Csesznek via ferrata – my first fall

I have planned vacation for Wednesday and Thursday to go hiking in Slovakia. However I have changed my plans and went to Csesznek via ferrata with few of my friends. It is close to Bratislava, so there is no reason not to go.

Shortly before 9 am, Dusan picked me up. In city we have picked up Martin and hit the road towards Csesznek, Hungary. Close to the village we have found one cache and beautiful view on the castle ruins and rocks below it. This is probably place where we will climb todays Csesznek via ferrata. We leave car in the (47.353876, 17.876516). From hiking sign we go thru narrow path between houses and wooden bridge. Soon we have found out, it is great place where to park a car. In 5 minutes we have reached Csesznek via ferrata starting point. Actually it is starting point of two via ferratas.

When we were leaving a car, Dusan asked if we need a rope. I told him NO. First we have found via ferrata Castle panorama route (Várpanoráma út). It is difficulty D. Close to this route is another route named MZ/X. I have no clue what does that mean, but I really like difficulty E/F. Today, when I am writing this post, on official web there is no info about this route. At the beginning we are going to climb Castle panorama route. It is good, because we can check E/F route from top as well. Start is easy and we can climb without any problems. I stop above cable bridge of E/F and checking the path. So far seems ok, I think I could do that. Behind cable bridge is traverse, but it should be ok. We keep going and coming to place where 4 ropes are connected. From bottom to up goes E/F path. We are going from left to right. Whole route is slowly ascending, with couple of vertical parts. They are short but really nice. Close to the top we are able identify another two routes which are in opposite wall. Left route is called Ostromlók útja (Besieger’s route) with C difficulty. On the right with overhang is named Tálos Zoltán emlékút (Zoltán Tálos memorial route) – difficulty E. We will climb both of them as soon we are done with E/F route. After few more steps we are on the top.

Summit offers great view on Csesznek castle ruins (I guess castle name). We enjoy it for a while and start descending. There are two options how to get down. We have come to climb so we chose the harder route for descent. Easy start brings us to vertical part with lots of iron steps. Not a difficult part but nice. Later we need to go next to the tree and around rock belly. Few more steps and we are safely on the ground. At the bottom we have realized we descent via Futrinka ucca. If I googled properly it is some kind of bug. Sign with via ferrata name was added here lately. We can see the dust from drilling on the ground. Anyway path is difficulty C.

We are going back to MZ/X via ferrata (E/F). Dusan is climbing first, and start is really easy. He stops under overhang. I am climbing to him. Overhanging part is difficult. He did it in second or third attempt. Now it is my turn. Before I do any further steps I have to borrow from Dusan carabiner and sling to be able to sit down. I did not expect via ferrata of this difficulty, so I have left my stuff home. After a huge fight I was able to secure myself in half way and sit down to relax a bit. I did only the easier half. I did all my best, tried couple times, but could not get thru. My arms are dead and I am giving up. There is way how you could pass this point and get to the cable bridge where is Dusan standing. I want to try E-part. Again Dusan is going first. Few seconds later hi sounds really loudly, later is bad language time. To get thinks more complicated, Dusan do not have any sling to sit down and relax. I have his equipment. He is tired and has to sit down into via ferrata set. Whole traverse is in nasty overhang, after a rest he is able to finish it and get on the other side. Now it is my turn. I believe I can do it. Keep in mind I have equipment from Dusan. I sit down and trying to slide myself to the left. On the place where is rope connected to the wall, I have to use all my strength to pull myself, get carabiner on the other side, and sit down again. It is really tiring. More time I am relaxing then moving. We cannot talk about climbing. Last part of traverse is ascending a bit. I am not able to make it. I decided to go back. Going back is even worse. I am totally exhausted. Anyway I am standing on cable bridge.

Now I have to figure out my next steps. On right sight I have traverse which I am not able to climb. On the left side is E/F part, which I am not able to climb. Dusan will go probably to the car for the rope :). Dusan gets idea to secure me from upper, easier via ferrata so I can climb to it. It is not far. Actually bottom of the path is next to my shoulders. We have managed it. Finally I am safe. I cannot feel my arms. In the ferrata crossroad I keep going to left so Dusan can safely pass me and climb up. Martin and Dusan climb easily short vertical part. I am sure for me it is a challenge, cause I have lost all my strength. Short rest should be enough and I am ready to climb. To reach vertical part is peace of a cake. Start vertical part is not that easy. I have mud on my shoes and rock is slippery. I ha to try two or three times to get up. however I have managed it and now I am sitting in half of the way using Dusan sling. I am not able to do it in once. I was holding the rope as hard as I could by hand slipped anyway. I need longer break to recover.

Last deep breath and lets go. Pull myself up, one step, than another, move my hands up. Right hand is holding the pole, which secures rope to the rock. I am starting to fall to the right. Guys told me it will happen, so with left hand I trying to find some place to catch. Thanks god for tree twig. It is not really stable, but it thick enough to hold me. My feet are pretty stable, but I am not in vertical position, I am lying back partially. Now I need to secure myself with via ferrata set above my right hand. How the hell, I have only two hands? My right hand is stronger, so I try to do it with my left hand. As soon as I am not holding the twig I start falling to right. I need to do it with the right hand. Unfortunately this is not option as well. I am not able to hold myself only in left hand. I am asking guys to come and secure myself as soon as possible. It is better to sit down than a fall down. Martin is trying to come as soon as he can. With my right eye, I am checking my right hand. I keep my left eye on my left hand. With other eye I am checking Martin, wondering if he will make it in time. I cannot hold myself in this position much longer. Martin is still far. My hands are opening very slowly. It is not like in cartoon, one finger after another. All fingers slowly, but at the same time. I don’t like that feeling at all. In fraction of second I am 1 or 2 meters (3 or 6 feet) lower. I don’t climb that fast. As soon as I can, I am trying to sit down. I have two legs, two arms, no bleeding, no pain. I didn’t hear any sound of helmet hitting the rock. Guys look stressed. I am sure I look even worse. We have quickly decided that Dusan and Martin will pull me up using another sling. I cannot climb by myself. Standing on my own legs is great feeling. To be on top is just amazing.

Actually I am not on the top top. I am only on the top of short vertical part. Few meters from this place, two paths connect to one. I am not going to climb any further and walking to the real top thru woods. At the top I am sitting at stone. Taking few deep breaths. It is time to analyze the situation. Why I did not hear via ferrata set to tear up? Now I see I was secured by carabiner and sling. Carabiner didn’t survive my fall. Falling to carabiner and sling is “very clever”.

Guys are on top minute or two later. We are talking about situation and I refuse to climb any other route. My arms and hands are totally exhausted. Csesznek via ferrata tought me a lesson. Part when I fall down is D, I have climbed parts like this million times, but I was out of energy. It is only November 4th, but my New Year’s resolution will be – get more strength to arms and hands, lose my belly. With the belly I cannot climb those difficult routes.

Lessons learned (hopefully not just for me): Csesznek via ferrata is in the middle of the woods, with no alttitute at all. However I need to be still focused and never overestimate my skills. Since today I will bring all my equipment to every single via ferrata, which I will climb. Difficulty doesn’t matter. Exactly the same way as Dusan have been prepared and could help me. I want to say THANK YOU to him. In the future I will never again climb by myself as I did Konigsjodler via ferrata.

Another two routes I did not climb. Csesznek fia ferrata is place, where I will come soon. I have two routes which I did not climb. Easy one, and the hard one I want to try for sure. But for that I need to train a lot.

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