Sunday, 11 October 2015
Climbing with your father , climbing with your brother, by Stevie Haston.
Today I was climbing with Bernd Arnold in Elbsandstein! I have wanted to climb on Dresden Sandstone ever since I saw an article years ago in Mountain magazine. These cliffs and certain climbers who climbed there were some of the foundations on which our sport stand. Bernd Arnold is one of the great pillars which have supported climbing, and helped its development. Wolfgang Gullich bowed his head to the Master Bernd Arnold, Der Elbsandsteinfuhrer, as did the great American Henry Barber who ripped Britain a new climbing ass hole on his visit in the early 1970s.
I climbed in Czech Republic on the sandstone towers in 1985 when the Iron Curtain was still up, and couldn't get a visa for East Germany at the time. These towers impressed me, the run outs, the bad gear, the knotted rope for jamming as protection. But I was good at cracks, the face climbing across the border is what I wanted, even if it meant embarrassing failures. Grades where made here, standards were set in stone.
My friend Jessies Guthrie who sells Vaude gear, introduced me to Bernd in his house, in a little room full of climbing memorabilia, it was a few hours that confirmed my belief that my life has actually had a point, wasn't completely wasted, because I'ave shared some of the spirit, and passion of a man like Bernd, who has given so much to climbing, and who we all owe the greatest of depts too.
Bernd handed me some slings, and a prodding stick, pointed me at a route then I went up it. It wasn't easy, I got a bit lost, and did some quaking, and shaking, and then some smiling. Thanks Bernd, Jessie, Jessie's seven year old girl Emely, Alex for lots of translation, and holding my quaking ropes-good day-good people.