Berger Adds Rätikon Testpiece

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Photos by Hermann Erber (

Better known as an ice and mixed climber, Austria’s Harald Berger is also a master of Alpine mega-sport climbs. Now, after repeating some of the hardest long routes in Europe, he has redpointed his own testpiece on Switzerland’s legendary Rätikon. In late July, Berger led all six pitches of Antihydral (8b/5.13d), a route bolted more than a decade ago but never free-climbed. The pitches go at 5.12d, 5.13d, 5.12c, 5.12d, 5.12b, and 5.13c, with the final crux featuring a six-foot bulge with holds all pointing the wrong way. Climbs on the Rätikon’s overhanging wall of smooth limestone often require big runouts, and Antihydral is no exception. “Even if you’re not necessarily facing death, you have to think creatively [and] check out the moves to avoid doing spectacular whippers, especially if you won’t want to stress the belayer’s nerves too much in catching those whippers right at the anchor,” Berger wrote in an email. Antihydral takes a line just to the left of Beat Kammerlander’s six-pitch 5.13d Silbergeier, which Berger redpointed last summer. In doing so, he became only the second person after Stefan Glowacz to complete a trilogy of multipitch routes in the Alps: Silbergeier, The End of Silence (11 pitches, 5.13d, FA Thomas Huber), and Kaisers neue Kleider (9 pitches, 5.14a, FA Stefan Glowacz).

Photos by Hermann Erber ( on this story

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