Climbing Schleierwasserfall in Austria
Alexander Huber has soloed a 70-foot 8b+ (5.14a) at his favorite crag, Schleierwasserfall in Austria. Huber climbed The Communist early on the morning of April 20. He had hoped to be completely alone for the ascent, but after he warmed up and did some bouldering a hiker arrived. Huber drafted the hiker to hold his videocamera, not telling the unwitting cameraman what he was about to film.
In cool, dry conditions, Huber started climbing about 9 a.m. He chalked once at about 25 feet, then entered the 15-foot crux section about 35 feet above the boulders at the base. “The long, reachy moves demand powerful climbing and don’t give me any chance to think about what I am doing,” Huber said. After a quick rest above the crux, he finished the rest of the climb at 5.12d.
Huber, 36, called his 5.14 solo a "search for my limits" and said he had found them on The Communist. "After [my] free solo ascent of The Opportunist [5.13d, also at Schleier, in 2003], I knew that I hadn’t been coming close to my limits yet. On the other side, I am aware that the time is limited. With every year it gets harder to hold a high level in sport climbing. And, in fact, my level is not much higher anymore than the grade of The Communist—even after a time of intense training on the route, I couldn’t do The Communist all the time. But after many free solo ascents I know how my mind and my body works while free soloing.