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EIGER

Posted on: December 1, 2005


As you open a new route or belay your partner, you have time to look around and think about other possible climbs... just as Dani Anker and I did on our first ascent of La Vida Es Silbar (7c, 900m), on the north face of the Eiger (3970m) in 2000. Soon after Ueli Steck and I pinkpointed La Vida Es Silbar in 2003, we were standing at the foot of the Rote Fluh again, with another north-face route in mind.

Before we drilled the first belay, we deliberated whether we should continue or whether the new route would be too close to the Japanese Route or to La Vida Es Silbar. But this summer, 2005, we felt more at home on the north face of the Eiger than down in Interlaken. The second part of the summer was dry and allowed us to make fast progress. Although we were in shape for the Eiger, the steepness of the Rote Fluh filled our forearms with lactic acid.... Well, we're just not twenty years old anymore! Now and again the heat from the valley floor rose up to us; even at 2800 meters we often climbed in t-shirts.

Thirty meters from the Japanese Route and twenty meters from La Vida Es Silbar, we realized we'd found the only passable line, maybe even the last ethically logical and cleanly climbable route on the whole north face. After one last intersection we managed to get to a somewhat compact piece of rock embedded in the debris: the Czech Bivouac. Sixteen pitches lay behind us. Our supplies, which we'd deposited here when we climbed La Vida, came in handy.

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Over the next three days we climbed the remaining eleven pitches of the 900-meter new route. It finished with an hour-long hike under the Eiger's main summit, atop the Czech Pillar. We protected as much as we could with nuts and cams; otherwise we placed around 100 bolts. Since we haven't yet pinkpointed the route, it still doesn't have a name. We hope next summer will bring us the Eiger days we want.

Stephan Siegrist, Interlaken, Switzerland

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