A last solo before the spring

Route Nordpfeiler Hohe Kirche im Valsertal

 Before the summer more or less suddenly began in April, I sampled the winter conditions one last time on 24 March. I managed a first ascent in the Vals valley - the north buttress of the Hohe Kirche – this time alone.

The north buttress of the Hohe Kirche – a summit on the ridge of the Sagwand, albeit at a significantly lower 2634 metres – first attracted my attention back in December 2013, when I put up the “Nordverschneidung”. The following winter I made my first attempt with Ben Lepesant, but we had to abandon after six pitches. This time Ben had something else planned, and so I set off by myself. In perfect conditions, I skinned up to the base of the face. The first 200 metres of the climb were mostly easy terrain, only with some short steep sections. This was followed by two pitches over steep, almost vertical granite slabs where every now and again a grass clump grew out and provided a great placement for my ice axes. The route then went one pitch to the right, then left again and further up. The crux pitches were to come in the upper third of the buttress.

In total the route came to nine pitches, with another about 100 metres up the summit snow field.

At the beginning I thought it would be a nice route I could recommend to a few friends, but unfortunately the rock quality on the last two pitches turned out extremely bad.

The terrain is not too steep anymore, with only short vertical sections, but large blocks lying around make it quite tricky. I had to carefully climb around them and did not want to disturb them in any way – making for climbing I really would not want to recommend to anyone.

Video about the eventful happenings on Lunag Ri and David’s solo attempt

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