7 peaks, 42 kilometers, 4200 meters in altitude: Hojac and Zurbrügg complete the fright marathon in under 19 hours

Nicolas Hojac and Adrian Zurbrügg crossed the seven peaks Mättenberg, Ankebälli, Gwächta, Klein Schreckhorn, Nässihorn, Schreckhorn and Lauteraarhorn in the Bernese Alps on September 9, 2023. They completed the superlative high alpine marathon from Grindelwald to Grimsel in 18 hours and 52 minutes. The 42 kilometers and 4200 meters in altitude were not the only challenges.

A report from Nicolas Hojac

“It only took us 18 hours and 52 minutes to cross these seven peaks from Grindelwald to Grimsel. For other mountaineers, this is an undertaking lasting several days.

The ridge from Mättenberg to Schreckhorn is rarely used and therefore offers secluded and wild climbing. There is practically no safety material and the rock is partly brittle, which makes climbing even more difficult. We didn't know the tour and didn't know exactly what to expect. I was only familiar with the climb up the Mättenberg because I set up a water depot there the day before.

7 peaks, 42 kilometers, 4200 meters in altitude: Nicolas Hojac on the climb. Image: Adrian Zurbrügg
7 peaks, 42 kilometers, 4200 meters in altitude: Nicolas Hojac on the climb. Picture: Adrian Zurbrugg

We expected our undertaking to take 20 hours. In the end, we beat our target time by a little over an hour. Staying focused over such a long period of time is extremely demanding and leaves its mark. We were happy when we stood on the glacier after the descent from Lauteraarhorn. From then on, a fall no longer had fatal consequences - just a few abrasions.

With the fright marathon, Nicolas Hojac and Adrian Zurbrügg were able to take a new logical route for the first time. Image: Nicolas Hojac
With the fright marathon, Nicolas Hojac and Adrian Zurbrügg were able to take a new logical route for the first time. Image: Nicolas Hojac

At the end, the meltwater and sweat caused your feet to swell, which made the last 17 kilometers a somewhat painful final sprint.

For us, this project wasn't about being five minutes faster or slower, but about exploring what was possible in one day and one push - it was about being the first to take a new logical line. 

Nicolas Hojac

The fright marathon in numbers

  • Distance: 41.76 km
  • Altitude: 4218 m   
  • Needed time: 18:52:03
  • Calories consumed: 9113 Kcal 
Horror marathon

Fright marathon: Several ascents, different variants

Crossing the seven Bernese Oberland peaks Mättenberg, Ankebälli, Gwächta, Klein Schreckhorn, Nässihorn, Schreckhorn and Lauteraarhorn is not a completely new alpine undertaking. The earlier ascents differed primarily in the descents.

Simon Wahli and Sebastian Briw, for example, finished their crossing in Grindelwald, Stephan Sigrist and Jonas Schild descended to the Schreckhornhütte after their frightening marathon.

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Credits: Cover photo Christian Schranz

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