Adventure on the Eiger North Face: A New Route by Schupbach & Von Kanel

The North Face of Eiger, the 1,800m wall of vertical limestone in the Swiss Alps, has fed the imagination of generations of adventure lovers. Three weeks ago, Silvan Schupbach and Peter von Kanel proved that new routes are still possible on this legendary face.

the route marked in a thin red line on a photo of the wall.

The new route, Renaissance, follows the red line on the right-hand side of the wall. Photo: Von Kanel/Schupbach


The climbers spent six days on the wall between August 19 and 24, dealing with a new 1,200m line that they have called Renaissance. The route finds it way among other previous lines, and was almost entirely free-climbed, except for short sections of aid-climbing. The climbers used no bolts (permanent anchors) along their 30 pitches.

In an interview with Planet Mountain, Schupbach remarked that the challenge was to apply today’s climbing skills to the Eiger, but without using bolts. Von Kanel said that sending the new route was the peak of his career so far.

“The combination of climbing, route-reading skills, ability to place gear, and continuously assess the risk allowed me to move efficiently and in control,” he said. Schupbach admitted that nevertheless, the route pushed him to his limits several times.

the climbers high five on a summit, a brown plain far below.

Left to right, Silvan Schupbach and Peter von Kanel on the summit. Photo: Thomas Wiatowski


The North Face of the Eiger is one of the most famous walls in mountaineering. Its many dramas included the epic first ascent in 1938. Heinrich Harrer’s book about that climb, The White Spider, is a classic of mountain literature. No less famous is the tragic earlier attempt in 1936, when all four perished. The face also featured in the popular ’70s film The Eiger Sanction (starring Clint Eastwood and with Reinhold Messner as climbing advisor). More recently, younger generations followed Ueli Steck’s speed ascents on YouTube.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.