(Story by Carolina Fink) Together with Ralph Weber and Thomas Theurillat, Siegrist red pointed the route Magic Mushroom on the Eiger North face’s Mushroom… then he jumped 1000 meters into the void.
Between climbing projects and expeditions, I devoted a solid half-year to learning how to base jump. The combination of climbing and base jumping on the Eiger was something I had dreamt about for a long time, but the evolution from rock to a base-rig on my back took time…
After the death of a good friend Xavier Bongard in 1994 in Lauterbrunnen, base jumping had become a kind of ‘taboo’ for me, I am happy I was able to combine the two elements, earth and air, and move past this idea I had.
For years, the Mushroom has been a popular spot for base jumpers, who generally access the tower at the Eiger’s west ridge by helicopter. I was keen to put together a on a project where I could harmonise both skills… the Mushroom offered this possibility. The route up the North face to the Mushroom is ideal. It offers challenging, difficult climbing and requires base jumping experience.
Without prior material depots in the wall, Ralph Weber, Thomas Theurillat (responsible for material) and myself stayed in a hanging-tent or ‘portaledge’, suspended in the middle of the ‘Magic Mushroom’. Thomas Senf joined us as a photographer and with a two day window of warm dry weather, we were able to complete the project.
The route was opened in 2007 by pro-climbers Roger Schäli from Switzerland and Christoph Hainz from South Tyrol, Italy. The two climbers were unable to free climb the route, and so it remained unclimbed until I approached Schäli about his idea. The ‘Magic Mushroom’ climbs 21 pitches on the Eiger North face leading up the 3219 metre high Mushroom and is now rated up to 7c+.