I spent most of my time in Germany marvelling at how insanely green everything was.
I am used to the steely bluish-green of eucalyptus leaves. I am used to the faded green of tired sun-bleached sugar cane. I am used to dark green sea-weed on white sandy beaches.
But the bright greens of the forests in Germany were totally new to me. These colours existed on an entirely different part of the colour spectrum. More sunkissed than sunburnt.
On one perfectly green spring day, Dirtbagjens took me climbing in Holzen.
Holzen is about an hours drive south of Hannover (although you can get there much faster if you get a lift with Dirtbagjörn).
This area is home to a number of fun limestone crags. You can climb up perfect little pockets and along crazy shaped features. You can climb into the impossibly green canopy and enjoy the sunshine streaming down between the leaves.
If you are a particularly good looking golden retriever, you might prefer to spend your day sniffing out all the stinky things hidden in the forest. If you find a really good stink, its only polite to share it with your humans.
The best way to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy the fun, is to roll in the undergrowth as much as possible. That way, you can take home bits of mud, decomposing plant matter and the poop of climbers past. Everyone will really enjoy the car ride home.
Dirtbagjens ticked off some solid climbs that day, but it wasn’t enough to win the climb-of-the-day award (which is an award that I just made up, almost 6 months after the event).
That award goes to OhneSchnorchelSophie* for her efforts on a less-than-spectacular trad route up the middle of the Himmelsleiterwand.
I had racked my harness with enough gear to climb El Cap. I charged up a layback corner then wandered towards the top of the cliff. I had great views over green trees and green valleys. What I could not see was any kind of sensible trad placements in the easy top half of the climb. Eventually I ignored the run out and enjoyed climbing to the top of the cliff where I found a solid tree and a nice shiny ring bolt. I built an anchor and brought BBBashi up to meet me.
He reached the top in no time. Once there, he clipped himself into the anchor and promptly pulled out two or three different types of sausages from the backpack he’d climbed up with.
OhneSchorchelSophie was up next. With some encouragement from Dirtbagjens, she charged up the layback section at the start of the climb and expertly removed all the gear I had placed on my way up. She was thrown in at the deep end. It was all a bit a more adventurous than we had expected. But she reached BBBashi and I with a big smile on her face.
Dirtbagjens and Lio, the golden retriever, greeted us at the top of the wall. We all walked back down to the base of the crag.
Lio even found some quality stink to roll in on the way back down.
There’s something for everyone at Holzen!
*How did OhneSchnorchelSophie get her name? Stay tuned for future posts about seasickness, snorkels and wild dolphins.