Chalchschijen is calling……again!
The original team: Jürgen Bissig and myself, joined by Pascal Siegrist – problem solver, and Robert Boesch, photographer. Last year, we were chased out of the wall by hair-raising conditions, 35cm of new snow and avalanches. But the challenge unleashed something in us we couldn't hold back and this gave us the motivation to try it one more time! Spiri and I were psyched to the very maximum. We racked up the gear and food, dragged as much as we could along the exposed and extremely strenuous hike through the Maderaner Valley to the bivouac site below the wall. The next day we fixed pitches to the highest point reached on our previous attempt and then descended. Our plan was to return one week later with the rest of the gear and everyone ready to rumble.
Red light! The weather forecast turned from good to bad. Shit, not again!!! Inconsistent weather made us sit out the entire summer. 2 long months of waiting....
Suddenly, the long-awaited window of a high-pressure system showed up. One day later we arrived at the bivouac, psyching up to beat the wall. The following morning, the necessary evil of big wall climbing began: jumar up the now delicate fixed ropes, hauling massive weight until we reached the highest point and set up the portaledges. Everything seemed perfect.
The next pitch was a difficult 8a. Meter by meter we climbed, hooked and bolted our way up; it seemed endless. Doubt started to circle. And then worse; we arrived at an absolutely blank wall, with no way of free climbing it. This was not in our plan! Forced into plan B, we tried to top out on the summit by following a steep and weird crack system to the right.
To our surprise and relief, we actually made it to the summit in perfect conditions, along a natural line where everything went quite fast. The time we gained here gave us the opportunity to work out the upper part of the route and to freeclimb some of the pitches up to 8a+ on the following days. The weather was amazing and it only rained once. We stayed dry in the overhangs and found a way to fill up some water bottles with a dripping stripe.
On the sixth day, Robert Boesch jümared up to the portaledges with 4 fresh beers in the bag. We had a big party – fourteen nights over four years, full of ups and downs, but finally we could celebrate our first ascent! One we hope to redpoint next year:"Out of Space" 8a+ (5.13c) / A1, 605m (18 pitches)