3: Common people
There is something about Sächsische Schweiz that helps me remembering every detail of the routes I have climbed over the past 5 years. However, the truly unforgettable experience was getting to know its people. I was always amazed by the saxon climbers and their worn-out gear and toughened skin. One could always find them in the train forming closed groups around a guidebook, quietly (but mostly heatedly) discussing the climbs for the day. Of course, the real show always began next to the towers. I am not talking about the local strong climbers (which are also plenty), but the “common” people for whom Elbsandsteingebirge has always been a huge backyard and the stage for their athletic endeavours. The father who solos a route to belay his 6-year-old son and later quizzes him about the routes and peaks of the area (“NO, NO, NO! The Reginawand is at Falkenstein and not Falkenturm“). The family (complete with grandparents) who bivouac below the tower and waits for the leaders to scout for hard lines for all to follow. The young daughter who eagerly asks his father if she can lead that VIII when she is older. The 2-year olds scrambling up the easy routes. The 70-year-old who grins at me and very calmly says “it is very cold today, no?” before sprinting to solo a big route. Or the man celebrating his 60th year of climbing who quickly unties from the rope upon reaching “easy” terrain. All of them form a fantastic collage whose image I will take wherever I climb next.
I am lucky to have found friends among them. There were plenty who inspired (or tricked?) me into climbing harder (“But why don’t you try the direct version? It doesn’t look more difficult”) and many more who were patient enough with my requests (“So, let’s take the 6:00 AM train, walk the longest approach and then do some off-widths” :)) or suggestions (“Sure, I’m sure you can do it! Just maybe there is an interesting move at the chimney, but it’s OK”). It was great to share the rope with beginners and experienced climbers alike, watching them develop their skills and always learning from their commitment and enthusiasm. That’s why, although I did not reach the goal of climbed routes, the biggest reward in May was climbing with almost all my partners. Today, 600 km away from Dresden, I do not feel sorry for ticking fewer routes, but regret not making more climbing friends. As I struggle to build a new climbing network in a non-climbing city, I long for the “common” Sachsen climbers.
Vull fer las cosas que fa la gent normal…
Bé, veurem què s’hi pot fer.
Next: Part 5 – Satisfaction