Finally I tell you the stories of my Marmolada season this year. The huge first ascent of “Bruderliebe”, which was so intense for me personally together with my brother Vitus. And then two really cool climbs with my friend Gerry coming out the first free ascent of “Colpo di Coda” and the first ascent of “Coco Jambo” which is a direct exit to the classic line “Schwalbenschwanz”.
It was in 2003 that I walked up for the first time from Malga Ciapela to the Rifugio Falier. And now I am climbing, for the first time, on the south face of the Marmolada. After a very long wait for this moment.
I had, read a lot about the nearly three kilometres wide and approx. 800 meter high wall. Perfect limestone full of holes, hard and grey. Routes which describe every epoch of the climbing history. Sounding route names and of course a lot of protagonists.
However, with this, a first very unaware project also starts to grow in my head. When I appear from the precipitous spruce forest and see the face in full size, I do not see the “fish”, not the pillar of “Don Quixote” and not the green valley with the cows and the watercourse. I see the striking pillars on the right part of the south wall. Two pieces of overhanging grey rock. They engrave in my memory. However, the next day we climbed first the classic “Vinatzer/Messner”.
Four years later. In January, together with my longtime rope partner and friend Thomas Scheiber I climbed “Vogelwildpfeiler”. A route of Heinz Mariacher and Luisa Jovane. The both stamp the route development at the beginning of the 80s and find her climax with the opening of „Tempi Moderni“in 1982. We were quite late at the base. We rushed it in a good five hours to the top. Only once on the belay of the fourth pitch I looked to the left and saw the first pillar of my unaware project. Immediately I got the creeps.
Again four years later. Thomas now works and lives in Switzerland, our ways have been separated. We did not climb any more so often, but if, and then we are simply the ideal rope couple of old times. Over and over again we funbled about in our re-collections and laugh at one or other situations from our younger years.
When I climbed with Much Mayr first time together the “Nose” on El Capitan, a new friendship begun. But too largely was my admiration for him to move in his alpine footprint. With him I stood during the last years often on the base of walls, planning repetitions or first ascents. We enjoyed sport climbing from Austria to Spain and for sure a lot of coffee sessions. I began with him also an extremely exciting project in the Marmolada southwest face. Freeing an old aid route. It should have been the third summer this year, while we wanted to put our whole energy in the project, we waited only till after the winter to have the route in perfect conditions.
Motivated till the last hair end we talked over and over again about the project, spent a lot of time together sports climbing and were greatly glad. However, everything came differently.
Much injured himself while biking hard and precipitated for the whole summer. “No, without him I will not get onto the southwest face project”. The unaware project becomes conscious. My brother Vitus will accompany me.
After five days on the route I reach together with my brother the ledge in the middle of the wall. The upper part up to the summit burr looks easier. The wall leans back. The most difficult part lies behind us. However, the most difficult time before us because now I would like to climb the route free and then suspend the upper part to the summit burr.
After many days of trying, many falls, hours hanging out on the wall, times of rebounds but also after enjoying the feeling getting stronger, finally August 21 was my day. I really had tears in my eyes, clipping the belay after the send of the crux pitch.
“As in the time-lapse photography, pictures from all corners of the south wall run by my brain. Even if there are still just 600 metres height up to the summit. I know that I am not deprived of the today’s success any more. Once again I shut the eyes before I continue pulling the rope. After 11,5 hours we shudder mutually the hands. Tired and eroded we sit on the summit and enjoy the last rays of the sun. I can´t catch it yet, however, just I experience one of my nicest moments in my climbing life and coincidentally on my mountain. Thanks so much Vitus.”