ARWA SPIRE

Posted on: December 1, 2002


The north side of the Arwa Spire massif. The Northeast Ridge (TD+ WI 4 5.9, 1000m, Benson-Benson, 2000) is out of the frame to the left. Routes shown are as follows. 1 Fior di Vite (V 6+ A2 80, 800m, Harvey-Hasler-Schaeli, 2002) 2 Capsico (VI A3 M6+, 800m, Harvey-Hasler-Schaeli, 2002) [Photo] Bruno Hasler

Stephan Harvey, Roger Schaeli and I reached Arwa Spire base camp (4660m) in May. Once there, Roger suffered from severe pulmonary edema, forcing him and Stephan down to Joshimath. I waited a never-ending week in BC for my friends.

In order to pass time, I climbed Arwa Peak (5873m) and established ABC at 5400 meters. When Stephan and Roger showed back up, Stephan and I fixed ropes while Roger carried loads to ABC. It began to snow and, after putting a haul bag at the end of the fixed ropes, we descended to BC. After two days and a lot of snow, the weather cleared and we headed back up. The first day, we climbed an aid pitch at the end of the gully that leads to the last big snowfield. While Stephan set up our bivouac, Roger climbed a very difficult pitch on mixed ground. The second day, we aided snow-covered rock faces too difficult to free climb. At 6 p.m., May 24, Roger climbed the rocky summit needle; there was only space for one climber. We were the first climbers to reach the central summit of Arwa Spire (6193m) and were rewarded with a magnificent view of the Garhwal Himalaya. Rappelling went quickly and we got to our bivy at 8.30 p.m.

advertisement

The next day, we celebrated our success of our route Fior di Vite (V 6+ A2 80 degrees, 800m) with the Italian grappa of the same name. After a three-day break due to unstable weather, we climbed up to our fantastic ABC. This time we changed tactics: two of us climbed while the third climber took a break. We fixed ropes and returned every night to ABC. Even though this tactic is very efficient, the daily snowfall slowed progress. The steep north face played with us: the lower part was unexpectedly difficult, while the upper part went faster than we thought.

On June 5, after seven hard days, we were the first men to stand on top of Arwa Spire West Summit. Capsico (VI A3 M6+, 800m) is the Indian equivalent of Tabasco, and just as spicy.

— Bruno Hasler, Switzerland

Here at Alpinist, our small editorial staff works hard to create in-depth stories that are thoughtfully edited, thoroughly fact-checked and beautifully designed. Please consider supporting our efforts by subscribing.


Post a Comment

Login with your username and password below.
New User? Here's what to do.



Forgot your username or password?