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.
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