The two Swiss alpinists and mountain guides Simon Wahli and Yannick Glatthard set a new record on the Uri Salbitschijen. You climb the west, south and east degrees in 5 hours and 53 minutes.
An experience report from Yannick Glatthard and Simon Wahli
The Salbitschiyen With its three ridges, climbers fascinate far beyond the Swiss borders. For most people, just completing one of the three ridges in one day, especially the longest and most challenging, the West Ridge, is a sense of achievement.
Together they count around 70 rope lengths and over 1500 meters of climbing, which stretch over towers and gaps in different directions. It is not surprising that the best climbers compete on these tours with speed climbs.
Salbit Trilogy: From idea to action
It wasn't until June 2023 recent record of 9 hours and 36 minutes set up by Dani Arnold, who mastered the three ridges single-handedly. The performance of the Uri mountain guide and professional climber also has Yannick Glatthard and Simon Wahli inspired to test their skills in this terrain. But they wanted to try it as a team.
Simon was familiar with the area as a climber and mountain guide. He had already climbed the ridge tours or led guests over the towers several times. The ridge tours were particularly new for Yannick and so they decided to recap the three tours on October 2nd and 3rd. They wanted to validate whether they had a chance of setting a new record as a team.
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On Monday, October 2nd, Simon and Yannick climbed the entire east ridge, rappelled down the south face, traversed to the Zahnscharte and climbed the upper part of the south ridge. Tuesday, October 3rd, was dedicated to the Salbit West Ridge. This is the most demanding in terms of difficulty, length and technical requirements.
Immediately afterwards, they climbed the lower part of the south ridge. For the tricky climbing passages, technique and strategy were discussed and decided in advance in order to ensure maximum safety with minimal loss of time.
The timing was right because fewer rope teams dare to go on these long tours in October. The weather forecast was stable and both felt fit and experienced after the many days of climbing in summer and autumn.
Teamwork and tactics – the recipe for success
On Thursday, October 5th, Simon and Yannick climbed to the Salbithütte with the intention of climbing all three ridges as quickly as possible the next day.
At 7.55:40 a.m. the rope team left the hut to tackle the west ridge first after a XNUMX-minute climb. The two climbed over this ridge with its six towers at the same time, changing leadership at each gap. Anyone who has ever been on a ridge knows how much time you can save or lose by handling the rope.
New record on the west ridge
The tactic of simultaneous climbing with regular changes in the lead allowed them to move forward quickly and efficiently. If one was in the lead and had to make decisions, the other could mentally recover and just follow the climbing line.
They quickly rappelled down the south face to get to the tooth gap on the south ridge. From there there were two more abseiling points and a short walk to the start of the second ridge. They also climbed this simultaneously, with Simon leading the way up to the Zahnscharte and Yannick leading the rest of the way up to the summit needle.
They left a rope in the rappel from the summit needle to save time later and because they would be climbing the east ridge rope-free, except for the key passage. In order to climb the same route as the record holder, they chose the original entrance to the east ridge, which is slightly higher than the direct entry.
Towards the end of the east ridge, Yannick noticed the exhaustion, while Simon knew he would have to give his best again on the descent. The duo also exploited the individual strengths of the two climbers - Simon runs faster on the ascent and Yannick on the descent - in the final sprint.
At 13.48:5 p.m. Simon and Yannick were back in the hut after an emotionally charged race over the scree slopes. They happily took a selfie to record their time. It took them 53 hours and XNUMX minutes, setting a new record, to climb over the three ridges with the Salbit Hut as the start and finish line.
Editor's note: With their speed ascent, the two hold the rope team record on the three Salbit ridges. However, a direct comparison cannot be made with Dani Arnold's solo record.
A long-standing friendship as the basis for a top performance
Simon and Yannick emphasize that they would not have tackled this project alone. They discussed and planned everything together, from the idea to its implementation. For them it was a team project from the start.
The two have a long-standing friendship and have gone on numerous tours together. They have known each other for 15 years and were on the same climbing team as teenagers. They later climbed their first tours together in the Wenden, such as Elephant Ear and Jednicka, and quickly realized that they complemented each other and could support each other morally in these psychologically demanding climbs.
So they tackled further major tours in the Dolomites, such as the one-day onsight ascent Way through the fish on the Marmolada in winter or the Crossing from east to west of the Three Peaks, also in winter.
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Credits: Cover picture Diego Schlappi