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11.12.2011

Sagzahn North Pillar

At 5.30 in the morning I lock my car behind me. I cross a dried-out brook bed on the right side of the valley and follow a field of broken rock uphill. After 1 ½ hours I'm already standing beneath the wall that defeated our (Florian Klinger's, Thomy Dirnhofer's and my) ascent a few days ago. I put on my helmet and my crampons and swap my poles for ice axes. Here we go...

The first pitch is one of the most challenging ones. Accross a thin icing I climb beneath a steep rise. The wind has morphed the first ten meters of this rise in a vertical snow wall. The second part is a short mixed-passage I aid climb today. Then the terrain is getting flatter and the next pitches appear as relatively easy.

When I was here with Thomy and Florian we took the direct line on the edge of the pillar (V 6, 1000m). We were 20 hours on our feet but still had to reverse just one pitch beneath the top ridge. While our climb-down Thomy fell and dislocated his right wedding finger, so our trip ended at 3 a.m. at the hospital of Innsbruck. Today I'm on my own and try a line in a gully right of the edge (about IV 5, 1000m)

After about 700 climbing-meters I start into the gully that's leading to the top ridge. Thin icings, iced snow und cold rock alternate. The gully is vertical most of the time, a few passages are even slightly overhanging and the keen insight makes the whole thing highly exposed. One passage in this narrow channel I aid climb, the rest i climb free and after only five hours I reach the top ridge (which appears not very challenging). 15 minutes later I'm already standing on the summit and start my way down on the backside of the Sagzahn-pillar.

The pictures originate from my trip with Thomy and Florian on November 26th as well as from my solo ascent on December 2nd. The route-overview is from Reini Scherer.

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