Dirk's Alpine Page
I love the mountains and I like to ski, hike and climb. I am an Alpine Instructor (summer and winter) for the Naturfreunde and like to share my passion for the mountains with other enthusiasts, who want to learn climbing, mountaineering and ski touring. If you like to view a few pictures of my alpine activities, please click ......... sorry, no link yet, I am too busy to work on this page.
Experiencing the beauty of the white mountains in winter light is very special. I have carried out some 400 ski tours in the Alps.
My great favorites are high level traverses like the classical Haute Route from Chamonix to Saas Fee. Here are some of the traverses I have done:
- Route Soleil
- Sellrain Express
- Berner Route
- Silvretta Route
- Rätikon Route
- Stubaier Route
- Ortler Route
- Sarntal Alps
"Those people who God likes He lets become climbers" (Malte Roeper).
Climbing is such a fascinating activity. It is a retreat from the daily routine and hassle when your focus reduces to just 2 square meters around you, looking for the best way to fight gravity. Granite is my favorite rock and I have climbed the granite in the Alps (Bergell, Salbit,Chamonix and others), Yosemite Valley, Tuolomne Meadows and Joshua Tree. Plasir climbing on short routes is just fun but sometimes it is as fine to be on a long serious multi pitch alpine climb.One of the best of the more than 150 alpine routes I climbed so far are Clock and Stock on Salbitschien (Salbit, Swiss Alps, 5c) and the classical Via Cassin on the NE-face of Piz Badile (5c+, Bergell or Val Bregaglia, Swiss Alps). My hardest alpine climb was a 8 pitch route called "Dente Per Dente" (6a+) on Spazacaldeira, Val Bregalia, Switzerland.
My local training area is in the Harz, a 2.5 hour car drive from Hamburg, where you find some granite cliffs of up to 60 m height. You can meet me there particularly on weekends from April to July when I try to get in shape for alpine adventures. Limestone cliffs of up to 50m are in the "Weserbergland", also a 2 h drive from Hamburg.
I have climbed several of the 4000m peaks in the Alps. The descent is often a pain on most of the normal routes since you can ski them down with ease and a lot of fun in winter. I am not very good on ice. It is hard to get experience on steep ice when you live in flat Northern Germany. I rarely do summer mountaineering on normal ascents. The North ridge of Piz Palü or the Bianco Ridge on Piz Bernina are some of the ascents I did in summer. They involve some climbing (UIAA IV) and are no snow hikes.
It is great to move like a snail and to experience the mountains in a natural pace. And like a snail you are carrying your home (and everything else) on your back. The personal belongings and needs are very easy to overview which leaves enough space for your mind to take the beauty of nature as a deep breath for your brain. I enjoyed back packing the Rocky Mountains in Canada and Colorado, USA and the Sierra Nevada in the US (John Muir Trail). I did not make it to the Scandinavian back country yet since I don't like the rain. The infra structure in the Alps is too dense for back packing since there is no real back country.
High Altitude Mountaineering
Here the moments of joy might be out of proportion with the moments of pain and exhaustion. And, as Reinhard Karl said after summiting Everest: On the summit you always realize that there is a much bigger summit ahead of you, you are never really on the top.
I was on Denali (or Mt. McKinley), Alaska, USA, which was a pleasant trip. The window for success was very narrow though, i.e., you need a big portion of luck. Being on the summit lets you re-colorize your memories very fast.
Another trip lead me to Pik Pobeda in the Tien Shan Mountains, Kazakhstan. We were climbing for a week on an exposed ridge, heavy wind and exhaustion are major memories which kept alive even until today. We did not make it to the summit and stopped our attempt at almost 7000m. Currently I am not certain whether the proportion of joy and pain were really in balance for this trip.
In August 2008 I tried a ski ascent on Mustag Ata (7545m) in the Kuen Lun Mountains of western China. We made it to camp 3 (ca. 6800m). On our summit day the weather was not in our favour. Since we had a lot of snow fall which delayed our ascent there was not enough time for a second summit attempt. My first reaction was "never again" but since this mountain can be skied (see image) so well I may come back some time.