing Wall Opening

Samstag, November 22nd, 2008

This was again one of those days with many conflicting events. I chose to go to the auditions for the next interactive theater event planned for mid February. That was fun despite early morning. We had not only to act but also to dance at 9:30am. That was an interesting experience.

Then I went to the opening of the new indoor rock climbing wall and bouldering center. I was just in time to still participate in the climbing competition. It was with top rope on the 10 meter tall wall. But they chose the women’s route quite easy so they said the best person is who is fastest. It was slightly awkward to have a  technical route and then use it as a speed climb route. But it was fun. There were so many people there, quite a few of which I have never seen before. It is great to see the climbing community growing bigger every year. They also had climbers from the China National Rock Climbing team do a climbing performance. I helped them take some pictures on their camera but I did not take copies of the pictures. I am waiting for those pictures, then I will post them here later.

BLUG 6 Year Anniversary

Mittwoch, November 19th, 2008

The Beijing Linux User Group (BLUG) turned 6 years old today. So they organized a nice anniversary party in an excellent geek office.Here are some pictures from the BLUG webalbum. Here is some pictures of my friends:

BLUG Friends

Tall German Friends

Beautiful Vice President

Linux Penguin

The office has a lounge area with big screen and video games as well as a library of geek books as well as management and entrepreneurial books.


And guess what kind of food was provided for this anniversary? Yes of course it had to be Yang Rou Chuanr. Here is the evidence:

Lamb Skewer Sticks

Also just for your information: The new indoor climbing wall will be opened on Saturday. This is how it looked like today when they were setting up routes and testing them:

Climbing Wall

Today in the morning I had been at East 5th Ring Road in a park for filming an advertisement for a product. I had to ride my bike in cycling cloths. And damn it was cold!!! The lake in the park already had ice on it. They then had a motor boat crush the ice.