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Benedikt Purner on pitch 3 of "Gorillas im Nebel" (120m, M10/WI6), Zillertal, Austria.
Photo by Klaus Kranebitter
The route topo of "Gorillas im Nebel" (120m, M10/WI6), Zillertal, Austria.
Photo by Klaus Kranebitter

Gorillas im Nebel, new mixed route in the Zillertal, Austria

18.02.2010 by Planetmountain

On 15 February Albert Leichtfried and Benedikt Purner carried out the first free ascent of "Gorillas im Nebel" (120m, M10/WI6) in the Zillertal, Austria.

Albert Leichtfried & Benedikt Purner have done it again. After teaming up for Moonwalk (WI6/M7, 1000m) and Centercourt (WI7+, 300m) and just before setting off for an ice climbing trip to Norway, the Austrians Albert Leichtfried & Benedikt Purner managed to sneak in an interesting first ascent in the Zillertal, "Gorillas im Nebel" (120m, M10/WI6).

The route in question is located close to Ginzling and the two made their way through thick fog on 10 February to establish the route, which they then freed in brilliant sunshine and perfect conditions five days later.

Purner explains: "the first ascent proved fairly exciting, the setting is awesome, wedged between the dark, mighty granite walls and the bizarre ice drips. It's a dreamline which, despite being mixed, is predominantly an ice climb. We managed to establish the first two pitches in 6 hours hard work. Our redpoint attempts ran smoothly: despite very cold temperatures I managed to send the super technical M8+ straight off. The difficulty here is a series on marginal hooks on a slab, while the overhanging sliver of ice - yes, this really does exist! - proved testing.

The second pitch is the most pumpy, but Albert had everything under control. The pitch is is well protected in the form of screws, cams, pegs and bolts but the super fragile ice in thin cracks requires full concentration. As it happens, the pitch is fairly overhanging and decidedly pumpy! Albert fought his way with jungle-like screams through the final meters first go, and this pitch checks in at around M10.

Shortly after the first belay you reach the tip of the drip which plummets down from the large roof, at least 20m in total. The third pitch was mine and I bridged wide to reach this massive drip with 80m of air beneath me. I treated the giant with reverence and respect, climbing it with velvet gloves. The sun came out from behind the clouds to form a perfect setting as I climbed past small roofs up the demanding drip. I reached the top a short while later, Albert followed and we shook hands before making the most spectacular abseil of my ice climbing career - absolutely crazy!"

Two days after their first ascent the conditions in the Zillertal changed dramatically: the warm Föhn wind has now set in, bringing temperatures up to +5°C and consequently Leichtfried strongly advises against climbing there.

GORILLAS IM NEBEL, ZILLERTAL

Gorillas im Nebel, Zillertal, Austria
First ascent:
Albert Leichtfried & Benedikt Purner, 10/02/2010, ground up
First RP: Albert Leichtfried & Benedikt Purner, 15/02/2010
Fantastic mixed climb with a high percentage of water ice
Height: 120m
Grade: M10/WI6
Getting there: Drive along the Zillertal past Mayrhofen and towards Ginzling. Park the car after Gasthof Karlsteg, between the two avalanche tunnels and shortly before reaching Ginzling.
Route: Solo to base of route WI3/10m. P1: M8+, 40m, 5 bolts & 3 pegs. P2: M10, 30m, 8 bolts & 1 peg. P3: WI6, 40m
Descent: Abalakov abseils (2 x 60m)
Gear: 12 quickdraws, Cams 0,4-3, short screws
Warning: the walk-in and descent area is extremely prone to avalanches

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