B1 Intermediate US 538 Folder Collection
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"My legs are shaking and I'm really nervous."
"I've never done this before."
"The higher I come, the shakier it gets.
And I really shouldn't fall, because that would really hurt."
My day begins early in the morning, at the Donnerkogel in Upper Austria.
The cable car takes you to the Klettersteig.
At an altitude of some 1500 meters it is just a 20 minute hike.
Mountain guide Heli Putz shows me how to use the safety gear to secure myself.
It'll be connected to my harness with a simple knot.
The big object near the harness should help cushion my fall, if I take a tumble.
I attach myself to the steel cable on the rockface using carabiner hooks.
"The simpler it is, the easier it is to control, the more safe.
So keep it simple and stupid we say.
When we move on a fixing like here, we do it one by one and lock it like this."
"Now it's my turn!"
"Please!"
"One hand is on the cable and the second does the job.
Ok?"
I've been climbing for many years and gone up a few 'Klettersteigs'.
And that's a good thing, because this route is NOT for beginners.
You must be sure-footed and not suffer from vertigo!
This isn't the place to fall!
The carabiners will slide all the way down to the next fixed position where the anchor is.
And you have a lot of speed and then they brake you immediately.
It is a very hard impact before the security system absorbs the fall.
"So you get hurt quite severely?"
"I am sure you get hurt badly."
"So I'll take care today."
"Trust yourself."
"Yes, I am trusting myself."
And then we come to the stairway to heaven!
Ok, so this is where you want me to walk up?
Exactly.
"This is a part of the Klettersteig.
I think the main part.
That's what we are here for."
"Any tips, tricks, hints?"
"Stay focused on the foot steps.
Normally your eyes are going to the danger.
Your eyes will always follow: Hey, it's super high!
You have to switch a little in your brain.
OK, stay focused on the handle bar and on the steps."
"Everything easy, hopefully."
Creating the ladder was Heli Putz's idea.
He not only designed it, he also installed it.
"The challenge for me is to make something very interesting that involves the nature.
And it makes no sense to build a very hard Klettersteig.
For me it's more interesting to build an easier one which is more attractive.
The ladder was a pretty cheap and simple idea in a perfect place."
"Up the ladder."
"It's quite shaky."
"Down there the gorge is 700 metres deep."
"I really shouldn't fall."
"Looking far up is not a good idea."
"Looking down is not a good idea either, so I don't know where to look."
"Yes, I've done it."
"So I've survived the ladder.
I don't know what comes next.
But one thing is very clear: I have to go up to the top to the cross, because I can't
stop right now."
But the hardest part is yet to come: this really steep part over a pretty narrow ridge.
I never imagined it would be this tough!
The final stretch to the summit is however a bit more relaxed.
And, for my efforts, I'm rewarded with a stunning view over the Alps.
"Perfect.
Good job man."
"Yes, I'm here!"
"Ok, but one simple question: The way down is the same way we went up?"
"It's a good point to ask here at the summit.
Of course we can go down the same way.
But here is a nice walking trail.
It's just a foot path.
So we don't need the harness any more, we don't need the helmet any more.
Take a rest here and we'll walk down together."
"Thank you very much!"
"Once again: good job, Axel!"
Exhausted, but exhilarated, I enjoy the peace and quiet 2-thousand meters up!
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Climbing 700 m above the Abyss: Stairway to Heaven in Austria - This ladder is NOT for Beginners!

538 Folder Collection
羅世康 published on December 7, 2019    羅世康 translated    Evangeline reviewed
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