August 29, 2015 – After spending most of the month attempting to free one 5.13 rock route up the north face of the Eiger in Switzerland, Sasha DiGiulian and Carlo Traversi completed a different one: Magic Mushroom, a 20-pitch 5.13a on the far right side of the wall. The two rappelled the route to check it out early on August 27 and then immediately began climbing, spending three days completing their free ascent.
Magic Mushroom was first climbed in 2007 by Roger Schäli and Christoph Hainz, climbing all but a couple of pitches free. The 600-meter route, which tops out on a mushroom-shaped pinnacle by the west ridge, about halfway up the north face, was free-climbed in 2009 by Stephan Siegrist and Ralf Weber at 7c+ (5.13a). The first half of the climb is mostly 5.9 to easy 5.11, while the upper half contains about six 5.12 or harder pitches. The route is largely protected with fixed pitons and bolts, but has some substantial runouts.
It’s not yet known if both climbers freed the entire route. No American is known to have free-climbed Magic Mushroom before, and DiGiulian almost certainly is the first woman to do it. The first woman to free one of the Eiger’s hard, bolt-protected rock climbs was Ines Papert, who redpointed Symphonie de Liberté (25 pitches, 5.13b) in a single day in 2003, climbing with Hans Lochner. The original 1938 route on the north face of the Eiger (a much longer mixed climb) was first climbed by a woman in 1964.
DiGiulian and Traversi had hoped to climb Paciencia (23 pitches, 5.13b, Siegrist-Steck), a longer and harder route than Magic Mushroom. However, continuous poor weather on the Eiger limited their opportunities to work on the route and eventually prompted them to switch to Magic Mushroom. Below, DiGiulian works on Paciencia on the Eiger’s north face during typically poor weather.