Home NEWS New Route for Sieberer and Waldner on Schrammacher’s North Face

New Route for Sieberer and Waldner on Schrammacher’s North Face

by thesummiters.com
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Sieberer and Waldner embarked on a thrilling adventure amidst the supposedly “mild” Austrian Alps, proving that there’s still unexplored territory. Their journey led them to conquer a high-difficulty direct route up the north face of Schrammacher in Valsertal, within the Zillertal Alps.

The duo faced an 800-meter-long “diretissima” (direct) route on the north face, encountering difficulties up to M7, AI6. Noteworthy is the fact that their successful climb showcased the effectiveness of a climbing partnership formed through Instagram.

The first difficult pitch on rock slabs. Photo: Lukas Waldner
The first difficult pitch on rock slabs. Photo: Lukas Waldner

The story of their collaboration began when Martin Sieberer, known for his climbs with Simon Messner, sought out a new climbing companion through Instagram. Despite being virtual strangers before December, they exchanged messages and briefly connected at a mountain fair. Their first climb together was the “Limited in Freedom” route on Sagwand’s Central Pillar in December 2023.

Their success on Sagwand fueled their enthusiasm for more challenges. Shortly after, they set their sights on the north face of Schrammacher, an impressive, pyramid-shaped peak standing at 3,410 meters. Sieberer, familiar with the face due to his previous climb of the “Goodbye Innsbrooklyn” route with Simon Messner in 2022, decided to take on the new challenge with Waldner.

Their journey was a testament to the unpredictability and excitement of climbing. Sieberer and Messner’s previous climb on the same face in 2022 involved adventure and a close call when Sieberer dislodged a large rock slab, leading to Messner suffering from frostbite. Yet, undeterred by the risks, Sieberer and Waldner showcased the spirit of exploration and camaraderie in the world of mountain climbing.

The coldest day of the winter on Schrammacher

Facing the coldest day of winter, Sieberer confessed that the whole idea seemed pretty crazy. They ventured towards the north face with limited information about the conditions, dealing with frigid temperatures (it was -15ºC the day before) and wading through deep snow on their way.

Waldern on a traverse where the new route shares a short section with the Diagonale route. Photo: Martin Sieberer
Waldern on a traverse where the new route shares a short section with the Diagonale route. Photo: Martin Sieberer

According to Sieberer, this north face hadn’t been climbed for 75 years and was rated V+ back then. He highlighted the uncertainty in ratings, as a five on a scale of six can mean different things. Moreover, the historical climb had taken place during the dry summer months, adding another layer of unpredictability.

Their plan involved navigating through various snow bands on the north face that extended from west to east. Sieberer explained that they aimed to move from one snow band to the next as directly as possible.

However, the first hiccup came at the second rock band. This unexpected challenge turned out to be a tough slab-rock section with a difficulty level up to M7, eating away at their precious time. The adventure took an unforeseen turn as they encountered difficulties that weren’t part of their initial plan.

Navigating the challenge at the summit

As the climbers pressed on beyond that point, they carefully made their way through the delicate layers of ice on the snow, which were surprisingly in great condition. However, the most daunting part awaited them in the upper sections, where the goal was to carve a direct path up the headwall, leading straight to the summit.

In Sieberer’s own words, here’s the vivid account

I ascended a ramp covered in flawless, fluffy snow, reaching just below an overhang obstructed by a snow mushroom. This obstacle posed a significant challenge to climb over, let alone attempting to displace it. I made several attempts from both the right and left until, finally, I discovered a precarious space where I could kneel on the one-meter-tall snow mushroom.

In the midst of securing myself, an unexpected find awaited – an old, rusty hook protruding from the rock. As I attached myself to it, the hook seemed to inch towards me. Bracing for the imminent overhang, I tried to stand up, and the entire snow mushroom I was perched on unexpectedly gave way.

Fortunately, the safety system held steadfast, bringing Sieberer to a halt along with the snow mass, just three meters below. Resuming the climb was immediate, and with the obstacle out of the way, I swiftly devised a solution to tackle the overhang.

From that pivotal moment, the route to the summit became clearer. Conquering two more sections and grappling with brittle rock, the climbers reached the summit ridge by 4:30 pm. Together, they walked the final meters to stand atop the peak.

The descent down the east side of the mountain proved to be an extended and demanding journey, with abundant snow requiring the climbers’ unwavering attention. They navigated their way back to a mountain hut, guided only by the soft glow of an emergency headlamp, finally arriving at 8:00 pm.

“[It was] yet another extraordinary day and a captivating adventure in the untamed Valsertal. A climb that will linger in my memories for a long time,” Sieberer concluded, capturing the essence of an unforgettable mountaineering experience.

Unveiling a Fresh Alpine Path

Despite almost two centuries of alpine climbing tales etched into history, the prospect of discovering new routes in the expansive Alps might sound improbable. However, this determined pair defied the odds. Martin Sieberer provided insights, stating, “Diretissima is indeed a novel route, even though it intertwines with the Gerade NW-Face in the lower section and intersects with the Diagonale in the upper segment,” a revelation shared with ExplorersWeb.

Selfie by Sieberer on the final ramps before the summit ridge. Photo: Martin Sieberer
Selfie by Sieberer on the final ramps before the summit ridge. Photo: Martin Sieberer

Adding depth to the story, Sieberer explained, “Given the inherent fragility of the rock throughout the valley, climbers typically embark on expeditions during the winter. The Diagonale has earned its stripes as a classic climb in recent years,” shedding light on the evolving landscape of alpine exploration in this historical region.

Source: The ExplorersWeb

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