CARNIVAL IN RETIREMENT
Not only „Fotogenická / Photogenic“ route, but also the quite-climbable „Poslední přelíčení / Last Trial“ VIIIa (1969) are well known lines at Suché Skály (also dubbed Sušky among local climber). Slavoš Jiřena did the first ascent of “the Trial” when he was just over twenty years old – he was born in 1948 and died in 2005. Apart from Sušky, he liked to go to Skalák, Zbiroh or Rathen in Saxony, which with its softer rock reminded him of his loved bohemian sandstone.
Among his hundred or so first ascents you can also find a lot of grade-threes, fours… Jumps, lean-overs, chimneys… But we all know what’s up with the whole Czech sandstone grading system, especially at Zbiroh… A good example of the rather suspiciously low grade for the actual difficulty is his „Zbirožská“ VIIb on Vyšehrad. (The routes dates back to 1967, originally including the infamous sandstone tactics of “building”, where climbers have to crawl and stand on each other. The first free climb was made by Pepis Koudelka in 1984) The „Valley Route“ VIIa to Dárek from 1969 is just another example of an undergraded line. „These are all grade-sevens, and they feel quite unprotected since a good placement for a monkey fist knot was always taken as a full ringbolt. I get the impression that nobody has climbed them much until now because they can be quite sketchy. If you want to climb lines like that you have to be high on adrenaline or fearless. They tried to be economical with the ringbolts, to say the least,“ Kuba Jiřena recalls his father’s work.
What else have we found out about Slavoš? He was trained as a glassmaker in South Bohemia and has been in trade almost all his life. Two years before the revolution he got to the cooperative in Úlibice near Jičín. Climbers used to work for the company repairing and checking lightning rods on the prefabricated blocks of flats. He stay in the job until 1995, when he returned to the factory and remained there until his retirement.
However, he was not bored in retirement and lived it a little differently than most of his peers. He met a local Romani girl from Železený Brod, perhaps 20 years younger than he was, and he even married her in the end. When the guys laughed at him, he told then she was a ‚Brazilian student‘, which soon became a catch-phrase,” laughs Kuba.