On 09/09/2021 Guido Unterwurzacher and Simon Berger made the first repeat of Firewall, an 8b multipitch on Feuerhorn to the right of the famous End of Silence, established in 2003 by Alexander and Thomas Huber .
It was back in 2003 when a totally fascinated Alex Huber told me about his current project with his brother Thomas on the Feuerhorn. It’s pretty wild and demanding he said, and the hardest pitches are at the very top of the wall. Two steep 8b’s. Bold, wild and demanding, Firewall sounded really interesting, even back then.
Fast forward to 2020. My good friend Simon Berger and I were looking for a cool multi-pitch project to keep us busy in summer. While the famous neighbour End of Silence gets a lot of attention, Firewall had not yet been repeated. Good enough reason to give it a go! On our first 2 sessions we checked out the upper crux pitches; we were stoked right from the start, but also fascinated by how much commitment and skill you need to have in order to make a first ascent like this one on such a steep wall. Again, hats/helmets off to Alex and Thomas! Unfortunately the 2020 season ended pretty early due to snowfall and wet conditions, but we knew we wanted to come back as soon as possible.
We returned in 2021 and checked out the crux pitches once again. It felt so much better than the previous year, and we were really motivated to give it a proper try. On our second visit, the wall was soaking wet so we decided to check the dry sections again. On our 3rd visit, we got close to sending it, but as soon as the sun came around the corner it was too hot to give the first 8b a second redpoint burn. The approaching thunderstorm made the decision to rappel even easier.
After this, the rest of the summer was more or less catastrophic, continuous rain and really bad conditions, and so we were forced to postpone the project again, because we thought the first crux pitch wouldn’t dry out anymore. We both have jobs and 2 kids and the older you get, the more it seems like time ticks much faster; we’d have to make use of every possible weather window.
Day 4 was a bouldering session again, due to the wet sections. We were pretty frustrated at this point, because we thought that the first 8b wouldn’t dry out anymore this season, either! When we abseiled in we met Simons younger brother Clemens Berger and his friend Jakob on the neighbour End of Silence . Clemi had been working the route for 5 days and managed to send it that day! How cool!
On our fifth day on Feuerhorn, the whole wall was dry. Finally. We started climbing at 9:00 and reached the ledge under the crux pitches at 12:00. We had swung leads on the lower section of the wall, where some demanding pitches up to 7a+ have to be climbed, without being overprotected ;-)
At the ledge we both felt strong. Simon checked out the first 8b, all holds were dry. I sent it first try and was super happy. Now the pressure was on Simon, but he kept his cool and also did it right away. We took a 45 minute rest in our hammock and then jumared back up to the next steep 8b pitch.
Simon had already done that pitch twice, and on that day he climbed it in great style, first try. I lowered him back tothe belay. Now it was my turn, and somehow I also managed to climb that crazy pitch straight off! The last pitch, grade 5, was nothing but pure joy and on the summit we lay in the grass for an hour, incredibly happy and thankful for such a great day on such an intense climb!
Firewall offers supreme climbing on perfect limestone, it’s one oft he proudest lines I know. Furthermore, it’s really challenging in terms of protection, you have to climb far from the bolts, not only on relatively easy terrain bu also on the crux pitches. Our biggest respect goes out to our friends Alex and Thomas Huber, who created yet another masterpiece for all of those who love challenging alpine outings. We completely confirm their suggested grades and wish all those wishing to repeat the line a sensational time, on a sensational route.
Firewall 7a, 6c+, 6a+, 6a, 6a+, 3, 7b, 7a, 7a+, 8b, 8b, 5
First Ascent: Alexander Huber, Thomas Huber 2003
1st repeat: Guido Unterwurzacher, Simon Berger 09/09/2021