A couple of pictures from last weekend’s ascent of Mattstock: seven pitches of great climbing on the giant limestone slab that is the mountain south face. I was there with Gabriel, a colleague from the ETH and fellow climber. At his first multipitch experience he did a great job, leading the hardest pitch.

The grades are far from extreme (french 5b-c), but the type of rock imposes a very unusual climbing style. The limestone here has not many holds, but plenty of vertical shallow flutes that run for almost the entire length of the wall; this leads to a press-your-feet-and-hope-to-avoid-an-eight-meters-slip style of climbing. The best way is to adopt the “sticky stamp” technique (© Gabriel): that is, sticking to the rock with your whole sweaty body and crawling like a caterpillar (see picture for details).