BD athlete Dodo Kopold climbs four routes in the High Tatras
Black Diamond athlete Dodo Kopold LOVES the peaks of his native Tatra Mountains on the Poland/Slovakia border. Summer, fall, spring, winter—Dodo is always climbing in the Tatras, establishing hard new routes and training for expeditions. Such was the combination in late October when Dodo managed to complete four routes on the massive north face of Ganeks Gallery in the Tatra's Tazka Valley. He sent us the following email and photos shortly after returning.
From: Dodo Kopold
Sent: Dienstag, 10. November 2009 16:26
Subject: BD tech.typ
On 30th October I was in High Tatras mountain. My plan was to climb a new route in north face of Ganek gallery, one of the steepest rock face in Tatras. For local climbers this face is a must-have on any alpinist's CV or resume. ("Tell me what did you climb in winter in north face of Ganek gallery and you'll tell me how good of a climber you are...") Long approach make from this face serious climb. Retreat from this face is not easy and rescue can took long time, too.
During my short time there I managed to climb four routes. First one with my friend, Andrej. It was in combination of four Puskas rock routes on different faces in a 12-hours, non-stop push. Next day we climbed another route there—Grade 7 UIAA. But the grade 7 in Tatras has a long history. Long time ago the grade 7 UIAA in Tatras was the maximum grade. Even though the routes were harder nobody wanted to grade the route any harder than 7. So if in Tatras is something graded 7 it may be harder. And usually it´s harder.
After one week I climbed there my third route, this time solo. The face was covered with thin ice and the moves were very difficult even though the route is graded only 5+ UIAA. But I was happy. Climbing in difficult conditions teaches me a lot.
My last climb in this face was really funny. I wanted to climb a new, difficult route, again solo. In middle of north face, in steep slabs. I packed all my climbing gear, hooks, micro nuts, Peckers, sleeping hammock—but I didn´t take my ice tool. After five hours of walking I reached the bottom of face. The first 100 metres was steep frozen grass, typical for High Tatras. But without ice tools, it was not possible to climb. I was angry. But I got an idea: in my backpack I found one ice pick. So I use thin rope, hammer and tape, and in short time I mde one very good, usefull ice tool! The climbing in steep slabs covered with ice was unbelieve difficult and I decided to finish my route with another classic route graded 5+ UIAA.
Four routes in our famous north face. Not bad, not good. But as a training for big walls in winter conditions, it´s very good stuff.