The professional alpinists Thomas Huber, Stephan Siegrist and Roger Schaeli have secured the second ascent of the legendary route "Metanoia" by Jeff Lowe on the north face of the Eiger.

The report by Roger Schaeli

In December 2016, professional alpinists Thomas Huber (GER), Stephan Siegrist (SUI) and Roger Schaeli (SUI) set out to climb one of the most legendary routes in the Alps. Huber, fascinated by the unique history of the line, immediately got Siegrist excited about the plan to climb the "Metanoia". Schaeli was also quickly convinced of the idea.

First attempt failed

The three professional climbers started their first attempt in the week before Christmas. Due to the weather, however, they had to break it off about 70 meters to the left of the central belt after their bivouac. A second attempt on December 28.12.16, 29.12.16 had to be briefly interrupted after a storm hit. On December 70, 30.12.16, Huber, Siegrist and Schaeli continued their second attempt to repeat the "Metanoia". They bivouacked again about XNUMX meters to the left of the central belt and continued the route the next day. On the evening of December XNUMXth, the three professional athletes reached the exit of the “Metanoia”. This enabled them to secure the first repetition of the route.

Legendary route from Jeff Lowe

"Metanoia" was committed by the exceptional American mountaineer Jeff Lowe in 1991 single-handedly in nine days. Among other things, Lowe is known for climbing a solo ascent of the south face of Ama Dablam in 1979. In 1978 he was also able to reach the highest point of Latok I to date. In addition, over 1000 first ascents worldwide are on his account. Lowe played a key role in the development of the first ice screw and cams and invented the globally applicable difficulty scale for ice and mixed routes. He brought the sport climbing championships to the USA and opened the famous Ouray Ice Park in Colorado, USA.
When Lowe, who was personally struck in 1991, wanted to solo a direct line through the north face of the Eiger, he wanted to pay tribute to the pioneers of extreme alpinism, who tackled the largest alpine walls with primitive equipment and technology, without bolts. Lowe says: “That's why I climbed without bolts. In the hope that "Metanoia" will become an example of what you can do without it. "

After nine days, Lowe arrives at the exit under the most adverse conditions. He braved storms and proved his ability and stamina. In the afflicted life of Jeff Lowe, this ascent was a kind of path to enlightenment. He got out of the north face of the Eiger with a completely new attitude towards life. He called his route “Metanoia”, which in Greek means “inner reversal, gaining a new worldview”. Says Lowe, ““ Metanoia ”has rewarded me with a deeper understanding of who I am and what life is like. As a result, I have become more compassionate and have a deeper connection to my family, friends, climbers, humanity, the planet and the universe. ”In his route, Lowe found his approach to life today, to face all challenges with courage and joy. He has not lost this to this day, although Lowe has suffered from a neurodegenerative disease for about 16 years that has confined him to a wheelchair.

Jeff Lowe is happy about the repetition

Jeff Lowe was delighted with the first repetition of his route: “Thomas Huber called me and told me that he, Roger Schaeli, and Stephan Siegrist had repeated the“ Metanoia ”. I am very happy and grateful that they found the route difficult, bold, very beautiful and visionary. That they confirm the quality of "Metanoia" is very gratifying and also makes me humble. The best thing is that Thomas understands what I wanted to show with the route. I wanted to create an example of how alpinists can progress in an environmentally friendly way that also honors the spirit of extreme alpinism. "

Metanoia set new standards in alpinism

Thomas Huber says about Lowe's ascent of the “Metanoia”: “He was alone, could only rely on himself and had never been in the wall before. After every tough passage that lay behind me, I put myself in his shoes. His fight went like a movie before my eyes: It is basically amazing what he achieved back then! ”Huber continues:“ With “Metanoia” Jeff had proven that impossible challenges can be mastered with the heart alone. With his ascent he set new standards in alpinism. This metanoia, the new view of the world and the attitude towards life, help Jeff today to face his serious illness with joy, courage and love. This attitude inspires me in my life and the three of us, Steff, Roger and I are grateful to have lived Metanoia. "

Stephan Siegrist is also impressed by Lowe's performance. He says: “Such a tour in such a wall alone with the equipment from back then! That only works in a life crisis. ”The“ Metanoia ”was a special tour for him too:“ Before I climbed the north face of the Eiger for the first time at the age of 20, Jeff Lowe had already completed this impressive tour. The spectacular ascent and the following media reports accompanied me with awe. "Climbing the route myself was special for Siegrist:" After 37 ascents and three first ascents on the Eiger north face, the "Metanoia" route was a crowning achievement. For me personally one of the highlights of my 37 ascents on the Eiger North Face. "

Roger Schaeli adds: “The“ Metanoia ”was my greatest adventure with the coolest team I was allowed to climb with on the Eiger north face! The route inspired me to look for more alpine challenges. My greatest respect goes to Jeff Lowe. The "Metanoia" is really really tough! "

Lowe climbed the "Metanoia" in 1991 without bolts. Huber, Siegrist and Schaeli set an 8mm bolt on a stand because the risk of a rope team crash was too great for them. On another pitch before the Hinterstoisser Quergang they used a 10mm bolt that had already been set. This was probably attached during the shooting of the documentary film "Metanoia".

Credits

Picture and text: www.rogerschaeli.ch

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