First Night on Sura Peak for Holecek, Bernat

Wrapped in his sleeping bag, their tent pitched inside an ice cave, Marek Holecek has sent a brief message to his home team. It was a good climbing day for him and partner Matej Bernat, despite bitter cold and the difficult lower sections of the 1,300m high Northwest Wall of 6,764m Sura Peak.

“Waking up in the morning to the cold and then waiting long hours for the first rays to shine on the NW Wall seemed endless…We were both frozen,” Holecek wrote. The face’s steepness was also unforgiving.

“The initial 50 degrees were doable, but then the angle started to increase and the terrain changed to ice of varying hardness.”

Luckily, after a hard, vertical section, the climbers found the ice cave where they sheltered for their first bivi night, just as it started to snow.

“Tomorrow we will have to overcome…the rock barrier, which is the crux  of the route,” wrote Holecek. “Retreat options are poor, and the prospect for further progress to the top are miserable; a very nice idea for tonight and tomorrow.”

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.