Swissway to Heaven by Cédric Lachat, second stage
A 10-kilometer-long rocky bastion, a veritable limestone paradise. In Wenden, south of the Susten Pass, in Switzerland, lies what has become a mecca for some of the best climbers in the world. “A not-to-be-missed place for multipitch climbing in Switzerland,” says Cédric Lachat, who, when envisioning his Swissway to Heaven, immediately thought of Wenden, with its amazing approach and never-trivial difficulties. “It takes two hours to reach the base of the face.” Two difficult hours, climbing steep meadows and extremely exposed stretches where placing one foot wrong can ruin everything.
The goal this time was the Zahir route, with Lachat belayed by his friend Fabien Dugit. It’s a 300-meter line, reaching a maximum difficulty of 8b+, developed between 1996 and 2004 by the Swiss climbers Iwan Wolf and Günther Habersatter and then freed by them in 2006.
A route that Cédric managed to complete in one day, climbing most of the pitches on sight except the 8b+ crux. “It’s the third pitch, and to tackle it you need a good amount of endurance on microscopic holds. Here you have to avoid falling, because the attempts cost a lot of skin and effort” explains the French climber. “Even the following pitches are by no means trivial, with difficulties up to 7b.” The result was the same-day free climb of Zahir. “An incredible route on an extraordinary face that is part of the history of mountaineering.”