Latest Silvan News
Nov 18, 2021
On October 15, Swiss alpinist Silvan Schupbach liberated a newly established multi-pitch trade route in the Bernese Alps. baptized Tradition and class 8b (5.13d) , the route passes through eight colorful solid limestone fields and is believed to be the most difficult multi-tone trade route in Switzerland. In an important nod to the leave-no-trace ethos, Schupbach and co-conspirator Peter Von Kanel set up a traditional multi-pitch hike over the limestone formations. Limestone is notoriously inhospitable to the safe placement of fall protection equipment. This is perhaps the most impressive (and terrible) takeaway of this hike. Multi-pitch trading of the Bernese Alps at its hardest Eight-tone tradition 8a (5.13d) , FA’s by Schupbach, in the remote Bernese Alps in Switzerland. Photo: Silvan Schupbach In spring 2020, Schupbach and Von Kanel discovered an untouched limestone wall on the west side of the Dündenhorn (2,862m) in the Bernese Alps. Swiss hikers set out to test the potential of this undeveloped area, climbing various trails graded up to 6c (5.11a). Then a year ago, the couple discovered the project line. It is steep with overhanging features and a crack system. It took them a day to work on the prologue pitch. After that, they advanced through the penultimate seventh throw, using the right crack system to speed up progress through the climbing section. However due to bad weather, Schupbach and Von Kanel were unable to complete the route with fixed ropes until last September, with the help of some friends. With the line still in place, Schupbach worked the core of the final throw. In mid-October, backed by Von Kanel, Schupbach re-pointed eight stout limestone throws, making up the final throw during the delivery. The achievement pocketed the first free climb and the first climb Tradition in one motion. Limestone trade is rare Peter Von Kanel at Tradündition. Photo: Vladek Zumr After exposure to the elements and repeated human contact, solid and hard limestone quickly takes on a polished finish. This problem is not uncommon in more difficult-to-climb rocks such as granite or sandstone, which retain texture despite exposure. This durability provides sandy sedimentary rock for trad climbing: The texture helps secure and grip trad equipment such as cams and nuts. In addition, it is not common to find bomber crack features in limestone formations. Because of the silty composition of the rock, characteristic cracks often occur only when the limestone is poor and brittle — and no one wants to screw gears or screw bolts into piles. But that’s where Tradition against the norms of trade (and limestone). This is colossal evidence of boltless ethics, showing that not only is the limestone route traversable without bolts, but it can also continue that way for eight pure courses. This might take the challenge up a level or two, but maybe all it takes is a willing climber to find out. Following his delivery in the Bernese Alps, Schupbach offers his insights into climbing without permanent equipment: [I]It seems to me that in recent years many routes have been established along climbing gym trails, and I hope that there are and always will be places where it is the mountains that determine whether there are pros and what they are. I believe that if traces are made as little as possible and if the gears – small – in locations are easy to remove/replace, the route will retain most of its original wild nature and can be ‘found’ over and over again. Read Schupbach’s full report on his website, slack-line.ch . About the Author Jilli Cluff Jilli grew up in the mountainous southern Colorado countryside, then moved to Texas to attend college. After seven years in corporate consulting, he was introduced to rock climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her company position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. He now works as a contributor, editor, and tool tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based in Austin, Texas where she lives with her climbing gear and blue heels, George Michael. .