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Zillertal is a picturesque and marvelous valley in the Tyrolese mountains, Austria. It has been largely developed by Gerhard Horhager and Markus Schwaiger. This valley has gained a worldwide reputation over the years, both for bouldering and sport climbing. Despite being a classic destination relatively close to where I live (6 hour drive), I have never had the occasion to visit it. My knowledge about Zillertal was very little indeed. I remember I heard news and saw some videos regarding Incubator (aka old Jerry’s projekt which was finally put up by Markus Schwaiger in 2003, when I began to climb 😊). This problem is very popular; it’s one of those lines which symbolizes an area, as the Mandala does for Bishop or Shosholoza does for Rocklands.
Besides this boulder, I didn’t know that much about this place and, before going there for two weeks with my friend Matteo, I avoided going through videos and web content. My intention was to let the discovery play a wider role—which isn’t easy nowadays when you travel to a popular area. Having no real expectations led me to enjoy the my first contact with the area in the purest possible way. Doing this was just a spontaneous thing for this trip. Matteo had a guidebook which led us through all the sectors that had already been developed in the past. We really wanted to be get to know the area which, though classic, was “new” for us. We spent many hours hiking, looking at many pieces of rock and checking lines; our climbing was finally driven by the most inspiring problems, some of them were hidden in the forests, others perched on the river banks.
During the first evening we came across a riverside prow which seemed to be untouched. This arete, and the setting, had some incredible colors: The turquoise waters of Ziller (the river from which the valley gets its name) flows harmoniously through gray rocks which have been shaped over thousands years of unceasing action. The forest behind the boulder is full of deep shades of green. The smooth granite is covered with orange and red lichen.
We later found out that we were the first climbers to do this line. The rock took a while to dry from the moisture of the lichens (I brushed them a bit and then I mostly used water with a simple brush). I felt like I was inside a painting. I named the problem Faber Castell.
This video is a collection of the lines I enjoyed the most. Each of them is very different from the other in terms of style, shape, climb, location and history. Considering the great potential for trad and sport climbing, this valley certainly has many ways through which climbers can express themselves and their visions.