Wiz Fineron has made the first British ascent of the famous 240m 8b+ multipitch route Silbergeier in the Ratikon area of Switzerland.
Wiz, originally from Wales, moved to New Zealand a few years ago where he turned from talented and enthusiastic youngster to full blown hardcore climber.
He's currently on an extended trip back to Europe, which included some UK trad, an 8c+ in Spain, and now an alpine sport climb of 8b+.
Calum 'Indian Face' Muskett, who partnered Wiz on the route, told UKC:
"Wiz red-pointed Silbergeier the day before yesterday (25th June) in sub-optimal weather. We awoke to freezing cold temperatures and walked in to give Silbergeier a shot reaching the base at about 8.30am. I'd resigned myself to being belayer and second as Wiz was looking so strong on the route over the previous few days.
Wiz cruised the first couple of pitches and led the third, 8a+, pitch just before the rain hit. We climbed quickly to a small cave and sheltered for a couple of hours waiting for the rain to stop and things to dry up again. Unfortunately a thick clag had moved in and when Wiz red-pointed the fifth and hardest pitch it had actually begun to rain lightly!
The final 7c+ pitch was not without drama as it had a large wet streak running down the initial section which would leave you with wet feet for the crux but that didn't phase Wiz. It was a brilliant effort by Wiz - he didn't fall on any of the pitches and it was cold enough that I could rarely feel my fingers when seconding!"
Whilst this route has had quite a few repeats, it remains a very hard challenge, as the style is 'old skool' - thin and technical face climbing on tiny holds and although it is bolted, the run-outs are large, and at least one of the pitches of the route is considered dangerous. Wiz's ascent is the first for a Brit and caps off a fantastic year for the young climber.
There are many multipitch limestone routes throughout the alps in areas such as the Ratikon and the Wendenstock that are renowned for their boldness and difficulty. Silbergeier is one of the most famous, and was first climbed by Beat Kammerlander back in the early 1990's. It has its first female ascent at the hands of local climber Nina Caprez just a few years back. Her ascent, together with her boyfriend Cedric Lachat, was captured on camera by Baraka Films and has become an internet hit - check it out at the base of this article, we love it.
Related Video: Nina Caprez and Cedric Lachat on Silbergeier: