02 Oct Huber Brothers Free-Climb Trango Tower 6239m
During a four day period of good weather between 11th and 14th August Alexander and Thomas Huber managed the first RP ascent of the "Eternal Flame", a creation of the legendary german climbing team Güllich/Albert from 1989.
"Seven weeks of expedition in the Karakorum, Trango Group, on Nameless Tower and one of the most beautiful routes of the world: "Eternal Flame" – wrote the Hubers on their website – "Exactly twenty years ago Kurt Albert, Wolfgang Güllich, Milan Sykora and Christoph Stiegler climbed this juwel in that wild mountain range for the very first time. They’ve aided only four pitches, climbing approximately 80% of the route free and all that on compact, orange-coloured splitter-cracks with difficulties up to 5.12a. What a milestone for the alpine history! The names of Güllich and Albert, the pictures of the first ascent and their reports have made the "Eternal Flame" one of the most famous high alpine routes in the world. Soon this extraordinary route attracted climbers from all the world.
Already in 2003 French climber Denis Burdet free climbed two of the four aid pitches, with difficulties up to 5.13a. A big step was achieved, but: all the same, "Eternal Flame" had to wait for its first RP ascent, as the 10th pitch with its bolt ladders still hasn´t been freed. And also the pendulum of the second pitch was putting up a strong defence with four meters of featureless granite. Another small piece was added to the mosaic in 2005 when Spanish climber Iker Pou found a possible solution to the problem of the 10th pitch: he discovered a variation to the right of the bolt ladders. He could toprope all the moves with difficulties up to 5.13b, but., unfortunately, the bad weather prevented him from redpointing that pitch."
In 2009 it had been Huber’s turn.This is the report in their website
"The featureless granite at the traverse was exactly as it has been described to us: featureless. But there was another chance! From the beginning of the pendulum-traverse we climbed straight up along thin cracks for about thirty meters and then traversed left through almost vertical, but featured slabs into the crack-system of the "Eternal Flame".
And it worked! We named the two pitches "Come on Baby" and "Light my Fire" – with difficulties up to 5.12a.
Our target was the RP ascent, meaning we wanted to free climb as a team, swapping leads, without any falls, both on lead and as second, from belay to belay, pitch after pitch. Now came the new pitches, bypassing the pendulum of the original route. "Come on Baby", "Light my Fire", then another short crack-pitch, "Come Together", with which we joined the original route. And we continued climbing. Another three pitches, until we were finally stopped by the increase of melting water coming down the walls from above. That was a perfect start for us!
The next day: as a warm up we climbed up along the ropes, which we fixed on the day before. Then we went on, the first pitch being 5.11a, not hard, but "refined" with an icy glazing. "Eternal Burning", the 10th pitch, the key to success!
Here Iker Pou had discovered a free variation to the right. A slab traverse, a hard boulder problem, leads into a completely ice-covered crack. From 2 p.m. this frost crust would turn into a waterfall. Good idea, this variation, but only conditionally feasible…
Four meters further to the right we discover a trace of a crack, which after 20 meters leads us into the upper, dry part of the crack from the Pou-Variation. We named the first pitch "Wish you were here", and the second "Burn for you", both of them being 5.12d. Another, easier pitch, a perfect hand-jamming crack, was the perfect wind up for the second day of our journey through the route. Day 3: The first three pitches from a great ledge were posing no great problem. The best imaginable climbing, ideal jamming cracks, and then came the disenchantment. Finally we were able to climb it.
Day 4: Still two 5.11-cracks to go, then easy to the summit. There we were, all four of us: Mario, Franz, Alexander and I. Surrounded by all the giants of Karakoram standing, we were overwhelmed by the great adventure we’ve just experienced. It sounded like a rock song, written exactly twenty years ago by our great idols Wolfgang Güllich and Kurt Albert."
(None of the pitches were repeated due to the filming or photographing. All pictures and recordings were not "staged", but taken during the actual ascent.)
source and pictures: Huberbuam