Silvia Vidal: 32 Days on a Big Wall

4/24/12 – Silvia Vidal, a notable big wall soloist, spent 32 days on the Serranía Avalancha in Patagonia, Chile, to establish the 1,300-meter Espiadimonis (A4 5.10c). During the 32 days, Vidal did not descend and had no contact with the outside world.

During that month, Vidal spent 16 days in her portaledge, unable to climb or move because of the persisting rains. At times, the rain transformed the wall, a natural funnel, into a waterfall. “During these periods,” says Vidal, “I had frequent doubts about whether I could get to the top of the wall, or if it would be possible to descend.”

On the approach, Vidal crossed a lake in an inflatable boat, and then had to find her way through a forest with a machete before crossing two rivers. There is already a route on the wall itself, but Vidal’s is the first to reach the virgin summit.

After reaching the summit, Vidal spent a week carrying her five 80-pound haulbags back down. The constant rain had made the two rivers impassable, and Vidal had to wait four days before she could cross.

Climbing for so long, so isolated, is not something many climbers can handle. “The climbing was less important than the experience of being alone on a remote wall,” said Vidal, “often trapped by the weather.”

In July 2007, Vidal spent 21 days establishing Life is Lilac (A4/6a, 870 meters) on the northeast pillar of the Shipton Spire (5,885 meters) in Pakistan. Vidal did not reach the summit, though, as it involved difficult mixed/ice climbing not ideal for a solo climber.

Some of Vidal’s other notable first ascents include Entre Boires (A3/6a+) on the East Face of Huascaran North in Cordillera Blanca, Peru; Tramuntana (A4+/7a+) in Majorca in 1998; and Sargantana (VI A4 5.9, 560 meters) on the Porcelain Wall, Half Dome, Yosemite, in 1997.

Dates of ascent: February 8 to March 10, 2012

Source: Silvia Vidal