Sunday, April 10, 2011

Climbing With “Sanders” In Czechoslovakia

Climbing on the Czech sandstone, you can’t use any trad pro as we know it – only knotted cords.

“The Czech Republic sandstone tower climbing is pretty cool. Sandstone climbers are called ‘sanders’…. He usually climbs in ragged clothes. On his harness hangs a mixture of strange ropes, cords and laces and somewhere among all this crap hangs sand-scratched and furbished (shiny) carbines, and quick-draws…

A ‘sander’ uses chocks and friends to open a bottle of beer. Those things are not allowed to be used on the soft sand-stone. Mastery of setting roped knots is an inseparable part of our climbing. Badly set knots can easily change beautiful and safe routes into ones we call an “obvious suicide”

Each route is climbed in the true meaning of on-sight climbing, because you can’t follow a line of bolts and chalk marks. Instead of common bolts there are special sand-stone ring-bolts set into the rock. There are not many of them on the routes, so not every time you manage to see all of them from standing on the ground. You just have to believe that they are there – somewhere. This very specific climbing style developed here – on-sight or death.”

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