Roger Schäli and Simon Wahli traveled to the big-wall paradise Yosemite Valley for almost seven weeks. The aim of the two was to prepare for an upcoming Patagonia trip. What started promising was the 13. November 2017 a sudden end: Simon Wahli crashed in the route freeriders in the lead 20 meters on a ledge and injured heavily.

Yosemite is the big-wall area par excellence that every climber wants to visit once in a lifetime. For Roger Schäli Simon Wahli wanted more: they wanted to climb as many routes as possible to prepare for an upcoming Patagonia trip. Her target was the Fitz Roy Traverse.

Numerous long day tours climbed

During the stay in the California area, the two routes climbed like Lurking fear and the Triple Direct at El Cap, the Regular Route at Halfdome or rostrum with the Alien Roof. Roger and Simon focused on day trips, as the autumn days are known to be rather short. On the 13. November, the duo took the route Freerider in attack and came quickly forward until it came to the crash of Simon Wahli.

Roger Schäli and Simon Wahli in the Yosemite Valley - Here in the Alien Roof of the Route Rostrum
Roger Schäli and Simon Wahli in Yosemite Valley - Here in the Alien Roof of the Rostrum route. (Image: Frank Kretschmann)

20 meter fall on rock band

“Simon climbed in the lead, still without any intermediate belay. Then suddenly his foot slipped and he fell 20 meters on a ledge, ”explains Roger Schäli on the phone. The following scenes were dramatic. Roger contacted the 4 operator. Poor reception and correspondingly poor acoustics made communication difficult for Roger. Roger then contacted climbers Hazel Findlay and John Baker at Camp XNUMX and called Alex Honnold at. At some point a ranger contacted Roger and told him that there were no helicopters available at this time of year. “While I was desperately trying to organize the rescue, Simon suffered from severe pain. That was very stressful for me, ”Roger told LACRUX. It took a total of three and a half hours for a helicopter with a rescue team to reach Roger and Simon.

Chaotic conditions in the hospital

When the doctors arrived at the hospital, the first x-rays did not detect any back injuries. “After the first consultation, we waited a full 24 hours before we got a response. That was awesome, ”says Roger, clearly irritated about the care in the local hospital. A re-examination then led to an operation that fixed and braced Simon's back. Back in Switzerland, Simon had to undergo another operation. “If everything goes well, Simon should recover from the accident relatively well. It is clear that three vertebrae remain stiffened, ”explains Roger. We wish Simon a good recovery and lots of strength!

Roger Schäli in the Endurance Corner of the Astroman route
Roger Schäli in the Endurance Corner of the Astroman route


Credits: picture Frank Kretschmann

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