My first two days of climbing in the Frankenjura were spent brushing snow off of hand holds and coaxing my frozen fingers into tiny pockets in the limestone.
I was quickly revising my mantra from ‘Es ist nie zu kalt zum Klettern’ to ‘Manchmal ist est zu kalt zum Klettern’
By the end of the second climbing day Dirtbagjens, Dirtbagbashi and I were all exhausted. The weather reports told us that we had one more cold day between us and the sunshine. A rest day was in order.
There are a lot of opinions out there about how you can optimise your recovery on rest days.* My most recent google session suggested that the best things you can do to aid recovery on your rest days is sleep, hydrate, stretch out your muscles and look after your skin.
After this Frankenjura trip, I’m starting to think that the secret to the perfect rest day might actually lie in a combination of caves, waterslides and Franziskaner Hefe-Weissebier.
Below is my simple step-by-step guide to recovering from a few grueling days of climbing with frozen claw-hands in the Frankenjura.
1. Buy freshly baked Brötchen and chocolate croissants from the local bakery
(if possible, sleep in, wait for someone else to buy breakfast, then roll out of bed when everything is ready in kitchen at Oma Eichler’s guesthouse. If it’s cold enough, you’ll have the guesthouse all to yourself. It seems German climbers make better life choices than I do)
2. Eat all the things and drink all the coffee.
(Remember, there is no shame in spreading nutella onto a croissant that is already filled with chocolate)
3. Drive to Muggendorf and park near the church in the centre of town.
4. Walk up and up and up the hill, wishing that you had parked at the top.
5. Leave the street behind and disappeared into the impossibly green forest.
6. Follow the red and white sign posts until you see views like this:
7. Keep following the red and white markers, even if they lead you into a scary dark cavern.
8. Hike all the way through the Oswaldhöhle, stopping occasionally for a spot of bouldering.
9. Pop out on the other side of the mountain.
10. Get down on your hands and knees and attempt to crawl through anything that could possibly be an opening to another cave.
(Most of the time, you won’t get far, but every now and then you will find some surprisingly big caves to explore)
11. Follow the red and white markers back toward the Rosenmüllerhöhle.
12. Realise that the Rosenmüllerhöhle is a lot further away and further uphill that you had hoped it would be. Keep trudging uphill. Call it ‘active recovery’.
13. Arrive at Rosenmüllerhöhle and wish you brought a box of matches. The cave is filled with candles and it would look pretty damn amazing if they were all lit up.
14. Take some time to check out the wildflowers.
14. Recover from your arduous journey with coffee and cake back in Muggendorf.
15. Recover from your coffee and cake by drinking some tasty local beer and taking a nap.
16. Recover from your post-wheat-beer-nap at the Therme Obernsees.
(We don’t have ‘Therme’ in Australia, but I think it basically translates to either “thermal water” or “a magical place where you can float around in heated outdoor pools overlooking the forest, get a massage, hang out in a sauna that looks like the caves you’ve been exploring all day, zoom down waterslides, eat currywurst… and drink more beer”).
17. Recover from your trip to the Therme by flicking through the guidebook, before you head to bed to dream of Action Directe.
* I can’t talk about rest days without recommending you listen to this interview with Hot Henry Barber; a man who never believed in resting and just kept climbing and climbing and climbing.