Michael Piccolruaz can claim only the 4th ascent of the Weiße Rose in the Tyrolean climbing crag Schleierwasserfall. The „Weiße Rose“ was first climbed by Alex Huber in 1994 and was originally graded with 8c+/9a. At that time, the route was certainly one of the hardest sport climbing routes in the world and the „Action Directe“, as the first 9a, was only three years old and unrepeated. and was the first 9a route in Austria and one of the first in the world. After Alex, only Jakob Schubert (2020) and Adam Ondra (2009) have been able to repeat the route so far.
Incidentally, the world’s first [9a+] route, „Open Air„, is located at the Schleierwasserfall not far from the „Weiße Rose“. This route was also first ascented by Alex Huber and graded 9a at the time.
Let’s let Michael have his say about his ascent:
Another dream come true!
I remember trying ‚Weiße Rose‘ briefly once after Jakob did the third ascent back in 2020 but the crux move just felt so desperate that I didn`t deem it possible to ever send.
I then didn`t try for a couple of years until I finally decided last winter to put the effort in and try this
kingline seriously. With great conditions, the move felt a lot easier than on my previous tries (note: I
found a different left hand undercling) and I got very confident that I could send the route rather fast.
But then deep winter came, comp season started and the few times I went back spread over the year
the conditions were just too bad that I sometimes even struggled to do the single move.
After coming back from the successful trip to Mallorca in September I then had my eyes fully on
‚Weiße Rose‘ and I wouldn`t focus on anything else until I send it.
The conditions however weren`t very good yet and I had to be patient, hoping for cloudy days, as it is
just too hot on the wall in the sun, regardless of the temperature. The few good days we got I usually
tried to train as well as possible on the crux move gaining confidence for it but also improving my
muscle memory on the specific positions. At the same time I would do the first part of the route
getting everything dialled saving as much energy as possible for the big move.
Few weeks ago then I started giving send goes and I managed to repeatedly climb up to the crux
move but I never got really close on sticking it.
On the send day I went back with Philipp, who was trying the route with me the last weeks, and after
a quick warm up I pulled myself up again to try the crux boulder. For some reason it felt unbelievably
good. For the first time ever, I did the move as if it was just another move on the route, not sticking
out as this crazy hard single move. This gave me such a great confidence boost that I knew right
away: I will climb it today!
Before the first send go of the day, I felt super nervous. It`s this classic feeling I know all too well.
Because of the amazing feeling on the wall before in my mind the switch finally flipped, and I know I
can and should climb it now. The thought of this instantly increases the pressure and inevitably my
whole body feels a bit shakier. At the same time, I know that I need to make use of the confidence
now because if I fail now, it might happen all too fast that I lose this confidence again and it then
becomes harder from there on to find the good mindset again.
However, when I pulled on, I lost all anxiety and managed to focus on the climbing. The easy first part
went down smoothly. I rested well on the kneebar no hand rest, climbed perfectly through the intro
part to the crux move, got into the position to fire off this huge dynamic move that eluded me for so
many times, thinking this is it now. Somehow unexpectedly I found myself taking the fall and
swinging in the rope. I had it, I felt so good, but for some reason I slightly missed the good part of the
hold I went to and thus couldn`t hold on. I was so angry cause I knew this should have been the
successful try and yet I failed. But at the same time, I also didn`t loose the confidence because I was
so close, and I now knew 100% that I will do it. Philipp lowered me and I told him and my friends
Alfons and Pati that I will do it the next go.
I couldn`t rest for too long cause it was getting late, and I also wanted Philipp to have another go
after me before it got dark. So after about an hour or so I put my shoes back on and prepared for the
go. In my mind it was the send go.
I climbed through the lower part slightly worse than on the try before but it didn`t bother me too
much. On the kneebar rest I stayed in a bit longer this time making sure I would be fully recovered,
and I started climbing again with good confidence. I climbed perfectly on the last moves before the
crux move and with a huge power scream, I hit the hold perfectly keeping on without to big of a
fight. Adrenaline instantly rushed into my veins, and I did the last hard moves before the saving rest
telling myself that I will never let go now anymore. From the rest it was smooth sailing to the top
where I could finally let go of my emotions, screaming of joy and hearing Alfons from down low
shouting the most fitting words: IT’S TIME TO PARTEEEYYYYYYYY!!!!
At this point I want to express my huge respect to Alexander Huber for first ascending this kingline all
the way back in 1994. I have found slightly easier beta for the crux move and I used a knee pad to
recover on the rests. These litle tricks make the route for sure a bit easier to the way Alex climbed it
and yet the grade in my opinion is still 9a. This just shows that ‘Weiße Rose’ was for sure among the
very hardest routes back in the days and it was a huge contribution to pushing the limits of
sportclimbing. Thank you, Alex, for the inspiration.
Photos and Video: Alfons Dornauer