In the year 2000, Alex Huber made his solo first ascent through the big summit roof of the Cima Ovest. Except for at the belays, he only used pitons and graded the route A4. Mid July 2001, he was then the first one to free climb this route over the protruding pinnacle roof.
Both ascents were sensational. Just how great his achievements were can only be understood after you climbed the route yourself.
About three weeks ago I attempted to climb the route for the first time together with my East-Tyrolean climbing partner Peter Ortner. The first pitch was a rather challenging 7b, and no place to become too hasty. The probability to find yourself and your partner back on the ground is not to be underestimated. The following four pitches that take you to the crux pitch are then somewhat easier, but not less challenging. To this point I was able to climb all pitches on sight. At the crux pitch, I crossed a narrow crack about 10 meters to the left. I didn’t understand that you have to grab the roof edge with your right hand, and suddenly I was hanging in the harness. I went to the next pitch and rappelled Peter down. We then climbed another 8a pitch and then called it a day.
Exactly one week later I met up with Peter again. Because the rock was so cold, we didn’t start until about noon, but then swiftly climbed to the 8c pitch where I fell the last time. After short breather, I continued across the crack on the left. The rock was still freezing cold, but I overcame the first hard spot without problems, and slowly my fingers began to warm up. On to the next difficult passage. By then, I was surely more than five meters passed my last placement. I grabbed the one-finger pocket with my left hand, the small crimp with my right, and then the little block that broke last time with my left hand. It held, and I was hanging below the stand before the last roof pitch. That didn’t cause me any more problems, and although the last 400 meters to the peak were very cold and wet – one pitch was a waterfall – we enjoyed the sunset from the summit.
Alex for sure made climbing history with his route. I had less work, because at my first attempt, many holds were marked with chalk, and all equipment was placed and still in good shape. A first ascent is so much more challenging than the following climbs. Respect for this great route!