One year before our expedition took place it were my friends Iker and Eneko Pou, getting inspired by the pictures of the Chukotka walls they had seen of Australian climbers Chris Fitzgerald and Chris Warners expedition to the area in 2014. Because of the big potential of first ascents on the moderate high walls they searched more team members. Immediately I was on board, furthermore joined by Siebe Vanhee and Jacopo Larcher.
Being so high up in the Northern hemisphere gave us the opportunity to choose our climbing rhythm because of the 24 hours of sunlight. As a multidisciplinary team with a mixed kind of qualities we aimed for the obvious and the natural climbs. Climbing free and in one push but also the style of fixing ropes and focussing on free climbing a harder and challenging line was an important goal of the trip. For all of us the values of clean climbing and avoiding unnecessary bolting were of high importance.
To be as efficient as possible we split into two teams, one comprised of Jacopo, Siebe and myself, the other of Iker and Eneko. Most routes we climbed in a single push, weather permitting, and using trad gear only, apart from one line, the “Red Corner“ on the wall of Commander, where five hand-drilled bolts were placed.
The walls as well as the environment, including the horrible mosquitos, who stayed during our whole journey and definitely made the basics of living like a little challenge, left a great impression to all of us.
A short sum up of the eight new routes on the 300m to 500m high walls of The Commander, The General and The Monk:
Into the Wild – 7a/425m – Iker & Eneko Pou
The Two Parrots – 7a/320m, Iker & Eneko Pou
Red Corner – 7c+/450m, Larcher, Vanhee, Auer
Wake up in Siberia – 6b/240m, Larcher, Vanhee, Auer
Aupa – 6c/300m, Iker & Eneko Pou
Mosquito Rock Tour – 7a+/450m, Iker & Eneko Pou
From Zero to Hero – 7a/490m – Larcher, Vanhee, Auer
Sketchy Django – 6a+/400m, Larcher, Vanhee, Auer