During a four day period of good weather between 11th and 14th of August, Alexander and Thomas Huber managed the first RP ascent of the »Eternal Flame«, a legacy of the legendary German climbing team Güllich/ Albert from 1989.
This route runs with an impressive line through the South Buttress of Nameless Tower (6251m) amidst the Granite Mountains of Trango Group in the Karakoram. Its first ascenders could climb large parts of the route free. However, four pitches proved too difficult to complete the RP ascent. Climbing difficulties up to 5.12a at 6000 metres was a true pioneering achievement back then.
In the years that followed, climbers from all over the world tried to ?free? the »Eternal Flame«. In 2003, Denis Burdet from Switzerland free climbed two of the four aid pitches, with
difficulties up to 5.13a. In 2005, Spanish climber Iker Pou found a possible solution to the problem of the 10th pitch: he discovered a variation to the right of the bolt ladders, but unfortunately, bad weather conditions prevented him from redpointing that pitch.
This summer, Thomas and Alexander Huber were so fortunate to have both, perfect conditions on the wall as well as a perfectly timed patch of good weather, which enabled them to make the first free ascent.
After they had investigated the first four pitches of the route and discovered a variation to the second pitch?s pendulum, the Huber brothers had to wait a few days for better weather conditions. Within four days they managed to redpoint the 24 pitches back to back ? with difficulties up to 5.13a at an altitude of 6000 meters!
?I take my hat off to the achievement and free climbing instinct of the first ascenders. This route is a true enrichment for
mountaineering?, says Alexander Huber. ?With »Eternal Flame«Kurt Albert and Wolfgang Güllich have passed on the best and most beautiful free climb on the globe. We are thrilled that we could play a little part in developing this route!?
Photo 1: The West Face of Nameless Tower. Eternal Flame runs up the right skyline of the tower, which is actually its south buttress.
Photo 2: Wish you were here?. Alexander climbing the first of the two pitches, with which the bolt-ladder of the original line could get bypassed (5.12d)
Photo 3: ?We were 6251m above sea level.? As proof Thomas Huber presents his Suunto Core watch, which measured the data of the entire RP ascent and recorded a log file of the whole climb. The barometer function enabled the brothers to keep tabs on changing air pressure and possible changes in the weather.