Caprez Makes First Female Ascent of Famous 5.14a

Nina Caprez on Silbergeier. Photo by Stefan Schlumpf

Nina Caprez on Silbergeier. Photo by Stefan Schlumpf

7/7/11 - Swiss climber Nina Caprez has made the first female ascent of Silbergeier, a 240-meter, six-pitch, 5.14a beast on the IV Kirchlispitze in the Rätikon mountain range, Swiss Alps. A testpiece known for its technical moves and long runouts, Caprez sent on July 2 after waiting out cold and wet conditions.

According to her blog, she wasn't planning on a redpoint that day, aiming only to show the beta to local climber Günter Habersatter: "I was climbing with no hope for an attempt, since the last pitch still looked wet," she says. But she "climbed without pressure, with a free and open mind, laughing when snowflakes started to fall onto the holds. This was great for my psyche," she says. With that mindset, the opening 5.13d pitch felt like a "7a [5.11d] warm-up, my feet were glued to the footholds, my fingers were frozen onto the rock, [and] the 8b+ [5.14a] and the terrible 7c+ [5.13a] were also a perfect send."

This line has seen repeats by such climbers as Pietro dal Pra (1999) and Adam Ondra, who made the route's first one-day ascent in 2007.

Austrians Beat and Conny Kammerlander established Silbergeier, making its first ascent in 1993 and freeing the route a year later. The line is considered part of the "Alpine trilogy," along with The End of Silence (5.14a, Feuerhorn, Berchtesgaden) and Des Kaisers neue Kleider (5.14a, Wilder Kaiser, Austria).

See an interview with Caprez at

Date of ascent: July 2, 2011