Photo: © visualimpact.ch | Thomas Ulrich

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Paciencia
Eiger North Face

The first, free ascent of the most
difficult sport climb route on the
North face marks the Eiger’s
jubilee anniversary with a worthy
ending!

The Vision

Ueli and Stephan returned repeatedly to the route they equipped in 2003. While climbing the route “La Vida es Silbar” (Anker/Siegrist, 2000), Stephan saw the possibility of another logical and separate line on the face. In 2001, Raul Bayard and Stephan Siegrist drilled the route’s first holes…

Bad Weather

This summer, Ueli and Stephan reserved time to continue their project. Unfortunately, the weather this season was far from great, making it only possible to check the route 3 times for no more than 2 consecutive days in a row at best. Between thunderstorms and bad weather, the team had enough time to climb some sections of the route. They had estimated they would need two full days to complete the route, but chances of catching the right conditions didn’t seem possible and a continuous free ascent eluded them.

Paciencia is all about rock climbing. The unstable weather and the early snowfall during the middle of August were constant setbacks, making summer of 2008 less than ideal for climbing the Eiger’s North face. There just wasn’t 48 hours of stable and dry weather!

Patience and Persistence

The duo’s patience and tenacity finally paid off! Although there was some fresh snow on the last pitches of the route, on Friday August 29, thanks to the north east wind (Bise), the face stayed dry. They began climbing at nine o’clock and exactly twelve hours later they had climbed 16 of the 23 pitches. After a calm night in the bivy, the two climbers completed the 7 remaining pitches the following day on a mix of rock and snow. At one o’clock in the afternoon they arrived on the Czech Pillar. The descent followed; a race down the west flank to the train on Eiger Glacier that brought Stephan to a High-Line event in Thun and Ueli to his well-deserved sport climbing holiday!
While climbing the route, they alternated leading in a team free ascent.


„Paciencia“ – Facts:
– Mountain: Eiger
– Name of Route: „Paciencia“
– Pitches: 23 / 900 Metres
– Grade: 8a oder 10- (UIAA)
– First Ascent: Stephan Siegrist / Ueli Steck Summer 2003
– First Team Free Ascent: Ueli Steck and Stephan Siegrist, August 29 & 30, 2008

In Pitches in Detail: (6b/6a/6a+/7b/7c+/7a/8a/7a+/6c+/6b/6a/Tschechen-Biwak/7c+/7b+/7b/7a/6a+/7a/7b+/7a/6c+/6b/6b/6b)