Jacopo Larcher, interview after Odyssee ascent

On Eiger with Barbara Zangerl, this and others wonderful realizations

18 September 2018

A first taste with Deep Blue Sea and Magic Mushroom and then a return with the magnificent second ascent of Odyssee. The mountain obviously can not be that the Eiger, the Swiss Orc whose name always arouses a mixture of fear and attraction, and they are the magic team formed by Jacopo Larcher and Barbara Zangerl. Last month, in fact, the two were measured with the Eiger and the legendary Nordwand, doing three good ascents, among which the second overall on the route of Roger Schaeli, Robert Jasper and Simon Gietl. In this interview Jacopo tells us what pushed them to try these routes and the wonders they found, some of them really unexpected. But as always the weather...

Hello Jacopo, how was the approach with the ogre in general?
Well, I have to admit that at first we were a little intimidated. Everyone knows the fame of the Eiger and so it is normal that we also felt some small fear but it was such a desire to compete with this mountain that when the opportunity was finally presented, we left convinced, without thinking about it too much.

Was it in the plans for some time then?
Well yes, it was a bit we thought but we gave space to something else before.

Compared to other climbs that you and Barbara have done, what was the most problematic aspect?
Surely the weather. Already in these places is very variable and moreover this summer there has hardly ever been a real window of good weather stable. To climb the routes in the central part it takes more days, it was therefore essential to be able to count on the good weather, which obviously there was not ...

How it was on Odyssee?
Eh, as the name implies, was an "odyssey". We only had four days available between the various work commitments of mine and Barbara and so we did not have much choice. We hardly even saw the weather because we could not choose when to go and as we said, we had too much desire to go and finally touch this rock.

So how did these four days go?
Overall good. We were still lucky with the weather because although it rained every day, we were never completely stopped. The downside is that we had to face some pitch that were completely soaked, even up to 7c-7c+. They were not easy at all. They were certainly the most challenging aspect.

Wet except what impression did Odyssee give you?
I was very impressed by two aspects. The first one was the rock quality, really spatial, I did not expect it. In some parts it seemed to be in Rätikon or Wenden so compact. Obviously there are also several friable. The first part is mainly protected by bolts while the second is a mix of spit, bolts and quick protections. The second thing that struck me is how overhang the route is. In the first part is always so and also in the second half, many pitch are overhang. Really a Queen route.

Have you adopted a particular "strategy"?
No, we did as always. We both went free, alternating. We both made the hard parts first.

But how did you decide who started on these first?
We make stone, paper and scissors and who loses goes...

What do you say about Deep Blue and Magic?
Then, Deep Blue Sea is a fairly short route, where you go down from the top and do it the same day, good to start off while Magic Mushroom is already more challenging. Here, however, it was particular to climb because the lower part is simpler but also more supported and therefore more exposed to discharges of stones. The upper part, on the other hand, is vertical and overhang a lot and although it is more demanding, it is safer.

Was Odyssee already in your plans right after these routes?
Yes, the initial plan foresaw after trying Odyssee precisely and Paciencia but, after the approach a storm broke out that made us bivouac for a day and then we decided to return home and try again ten days later.

Are you planning to come back?
Yes definitely. Paciencia remains a goal as well as trying to get on one of the longest and most complex route in the middle of the day. The Eiger is also not so far from home so it's fine.

On the other hand, what are you planning?
Soon I will have to go to Sardinia for a service while in October I plan to go back to Cadarese because I am trying a very challenging trad project and I would like to conclude. In mid-November we are thinking of returning to Yosemite. It's a bit 'in there with the season but we would like to find less people on the routes.

But to climb what exactly?
The first goal is the Nose. If it goes wrong for some reason, we have in mind also...

Interview Stefano Michelin

photo Paolo Sartori Photography / Paolosartophoto




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