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Hansjörg Auer and Tobias Holzknecht making the first ascent of Gegenwind in the Ötztal, Austria
Photo by Lukas Ennemoser
Hansjörg Auer climbing in the Ötztal mountains: on the crux of Gegenwind
Photo by Lukas Ennemoser
Hansjörg Auer on the summit of Rofele Wand, Ötztal, after having climbed solo a new route up the Northwest Face
Photo by Hansjörg Auer archive
Hansjörg Auer and the line climbed solo up the Northwest Face of Rofele Wand, Ötztal
Photo by Hansjörg Auer archive

Hansjörg Auer climbs new ice in his Ötztal mountains

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This winter Austrian mountaineer Hansjörg Auer ascended three new ice climbs in the Ötztal valley and made a solo first ascent up Rofele Wand in the Ötztal Alps.

This winter's unprecedented conditions prompted Hansjörg Auer to climb three new routes in his backyard mountains in the Ötztal with various climbing partners, before making a solo first ascent up one of the highest peaks in this mountain chain, the Rofele Wand.

The first, climbed with Lukas Rimml, is called Sevlstauda (120m, WI5+/M4/A1) and ascended the righthand side of Nösslachwand via 4 pitches of thin climbing. "Sometimes you need to be in the right place at the right time, especially when the thin ice line is facing the sun." commented Auer, adding "The line was only climbable for one day."

The duo then teamed up to make the first ascent of Mammut Lex on the Elefantenwand. This climbs a tough line immediately to the right of Auer’s 2015 unrepeated Elfenbein and is described as being a "unique, little pearl."

While both these routes were climbed in a single day, Gegenwind above the village Aschbach proved a different proposition. Auer had attempted the line four years ago but, still convalescing a knee injury, they decided to bail. He returned this year with Alex Blümel and climbed the first two pitches before abbing off and returning a week later with Tobias Holzknecht to add the third and last pitch. "Gegenwind (90m, WI5+, M8) offers some great climbing protected by gear and some medium-quality pitons and bird beaks."

Auer would not be Auer if he didn’t venture into the mountains at least once on his own in winter and, true to form, on 27 February he set off for Rofele Wand (3354m) where he forged a possible new route up the 500m high NW Face. The 35-year-old mountain guide had planned to bivy en route but, finding great conditions, he pushed onwards to summit the mountain he'd already climbed during his 2017 winter traverse of the Ötztal Alps. "Adventurous, wild alpine face and a intense and long day out." was Auer's comment after his new line. "Can’t beat it!!"

All routes have been added to the brand new online guide to ice climbing in the Ötztal ice.oetztalclimbing.com

Link: FB Hansjörg AuerInstagram Hansjörg Auer,  www.hansjoerg-auer.atLa SportivaThe North FaceIntermatica

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