Michael Wohlleben, interview after Parzival ascent - Up-Climbing

Michael Wohlleben, interview after Parzival ascent

Recentley, German alpinist did the first free ascent of Parzival, a wondeful route on Westliche Dreifaltigkeit. This will be probably the best performance of Michi cause for his admission, “is not a strong a super strong climber”. In every case, he is albe to climb hard route like do mountaineering and he i salso a good trail runner. A real moutain lover at 360°.

Good work Michi! When and why you decide to find free this route? Please, tell us something about the history of your decision.
I moved last year from Germany to the northern Switzerland (into the mountains where also this route is). Once I approached another climbing route I saw this face and I wanted to climb there and then I heard of the Route “PARZIVAL” which wasn’t free climbed yet. So I went there and tried it already last year in beginning of November but then I overstretched a tendon in training and couldn’t keep on trying.

Technically, which was you approach to resolve all pitches?
I have already quite an experience with making first free ascents (“Gehts noch Doc”8a/250m, Antro.Po.Cene”8a,500m Taghia Valley Marrocco, “Hystrix”8a,250m Sicily (by Matteo Giglio). So I know a bit what it is about to climb sth. where the people think sometimes its impossible.
I heard that f.ex. Silvan Schüppbach tried it and he also climbs 8c also other people tried it but I saw the face and the topo. If the 4. pitch is the most difficult and all people went there climbing the three difficult pitches below they are tired at the crux boulder problem, especially skin and feeds is tired after 3 slab climbing pitches in this sharp rock. So I asked the first ascentionist to go from the top. And like that I could make the boulder problem after 2-3 hours trying (with bloody fingers). Once I can climb the moves its only a question how economically I can climb the lower 3 pitches.

Describe the route. Which portections are there? Where is or are the crux?
The route is really great. the first two pitches are really slabby maybe 80-85° but 7b-7c. Then there comes the roof, which is unlikely often wet, with a boulder in the beginning and a great vertical slab for the last 20m it was always my most loved pitch of the route, Then comes the crux. 4 meters after the belay comes the boulerproblem a 4m sequence with really shitty holds but even more shitty footholds…then its easy
again (maybe 7a) and in the end comes another 5move boulder problem very technical on bad footholds and sharp crimps.
After that comes a challenging 7c, its not as technical but a bit pumpy and sharp. The last 7a+ is easy. All the pitches are well protected sometimes you have to climb from the bolts away. But i think not dangerous.

There are other routes like Parzival for style you climbed?
I like the kind of technical climbing. “Hystrix”in Sicily where I also did the FFA is a bit similar but not as technical. And Also “Gehts noch Doc” in Bavaria is a little bit similar.

Do you think that there are many interesting other routes to climbing free in the Alps?
Honestly I’m not a super strong rock climber, I’m more an alpinist, mountain guide, allrounder. So for me probably not so many routes to free anymore, one big goal for me would be to free climb “Silbergeier”
but not this and also not next year :-). I think in general there a some lines left, but its always difficult to find them and then sometimes they are made too difficult…

Can you have other projects yet?
I have something in mind (not climbing, more mountaineering) but now its summer season and guiding season, so I’m more motivated for mountains and running 🙂

Interview Stefano Michelin