Edu Marin to Free Climb Eternal Flame on Trango Tower

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:


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.