The first time I saw pictures of the west ridge of the Salbitschijen it was before any of us had even heard the words “corona virus” (seems like a lifetime ago). That day I had come across the pictures by chance, during a day of random procrastination at work, the steep granite towers piercing the skyline and fixing themselves in my memory. But, as is the case with most long routes, finding the right moment for the climb took some time. Getting time off work when the weather looks good, then finding a partner (who also has to take time off work) is a game of tetris where not all the pieces can be controlled. So, for the most part, this route stayed in the back of my mind, coming out only when scheming about the ever-growing “to-do” list.
Then, in 2020, as the entire world now knows firsthand, plans to tackle this “to-do” list took a nosedive. In January we were reading reports from China without ever thinking that this picture - people quarantined in houses - would ever come to Europe. In February, the first cases in Austria were recorded, and by March we were quarantined at home, working via Zoom and feuding on social media about the moral repercussions of jogging. Now, almost 6 months out, face masks have become a new accessory item and, while we certainly haven’t seen the last restrictions due to covid, we decided to take advantage of the easing travel restrictions for a week of climbing in Switzerland, with Salbit high on the agenda.