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TOPIC: Roger Schäli free climbs north face of Arwa Spire in Garhwal Himalayas

Roger Schäli free climbs north face of Arwa Spire in Garhwal Himalayas 7 years, 5 months ago #238

Making his third visit to the Arwa Valley, Swiss Roger Schäli has made the first free ascent of his own route on the north face of the Arwa Spire (6,193m), a spectacular triple-summited rock and ice monolith in the Indian Himalaya. The Arwa Valley lies in the Western Garhwal, north of the holy Hindu temple of Badrinath.

It was a visit in the late 1990s by Indian Himalaya guru Harish Kapadia, who brought back stunning photos of the Arwa Tower and Spire, that first attracted a certain Mick Fowler. With Kenton Cool, Crag Jones and Stephen Sustad he gained permission to climb in the valley during the spring of 1999. Fowler and Sustad were successful on the higher Arwa Tower (6,352m), climbing it by the 1,000m northwest face at British 5b, A3 and Scottish V/VI.

Young Swiss guides Stephan Harvey, Bruno Hasler and Roger Schäli arrived in the valley, with the aim of putting up a new route or two on the unclimbed north face of the Spire. The three first attempted the prominent north couloir of the unclimbed Central Summit, fixed some rope, and then set off with a portaledge. Moving out right from the top of the couloir, they found the rock too cold and snowy to free climb in rock shoes, so aided four pitches to reach easier ground and the summit, which they felt was probably the highest of the three.

They celebrated their success with the Italian Grappa, Fior di Vite, which became the name of the route. The difficulties were rated at 80° VI+ and A2, and the line 800m in length. They then turned their attention to the unclimbed West Summit and made a classic siege ascent, initially by the north couloir (attempted in 2000 by Powell and Wills) and then the barrel-shaped rock buttress to the right. They took seven days to reach the summit via Capisco (A3 and M6+). Later, these ascents were nominated for the Piolet d'Or.

This autumn Gietl and Schäli were back, now accompanied by experienced climber and cameraman Frank Kretschmann and guide Andrea di Donato. Conditions were better, though it proved a cruel fight against freezing fingers, and cold feet in rock shoes. Placing solid natural gear was often very difficult. But the 800m route was free climbed, to the summit, by Gietl and Schäli at 90° M6 and 7a.

Read more at- www.thebmc.co.uk/roger-schli-free-climbs...h-face-of-arwa-spire

Re: Roger Schäli free climbs north face of Arwa Spire in Garhwal Himalayas 7 years, 5 months ago #240

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