Edu Marin to Free Climb Eternal Flame on Trango Tower

Nameless Tower (6,239m). Photo: Thomas Huber

Former competitive rock climber Edu Marin, 35, is off to Pakistan for a free ascent of the aesthetic Eternal Flame on Trango Towers.

The multi-pitch route goes up the southeast face of the 6,286m Nameless Tower. It is often simply known as Trango Tower, although it actually the tallest of a group of four spires.

Despite the sweet song by the Bangles that inspired the name of the route, it is a beast of a line. It set a new milestone in high-altitude, big-wall climbing when Wolfgang Gullich, Kurt Albert, Christof Stiegler, and Milan Sykora first opened it in 1989. The feat involves 1,100m of highly technical rock climbing at 6,000m. The German team aided some pitches and graded the line as VI, 7b+, A2.

First free climb

Twenty years later, Alex and Thomas Huber made the first free climb. The brothers seized a perfect weather window for the red-point ascent, which they graded 7c+. Marin and teammates Miquel Mas and Mark Subirana will repeat the original Gullich & company route.

The Huber Brothers first free climbed Eternal Flame in 2009. Photo: Huberbuam.de

For Marin, the line is a big-wall benchmark. “The intrinsic difficulties of each pitch are not that high, but the weather, the altitude, etc. turn this climb into a bigger challenge than its mere technical gradation,” Marin told the Spanish site, Wogu Climbing.

The Eternal Flame route, by Planet Mountain (enlarge it here).

The team has put together a minimalist expedition, which they expect to last about 37 days. They figure that this should be enough both to climb and to explore new big-wall possibilities in the area.

“We will not acclimatize previously,” said Marin. “Hopefully, the approach trek and the first pitches of the route will be enough.” Marin has fared well in the past at altitude.

Edu Marin. Photo: Tierra de Aventuras

Edu Marin is one of the best-known rock climbers in Spain. He started as a competitive sport climber and has recently focused on opening difficult multi-pitch routes, such as his latest line, Valhalla. Located in Getu, China, it is a proposed 9a across what he considers the biggest roof in the world. See the video below.

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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max muster
max muster
3 months ago

“world champion”? which discipline, where and when?

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Frederick
Frederick
3 months ago

I think its always important to include correct information in posts. Well done for correcting it and as always providing such great content.

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max muster
max muster
3 months ago

thanks for the correction. i was surprised for a minute. is he planning a different line than what the hubers climbed, or sth closer to the original?

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Ivan
Ivan
3 months ago

Actually, he was European Youth World Champion in 2002 and Youth World Champion in 2003.

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Don Paul
Don Paul
3 months ago

This sounds brutal. Reading John Middendorf’s account of his ascent of Great Trango, the hardest part was doing technical athletic climbing while dressed like the Michelin Man. Imagine climbing Mt Everest, but instead of a fixed rope and jumars, you have to do complex gymnastic movements to ascend inch by inch. The rock will be cold to the touch and the climbing is too difficult to wear gloves and plastic boots. 37 days is a long time to be cold on the side of a cliff. I think the whole K2 area is a wifi zone now, so hopefully we… Read more »

max muster
max muster
3 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Eternal Flame and the John/Xaver route on GT have little in common I think. If the weather is good, and the route dry (huge ifs) they will have good conditions

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