Multi-Pitch 5.14 Action in the Alps

By Dougald MacDonald ,

The End of Silence on the north face of the Feuerhorn in Germany. The crux headwall pitches go at 5.12c, 5.13a, 5.12b, 5.13d, 5.14a, 5.12d, and 5.12a. Courtesy of

Jiri Lautna Lautner follows the 5.11 second pitch of The End of Silence (5.14a, 11 pitches) in Germany. Photo by Ondra Benes, courtesy of

Czech climber Ondra Benes has completed a rare redpoint of TheEnd of Silence (5.14a, 11 pitches), the Thomas Huber route in Germany that is still considered one of the hardest multipitch rock climbs in the Alps, 14 years after Huber first did it. The route’s crux comes on the ninth pitch, immediately following a 5.13d lead.

This was the second route of the so-called Alpine Trilogy climbed by Benes, who did Beat Kammerlander’s six-pitch Silbergeier (5.14a) in Switzerland in 2006. Only two climbers, Stefan Glowacz and the late Harald Berger, have climbed all three routes in the trilogy, which also includes Glowacz’s route Des Kaisers neue Kleider (5.14a, 9 pitches) in Austria.

In an interview after his ascent of Silbergeier, Benes said the trilogy was “a commercial thing. And it is not even the most difficult choice. It is only considered to be.”

Indeed, though the trilogy represented the state of the art in the 1990s—and retains its stature because of the routes’ history and beauty—numerous multipitch 5.14s have been established in Europe since then, including Beat Kammerlander’s WoGü (5.14b, 7 pitches, repeated this summer by the Czech climber Adam Ondra); the Pou brothers’ Zunbeltz (5.14a, 5 pitches) in Spain; and Alexander Huber’s Bellavista (5.14b) and Pan Aroma (5.14b) in the Dolomites of Italy.

Alexander Huber has recently redpointed Feuertaufe in the Tyrolean Alps. The pitches go approximately 5.12+, 5.14a/b, 5.13, 5.10+, 5.12, 5.13, 5.13. Courtesy of

This summer, Alex Huber redpointed two more multipitch 5.14 routes in the Tyrolean Alps: Sansara (5.14a/b, 7 pitches) and Feuertaufe (5.14a/b, 8 pitches). Feuertaufe has three solid 5.13 pitches above the crux second pitch, along with frightening run-outs: The crux moves on the second lead start about 13 feet above a bolt, and failure may result in a 40-foot fall.

Dates of Ascents: July-August 2008,,,

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