Mt. Reaper – First Ascent in Alaska

The mountain, located in the Neacola Range, rises with a stunning 750m high north face from the massive Pitchfork Glacier. The summits of this range are not as high as those in the nearby Revelation Mountains or the well known Ruth Gorge, but therefore the glaciers are going down lower which implies that the faces are still up to 1000 meters high. With three different projects in mind, I left my home beginning of May. My longtime friend and climbing partner, Much Mayr, joined me.

From the start, we got to know the unstable weather that this range is well known for, and the blue sky that greeted us upon our arrival only lasted for a day. After warming up on a rock pillar next to our base camp, where bad conditions forced us to retreat after around 400m of climbing, an intense storm kept us camp-bound. What followed were more than three days in the white out, constantly freeing the tent from snow, and I already thought that this wouldn’t be the luckiest trip. Living on the glacier, 100 of kilometers away from civilisation, demands a strong belief, and a great friendship to keep high spirits and good vibes.

To further complicate the matter, the temperatures were higher than we expected. Our objective was in tricky conditions, but anyway – after a day of checking out the approach we decided to give it a go. I knew that we need to be super light and that we have to try the climb in less than ideal weather, to avoid higher temperatures on the face.

In the end we did the climb in a 12-hour push from camp to summit and back, staying on top for less than five minutes because heavy clouds were coming in. Lots of spindrift due to strong winds higher up and some really challenging steep pitches with bad protection challenged us a lot. While I was leading the crux, where a fall was out of the question, it suddenly occurred to me that this route might be in the “knife-edge” category. Some of the belays were on our ice axes only, the ice was mostly just plastered onto the blank granite, and it really couldn’t have been any thinner otherwise our alpine style attempt would have ground to a halt.

Hansjörg Auer and Much Mayr – ‚Ice like Sugar‘ – Mt. Reaper – Alaska 2015 from Hansjörg Auer on Vimeo.



First Ascent of ‚Mt. Reaper‘ (elevation ca. 2300m)

Route: ‚Sugar Man‘ on the 750m high Northface

Summit on May 17 2015 by Much Mayr and Hansjörg Auer

Proposed grading: M7, 85°, A1


New alpine climb in Corsica

On March 20, me and my buddy Much freed our new 400-meter route up the granite Westface of Corsica’s Capu Cascioni (1091m) at 8a, calling it „Le Petit Prince“. 

The mediterranean Corsica is a place with lots of world-class granite walls, some of them big, some very small, but always incredible because of wind-shaped tafoni features. The atmosphere of the island is similar to a sparsely populated southern France – small villages, tiny roads located in a pretty wild and unexplored landscape. The northeast coast, the place of the new route, is not really known for alpine multi pitch climbing and the quality of the granite makes the climb really unique.

We spent three days wandering around the area in September 2014 in search of a challenging new line. In the end we set our sights on Capu Cascioni, acting on a tip-off from Corsica expect and Frenchman Arnaud Petit. Starting from the ground, we spent the next three days preparing the route. Unfortunately we ran out of time and had to go back home. The plan was to return a few weeks later, but when I crashed while paragliding I knew that we had to postpone the trip until this spring to recover.

Finally this March we conclude unfinished business and, in-between dodging the raindrops, we spent one more day completing the route, than worked it a further two days before grabbing the first free ascent. We protected the often-overhanging route with natural gear and 12 lead bolts (excluding belays) over the course of 12 stout pitches.

„Le Petit Prince“ – another great new climb of Corsica.


GLIMPSE – a short video portrait

A short video portrait and an insight view of my life as a climber, my personality and the failed second ascent of a rarely good grown south facing ice climb in the backyard of my home mountains in Oetztal.

GLIMPSE from woodslave on Vimeo.

The Music of Hope

Finally I managed to finish off another project on Kristallwand. A steep rock face hidden in Gaisbergtal in the Ötztal Alps, which is mainly charactarized by chossy rock, just a few obvious lines and a really steep overhang.

After I made the first ascent of „The Music of Chance“ (6c/A3/500m) in winter 2012, I came back with David Lama last January to attempt a new and more free climbable line to the right without using bolts. Steep terrain, really loose flakes and some bad whippers forced us to retreat at half height. “We didn´t want to come back after that first try. Without taking a lot of risk you won’t climb that line. The Masherbrum Project was at stake.”

Nevertheless I was thinking a lot if it would make sense to come back in summer for another attempt. My vision to open this line without bolts was still in my mind. I asked my friend Gerri Fiegl to join me. On 9th of September, after 9 nerve-wracking hours of climbing and 12 pitches, shrouded in mist and clouds we were on top.

Name: ’The Music of Hope’ (7a/A1/500m)

Location: Kristallwand at Kirchkogel (3280m) – Ötztal Alps

Protection: mainly Bird Beaks, no bolts


Masherbrum 2014

Flashback. An Austrian Expedition, led by Robert Renzler, climbed the Northface of Masherbrum in 1985. They started from Mandu Valley, got over some pretty scary serac zones and summited as a team of three on July 24. Andreas Orgler, Michael Larcher and Robert Renzler opened a great line. “I will roll the stone up to the summit. A stone formed out of ambition, self-awareness and love for the adventure.”, was the title of their written report afterwords.

My family had somehow a special realtionship to this expedition because one of the members, Christoph Rimml, grew up in my home village Umhausen and was a good friend of my father. Together they competed at skimountaineering races in the early 80’s. Unfortunately Christoph is no longer with us, due to an avalanche accident 14 years ago.

Always I’ve dreamed about this mountain. Even more during my Trango Valley Expedition in 2006. Every morning I saw Masherbrum when I opened my tent in Basecamp. A mountain which is hard to beat in beauty. Until now, the Northeastface remained unclimbed and is without doubt one of hardest challenges in the Karakorum. Not only the massive headwall, a monolith on it´s own at 7000+ meters, makes you feel really small and humble.


Unfortunately there is not so much to tell about this years attempt. In the end Peter, David and I didn’t succeed in doing the first ascent of the unclimbed face. There are no excuses. This project is simply a different league in terms of climbing difficulties, complexitiy and the dimensions itself.

We acclimatized on Broad Peak (8051m). Climbed three loops up and down to Camp 3 at around 7000m. We had a good time in early season with lot’s of snow, but therefore we were the only expedition in the whole Baltoro region, which made everything kind of unique and really enjoyable. When the first teams for the 8000m peaks arrived we changed to Masherbrum Basecamp, which lies on a green terrace just above the wild Yermanendu Glacier. An oasis of bouldering and highlining right below the intimidating Northeastface. But this place had its price. The porters striked lower down and we had to carry up everything by our own.

However, the day arrived, we’ve all been dreaming for a long time. We felt ready to assume the risk of going for it. And we did. But after 350m of easy climbing during really bad snow conditions and surviving two avalanches, we recognised that there is no chance to get to the summit this time.

Forced to turn back we arrived to Basecamp the same day. While waiting for two more weeks the conditions on the mountain got even worse. It was snowing for more than one week and I still here the drumming noise of the avalanches going down the face.

Finally we had to take the decision. It’s always hard to accept that the mountain is stronger. But after more than 8 weeks in high altitude our bodies were worn out. We packed down our Camp and walked back along the moraines of the Baltoro Glacier to Askole. The Masherbrum Northeastface remains unclimbed and I will come back in future.

Thanks for the pics to Manuel Ferrigato and Mungo Hanslmayr. Furthermore to the rest of the gang (Alfi, Andreas, Othmar, Roland) and Servus TV/Red Bull.

Ötztal Traverse

I was not expecting such a hard time while completing a project, which was a long cherished dream of myself.

In general I’ve always many climbing projects in my mind. Instead of having a clear structure of doing next I’m more trusting my inner voice to find out where I want to put my energy. It often happens that I wake up in the morning and feel this strong power which drives me of doing something on my limit. And from time to time I get the desire setting off alone to act out my feelings and emotions at it’s deepest and to get happy.

Since I’ve heard that legendary Reinhard Schiestl climbed a really long and sustained ridge traverse in my home mountains in winter back in the late 80’s, I always wanted to repeat his achievement in same style. I just couldn’t find the right moment and motivation to pull myself together, pack the backpack, take the headlamp and go.

Ridge climbing is one of the most exhausting things you can do. To do this in winter and alone is a completely different game and requires a lot of mental strength not to mention the physical shape and climbing abilities you must have. The feeling of connecting summits over asthetic lines, mostly on the direct and exposed way is simply inspiring.

From the 12th to the 13th of February I managed to climb from Gamskogel (2813m) to Wilde Leck (3361m) in the Stubai Alps along a 10km long ridge with difficulties up to UIAA grade 4. I want to make no bones about it and it may sound exaggerated to speak about a big achievement, but in the end this project pushed me once again to my limit and I was so close to give up. Many cornices and not the best conditions forced me to fight really hard. After I’ve stood on the last summit I decided to abseil down it’s southface. Normally it’s pretty easy and you just climb down but as the wind was getting stronger and stronger the whole face was covered in ice within short time. Having only a 5mm 60m rope which was getting shorter and shorter as I had to cut off many slings and close to puke, I was really relieved to reach the glacier 2,5 hours later.

As it was getting dark on my down the Sulztal Valley just on the last steep slopes I saw someone coming towards me. It was my brother Matthias who came up with a Coke to give me support during the last hours of the 24km round trip. Maybe he’s the only one to qualify what I went through over this 40 hours push, not only because he is my brother.

Kunyang Chhish East 2013

The 7400m Khunyang Chhish East is a sub peak in Kunyang Chhish massif, Hispar Muztagh, Karakoram. With the main summit being 7852m, it is the 21st highest independent peak in the World, and was first ascended by a Polish team led by Andrzej Zawada in 1971. However, despite several attempts, the East peak remained unclimbed until now. The best attempt so far has been made by the American duo Steve House and Vince Anderson in 2006. Unfortunately just 300m short of the summit they had to turn back, their efforts seized by a steep rock step. The 2700m Southwest face of Khunyang Chhish East has widely been regarded as one of the great remaining problems in alpinism.


We were walking along the moraine of Hisper Glacier when we first came into contact with our project. On a green terrace at Dachigam where the Pumari Chhish Glacier floats out from the base of Kunyang Chhish I whispered to Simon: „I can´t believe it. It´s definitely a monster“. I was in awe with the dimensions. The big amphitheater, formed by the South, Main and East summits is one of the wildest places I´ve seen. We kept on moving towards Base Camp. Suddenly, Simon stopped again. The clouds were lifting and now we could see the whole Southwestface up to the summit pyramid of Kunyang Chhish East. We looked at each other, a deafening silence arose with the realisation that we had only seen half of the peak earlier that day.

The expedition did not start according to plan. Initially we had problems with receiving a permit for Kunyang Chhish East, which delayed the expedition by a few days and unfortunately when Simon called me from Bern to tell me that his passport issues had been resolved five minutes later Matthais, my brother, called. He was on his way to hospital because he had severely injured his thumb. After hearing the news I felt confused, sat down and tried to calm down. We had invested so much time in this project, researching and training. It felt like the balloon had burst however obstacles are part of life’s rich tapestry, so Simon and I decided to go ahead and venture off into the unknown.

Exactly 20 days later we set off for our first attempt on KC East Southwestface. It was June 25. The time in between was characterised as acclimatisation days. Slowly we tried to get used to the high altitude, climbing some ridges and little faces near Base Camp and as a final step we summited Ice Cake Peak (6400m) and slept on top. When we came down we had just one rest day before packing for the first try on KC East.

In the meantime Matthias arrived. But due to his injury and due to his lack of acclimatisation, it was not possible for him to join us. He couldn’t even join us on our ascent of Ice Cake Peak and that hit him hard, but we had to follow the rules when playing with Kunyang Chhish.

Simon and I felt really strong on the first attempt of KC East. On the third day, as the weather was starting to change and the winds were getting stronger and stronger we reached a small bivy spot at 7000m. It was only 2pm but the conditions didn´t allow us to continue with the climb. The spot was really exposed to the weather. I will never forget this night just hoping that we would not be blown away into the darkness of the Karakorum. The next morning it was even worse. Through the little zip of our tent, the snow was pressed inside. Normally I´m really good during hard situations on mountains suppressing my emotions. But suddenly at around 8am I knew that if we don´t react now, the mountain will. We packed and fought our way down to the base of the wall. After 14 hours, cold, shattered and emotionless Matthias was happy to see us alive and helped us carry our backpacks out to Base Camp.

Four days later we made another try but many avalanches and tons of fresh snow forced us to retreat at 5600m. We climb up to the third serac and waited while avalanches swept down the face. We started too early to catch the weather window. We were angry but in the high mountains, everything has to be perfect. The difference between failure and success is minute and any mistakes are not forgiven.

Disappointed we reached Base Camp. Although we had three more weeks’ time, it was clear that we had just one more attempt available. The failed attempts wear you out. We tried to cool down, slept a night and it then became clear that now we had to take the chance. Hook or crook.

Matthias’ acclimatisation was still not on the same level as Simons’ and mine. Alone, he just could climb up to 5500m. But this is not enough for KC East. He should climb at least Ice Cake Peak. Together with Simon he started for a two day push, while I chilled in Base Camp and searched for some bouldering.

The following ten days there was not so much to do. Bad weather, super high winds on top and snow down to Base Camp required a lot of patience. The expedition challenged our minds. We were already so close to the summit on our first attempt, the last cornice that forms the summit was well within our grasp.

On the evening of July 13, Karl Gabl, our meteorologist back in Austria, gave us a promising forecast. Not the perfect window, but at least the conditions on the wall acceptable due to clear cold nights. Now Matthias was on board. On July 14 at 4am, the team complete, we commenced the final try.

The first two days went smoothly. After a spectacular bivy on a tiny and exposed snow mushroom we climbed without problems up to 6600m on the second day. Just upcoming winds and spindrift on the last mixed pitches made the climbing a little bit inconvenient. We had another hard night and our little tent nearly collapsed because we were totally snowed in. The winds were still high and spinddrift continued all night long. The next morning was cold and grey. We tried to climb higher but couldn´t. After 200m we found a little crevasse where a tunnel formation lead inside. A perfect shelter, no winds, no spindrift which allowed us to wait for the next two days.

On the morning of July 18 the winds calmed down and the weather cleared up. It seemed our last chance. At 6am, as the sun rose we set off. The following mixed part was hard, our toes and fingers were freezing and the long traverse out to the ridge on glared ice was very exhausting. At 7000m we made a small break before going for the final ridge. The first step to gain the height of the ridge turned out to be not as hard as Steve (House) described it. We traversed directly on the highest spine and gained easier terrain. The conditions worsened as we climbed but we knew that soon we will be on top. Getting progressively slower we traversed towards the highest point and at 12:30pm we couldn´t believe it. We couldn´t climb higher, the summit. We had tears in our eyes as we embraced each other. We reached the end-and-highpoint of the last month and enjoyed the wonderful view overlooking the sea of fog of the Karakorum Mountains, where just the highest peaks poked through. Kunyang Chhish East is no longer unclimbed and a great project of the Karakorum is finally complete.



Alltitude of summit: 7400m

Height of face: 2700m

Exposition of face: Southwest

Team: Simon Anthamatten, Matthias Auer, Hansjörg Auer

First Ascent: 14th to 18th of July 2013

Previous attempts: 25th to 28th of June 2013 up to 7000m and 2nd of July 2013 up to 5600m (both by Simon and Hansjörg)

Time in Basecamp: 12th of June to 21th of July 2013

Period of expedition: 5th of June to 25th of July 2013

Baffin Island 2012

Big Wall Climbing in Baffin Island was a personal dream for many many years. A dream which was always in my mind, but simultanesly too far away to become reality. Baffin Island has the highest concentration of Big Walls on our planet.

But this year I put all the effort in organising a Baffin Expedition. And finally I experienced one of my craziest time in one of the most remote places of our world. During the 43 days in Base Camp we established four free climbing first ascents. ‚The Door‘ (8b), a 16 pitches long route along the East Face of Belly Tower with a super hard crux pitch freed by Iker and me. Furthermore we opened ‚Hotel Gina‘ (6b+) and ‚Hotel Monica‘ (6b+) on the 45om high White Wall. The last route got the name ‚Levi is coming‘ (6b/11 pitches) on the North East Pillar of Mt. Cook.

The climbing areas of Baffin Island has always been a place to make history. Legends like Doug Scott and Charlie Porter climbed the first major problems in the region of Mount Asgard in Weasel Valley in Auyuittuq National Park. But climbing on the East Coast is a different story. The logistic is much more complicated, the region is a way more remote, the temperatures are much lower and the polarbear is a serious fact to know. The knowledge of all this makes things not easier. But in the end all these facts are increasing the challenge of an expedition to the East Coast of Baffin Island.

I can’t tell you everything, but I want to share some thoughts with you out of my diary to the route „The Door“ on Belly Tower. The hardest free climb on Baffin’s East Coast with difficulties up to 8b.

Start of the route:

Stormy and cold. We stay our second night in the portaledge. Not in the wall, but on a big boulder at the entry of the wall. Yesterday we came up here. Ricky, Matteo, Ben and I have seen unbelievable rivers. Within days they became un-crossable. We had to look for a different way. Over the moraine on the western side towards strong headwind we walked up to the entry of the wall. Iker and Eneko waiting in the base Camp for our call. Today we managed to climb two pitches. Two pitches?! It was unbearable due to the strong, cold wind, after a while I did not feel my toes anymore, not to even mention my fingers. Not a good state to do technical climbing. When I reached the first stand I immediately went back into the portaledge to warm up. In the afternoon it was Ben’s turn, traversing to the right in difficult conditions. The two pitches today were very important. It was a tough fight under those circumstances but I hope that the weather will change soon.

First day of free climbing:

What a day! We free climbed the pitches till the end of the arch. I climbed pitches number 1 to 5, Iker did the 6th pitch. Four climbers working on the same project. The next day. Blue Sky. Iker and I are laying in the sun in front of our tent. Actually the weather report was correct, but the wall still looks wet. If everything goes as planned then Ben and Eneko will open the upper part of the route while Iker and I will free climb. But now it should get really difficult, the cracks above the arch are rounded with a hard move on the top.


I lay in the sun right under the Eastern wall of the Belly Tower. I am super exhausted and very tired. Yesterday at 1pm we reached the peak, a really nice moment. The end of a long project, even though we are not at the end of our climbing. At 5 in the morning we started from basecamp, and everything went perfectly. The others let me open the last pitches to the peak. Now I only need to free climb the last key part of the route, I placed the bolt for it yesterday.

The day of free climbing the crux-pitch:

Oh yeah! Yesterday was a perfect day – Amazing. A spectacular ending at Belly Tower.On the fixed rope I go up to the key pitch of the route. I warm myself up. Iker will be my belayer. The mind game starts. I start to climb but cannot hold the key part. I try it again but cannot hold the edge of the roof. Oh my god. I take a break. Then I start again, I can barely hear the cheers from the guys at the bottom. Can this be real? But I stay surprisingly calm today, even if this would be the perfect moment to get nervous. I take off my jacket, today is the warmest day on the wall so far. Suddenly I can climb the move and I clip the second bolt. Now the scary part starts, the rest of the length to the stand is super technical and you cannot make a mistake here. But I feel really good and only once it gets critical when my left foot slips. After around 15 minutes I reach the stand. I am super happy. Amazing. It could not had a better ending than this. I hang at the stand and still cannot believe it. Within the last hour Iker and I have been able to free climb the last missing pitch and finished probably the hardest free climbing of Baffin Island. At around 9 in the evening we put down our 40 kg haulbags in the basecamp. What else can you say to an experience like this? Today we all sit together at basecamp, enjoying the sun and thinking back to the project. You can see a look of relief in our faces. Everybody is happy.

Thanks to all the sponsors and to all who were involved making this dream becoming true. Big thanks to Ben, Iker, Eneko and William. To Matteo Mocellin and Riky Felder for the pics.

Chochamo Valley 2008

Chochamo Valley with David Lama, Barbara Bacher, Katharina Saurwein, Heiko Wilhelm and Jorg Verhoeven. A series of new routes in this amazing granite valley, known as the „Yosemite of South America“.

The thoughts below, written by the climbing media at that time, are worth to read and a great sign, how climbing changed in a positive way as nowadays so many great competition climbers of the past are crushing alpine routes:

„What is striking is that – apart from Hansjörg Auer – these climbers are famous above all for their performances plastic (Verhoeven had just won the Lead World Cup 2008, Lama was Bouldering and Lead World Champion in 2007 etc.) and seeing them on expeditions and not at the crag is something fairly unheard of. However things may be, experience has shown that whenever these competition athletes decided to transport their strength and fitness onto rock, the result is always impressive. This was certainly the case in the where the six climbers managed the following first ascents, using a mix of nuts, normal pegs and, where necessary, bolts.“

Cochamo Valley First Ascents:

Meataholic – 7c+/450m Trinidad Sur – David Lama, Heiko Wilhelm and Hansjörg Auer

The Dutch Corner – 7c/550m Cerro Trinidad – Katharina Saurwein and Jorg Verhoeven

Robinson Crusoe – 7b /700m Elifante – Barbara Bacher, Katharina Saurwein, Jorg Verhoeven

Footsy Variation – 8a/1040m Cerro Trinidad – free version of Mucho Mucho El Granito by Katharina Saurwein and David Lama

Somedays Twice – 7c/440m Cerro Laguna – Barbara Bacher and Hansjörg Auer