Category: Now

First Ascent of »The Unknown Peak« (6050m)

Together with Max Berger, Much Mayr and Guido Unterwurzacher I’ve made a three-day alpine style ascent of a previously unclimbed 6050m peak in the Northern Indian Himalaya.

After acclimatising and waiting for the suitable weather window, we spent two days ascending the mountain’s Southeast Face, breaching “beautiful mixed terrain, not too hard” and bivying at 4400m and at 5000m. We reached the summit at circa 9.45am on Friday 5th October and then abseiled down the same route, returning safely to base camp at circa 3200m later on the third day.

Great trip and a place definitely to come back!

Enjoy more pics below:

Solo Ascent of Lupghar Sar West (7157m)

On July 7, 2018 I solo-climbed Lupghar Sar West (7157m). This peak in Pakistan’s Karakorum range was first climbed in 1979 via the Southwest ridge by a German expedition led by Hans Gloggner. Climbing completely on my own, I set off on July 6 and climbed from base camp to a good bivy spot at 6200 meters in 7 and a half hours. The next morning I climbed a line on the left side of the West face to reach the steep Northwest Ridge. I followed this past some very loose rock and reached the summit at 11:30 am. The descent proved both complicated and tiring but nevertheless I made it down safely to base camp at 20.00 that same day. Read more about this very unique experience below:


Your expedition almost ended before it began, you lost some equipment on the difficult approach…

In all my years of expedition climbing I’d always thought that this would happen sooner or later. The worst moment for this to occur is maybe on a solo expedition, because you obviously have fewer options when equipment is missing. Luckily though it wasn’t the drum with the most important items and, much more importantly, luckily it was only the drum that fell down and not the porter!

What did you think when you first saw the mountain?
When we arrived at basecamp the weather was bad, so I couldn’t see Lupghar Sar. In the evening though it cleared up a bit, and first I saw the amazing peak of Ultar Sar on the opposite side of Hunza Valley and I was simply overwhelmed how beautiful this mountain looked. While gazing open-mouthed, one of my Pakistani friends nudged me and said: “Wait for what’s coming into view on the other side.” A couple of minutes later I saw Lupghar Sar. Just as beautiful.

You immediately started your acclimatisation. You’ve done this again and again in the past. Presumably through this was different?
Acclimatising during a solo expedition is super boring. In addition, I didn’t have the best weather.
Luckily I found some nice climbing, which was good for my motivation while adapting to the thinner air. And have to say that I felt stronger than on previous expeditions, which was pretty cool.

Then you scoped an approach. What was your “feeling” with the mountain at this point
It wasn’t so easy to find the right approach, so I decided to some time looking for the best way to the base of the mountain. The upper Baltbar Glacier is pretty wild, falling into a crevasse is the last thing you want to. In the end though it turned out to be less complicated that I had originally thought. But I wasn’t entirely sue which line on the face I should climb. I had two options and just let the time pass as I waited for what my inner voice would tell me. To answer your question, right from the very beginning I had a good feeling with the mountain.

When you finished acclimatising and you set off almost immediately. We had expected a long wait in BC for the weather window. 
Me too. But then I was given was a first chance. There were still some high winds but I wanted to use that chance, because you never know if you might need a second attempt. I remember the morning when I set off from BC, it was still snowing a bit. But my focus was very strong. So I started climbing. In the end this weather window turned out to be much longer than just the three-day initial forecast.

Can you tell us about the ascent. What went through your mind?
The first day went really well. Javed, my guide, accompanied me for a while, he’d asked me if he could join me for the first two hours to reach the start of the glacier. It wasn’t easy for him to see me set off alone and I understood that very well. In the evening at the bivy I had some unexpected doubts about what I was doing up there. I was at 6200 meters already and I wasn’t sure if I could deal with what was looming above. I wasn’t worried about the technical difficulties, it was more a question about being alone. Then I started thinking back to the Dolomites, to the Alps and I just told myself that I’d climbed solo so much already. It helped.

Hansjörg, that ridge looks frightening…
From below the ridge actually looked OK. I chose a line on the left side of the mountain and reached the Northwest ridge at around 6900m, until there I’d climbed mostly ice between 50-55°. On reaching the ridge I stashed all my gear and continued towards the top. The problem was that the rock quality was really bad. Halfway up the ridge I was certain I’d made a big mistake in leaving the rope down below. The climbing was circa M3, one section M4. Not more, but plenty enough for me climbing solo on the 7000m border. But at that point I’d entered back my usual solo mindset. I could see the summit cornice and my climbing felt very solid. After the rocky section I had to move up two steep, hip-deep snow fields. That was even scarier.

Tell us about the summit
Just below the summit cornice I found an old rope.I guess it’s from the first ascentionists – it looked very old indeed. Then I moved up to the highest point and tried to enjoy the moment as much as possible. The clouds were building fast. I spent half an hour on top, called my girlfriend via sat phone as promised, and thought about all my friends. In particular about Gerry Fiegl, who should have been up there with me to experience this unique atmosphere.

The descent, if we’re correct, was harrowingly close to the limit…
No, not at the absolute limit, but I did feel very tired. On the way down I climbed very slowly and rested often. I took a 15m fall over the Bergschrund when the snow bridge broke. I then reached my bivy spot and decided to keep on going down towards Basecamp. I took me five more hours to reach the moraine, where Javed came up to greet me, not knowing that I’d been on the summit. He was very relieved to see me.

So how difficult was the ascent, physically? And psychologically?
I have to say that I felt in a very good shape this year. The moments you get to solo a high mountain are very rare, so you need to use every chance you’re given. When climbing alone, everything feels more focused on the actual performance, more than the emotions. Climbing alone at high altitude I felt far less emotions than I was used too. Interestingly, this made pushing aside psychologically difficult moments of doubts much easier. Maybe because my focus on reaching the summit was even stronger. And if you climb alone, you need that really strong inner drive, because nobody is there to help you in those moments of lack of motivation or doubts.

Had you been with someone else, how do you think things would have unfolded?
Hard to say. It’s simply a different experience being alone. You just can’t compare them.

Talking about someone else: how much contact with the outside world did you have?
Actually I had only contact with my girlfriend during the expedition. I wanted to stay super focused. Before departure nobody told me that it was a bad idea to go solo, not even my girlfriend, Alex Blümel or my brothers, which I was very thankful for. And the phone call I received from Simon Anthamatten right before leaving was very motivating and he gave me complete psychological support for my project. As he introduced me to high altitude mountaineering back in 2013, I hold him in high regard. He’s the man.

How do you rate this ascent?
What I’ve done is nothing new. There have been much harder solo climbs on high mountains in the past. I view it more like a step back to a purer style of mountaineering. But if we’re talking about attempting peaks in a pure style, the achievements of climbers in the 70’s and 80’s are still the benchmark!

Hansjörg, one of the main reasons why you wanted to go is that you wanted to know what it feels like to be alone at altitude. So how does it feel?
Very, very good. I’m happy that I’ve experienced this and it’s certainly very different from being in a team. Decision making in particular is not easy, you can’t discuss things and can’t asked anybody for advice. Even if you can’t climb the hardest technical routes, it adds a bit of spice to the entire process.

How much better do you know Hansjörg Auer now?
Before I departed I confessed to my girlfriend that I don’t know why I so need to do this things. After this expedition, unfortunately there’s still no answer. Maybe there will never be one.

Exploring Ethiopia

»You only know it when you’ve seen it yourself.« With that sentence in mind I travelled to Ethiopia together with Much and Elias to find out more about the rock climbing possibilities of this beautiful African country. For the first week of our trip we more or less explored the climbing regions near the towns of Hawzen and Adwa in the Northern part of Ethiopia. We hiked more than we climbed, met friendly local people, visited some amazing rock churches and enjoyed days like that one:

»After a long hike through bushes and scrambling up some steep, grassy slabs we planned to climb the obvious line in the middle of the Eastface of Samayata. But the closer we came the more worried we got about the huge birds seen on the right side of the picture. Around ten ‘Bartgeier‘ showed us who‘s the boss on the wall and of their nests, kids and home. We then took the easy way up on the back and they entertained us with an amazing ‘thermal-flying show‘ while we were enjoying the view up this highest point of the region.«

Nevertheless we continued our search and climbed a nice little tower just a few kilometers out of Adwa. But in general we found the bouldering to be far better than the alpine multipitch climbing. While on the bigger faces you often have to deal with flaky, sometimes sandy rock combined with gras and a bit of gardening on nearly every pitch, there is scope for lots of high quality boulder problems, especially on the blocs of „Harrer Brha“ near Hawzen.

Summarising the above, it can be said that, either you like advanced, adventurous alpine climbing or you prefer the game of small holds and crashpads, then the North of Ethiopia is definitely worth a visit.

Enjoy a small picture gallery of the trip.

Major new Ötztal Climbs of last winter season

 

»Nordstau« – New Route

I carried out the new climb »Nordstau« (WI5-/M5) on 19 January 2018 with Tobias Holzknecht up Burgsteiner Wand, a 200m high face close to Längenfeld in the Ötztal valley. The route crosses and consequently uses two bolts of a summer route, but then continues independently via increasingly difficult terrain past some cool moves on ice, rock and frozen grass. Apart from the two initial bolts, the five pitches need protecting and we removed the only peg we’ve used.

 

»Innerer Hahlkogel Northface« – First Winter Ascent

After having climbed the Northface of »Hahlkogel« four years ago in winter, the North Face of »Innerer Hahlkogel« has always been on my list of things to do during the cold season. Local climbers attempted it in the past, but the problem is that the face is really slabby, never particularly steep. It’s hard to find good ice conditions, and much of the climbing is on slabs, past thin cracks or small edges. Simon Messner and I repeated the climb »Untauglich 02«, a summer route graded UIAA VII- which I freed in 2002 with Matthias Nössig. We came prepared for a bivouac, but in the end we managed to climb the face in a single day.

 

Enjoy 60 seconds of this adventurous climb.

Innerer Hahlkogel Nordwand – first winter ascent from Hansjörg Auer on Vimeo.

 

»Sibirien« – First Ascent

After four years this three pitches long climb formed properly. Two great ice pitches combined with a perfect ~M6 overhanging corner ending in a slabby crux, protected by gear and a few pitons. Really nice new route climbed together with Lukas Riml.

 

»Baselayer« – First Ascent

A thin line of ice on the Southface of Achplatte. It forms very rarely and I had noticed it coming into condition a few days before. I know the wall from summer and in 2005 I also established a new rock climb on it. I knew therefore that the actual climbing wouldn’t be too steep. Initially I actually didn’t want to take any other gear with me (rope, harness, ice screws), since at the end of the route you can descend by traversing rightwards along a ledge. But as I set off from the car I decided to take a rope with me, because through my binoculars it seemed as if the ice was very thin.
I completed the approach and then I started climbing. After the somewhat easy but snow-covered slabs the terrain started to become steeper and the climbing more difficult. The line of ice was more frozen snow than actual ice. Soloing the final ten meters weren’t particularly easy but I simply thought that the difficulties would soon ease off. All of a sudden I found myself on a small ledge: I couldn’t go up or down, in particular because I was climbing solo. Thank God I found that tiny stone, frozen in the ice at the height of the small ledge. I decided to rappel off it, for about 30 meters, down 80° terrain. Then I found an easier exit to the left and climbed this to finish the route.

Note to Video: After each climb there is always a story to tell and near misses are naturally the most intense. But obviously I don’t go climbing to produce stories of this sort. In hindsight I’d say yes, I was little naive thinking it would soon get swallowed up in the internet. I pressed record and shared it because I simply though that this isn’t something I’ll be doing every day. And things that aren’t seen or done every day are the things I prefer to share. I’m totally honest about this. But seeing the reactions and the number of views, maybe I should have just shown it only to my closest friends, nothing more.

Double »A« – Andromeda and Ama Dablam

 

Free Ascent „Andromeda“ (7c/+) – Marmolada/Dolomites

I teamed up with Belgium’s Siebe Vanhee to make a rare repeat of Andromeda, the route first ascended without bolts to the right of the Fish route on the South Face of Marmolada by Maurizio Giordani and Rossana Manfrini in 1989, and freed by my childhood idol and climbing instructor Roland Mittersteiner in 1991.

“Congrats to Maurizio Giordani for opening the line 30 years ago by using around 25 pitons only. And it’s crazy to think how strong Mittersteiner was climbing in those year.”

 

Ama Dablam (6812m) – Himalaya/Nepal

It’s maybe one of the most stunning mountains in the world. Ama Dablam, the Matterhorn of Nepal, rises above the world famous monastery of Pangboche. Ama Dablam means “Mother’s necklace”. The long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the dablam, the traditional double-pendant containing pictures of the gods, worn by Sherpa women.

“Alex, David, Mungo and myself summited Ama Dablam on October 15 via the Southwest Ridge and bivied on top. A really windy but unforgettable night right in front of the giants Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. On our summit day we helped the ‘fixing-guys’ putting up their ropes between Camp 2 and Camp 3 as we saw them struggling with their work and furthermore we knew that some of the commercial expeditions down in basecamp were already about to launch their ascent. The decision then not going to Annapurna III was by far not easy but the right one. It was the end of a dream but not the end of so much more to come.”

»Südwand« – Mein erstes Buch

Nie hätte ich mir gedacht, dass ich einmal Autor eines Buches werde. Und immer wieder muss ich daran denken was gewesen wäre, hätte mich das Ehepaar Zander während meiner schwierigsten Free-Solo-Begehung Ende April 2007 nicht fotografiert. »Südwand«, so heißt es nun, mein erstes Buch. Es war ein langer Prozess, ein Aufstieg mit vielen Höhen und Tiefen. Ein Grat, der immer wieder unerwartete Überraschungen parat hatte. Aber Einer, der sehr viel Spaß gemacht hat. Eigentlich ist es schade, dass die Expedition nun vorbei ist, aber gleichzeitig freut es mich sehr, dass ich zu dieser Reise gestartet bin. Danke an alle die mich während der letzten drei Jahre des Schreibens immer wieder dazu motiviert haben. Viel Spaß beim Lesen.

Hansjörg Auer,
September 2017

 

 SÜDWAND
Vom Free-Solo-Kletterer zum Profibergsteiger

Am 29. April 2007 bricht Hansjörg Auer allein in die Dolomiten auf. Nur seine Eltern und ein Bruder wissen, was er an diesem Tag vorhat: die ungesicherte Durchsteigung der Route »Weg durch den Fisch« an der Marmolata­ Südwand. Zufällig wird jedoch beobachtet, wie ihm dieser alpinistische Meilenstein gelingt. Und für den zurückhaltenden jungen Kletterer, der auf einem Bauernhof in Tirol mit vier Geschwistern aufgewachsen ist, beginnt damit seine größte Herausforderung: ein Leben im Rampenlicht der Alpinszene. Freimütig schreibt er in seinem Buch über die Sehnsucht, die ihn immer wieder zu solchen extremen Aktionen treibt: zu Free­-Solo-­Begehungen an den schwierigsten Wänden der Alpen oder zu einzigarten Routen an den höchsten Bergen der Welt. Er spricht über Selbstvertrauen und Glück ebenso wie über Angst und Egoismus; erklärt,
 was mit einem Menschen passiert, wenn nur noch der eigene Weg für ihn zählt. Wie der Wunsch nach absoluter Kontrolle über den eigenen Körper zum völligen Kontrollverlust führen kann. Und warum Freundschaft nicht nur am Berg, sondern auch weit über das Klettern hin­aus von größter Bedeutung ist. Dabei offenbart sich ein nachdenklicher und sympathischer Spitzenalpinist, der trotz seiner Erfolge am Boden der Tatsachen geblieben ist.

 

LESEPROBE

Starkes Storytelling
Die Frage, ob der traditionelle Alpinismus überlebt oder nicht, hängt weniger davon ab, ob und wie schnell klassische Bergtouren gelingen, als vielmehr von der Fähigkeit der jungen Generation von Bergsteigern, sich und ihre starken Erlebnisse auch auszudrücken. Der Alpinismus ist inzwischen eine globale Erscheinung, es wird auch viel besser geklettert als früher, und jede Disziplin, in die sich das Klettern und Bergsteigen aufgesplittet hat, hat ihre Spezialisten und Tabubrecher.
Es wird gleichzeitig aber immer schwieriger, wirkungsvolle Geschichten zu erzählen. Nicht etwa, weil alles gesagt wäre, nein, weil mit der Urbanisierung der Gebirge ihre Geheimnisse schwinden. Hansjörg Auer hingegen kommt immer wieder zurück von Bergen, die kaum jemand kennt – Kunyang Chhish, Nilgiri, Gimmigela, Shipton Spire, Kristallwand, Neacolas, Blåmann, Cerro Laguna, Jebel Misht –, und beschwört mit seinen Berichten die Launen der Natur. Wie ein Zauberer. Wenn er solo in den »Fisch« an der Marmolada d’Ombretta einsteigt, weiß er nicht nur, was er kann, er ist dabei für sich und danach für die Forterzählung der Kletterkunst verantwortlich.
Die alpine Geschichte ist die Summe aller am Berg erlebten Geschichten. Die daraus gefilterte Alpingeschichte bewegt Gesellschaft und Szene seit zwei Jahrhunderten. Eine erfundene Geschichte? Auch, zuerst wird erlebt, dann erzählt, in der Szene wird darüber diskutiert und analysiert, zuletzt setzen sich Bilder der Bergwelt durch, die die Menschenwelt erschüttern.
Der traditionelle Alpinismus, wie ihn uns Hansjörg Auer vorlebt, ist heute von den berühmten Bergen weggerückt in jene Wildnisareale, in denen Pistenbergsteiger und Speedkletterer nicht anzutreffen sind. Er ist mit seinen Partnern immer dort unterwegs, wo die vielen anderen nicht hingehen. Eigenverantwortung und Kreativität sind es, die ihn neben seinem Instinkt für die Wildnis und seinem Können die Herausforderungen der Jetztzeit finden lassen. Sein Spielfeld ist erstaunlich groß und lässt die verblüffendste Vielfalt von Klettereien zu. Mit seinen sachlichen Erzählungen darüber nimmt er uns Leser mit in immer menschenfeindlichere Welten, in denen die alpine Geschichte weitergesponnen wird. Seine Touren sind kein Fantasieprodukt, und doch leben sie in unseren Köpfen fort durch seine Erzählungen, die Teil unserer gemeinsamen Geschichte werden.
Es ist eine Tatsache, dass ein Großteil der Kletterer heute an künstlichen Wänden und markierten Routen steigt – ein großartiger Sport –, an den Seven Summits und Achttausendern werden Pisten gebaut, um Gruppenreisenden auf das Dach der Welt zu helfen – kostspieliger Tourismus –, solange aber Typen wie Hansjörg Auer Gefahren und Schwierigkeiten in absoluter Exposition aufsuchen und offen darüber berichten, bleibt der traditionelle Alpinismus lebendig und spannend zugleich. Eine endgültige Definition dazu gibt es nicht, sie entsteht allein in unserer kollektiven Vorstellungskraft – dank gelebter und erzählter Storys.

Reinhold Messner,
im Sommer 2017

 

Leidenschaft
Im Alter von sechs Jahren stand ich auf meinem ersten 3000 Meter hohen Berg. Ein ganz gewöhnlicher Wanderberg bei Umhausen, dem Ort, wo ich aufgewachsen bin. Drei Jahre später vermerke ich in meinem Tourenheft den Hemrachkogel. Zusammen mit meinen Brüdern Jakob, Matthias und meinem Vater sind wir wohl nicht über den Normalweg auf den Gipfel gekommen, denn in den letzten zwei Zeilen heißt es, dass wir auch ein bisschen klettern mussten. Zwei Ausrufezeichen beenden den kurzen und nüchternen Eintrag. Ich bin mir auch sicher, dass mein Vater uns damals den Strahlkogel, die höchste Erhebung von Umhausen, gezeigt hat. Nach allen Seiten fällt dieser Gipfel steil ab. Nach Norden ein kleines Eisfeld und eine steile, brüchige, gut 400 Meter hohe Wand. Damals war ich weit entfernt davon, sie klettern zu können, dennoch blickte ich zu ihr hinüber mit einer Sehnsucht, die mich über viele Jahre nicht mehr losgelassen hat.
Wenn ich heute diese Nordwand sehe, denke ich immer an die Stunden zurück, die ich damit verbracht habe, sie im Winter, im Sommer, allein oder zusammen mit meinen Freunden zu klettern. Es sind schöne Erinnerungen an damals und die ersten ans extreme Bergsteigen. Wir waren sehr motiviert und haben die Strahlkogel-Nordwand als Sprungbrett gesehen für die großen Herausforderungen, die großen Berge. Ich kann mich noch genau an das erste Mal erinnern. Es war im Sommer 2000. Mein Bruder Matthias war 18, ich gerade mal 16. Am späten Nachmittag sind wir mit Zelt und Schlafsack durch das Larstigtal aufgestiegen und haben am letzten grünen Fleck unser kleines Lager aufgebaut. Wir waren viel zu nervös, um den schönen Sonnenuntergang zu genießen. Früh gingen wir schlafen, und ebenso früh sind wir aufgestanden. Um sechs Uhr waren wir bereits am Einstieg und irgendwie enttäuscht, als wir schon kurz nach acht Uhr auf dem Gipfel waren. Wir hatten so viel von dieser Wand erwartet, waren überzeugt, wir müssten uns über viele Seillängen hinweg sichern, und hatten uns auf einen langen Tag im brüchigen Fels der schattigen Wand eingestellt.
Da sie meinem Bruder und mir im ersten Moment nicht sehr viel zurückgab, habe ich erst viele Jahre später den Wert dieser Wand, dieses Berges und des damit verbundenen Abenteuers für mich schätzen gelernt. Viele andere Wände lagen da schon hinter mir, viele großartige Tage, viele Überraschungen, aber auch einige Rückschläge und eine Tragödie. Die positiven Erfahrungen sollten jene von der ersten Durchsteigung der Strahlkogel-Nordwand noch übertreffen, aber auch die negativen werden mich mein ganzes Leben lang begleiten.
Heute steige ich immer wieder hinauf über unsere direkte Nordwandroute, sei es nach Neuschnee an einem kurzen Tag im November oder bei Firn und dem Duft der ersten Blumen am hinteren Talboden des Larstigtals im Mai. Und ich denke darüber nach, wie es gewesen wäre, wenn unser Vater nicht mit uns Buben an jenem Tag auf den Hemrachkogel geklettert wäre.

 

Nilgiri Süd
Damals, als niemand ahnen konnte, was die Zukunft bringen würde, und auch sonst nicht viel los war, sind wir mit dem Fahrrad gekommen. Und zwar zum Klettergarten Engelswand, der am nächsten gelegenen Klettermöglichkeit in unserer Gegend. Froh, die Schulprobleme für die nächsten Stunden hinter mir zu lassen, warf ich den Rucksack zu Boden, zog mir den grauen Klettergurt an und legte das Seil aus. Gerry Fiegl aus Umhausen, einer meiner ersten Kletterpartner und Freund aus der Trainingsgruppe des Alpenvereins, reichte mir die Kletterschuhe, und los ging’s. Meist habe ich mit der ersten Seillänge begonnen. Nicht, weil ich besser klettern konnte, sondern wohl eher, weil ich vier Jahre älter war. Wir sind immer in dieselben Routen eingestiegen. So konnten wir vergleichen, uns gegenseitig pushen und viel mehr voneinander lernen.
Einmal pro Woche waren Gerry und ich beim Klettertraining in der Halle in Tumpen. Und war einmal einer von uns verhindert, so sahen wir uns doch fast jeden Tag in der Früh, wenn wir zusammen mit dem Bus nach Imst zur Schule fuhren. Er ins Unterstufen-Gymnasium und ich zur Handelsakademie. Es gab also immer genug Möglichkeiten, sich zum Klettern zu verabreden. Zwei Jahre später wechselte Gerry dann auf eine weiterführende Schule nach Innsbruck. Unser Kontakt wurde lockerer, er verbrachte die meiste Zeit im Internat. Nur an den Wochenenden kam er wieder ins Ötztal, und auch wenn er inzwischen manche anderen Interessen hatte, war Gerry doch immer wieder dabei, wenn ich zusammen mit anderen Ötztaler Kletterern unterwegs war. Ich erinnere mich noch genau an ein verlängertes Wochenende im Tessin oder an Ausflüge in die Dolomiten.
Deshalb freute es mich auch, dass ich nach meiner Free-Solo-Begehung der Route »Weg durch den Fisch« die Möglichkeit hatte, Gerry als Testimonial bei einer Outdoorfirma unterzubringen. Er wollte nie wirklich Profikletterer werden, dennoch war er froh, dass er neben seinem Studium der Meteorologie in Innsbruck und all den anderen Ausbildungen, die er absolviert hatte, damit die Chance bekam, sich die Ausrüstung leisten und seine Freizeit noch intensiver für den Klettersport nutzen zu können.
Schnell hatte Gerry sein Können gesteigert, und zusammen sind wir in den folgenden Jahren viele neue Routen geklettert. Ganz besonders erinnere ich mich an die erste freie Begehung der »Colpo di Coda« an der Marmolata oder unsere Erstbegehung »Coco Jambo« gleich rechts von der »Don Quixote«. Aber auch im Ötztal waren wir sehr aktiv, sei es im Eis oder im brüchigen Fels der Kristallwand. Irgendwie hat Gerry sich immer die Zeit genommen, und an Motivation hat es ohnehin nie gefehlt. Und jedes Mal, wenn wir den Tag bei einem Bier, Kaffee oder aber auch einem kurzen Gespräch vor unseren geparkten Autos ausklingen ließen, redeten wir davon, irgendwann zusammen etwas Großes zu unternehmen. Im Herbst 2015 war es dann endlich so weit, und als unser gemeinsamer Freund Alex Blümel, Bergführer und Alpinist aus Mötz in Tirol, auch mit im Boot war, konnte die Expedition zum Nilgiri Süd starten.

 

Bestellung und mehr Info: hier

Blick ins Buch: hier

Erschienen am: 02. November 2017

Termine zu Präsentationen im Menüpunkt »Speaking«

3 big walls | 2 flights | 1 day | no rope

On the morning of August 8th 2016, I embarked on my adventure with a few essentials: my small paraglider, a light paragliding harness, my climbing shoes, a jacket, a pair of thin gloves, a headband and my chalk bag. My brother Matthias helped me as a supporter, watched me from the valley ground, looked where I’ve landed after every flight to provide me food and drinks.

In the cave, 15 minutes below Marmolada Southface, we had spent the night. While Matthias was still in his sleeping bag, I started up the “Vinatzer / Messner” and reached Punta Rocca after two hours of climbing. I took my wing flew down and landed on the ski slope above Canazei. The “Abramkante” should be the route on Piz Ciavazes Southface. Around noon I was at the end of this climb and crossed the Sella range by hiking over to Rifugio Pisciadu. There was my second take off. Unfortunately I already had to land in Corvara. The strong wind didn’t allow me to get any further. I felt already very tired and it was difficult for me to get the concentration to the right point when I started the long hike. Finally after many hours I reached the start of my last climb “Große Mauer“ on Sass dla Crusc Westface. At that moment I knew that I had already crossed my usual limit. The crux pitch felt not easy anymore and while climbing the famous flake traverse I was yearning for the end oft the route. After the final crack I felt relieved to see Matthias sitting on the rim waiting for me. He looked calm and relaxed, while I felt tired and exhausted. After 15 minutes walking we reached the summit of Sass dla Crusc together.

Twelve hours, three big faces of the Dolomites, two flights, many meters in the gravel and two brothers who enjoyed the sunset with three cans of beer on the summit of Sass dla Crusc. This was the day I had been thinking about in the past three years.

 

Video Clip:

 

Facts and Pictures:
6:15 Start bivouac
6:30 Start Free Solo “Vinatzer/Messner” (800m/UIAA 6+)
8:30 Summit Marmolada Punta Rocca
8:45 Start flight #1
9:15 Start hiking #1
10:45 Start Free Solo “Abramkante” (500m/UIAA 7-)
12:00 End of route
12:00 Start hiking #2 to Pisciadu Hut
13:15 Start flight #2
14:00 Start hiking #3
17:15 Start Free Solo “Große Mauer” (300m/UIAA 7-)
18:00 End of route
18:15 Summit Sass dla Crusc

Approx. 33km of distance, 3600 vertical meters. Combining the three elements of climbing, flying and hiking with a minimum of equipment. Free solo and with a lightweight wing in a 18l backpack on my back (no stashed gear).

 

June Afternoon – New multipitch in Ötztal

Finally I’ve freed my old multipitch project in Ötztal calling it June Afternoon. This five pitches long sport climb located on the right side of the Nösslachwand offers some great climbing on incredible good rock smoothed by the glacier thousands of years ago.

More importantly than the overall difficulties is the beauty of the fifth and final pitch, an 8a which is without doubt one of the most beautiful in the entire valley. The Nösslachwand hosts a series of other multipitch sport climbs, most of them far easier, ideal for spring, autumn and cool summer days.

Thanks to everyone who was up there with me this and over the last years, when I was trying the line occasionally. Also High Five to my longtime buddy Thomi. Together we’ve explored this piece of rock nine years ago during our crazy time on and off the walls.

Facts – June Afternoon (8b/+, 150m):
P1: 8b/+, 35m
P2: 5a, 20m
P3: 7c, 30m
P4: 7a, 25m
P5: 8a, 20m

Approach:
From the parking lot Nösslachwand, just before the village Au/Längenfeld, take a small path on the right side before the road gate. This will lead you directly up to the base and central part of the wall. After ten minutes follow the cairns to the left, move up a short fixed rope, traverse far left and climb up some easy slabs to a small ledge (approx. 25 minutes).

Descent:
Abseil back down the route. From the second belay abseil off directly to a hidden belay stance. From there one more rap back to the ledge.

Gear:
10 quickdraws, 70m single rope

Mango Tango – New climb in Black Canyon

On May 4 2017, Much Mayr and I made the first ascent, ground-up and in a single 11 hour push, of a new climb in the Black Canyon, Colorado, USA. Actually it was my second trip to the Black Canyon after I’ve travelled there with Ben Lepesant in spring 2011 where I managed to free climb the historic Hallucinogen Wall (5.13 R) for the first time ever.

The new route is called Mango Tango and climbs a 600m line on the righthand side of the Diagonal Will Buttress between the routes Diagonal Wall and Pathfinder. We graded it 5.11+ R/X and the 18 pitches are characterized of serious trad climbing along logical systems of cracks and corners but also some spicy run-outs on the face climbing pitches like the third one, where falling is no option. We left two pitons and one nut in-situ and even if the Black Canyon is famous for poor rock this new climb offers mostly the opposite.

So if you’re looking for a big and adventurous day out, Mango Tango is exactly what you would think about.

 

‘Kaunergrat’ Winter Traverse

From March 14 to March 17 my brother Matthias and I managed to traverse the main part of ‘Kaunergrat’ in winter. This ridge line in North-South direction hosts some of the wildest peaks of the Ötztal Alps. The project to connect the nine most important summits from ’Kleiner Dristkogel‘ to ’Rostizkogel‘ in winter by following the main ridge line was in the back of our minds for the last two years.

The process of dreaming, planning, thinking but also hesitating and being plagued by inner turmoil about a climbing project is often the most intense part of the whole journey. And to share all that with a brother implies an even higher level. With his family in mind the mountains of the Himalaya are not a goal to tackle at the moment for Matthias. His feeling of responsibility for his wife and his son is just too strong. So we were looking for something in the backyard of our home and we came up with the idea of this wintery ridge traverse. We just had to wait for the right moment, which provided good weather and at least useful climbing conditions. Our plan was to do it without any stashed gear and no other support, carrying everything with us. To make the approach and descent possible we used snowshoes.

Difficulties up to grade UIAA 5- on rock, many exposed, steep and corniced parts and also some hard digging through deep snow challenged us a lot but doesn’t really express what we experienced while being out there. In total the mission took us 38 hours of climbing spread over four days. However, this project showed me once again how, at times, grades and numbers can mean not very much in alpinism.

Summits from North to South:

Kleiner Dristkogel (2934m)

Großer Dristkogel (3058m)

Gsallkopf (3277m)

Rofele Wand (3353m)

Sonnenkogel (3153m)

Verpeilspitze (3423m)

Schwabenkopf (3378m)

Watzespitze (3532m)

Rostizkogel (3394m)