Zahir 8b+ on the Wendenstöcke repeated by Iker and Eneko Pou
Iker and Eneko Pou from Spain have repeated Zahir 8b+ on the Wendenstöcke, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
The Spanish Pou brothers have terminated their summer alpine raid with a repeat of Zahir 8b+ up the the massive Wendenstöcke in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. Iker and Eneko worked the route for 4 days, spread out over a period of 20 due to poor weather, before their successful redpoint on 7 September.
The Basque brothers opted for the original version of the crux pitch established by Iwan Wolf and Gunter Habersatter in 2004, rather than the extended version freed by Jörg Andreas and Felix Neumärker in 2009, as the no-hands rest at the end of the original pitch was dripping wet rendering the full link nigh impossible. While the two swung leads on the easy pitches, Iker took over on the 8a+ and successive crux 8b+. Sitting out the bad weather obviously paid off, as the two reached the top without a single fall.
With this ascent Iker and Eneko round off an intense summer during which they also repeated two other emblematic routes in the Alps, Manolo's Solo per vecchi guerrieri on the N Face of El Colaz in the Vette Feltrine (Dolomites) and Alexander Huber's "Pan Aroma" 8c on the North Face of Cima Ovest di Lavaredo, Dolomites. To this collection of alpine classics one must also remember their first ascent of Orbayu 8c+/9a on Naranjo de Bulnes in September 2009 and Iker's repeat of Beat Kammerlander's Silbergeier back in 2002.
Iker explained "It's really important to try other people's routes, away from home, so that you can compare and comprehend what has been achieved. Seeing the weather in the Alps this summer, we consider ourselves very lucky indeed. We climbed three hard routes, perhaps we could have climbed some more, but it was important for us not only to send the route, but also to spend some time with those who established them. We met up with Manolo at his house in the Dolomites, travelled to Germany and talked to Alexander Huber and after Zahir we drove to Austria and met up with Beat Kammerlander again and talked about the the various styles of first ascents, bolts, pegs, the different protection, the different climbing philosophies. This was important for us to understand and in many respects this has been the best summer in our career."