Thursday, 17 September 2009
: Alpinists, Robert Jasper (Germany) and Roger Schäli (Switzerland) have managed to finally free climb, (red-point), the famous "Japanese Direct Route" on the Eiger North Face.
| Robert Jasper & Roger Schäli|
Jasper reports that the so called "Super-Diretissima" (5.13b/8a) is now the most challenging and demanding route on the famous 1800m North Face.
"For six years this project of redpointing the Japanese Route has kept me occupied. Over and over again Roger and myself have tried to climb the two well known crux sections, the "Difficult Crack" and 'Rote Fluh'.
"The 'Rote Fluh' is the steepest and most difficult part of the entire Eiger North Face. Our final goal was to free the entire Japaner-Diretissima which heads right through the 'Rote Fluh'.
"Now - precisely timed for the 40th anniversary of the historical route which was ascended first in 1969 - we have finally succeeded."
On August 28th the two headed out in temperatures a little above zero degrees celsius - quite warm for the Eiger North Face.
Said Jasper "Slippery conditions awaited us and we both seriously doubted that it made sense to go on and try the crux pitch in those miserable conditions. "
The two faced ongoing difficulties of 7b/7c, difficult bouldering stretches on small holds and micro edges and then the crux – 5.13b/8a in midst of the Eiger North Face, a face almost twice the height of the famous granite domes of the Yosemite Valley.
"During the the last two attempts Roger and I managed to free climb the "Rote Fluh". Yet, we never got through the headwall because of the terrible quality of the rock, the continuous rockfall, the rusty, untrustworthy 40 year old drilled bolts and the bad weather conditions."
"It was just willpower that kept me pushing forward, revealing yet unknown power resources. On the third try, I finally - barely - got through the crux pitch. It was then I thought we can make it! The following day (29th of August) we had bad weather conditions and spent the day waiting in our little tent at the 'Stollenloch'."
On the 30th of August the two started again, this time in the middle of the night, following the little lighted path of their headlamps. They went through the second icefield and on into the 'huge and scary headwall'.
"It was getting tough then," commenetd Jasper.
"The whistling sound of falling rock took our imagination back to the famous historic tales of the Eiger. and it was almost too much of an adventure. Shortly before the "Centerband" - our third planned Bivi – the rockfall got suddenly heavier.
"A fist-size stone hit my helmet and almost cracked it. Luckily it did not knock me off my feet and off the wall."
They made the decision to rest and wait as the rockfalls continued throughout the night with stones almost hitting their tent more than once.
The next day as they recommenced their climb the two changed leads continuously and managed to move on quickly.
"On the "Sphings Pillar" Roger fought like a samurai ,"said Jasper. "It's an open bill with one of the pitches 6,A2. Now freed this pitch becomes a hard 7b."
"After several alpine pitches and terrible traverses we finally reached the Summit Icefield. An old frozen backpack, probably left by Jeff Lowe, offers us a very welcome belay as we only took two ice-screws with us."
As the two saw success in sight they headed towards their goal.
"As we reached the summit we were greeted by the last rays of evening sunlight and as we fled the never ending shadow of the Eiger North Face we hugged each other, full of relief . It was done.
"This free ascent of an historic route will be a bright diamond gem in our alpine climbing careers."
Thanks to Robert Jasper & Roger Schäli