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Jasper and Schali Free Aid Line on Eiger North Face

Detail of the Eiger (3970m) North Face, showing the Ghilini-Piola Direttissima (EX-: 5.10b A3, 1400m, Ghilini-Piola, 1983) in yellow, where it splits of from the Heckmair Route at the Stollenloch. This August, Roger Schali and Robert Jasper claimed its FFA after aiding the first five pitches in a blizzard and replacing the route’s bolts (with Michel Piola’s permission). [Photo] Gunther Goberl

Last month, Swiss climber Roger Schali and German alpinist Robert Jasper made the first free ascent of the Ghilini-Piola Direttissima (EX-: 5.10b A3, 1400m) on the Eiger’s North Face. The route begins by climbing the Heckmair Route (aka “Original Route”; ED: 5.8- 70-degree ice, 1800m, Harrer-Heckmair-Kasparek-Vorg, 1938), continues past the Stollenloch–a window into the Jungfrau Railway tunnel–and to the right of the Rote Fluh. This section of wall is very steep and has a reputation of having poor rock quality.

Jasper and Schali attempted to onsight the route in 2006, but after spending two and a half days on the wall in a storm and aiding five of the 32 pitches, they realized “we were simply not ready then.”

During their first attempt they noticed the old fixed hardware was in rough shape and needed to be replaced. “After speaking with [Michel] Piola we all agreed the few bolts on the route should be replaced to make it safer for new generations,” says Jasper. “We wanted the route to be in original condition so we did not add new bolts.”

With Piola’s approval, the two climbers replaced the original bolts during the summers of 2009 and 2010. “We still needed to be very careful, even if we already replaced the bolts,” explains Jasper. “We have climbed the Eiger many times, so we are now used to the friable and loose rock, but all the climbing requires full attention and you should not take a fall.”

On August 2, the pair came together and gave the line another shot. “We didn’t know if we could climb the line in one day,” says Jasper. “Fourteen hundred meters is a lot of climbing, and we needed to pay full attention.” They began ascending the Heckmair Route early in the morning and, after 14 hours of climbing, reached the top of the Czech Pillar at 6:00 p.m, freeing every pitch.

[A] Eiger (3970m). [B] Monch (4107m). [C] Difficult Crack. [D] Hinterstoisser Traverse. [E] Rote Fluh. [F] Second Icefield. [G] Death Bivouac. [I] the Ramp. [J] Traverse of the Gods. [K] the Spider. [L] Stollenloch. the Fly. [M] Geneva Pillar. [N] the Mushroom. [O] Rotstock. [P] Eigerwand station. [Q] Eismeer station. [R] Mittellegi Hut. [S] Jungfrau Railway.

(1) Mittellegi Ridge (D: 5.4, 600m, Amatter-Brawand-Maki-Steuri, 1921). (2) Northeast Face (aka “Lauper Route”; TD: 5.7, 1800m, Graven-Knubel-Lauper-Zurcher, 1932). (3) North Pillar (aka “Austrian Route,” “Messner Route”; TD, 1800m, Hiebeler-Maschke-Messner-Messner, 1968). (4) Seven Pillars of Wisdom (ED: 5.12b, 1055m, Ballard, 2009). (5) Scottish Pillar (ED: 5.10- A3, 1800m, MacEacheran-McKeith-Spence, 1970; “Solitaire” free variation: 5.11c, Ballard, 935m, 2009). (6) Griff ins Licht (EX: 5.12d M5, 1800m, Keller-Odermatt, 2002). (7) Polish Route (TD: 5.7, one pitch of aid, 1800m, Cielecki-Laukajtys-Szafirski-Zyzak, 1968). (8) Slovenian Route (aka “Fortuna”; ED: 5.10d, Freser-Knez-Tic, 1985). (9) Czech Route II (EX: 5.10a A3 80?, 1800m, Flejberk-Rybika-Smid-Smid, 1978). (10) The Young Spider (EX: 5.11d A2 WI6 M7, 1100m, Siegrist-Steck, 2001). (11) Harlin Direct (ED+, 1800m, Bonington-Golikow-Haag-Harlin-Haston-Hupfauer-Kor-Lehne-Rosenzopf-Schnaidt-Strobel-Votteler-Whillans, 1966; FFA: 5.11d/5.12R M8, Jasper-Schali, 2010). (12) Krasnoyarsk/Russian Direttissima (EX: 5.10- A5 100 degrees, 1800m, Arkhipov-Dmitrienko-Malygin-Tsyganov, 2006). [Not shown] Papillon (5.11c, 435m). Aided and Abetted (5.11d, 400m). (13) Ideal Direttissima (ED, 1800m, Pochyly, 1983). (14) Toni Hiebeler Memorial Route (ED+: 5.8- A3 80 degrees, 1400m, Lukes-Pitelka-Smid, 1985). (15) Metanoia (ED4, Lowe, 1991). (16) Japanese Direttissima (ED+: 5.9 A3, 1800m, Amano-Imai-Kato-Kato-Kubo-Negishi, 1969; FFA: 5.13b, Jasper-Schali, 2009). (17) Paciencia (EX+: 5.13b, 900m, Siegrist-Steck, 2008). (18) La Vida Es Silbar (EX: 5.12d, 1400m, Anker-Siegrist, 2000). (19) Czech Pillar (ED: 5.10- A4, 1400m, Kysilkova-Plachecky-Rybika-Smid, 1976). (20) Ghilini-Piola Direttissima (EX-: 5.10b A3, 1400m, Ghilini-Piola, 1983) [in yellow]. (21) Heckmair Route (aka “Original Route”; ED: 5.8- 70-degree ice, 1800m, Harrer-Heckmair-Kasparek-Vorg, 1938). (22) Gelber Engel (EX: 5.11-, 1400m, Coubal-Coubal, 1988). (23) North Corner (ED: 5.10c, 1200m, Howald-Howald-Ruedi, 1981). (24) Magic Mushroom (EX-: 5.13a, 600m, Hainz-Schali, 2007; Redpoint: Siegrist-Theurillat-Weber, 2009). (25) Yeti (EX-: 5.10a A1, 1000m, Faggiani-Forlini, 1998; FFA: 5.13a, Jasper-Eder, 2006). (26) Eigersanction (EX-: 5.11d, 1000m, Anker-Piola, 1988; Redpoint: Schali-Christen, 2012). (27) Les Portes du Chaos (ED+: 5.10d A2, 900m, Hopfgartner-Piola, 1979; FFA: 5.11d, Schali-Rathmayr, 2009). (28) La Chant du Cygne (EX: 5.11d, 900m, Anker-Piola, 1992). (29) Symphonie de Liberte (EX: 5.13b, Jasper-Jasper, 1999). (30) Spit Verdonesque Edente (EX: 5.11d A2, 300m, Maillefer-Steiner, 1983; FFA: 5.13b, Jasper-Jasper, 1999). (31) Deep Blue Sea (EX: 5.12c, 300m, Rathmayr-Ruhstaller, 2001). (32) Freakonomics (5.12a, Pfeifhofer-Rogger, 2009). (33) Knez Route (TD: 5.7, 650m, Knez, 1982). (34) Schlupfloch (TD+: 5.9, 600m, Brunner-Ochsner, 1982). (35) Locherspiel (ED: 5.10+, 350m, Anker-Gruber, 1988). (36) Direct West Ridge (ED: 5.12a, 350m, Piola-Sprungli, 1980). (37) Klettersteig Via Ferrata (PD, 260m, Unknown, 1899 and 2000). (38) West Flank (AD, Almer-Barrington-Bohren, 1858). (39) Southwest Ridge (Almer-Almer-Bohren-Brevoort-Coolidge, 1874). (40) South Ridge (D: 5.3, Baumann-Foster-Rubi, 1876). [Photo] Gunther Goberl.