First Ascent of Hardest Route in Switzerland’s Alpstein Massif

In 2017, German climber Michael Wohlleben established the hardest climb in Switzerland’s famous Alpstein massif. Finishing that route, “Parzival” (8b, 150 m), resulted in a new standard for the area, and for the Alps in general.

This week, Wohlleben finished another first ascent on the same spire, which might be even harder.

“Bodhichitta” doesn’t have a grade yet — Wohlleben has declined to give one so far. Yet the pro climber made it clear that the route is likely harder than “Parzival”. If so, that could make it one of the most technically difficult multi-pitch sport routes anywhere in the Alps.

He finished “Bodhichitta” on Monday, October 10, after “an incredible fight”, he wrote on Instagram.

“This is what climbing is about,” Wohlleben said. “That we can sometimes achieve things we would never think of and that we have to learn that sometimes we have to stuck a little bit longer than normal to projects if they are worth it. “Bodhichitta” is worth it.”


A long process to get the redpoint

“Bodhichitta” follows a line to the left of “Parzival”, but both routes require reaching the top of Westliche Dreifaltigkeit, a gorgeous and imposing spire in the Alpstein.

Wohlleben first scoped out the newer route when climbing “Parzival” five years ago. But he spent two years working on “Bodhichitta”with many ups and downs along the way.

The five-pitch route starts with a 7a, then continues with a 25m section of 7c+/8a. From there, the route has two 40m sections with tricky climbing that long confounded Wohlleben’s efforts to free them.

alpstein Dreifaltigkeit

‘Bodhichitta,’ a new route of the Westliche Dreifaltigkeit in the Alpstein group. Photo: Michi Wohlleben


He called the fourth pitch “crucial”, with a “hard, powerful boulder” in the middle. Then it offers a vertical slab, a crimpy boulder and a dyno right at the end, Wohlleben explained.

The route name means “enlightenment of the mind,” Wohlleben told

“I wanted to use a spiritual term to express my gratitude for the route and for the many days of insurance that my friends gave me,” he said. “Also, the Westliche Dreifaltigkeit lights up incredibly beautifully at sunrise and looks like a burning torch, so I think the name really fits.”

The Alps have seen several boundary-pushing climbs in recent years, including “Tradündition”, an 8b (5.13d) route established by Swiss alpinist Silvan Schupbach last year. It’s now considered the hardest multi-pitch trad route in the Alps.

Given Wohlleben’s burgeoning reputation for hard climbs, climbers will likely remain anxious to hear a final grade for “Bodhichitta”.

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.