The Mustang, M14- and what it means to always work on my limits – Angelika Rainer

I have been practicing Dry Tooling and Mixed Climbing for 11 years now. During these years from a fun day where I tried to climb for the first time with iceaxes at the first ever Italian Dry Tooling Cup in 2005, I started to focus more and more on the winter season and let the climbing with iceaxes and crampons become my favourite climbing discipline. I have competed in the Iceclimbing World Cup for 10 years, winning three World Championships and two World Cup rankings. And since the beginning I climbed much outside, being this one of my main training possibilities for the competitions. But it was not just training, I always also wanted to increase my level outdoors.


Dry Tooling and Mixed climbing requires power, endurance, a lot of body tension when you hang on vertical roofs and you need to get a very good feeling for your tools placed on tiny holds, as you can not directly feel them with your hands like you can in rockclimbing. You shouldn’t be too afraid of low temperatures and get used of pulling out small rocks of your eyes after a day scratching with your tools on the rock. I got used to all this and I love it. I like the long, reachy and dynamical moves you can do with your tools and the tiny holds you can hold with just the tip of your iceaxe. I was often scared of slipping from a hole and smashing the ice tool into my face (which I have actually done twice), but I continuously worked on increasing the confidence with my tools. Sometimes I was in tears, afraid of a move or a route and it’s thanks to my good friends and my boyfriend Marco that convinced me to try and to go on.

Sometimes a route is challenging because of it’s length, you need a lot of stamina to do it. This was the case with ‘Kamasutra’, D13+, a first ascent I did 2 years ago in Iseo, Italy. Sometimes the temperatures are challenging as it was the case with ‘Steel Koan’, an M13+ route in the Cineplex Cave in Canada. I tried this route at -20 degrees for 2 days and then climbed at -10°C the third day of our trip.


And sometimes you are mentally under pressure as you have only a few days for trying the route before you need to get on a plane back home, as it was the case with ‘Clash of the Titans’, WI 10+ at Helmcken Falls, Canada.


But sometimes you simply don’t feel physically well, as it was the case at our visit to Colorado last year, when I wanted to try the new mixed routes a friend of mine, Will Mayo, had just established at the Amphitheatre in Vail. It was depressing to be in this amazing place and just don’t feel strong enough to climb the routes. So I decided to come back this year and immediately felt much better already at the warm-up climb. The second day I could climb flash the route ‘Reverse Stratofortress’, M12+, that crosses half of the big roof of the Amphitheatre and that togheter with ‘the Lightning’, gives ‘the Mustang’, M14-. The fourth day of climbing at this crag I could climb the whole route, starting on 20 meters of vertical ice and the traversing 20 meters of a completely horizontal roof, finishing on a thin ice curtain. This is my first route graded M14 and I’m really really happy about this ascent, which to me also shows how much dedication I put into climbing.