The Sandstone Bermuda Triangle

28. 04. 2020, Mikuláš Zubec

“You smell like sandstone crack,” said my friend’s wife to him, when he returned from yet another weekend of climbing. It seems like ordinary five words, but in every sandstone climber, such a remark raises countless emotions, memories of experiences, and adventures. I know the smell very well. I have been climbing in the “Bermuda Triangle” of Adršpach-Teplice-Křížák for six years now. In this area, I have gone through all my climber’s milestones – the very first rock climbing experience, the first-time leading, the first big fall, grappling with huge fear, and immense euphoria of reaching the top of a rock spire, which overtook all my life for the two following days.

Usually, you have to leave the area just as you are getting used to the specifics of the local climbing style. This time, however, it was different. Five days of pure sandstone porn. It’s unbelievable but Adršpach was perhaps the only dry place in the Czech Republic at that time – a good starting point. Well, except Kalírna pub – that place never dries out. A pub where grazed and ragged crack climbers share the same table with slick sport climbers creates a unique atmosphere – a true refuge from all the everyday problems.

Anyway, time to get back to the rocks now. Five days – I could finally climb the routes I had been afraid of until then. I started with a tasty OS climb of “Dařbuján a Pandrhola” VIIIa (6a+ fr.) on Vřesová tower at Křížový Hřeben area. My climbing partner Marťas felt strong and tried “Kapitán Kořala” IXc (7a+ fr.) right next to it – we managed to go through moves in the first half of it. Then we have finally finished our project on “Skalácká Pětka” RP IXa (6c fr.) on Větrná tower.

The highlight of the whole trip should have been “Hrana Kalamárky” VIIIb (6b fr.), a magnificent airy arete, which Maťas had been eyeing for quite some time. After all, he said that a rain shower forced him to postpone this one but, to be honest… that edge commands respect. Then we cheered up while climbing “Stroboskop” VIIIc (6b+ fr.), which is an impressive 55m line leading through Martinské walls. When I found myself at the top, I realized that this must be another milestone in my amateur sandstone career.

Marťas climbing “Stroboskop” VIIIc (6b+ fr.) on Martinské Stěny wall in Teplice nad Metují (photo: Mikuláš Zubec)

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