Simon Gietl and Patrick Seiwald climb new mixed route “Räuber Hotzenplotz”
South Tyrolean climber Simon Gietl has added to his impressive list of first ascents. On 26 December 2018, the professional climber and his partner in crime Patrick Seiwald opened a new and highly recommended mixed route in Tauferer Ahrntal in South Tyrol. They climbed “Räuber Hotzenplotz, which is near the “Kofler zwischen den Wänden” waterfall, bolt free. The new rock and ice route is graded M9 Wi5.
After spying the attractive mixed line in 2009, Simon and Patrick decided to attempt the route, climbing with ice screws and traditional protection only. Difficulties in the third and steeply overhanging fourth and final pitch prevented them from finishing. Subsequently, the team decided to abseil off. Over the following winters, Simon says: “We passed the overhanging wall on numerous occasions and each time we looked up at the line we started to open in 2009. However, the conditions never allowed it to form in such an obviously logical and climbable manner as during our first attempt.”
On 22 December 2018, Simon Gietl and Patrick Seiwald returned to the Kofler Wand, to go for the four-pitch mixed route again, following “a logical and natural line.”
The ice in the initial pitches proved straightforward. But from the third pitch onwards, tricky sections with thin ice are followed by awkward rock passages. Simon says that the difficulties all disappeared “just like in a fairy tale” and that they were able to keep their resolution to use only ice screws and trad gear. The hardest part of the route proved to be the steep overhang in the final pitch. Simon Gietl describes it as “An impressive finale, despite the blunt groove which allows logical route finding, this was a demanding finish. The compact structure of the rock means you have to keep your eyes open, as there are not many obvious opportunities to place good pitons.”
On 26 December, the two climbers stood there at the start of the route ready for the redpoint. They topped out four hours later. The first ascent marks the end of a successful year for Simon Gietl with a string of demanding projects completed, both in South Tyrol and around the world, including the Latok group: “I couldn’t have wished for a better end to the year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best for the new year.”
“Räuber Hotzenplotz” is situated 500 metres to the left of the classic Kofler waterfall.
Grade: M9 Wi5
Protection: Friends down to size 1 & ice screws, all new pitons were left in place, no bolts were placed
Approach: Via forest road, 15 minutes (start of route is visible from road)