Winter had finally made it to Europe and I found myself working instead of climbing. The constant question of where to go, who to go with, slowly but surely came to solve itself.
Ales seemed the only buddy willing to journey out into the wild with me. Well our former plan was to go Ice climbing to Italy, but since there were only the two of us we figured Italy to be a bit out of hand.
My thoughts came accross Maltatal the valley of tumbling water. I had heard about its magic, but had never been there. The decision was made.
On the 5th of February 2005 we took off, just the two of us by car towards Austria. We made it to Maltatal early on the 6th, took a short nap in the car before we got into our climbing gear.
The Maltatal is a valley lined with Ice falls on both of its sides, with some of the falls having barely any access, you just get out of the car put on your gear and you're climbing!!!
The first day we decided to climb an easy and long icefall the "Strannerbach" 1 minute access from the road!! It is a good introduction to the valley, but also a frequented climb. About 550m long according to the topos I have.
After finishing the "Strannerbach" we decided to do some top roping on Columbus wall a vertical and slightly overhanging arena right next to the road.
In the evening we made our way down to the parking lot near the Falleralm restaurant, a number of parties had their tents out so we decided to sleep there aswell. Some say it is not permitted to sleep outside, but no one seemed to care, not even the locals.
On the 7th we headed towars "Supermax" a climb situated about 20 minutes from the camp site. This ice fall is made of 3 gullies which come to a wonderful ice curtain. We went for the central gully. The ice was great but bit brittle due to the temperature about -10C during the day and -20C at night. The climb is about 5-6 pitches long.
The third day we drove up to "the tunnel", parked our car and hiked for about 40min to the entry gully of "Mareiner". the guide book says the first 200m are easy, well yes they were up to the rock band which was covered by verglass and there for unprotectable without rock pro. I managed to more or less solo up the rock band and belay my partner off of a tree. We soon made it under the very nice ice fall of "Mariener" I climbed the first pitch set up a belay station somewhere in the middle of the ice fall and Ales continued up, occasionally letting loose some ice. Ales was nearing the end of the rope when I heard a strange sound, I looked up and to my disbelief I saw a mass of snow and Ice moving directly above me, I would say it was the size of a small car, breaking up as it neared my possition. I got as close to the Ice fall as possible and tried to make myself as small as possible, and then I got nailed not all that much by pieces of Ice, but by snow and mainly Water.
A small pool of water must have busted about 40m above me and fell directly on to me, I was drenched, I felt the freezing water trickle down my back, into my pants, everywhere. At first I was hot, guess it was due to the surprise attack, but the next instant I was freezing cold, it was about -10C outside and the water froze in an instant, I had a frozen collar of ice around my neck, the ropes, ice tools and everything I had on me was covered by a thin layer of ice. I was shivering my ass off. Ales called down to me, seeing what had fallen and asked me if I was OK. I answered "ya I'm fine but cold as hell, are you near the belay"?? He asked me if I could climb, that he wouold be at the belay shortly. I said yes.
After Ales made a belay I started climbing, not able to warm up from the movment, until about the last 10m of the pitch, I quickly took lead of the next pitch to stay warm. After my lead we rappeled off the ice fall.
The 9th was a rest day, I tried to dry my gear in the sun.
On the 10th we went for "Aluhol" a very pretty climb with a number of vertical setions, and very close to the road. About 5 pitches of wonderful climbing.
Day 6 was the day we climbed "Superfeucht" the translation is supposedly "Super wet" and thanks to the changing weather the upper curtain was rather wet. Yet another wonderful ice fall, 3 full pitches of climbing.
Day 7 our final day in the Maltatal, was in the light of an easy climb, the left gulley on "Supermax". The Ice was melting fast, the weather had changed and it was now above zero, so in order not to get drenched too much we climbed a lower angled gulley, and did not climb the final ice curtain of "Supermax".
After lunch we packed everything into the car and headed back to the Czech Republic, and it rained the whole journey back. We couldn't have spent a better week in the Maltatal.
What can I say the Maltatal is a fantastic ice climbing area, with lots of climbing, only about a 3hour drive from Munich Germany!! There are also some mixed climbing possibilities in the area plus rock climbing in the summer. Not to mention hiking and ski touring options.