Three friends on the Silberhorn: from the diary of a Prague alpinist about the first ascent of the Silberhorn in the Jungfrau massif
Between 29. 7. and 6. 8. 2021, a team of young alpinists with material support from Singing Rock, consisting of Jáchym Srb, Matěj Svojtka, Ondřej Tůma, with bellies full of oat flakes, made the first ascent of the route, which they called "Oat Flake Madness" and proposed difficulty 7c+.
The route leads in the right part of the Rotbratt wall, which is located on the western face of the Jungfrau massif below the Silberhorn summit at an altitude of about 3000m. There are two other routes in this wall besides this first ascent, 1) Fatse und Bitse - older, author unknown (to us), difficulty perhaps 7a+ and 2) Silberrücken by Roger Schaellli and Stephan Siegrist from 2019, difficulty RP 8a/8a+. There are also two projects by the same duo of local climbers leading from both sides of the Silberrucken route and countless other directions free for first ascents.
The boys climbed the wall from the bottom, i.e. in the spirit of the Czech sandstone climbing rules. The bolts were set either from the climbing position or using a skyhook. The distance between the bolts are similar to those in Labak. The quality of the rock varies, but overall the wall resembles an Oreo cookie in the places where our route leads: grey and hard at the bottom, white gunk in the middle, grey and hard again at the top. All of the belay stations are drilled in two bolts, and the vast majority of the protection is also drilled - the nature of the rock makes it almost impossible to add your own pro. Due to the weather and thus time pressure the boys did not manage to RP the climb, so here is just an estimate of the difficulty of the individual lengths: 4, 7a+, 6c, 7a, 7c+, 7c, 7b+, 6 with a total length of about 270 m.
Here is an excerpt from the diary of one of the protagonists:
Saturday (31. 7. 2021)
We're up early, the goal is to make the decisive strike. This morning's starting shelf is barely 50 m above cloud level, our toes are bathed in white foam, and the ridge of Rotbratthoren rises out of the white sea like the fortress of Ife on that stormy evening when Edmond Dantes finally managed to escape. M and I flee upwards, our jumars pulsing with such vigour that white steam begins to rise from the soaked ropes too. We replenish our strength on the belay station, perhaps even a piece of chocolate - history will never know for sure – whereupon M goes into battle. He fights hard and pushes us two more boltss. Then he declares that we've probably reached the end, as the rock resembles a quarry and M is tired of living in constant tension as he bounces off the wall with a brick of limestone in his hand. A peculiar disrespect for minerals from the son of a geologist. Since I'm not yet willing to declare the final one (after all, I've barely climbed in!), I now nominate myself for the sharp end of the rope…
To read the full article about this first ascent, visit Montana website (Czech only)
This year the trio will definitely attempt a free climb, so we can look forward to another batch of entries from the diary of the Prague alpinist.
Text: Jáchym Srb
Photo: Matěj Svojtka, Jáchym Srb