Fastest woman: Nadine Wallner completes the Vertical Jungfrau Marathon in under 17 hours

2 / 23 / 7a / 3.600 – this is Nadine Wallner's world record code at the Jungfrau Vertical Marathon. She was the first woman to climb 16 rock routes with 20 rope lengths up to 2a in just 23 hours and 7 minutes and overcame 3.600 meters in altitude to the Jungfrau summit.

Vorarlberg mountain guide Nadine Wallner was the first woman to complete the Vertical Jungfrau Marathon as a one-day tour. Together with her rope partner, the Swiss mountain guide and climber Simon Wahli, she managed the rarely used combination of 2 rock routes with 23 rope lengths up to 7a and a serious high tour with ridge climbing to the summit of the 4158 meter high Jungfrau in 16 hours and 20 minutes.

In doing so, they immortalized themselves in the history of the legendary mountain, over the summit of which the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais runs.

Doing the Vertical Jungfrau Marathon as a one-day tour is something very special!

Nadine Wallner

Günther Baumgartner met Nadine Wallner after her return for an interview in order to review this unique experience together with her.


Hi Nadine, what a project... what an achievement! Congratulations on this record!

Nadine Wallner: Thank you! It was a cool day, the weather was perfect and everything worked out.

Okay, we really appreciate your humility. But today, after being the first woman in the world to complete such a difficult challenge... a little fame is a must!

Nadine Wallner: (laughs) Okay...! The awe of this task is just still there, even though I've already accomplished it. After all, there are so many small details that have to fit together on a day like this. Because you are only a passenger of nature, no matter how perfect the preliminary planning.

If the weather doesn't play along, wind and precipitation make the tour impossible or you're not in 100% top form yourself - all these factors play a part in completing the Vertical Jungfrau Marathon in one day. That's why the respect that everything worked out is still there today.

Nadine Wallner from Vorarlberg is always good for sensational expeditions. The freeskier often has her skis in her luggage and snow as a base, but this time she swapped the freeride skis for climbing and mountaineering boots. Image: Tim Marcour / Red Bull Content Pool
Nadine Wallner from Vorarlberg is always good for sensational expeditions. The freeskier often has her skis in her luggage and snow as a base, but this time she swapped the freeride skis for climbing and mountaineering boots. Image: Tim Marcour / Red Bull Content Pool

Even if everything fits together perfectly - the sporting challenge is still huge and actually hardly manageable in such a short time.

Nadine Wallner: I was not only the first woman in the world, but together with Simon Wahli one of the very few people who managed this route as a one-day tour.

I hope our ascent can inspire outdoor enthusiasts and especially women to climb this line. It doesn't have to be in one day.

Nadine Wallner

Does that mean everything worked out for you?

Nadine Wallner: Quite a lot in any case, otherwise it would have been impossible. We only had a time window of four days to complete the Vertical Jungfrau Marathon without an alternative date. It probably would have taken a while before Simon Wahli and I were ready together again.

In the days before it was rainy and stormy. The wind was also an issue during our climb, but so was our luck, so the walls were drier than expected.

At the Vertical Jungfrau Marathon, a total of 23 rope lengths with difficulties up to 7a have to be mastered. Image: Tim Marcour / Red Bull Content Pool
At the Vertical Jungfrau Marathon, a total of 23 rope lengths with difficulties up to 7a have to be mastered. Image: Tim Marcour / Red Bull Content Pool

What are the difficulties, what is the catch on this route?

Nadine Wallner: You have to be able to climb and have experience in mountaineering and on ridges. 23 pitches can climb up to 7a. And all of this at a pace that is otherwise not played. After that, you have to keep your concentration high and be fast, even away from the climbing passages.

You have to be an all-rounder, the entire skill set is required.

Nadine Wallner

Speaking of the tightrope: There is often just a fine line between a 'great challenge' and a 'risky challenge'. How do you rate that?

Nadine Wallner: It's always about what you can do, who you're with and how well you can assess yourself and your current performance in every situation. The risk was the combination of the length of the tour, the degree of difficulty, the speed and the 'light luggage' that we had with us.

You only have a small amount of material with you to be faster – the backups stay at home. We hadn't set up any depots either.

Nadine Wallner

With Simon Wahli, I also had a local hero from Grindelwald as a mountain partner at my side, with whom I got along very well straight away. We have never climbed alpine together, but we have known each other. His style suited mine and he was also highly motivated, because it was a great opportunity for him to do this line right on his doorstep.

Nadine Wallner: “The Vertical Jungfrau Marathon is one of the logistical routes in the Bernese Oberland, leading from the valley to a 4.000 meter high peak. That's why this spot is so special." Image: Red Bull Content Pool
Nadine Wallner: “The Vertical Jungfrau Marathon is one of the logistical routes in the Bernese Oberland, leading from the valley to a 4.000 meter high peak. That's why this spot is so special." Image: Red Bull Content Pool

Did you always have the ticking of the clock in the back of your mind?

Nadine Wallner: Of course you keep an eye on the clock. But actually only at the beginning, because we were in such a flow on the first wall and had great timing.

The second was more demanding than expected, even more alpine and brittle - that slowed us down a bit. But thanks to our experience, we managed it well.

Nadine Wallner

After that we just concentrated on ourselves and didn't really focus on the time anymore. We just did it, we were in the 'tunnel'. As the saying goes: You are not faster when you look at the clock.

What was the attraction for you to create this line - and that in just one day?

Nadine Wallner: In the Bernese Oberland it is one of the logistical lines that leads from the valley to a 4.000 meter high peak. That's why this spot is so special. It's a cool line with many different technical features.

For me, this interplay of talents is also what makes this unique challenge so fascinating. Of course, routes that have not been conquered often or have never been conquered are even more appealing. You have to piece together your own project puzzle from all the data to form a large whole.

Vertical Jungfrau Marathon is a real adventure, just the way I like it!

Nadine Wallner

Nadine, thank you for the exciting interview and the interesting insights into your unique Vertical Jungfrau Marathon day trip! We are looking forward to your next projects!

That might interest you

Do you like our climbing magazine? When launching the climbing magazine Lacrux, we decided not to introduce a paywall because we want to provide as many like-minded people as possible with news from the climbing scene.

In order to be more independent of advertising revenue in the future and to provide you with even more and better content, we need your support.

Therefore: Help and support our magazine with a small contribution. Naturally you benefit multiple times. How? You will find out here.

Don't miss anything - receive our newsletter

* Indicates required
Interests

+ + +

Credits: Text and cover image: Red Bull, Tim Marcour / Red Bull Content Pool

News

IFSC Lead and Speed ​​World Cup Briançon | Info & Livestream

The last World Cup before the Olympics will take place in Briançon from July 17 to 19, 2024. Here you can find all the important information and live streams.

5 reasons to make a pilgrimage to the Alpine Mecca of Chamonix next year

Find out all about the Arc'teryx Alpine Academy in Chamonix: a superlative event for alpine enthusiasts from over 30 countries.

Ai Mori and Colin Duffy win Lead World Cup in Chamonix

The Lead World Cup in Chamonix 2024 is history: Japanese Ai Mori and American Colin Duffy win the gold medal.

These 68 climbers are qualified | Olympic Games Paris

Which climbers are qualified for the Olympic Games? We'll tell you in this article.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter now and stay up to date.

IFSC Lead and Speed ​​World Cup Briançon | Info & Livestream

The last World Cup before the Olympics will take place in Briançon from July 17 to 19, 2024. Here you can find all the important information and live streams.

5 reasons to make a pilgrimage to the Alpine Mecca of Chamonix next year

Find out all about the Arc'teryx Alpine Academy in Chamonix: a superlative event for alpine enthusiasts from over 30 countries.

Ai Mori and Colin Duffy win Lead World Cup in Chamonix

The Lead World Cup in Chamonix 2024 is history: Japanese Ai Mori and American Colin Duffy win the gold medal.