Nils Favre from western Switzerland and Siebe Vanhee from Belgium manage to do the second and third repetitions of the most difficult multipitch climbing route in the Alpstein: Parzival (8b, 6SL, 150 meters).

It was a midsummer day with temperatures at which one would rather hop into the nearby mountain lake instead of climbing on a south-facing multi-pitch route. But that didn't stop the two professional climbers Nils Favre and Siebe Vanhee from trying the hardest route in the Alpstein, Parzival.

The conditions are catastrophic. It feels like we are climbing in southern Spain. But no matter, we give everything.

Sieve Vanhee after the first pitch of Parzival

Even in the first few lengths, the two of them sweat a lot. Not only because of the temperatures, but also because of the technical difficulties involved in climbing. Difficult standing on virtually non-existent steps followed by passages that drain the fingers are both challenging. And this although it is "only" about 7a + / 7b or 7b + lengths.

You have to get used to the type of climbing. The first pitches are peppered with friction depending footholds and tiny crimps.

Nils Favre
Nils Favre in the key point of the route Parzival an der Dreifaltigkeit.
Nils Favre in the key point of the route Parzival an der Dreifaltigkeit.

The day before, Nils Favre and Siebe Vanhee worked on the sequences of all the important pitches of Parzival for the first time. The next day they wanted to try to go for a redpoint ascent. With good reason. Siebe as well as Nils climbed the route Parzival until the end of the day redpoint.

Both climbed the difficult pitches in the lead and only climbed the easy lengths in the alternating lead. The Belgian Siebe Vanhee climbed the key length of the route with absolutely no mistakes and in the first attempt. Nils Favre from western Switzerland failed in the first attempt and had to struggle with pain in his left shoulder due to a very hard move in the crux.

After a long break, he gave a few more tries and was able to climb the crux and the entire pitch without falling.

Sieve Vanhee before trying the key length.
Sieve Vanhee before trying the key length.

The key length of Parzival is very morpho

The second and third ascent of the route on the Dreifaltigkeit was duly celebrated with a beer at the Rheintaler Samtis alpine farm and the difficulty rating of the route was discussed.

The pitches of Parzival at Dreifaltigkeit were rated by the first ascensionist Michi Wohllebenas well as by the person who opend the route like this:

  1. pitch: 7a + / 7b
  2. pitch: 7b +
  3. pitch: 7c +
  4. pitch: 8b
  5. pitch: 7c
  6. pitch: 7a +
The course of the climbing route Parzival on the western Trinity in the Alpstein. (Photo Frank Kretschmann)
The course of the Parzival climbing route on the western Trinity in the Alpstein. (Photo by Markus Hutter)

Nils Favre and Siebe Vanhee confirm most of the grades of the route. According to Nils and Siebe, however, the first pitch is more in the 7b range, possibly even 7b +. They slightly upgraded the first length. The two rate the third pitch, which runs over the roof, as 7c / 7c +. When it comes to the key length, the two can hardly decide.

The key length of Parzival is not easy to assess. I think the level of difficulty is in the range 8a + / b with the note "morpho".

Nils Favre

The difficulty of the fourth pitch depends heavily on the height of the climber. Larger climbers can cope with the move relatively easily - the difficulty in this case will be a soft 8a +. For medium-sized climbers, however, the grade is more like 8b. The conclusion of Nils Favre: "I think a rating of 8a + / b with the note" morpho "makes the most sense."

History of the Parzival route in Alpstein

The western Dreifaltigkeit was climbed as early as 1950. At that time still in the technical style. At the end of the 90s, Markus Hutter was attracted by the wall, who, with many years of commitment and with the support of friends, started bolting the route and finished it in 2008. The professional alpinist Michi Wohlleben got the first free ascent of the route in 2017 (LACRUX reported).

Michi Wohlleben and the first to climb the route, Markus Hutter, on the Rheintaler Samtis Alp. (Photo Frank Kretschmann)
Michi Wohlleben and the first to climb the route, Markus Hutter, on the Rheintaler Samtis Alp. (Photo Frank Kretschmann)

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Credits: Cover picture Siebe Vanhee

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