Stephanie Jagl-Posch

riding and other stuff.

enormous edelgriess experience and a word on fear of heights and anxiety issues.

3 Comments

Foto 3-2
where does the trail end?

 

this is the report of our last adventure in this winter season. looking back at the season, i’m really happy that we took the risks involved to spend 3 months in the snow, although austria hasn’t seen a winter with such little snow (well, except for carinthia and east tyrol) in the last decades. we had to accept the circumstances and made the most of it, resulting in a lot of great experiences in return.

would i do it again? yes, i absolutely would!
i have learned so much this season, both riding-wise and for life (although i didn’t reach enlightenment :P). i know that being surrounded by nature is very important to me, and what’s a better way to spend time outdoors than to shred down a mountain that you’ve just hiked up? this season has left me very calm and satisfied. and for that (and so much more), i’m grateful.

i want to thank my sponsor PIEPS and also powderguide.com for supporting me!

now enough with the nostalgic babbling and onto the report of our last adventure!

 

enourmous edelgriess experience.

on the 27th of march, it was time for us to give one of the legendary, classical freeride routes of austria, the edelgriess descent from the dachstein glacier, a shot.

after riding up with the gondola, the first difficulty is the 20 meter long climb up over ladders and stemples. then you reach the rosmarie-stollen, a tunnel which enables you to get to the other side of the mountain without climbing over the top (although there is a via ferrata over the ridge as well). there you can catch your breath (maybe even take a break on the small bench after the tunnel with a breathtaking view) before you begin traversing a steep slope to the edelgriess glacier. most of the traverse is easy to walk, there are some difficult sections nonetheless and you shouldn’t slip and fall in general, because underneath the path is a rock fall.

when you have mastered the traverse, you stand atop the edelgriess glacier and the 1600 meters in vertical height of descent.

we had soft, slushy snow in the top part of the slope, a little bit of powder in the middle section and then hard-crusted, difficult to ride snowpack in the last part. it wasn’t actually THAT breathtaking to ride, but it was a lot of fun! it’s always great to have such a long descent, feeling far away from civilisation (which you actually aren’t, also there are usually plenty of people riding the edelgriess to. when we rode it, there were only 3 other people. when we were at the parking lot again, we saw about 7 people walking across the traverse, so we were kinda lucky).

Bildschirmfoto 2014-03-27 um 15.36.54 Bildschirmfoto 2014-03-27 um 15.37.54 Bildschirmfoto 2014-03-27 um 15.43.51
climbing the ladder.

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rosmarie-stollen and the view at the end of it.

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the traverse.

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starting the ride down edelgriess (to the left).

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we happily succeeded.

 

a word on fear of heights and anxiety issues.

what made this adventure so special, is my fear of heights (or more precise: fear of falling). i want to talk about this issue a bit now, because i feel that it’s still a taboo and that’s a problem, because it makes people with anxiety issues feel like they’re out of the norm, or not as capable (read: good) as others. so, i will try to talk about my issues openly, to show others that you can improve and achieve things you once thought were impossible.

i get scared on a lot of occasions, be it steep traverses when hiking with the splitboard, climbing parts, exposed sections… i guess, many people who are scared of heights would just not bother to try stuff like that, which is understandable to me on one hand. on the other hand, there’s my hunger for challenge, for learning and getting better. i don’t want to be limited by my fear.
and of course there are many great descents that are only reachable with a bit of climbing involved. and i want to ride those!

the funny thing is, that i’m not scared when i’ve got my board strapped onto my feet. i’ve mastered steep slopes or very steep parts of faces without being bothered much. of course, i also feel slightly nervous, but in those situations, my nervousness only helps me to stay focussed, it doesn’t make my palms damp, it doesn’t make me shiver and i don’t panic. without my board, nervousness turns into panic quickly, which makes it hard to plan smart moves.

i enjoy bouldering, rock climbing and via ferratas, which are all activities where i have to go out of my comfort zone at least now and then to get better. during this winter season, i have slowly worked my way up. by the end of the season, my confidence was big enough to give the 20 meter ladder and the traverse a shot. yes, i did use my via ferrata set to belay myself. yes, it took me quite a long time to reach the target. yes, i was scared sometimes and had moments where i felt that i wouldn’t be able to reach the target. but i still made it! do i still seek improvement? yes. maybe sometime in the future i will be able to climb up a 20 meter ladder without getting scared. but at the same time, i’m proud of myself for overcoming my fear. and i wish to encourage others, that overcoming fears and obstacles in ones life is possible. no matter, if it’s a fear of heights or anxiety when you’re on the bus.

sometimes you might need professional help, sometimes a friends help will be enough, sometimes you will be able to help yourself. the most important factor is a positive attitude towards your own capabilities. and if you can’t yet honestly feel that way, fake it till you make it.
others might be doing better, but you can be successful in your own zone and that’s a huge step forward!

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3 thoughts on “enormous edelgriess experience and a word on fear of heights and anxiety issues.

  1. Hola Chica :) Nice report! I like the fact that you touched on the whole fear thing… you know what I think? I think thats super healthy to feel exposed and vulnerable out there… thats whats going to keep you safe as it heightens your awareness and perception. They say that the fear of falling is one of the few fears we are born with, and for a good reason! With all of the hype about action sports and all of the competition people seem to feel against other people rather than against their own personal boundaries and limitations, there has been a huge saturation of various risky sports by people who are in it for the image and the “fame” or other extrinsic motivation. The bandwagon brings lots of people who dont respect the seriousness of what theyre doing because they often dont bother getting educated on it: look at rock climbing, had a super huge boom with all of the city slickers trying to be core and with that the number of accidents rose… look at freeriding now… its getting pushed like mad from the industry so they can sell more, the resorts want to earn more money and actually advertise their freeriding routes (like on Kitzsteinhorn!!) bringing every gaper possible into the backcountry! The message the marketing is sending is: if you buy all this gear, thats safe enough! I was on Kitz a few weeks ago with an Avi danger of 4 and saw more people scrapping around in bad visibility in steep exposed areas with no avi-gear, not able to even make a toe edge turn or link turns… they were all on the marked “freeride routes” or under the chairlifts so felt super safe and just were clueless. Hauptsache GoPro ;) you know what I mean!!
    We just had a comp here in Montana at the Headwaters of the Moonlight Basin bowl and everyone was talking about how steep the face was (not really…) but I will tell you… the stupid hike to get there was so exposed and slippery and terrifying… that was absolutely the worst part of the whole trip. I talked to a lot of other riders and was relieved to hear the men and women alike saying the same thing… they were really sketched out about that traverse, and rightly so! The consequences of falling in these “no fall zones” are huge, how do you plan to self arrest if youre carrying a board in one hand, youre wearing womens snowboard boots which have crap for traction, and youre above steep/icy/exposed/rocky/cliffy/cravassy whatever terrain!!
    In my opinion if youre not concerned for your health in those situations, you dont belong there. Respect for your body, respect for nature and the mountains… thats key.
    I say thumbs up for being concerned and scared and thumbs up for admitting it. Because we all are… and just because some may deny it doesnt make them cool in my opinion, it makes them jackasses. <3

  2. Word! When you’re leaving you comfort zone it’s so important NOT to compare yourself to others! They might be faster or climb higher, but they’re not experiencing what YOU are. And at the end of the day, only your very own victory counts. Compared to others it might be small, but for yourself it was a huge step forward!

  3. thanks a lot for you comments ladies, feels good to get positive feedback! :) see you out there soon!

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