Alpine style: Schäli, Gietl and Maynadier manage a new route on Meru Peak (6600m)

The three alpinists Roger Schäli, Simon Gietl and Mathieu Maynadier have opened a new, challenging route on the 6600 meter high Meru Peak in the Indian Garhwal Himalayas: Goldfish (800m, M6+, A1). Schäli and Maynadier had already tried the route together with Sean Villanueva in 2019, but had to turn around in the upper third of the wall.

Success at the second attempt: The Swiss Roger Schäli, the French Mathieu Maynadier and the South Tyrolean Simon Gietl is on one of the most famous 6000m peaks in the Indian Garhwal Himalayas, the Meru Peak, a difficult first ascent succeeded. your itinerary Goldfish runs at 800 meters through the imposing south face of the 6600 meter high summit and poses difficulties up to M6 + A1.

«After Mathieu Maynadier, Sean Villanueva and I had to turn back in the upper third of the wall in 2019, it worked on the second attempt. Big dreams take more than one try."

Roger Schäli

Lots of fresh snow, challenging crevasse labyrinth

The alpinist trio reached the Tapovan base camp at 4300 meters at the end of April. Despite persistently adverse weather conditions, they remained focused on their goal and took their chance when the long-awaited weather window opened on May 11th.

The large amount of fresh snow in the past few days brought the advantage that they could manage their approach on skis. However, the route between C1 and C2 was increasingly prone to avalanches and the rapidly receding glacier made the approach to the pass below C2 a challenging crevasse labyrinth.

Meru_Peak_India_Route_Goldfish_3
On the south face of Meru Peak in India's Garhwal Himalayas. Picture: Roger Schäli, Simon Gietl, Mathieu Maynadier.

uncertainty until the end

On May 11, Roger Schäli and Simon Gietli climbed up to the first ledge with their climbing gear, where they deposited the ropes and laid a track through the steep snow field. Mathieu Maynadier was able to recover from his diarrhea that day, so that the entire trio was able to tackle the summit together at 12 a.m. on May 3th.

The first day of climbing ended 20 exhausting hours later. An exposed cornice in the middle of the wall served as a bivouac spot. After a short night in a two-man tent, the three of them continued their adventure. At first, Schäli, Gietl and Maynadier weren't sure if they would reach the summit on the line they had chosen.

"It was still uncertain whether we would find a way under the last boulder and the very steep terrain."

Roger Schäli

Finally, after three spectacular rope lengths in an icy wind, they reached the ridge, from where they climbed the 6600 meter summit of Meru South Peak over a steep snow and ice flank. On the same day they abseiled their Goldfish route (800m, M6+, A1) and were able to celebrate their successful first ascent in the afternoon at basecamp.

Demanding first ascent in alpine style: In May 2023, Roger Schäli, Simon Gietl and Mathieu Maynadier open the Goldfish route (800m, M6+, A1) through the south face of Meru Peak. Image: www.daniel-hug.com | @terragraphy
Demanding first ascent in alpine style: In May 2023, Roger Schäli, Simon Gietl and Mathieu Maynadier open the Goldfish route (800m, M6+, A1) through the south face of Meru Peak. Picture: www.daniel-hug.com | @terragraphy

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Credits: Cover picture Roger Schäli

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