On November 27, 2019, professional alpinist Fabian Buhl managed to do the first ascent of the difficult multi-pitch route Déja (8c +, 10 pitches) in Rätikon. We spoke to Fabi about his first ascent. You'll find details about the route and a short film about the first ascent here.

An interview with Fabian Buhl

How did you find out about the route Déja and why did you decide to invest so much time in the route?
Beat Kammerlander and Michi Wyser gave me the tip. At first I wasn't sure if it was possible and actually I prefer poorly secured routes. But with Déjà I was really drawn to the sheer difficulty. I've never had to work on a boulder on a multi-pitch route for so long.

“Déjà was interesting to me because of its sheer difficulty.”

Fabi Buhl

What does the Rätikon mean for you?
I love being up there, I started alpine climbing there and I've loved this wonderful Alpine region ever since. Of course, the rock is also the finest there is, especially in Déjà he's really outstanding.

“I was only able to climb the trains solidly when it was cold.”

Fabi Buhl

What was the key to Déja's success?
Persistence, meticulous preparation and fiddling, as well as the support of friends. The real key to success was then to try the route in the cold, because only then could I climb the trains solidly.

Not the most comfortable conditions for a multi-pitch tour. (Photo by Melissa Le Nevé)

You spent a lot of time in the bouldering areas of Ticino in winter 2018/19. Was that some kind of training for Déja?
Yes, when I was lur (8b +), I was quite fit. But after that I was in Chamonix for some time Chamonix and on an expedition in Peru, all fitness was completely gone again. For me it depends a lot on the expeditions.

Fabi inspecting the Iur boulder in Cresciano

Why do you think it took so long for Déja to climb free?
Some strong climbers tried it out. I think it's just this uncompromising way of climbing, so special and technical, you have to be willing to invest a lot of time. Also for the other lengths. Nothing is given to you in Rätikon and certainly not at Déjà.

Have you already considered another multi-pitch project?
I don't like talking about projects. I'm currently in Patagonia and when I am at home and feel motivated, I devote myself to a project. There are ideas in climbing and alpinism everywhere.

How about Kampfzone from Beat?
Maybe or one of my first ascent projects. Let's see.

Thanks for the interview, Fabi!

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Credits: Cover picture Stefan Smurf / Adidas