The Swiss professional alpinist Roger Schäli opens the trad route Tierra del Fuego (A2+, 6c) on the Roda Val della Neve in Bergell alone over five days. The demanding line – only equipped with bolts at the belay – follows a system of cracks in the right part of the wall.

Who has never dated Roda Val della Neve heard, there is no need to worry. Roger Schäli It was the same when Tom Bärfuss asked him to join us for a multi-pitch tour in the Bergell requested. "The mountain is a hidden pearl with two faces," enthuses Schäli. "Towards Albigna it shows itself with a broad and rounded back, while the Roda Val della Neve comes up with an astonishingly powerful wall to the north."

«In particular, the direct ascent in the steepest section of the face quickly caught my attention. I quickly made the decision to open a new line.»

Roger Schäli

Video: Roger Schäli during the first ascent of Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego: Puristic inspection style

Roger Schäli is enthusiastic about the compact rock that casts its shadow over the streets of the valley floor and can hardly stop raving: "I was impressed by this cold, forbidding wall from the start."

Of course, professional alpinists are primarily interested in those parts of the wall that nobody has climbed before. In particular, the direct ascent in the steepest section of the wall quickly caught his attention. "My decision was made quickly to open a new line," says Roger Schäli.

"I was impressed from the start by this cold, forbidding wall."

Roger Schäli
The trad route Tierra del Fuego (A2+, 6c) on the Roda Val della Neve, opened by Roger Schäli single-handedly in five days. Image: Romano Salis
The trad route Tierra del Fuego (A2+, 6c) on the Roda Val della Neve, opened by Roger Schäli single-handedly in five days. Picture: Romano Salis

In total, he needs five days to complete his route Land of Fire (A2+, 6c) to open from below and single-handedly. "I deliberately chose a very puristic approach," says Roger Schäli.

Its first ascent follows a system of cracks in the right part of the wall. The difficulties of A2+, 6c lie in the lower part of the wall at a height of around 350 meters. From there, the route leads over an easy-to-climb around 250 meters in altitude with the fourth level of difficulty to the summit.

The route once again reminds him of the beauty of Switzerland, says Roger Schäli. "I am fascinated by how adventurous spots can be found in the immediate vicinity of the front door, even away from well-known walls and well-known mountains."

Roger Schäli on his new route Tierra del Fuego (A2+, 6c). Image: Romano Salis
Roger Schäli on his new route Tierra del Fuego (A2+, 6c). Picture: Romano Salis

"I am fascinated by how adventurous spots can be found in the immediate vicinity of the front door, even away from well-known walls and well-known mountains."

Roger Schäli

Historical mountain

Among the best-known existing routes in the wall are the Niederman (400m, 6b, R2, IV, +250 meters to the summit, first climbed in 1975) and the nigga (350m, 7a, RS3, IV, +250 meters to the summit). Both lines impressed with remarkable cracks and intersections, but should not be underestimated according to Roger Schäli. "The two tours have the potential to be climbed more often in the future, since such destinations are more and more popular in the warm summer months, as is trad climbing."

A piece of climbing history: Leaf through the wall book

A look at the wall book shows that the Roda Val della Neve, in addition to well-known climbers such as Romolo Notaris also attracted numerous local climbers. «This mountain has attracted all the legendary climbers from Eastern Switzerland, Ticino and Italy. The first winter ascent in December 1969 is impressive.”

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Credits: Cover picture Romano Salis

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