Hansjörg Auer, Bayerischer Traum free solo
Hansjörg Auer has made a free solo of Bayerischer Traum (400m, 7a+) on the Schüsselkarspitze, Wettersteingebirge, Austria.
Last week Austrian climber Hansjörg Auer stepped onto what he describes as the borderline between passion and sanity by making what is most likely to be the first solo ascent of Bayerischer Traum on the South Face of the Schüsselkarspitze in Austria's Wettersteingebirge. First ascended by Josef Heinl and Albert Gilgenreiner in 1980, the popular 400m line presents difficulties up to VIII- (7a+) and is regarded as a classic in the area.
Auer had ascended the Bavarian dream in 2002 but failed to free it at the time and after having climbed nearby 'Hexentanz der Nerven' last Saturday he decided that the perfect moment had come. He returned alone, bivied, abseiled down the route the next morning to check out crux sequences for four hours, then climbed the line in an intense push After one hour I topped out, screamed to signalise the end of my concentration, walked a little bit around and sat down and left my thoughts drifting. I climbed down the West Ridge, packed my stuff and walked down silently.
Auer knows the South Face of the Schüsselkarspitze well: in 2009 he had made the first free ascent of Vogelfrei, while in 2007 he had repeated With or without you (Daniel Gebel 01/07/2006, 8a+/8b)and soloed the classic Kurt Albert / Wolfgang Güllich multi-pitch Locker vom Hocker (VIII-, 250m, 1981). This latest ascent, while perhaps not historically relevant for alpinism as a greater whole is nevertheless an interesting ascent for this region. We checked in to find out more.
An ascent, out of the blue...
Yes. I thought that my period of free solos was over, but then all of a sudden it happened: last Saturday i was abseiling off a route on the Schlusselkarspitze while sharing a belay with Bayerischer Traum I looked up and thought "OK, this would be cool to solo". Thoughts like this come very rarely because so many different factors need to fit into place to create a perfect moment, not just internal factors concerning myself but also external factors such as the state of the route, the weather, etc.
How do you rate Bayerischer Traum?
For me personally this is important. I've soloed 4 other routes after pre-inspecting them by abseil - La via attraverso il Pesce on Marmolada, Locker vom Hocker on Schüsselkarspitze and two other easier lines a while back, and as an global experience, I'd rate Bayerischer Traum as easier than Il Pesce but harder than Locker vom Hocker. This may surprise some people, perhaps because Bayerischer Traum is repeated more often and is therefore generally viewed as easier, but I think this is only because the pro is far better on this route compared to Locker vom Hocker. Free solo though it's obviously a completely different experience.
Yes, and I'd like to underline that for me soloing certainly hasn't become a routine. I believe though that I can filter and identify the right moment pretty well and I've often turned back in the past because things didn't feel right for example. To tell the truth, a perfect moment like this hadn't appeared for 4 years but it was there all of a sudden. And when I climbed the route everything felt ideal, there was no hesitation, I never considered turning back. I rate it as something very special and definitely not a game that I take lightly.
You were unsure whether to talk about this latest ascent
I often have a hard time explaining myself, of getting people to understand my inner drive. The day after the ascent I put pen to paper and worked it all through, got to grips with what I had done and then realised that it was something important for me on a personal level. The solo might not be historically relevant for alpinism as a greater whole, but nevertheless for climbing in this region it's a interesting ascent.
What do you need for a route like this?
Well, first of all you need to be selfish. I believe alpinism and selfishness go hand-in-hand and you need to be truly selfish to do some things, like ascend an 8000er if you've got a kids back at home. Or climb a route like this solo. There are no two ways about it, unfortunately that's the way it is. And you also need total focus to excel in all spheres. I'm sure when he gets to the crag Adam Ondra is 100% focused on the routes he wants to send. And so is Kilian Fischhuber when he enters a competition: he sees only the boulder problems, visualises the moves, nothing else. I'm similar when on my free solo. I blur out all the rest. The experience is intense and totalising.