New Route for Sieberer and Waldner on Schrammacher’s North Face

There is still room for true adventure and new lines in the supposedly “mild” Austrian Alps. Martin Sieberer and Lukas Waldner have opened a high-difficulty direct route up the north face of Schrammacher in Valsertal, in the Zillertal Alps.

The pair climbed an 800m long “diretissima” (direct) route on the north face of the peak, with difficulties up to M7, AI6. They are also proof that Instagram friends can work as climbing teams.

Brought together by Instagram

Martin Sieberer is known for his climbs with Simon Messner, but this time he found a new climbing partner over Instagram.

“[Before December] we barely knew each other. We had just exchanged some lines on Instagram posts and some words at a mountain fair,” Sieberer said.

Then, at the end of December 2023, they had a chance to climb “the route Limited in Freedom on Sagwand’s Central Pillar. Some days later, they were making plans again. This time for the north face of Schrammacher, a not-so-high (just 3,410m) but imposing, pyramidal peak adjacent to Sagwand.

The north face of Schrammacher.

The north face of Schrammacher. Photo: Martin Sieberer


Sieberer knows the face, as he had opened the route Goodbye Innsbrooklyn there with Simon Messner in 2022. It was an adventurous climb with a close call when Sieberer broke loose a big rock slab and Messner ended up with frostbite.

The coldest day of the winter

“The idea actually sounded absurd,” Sieberer admitted. The climbers approached the face with little information about conditions, on one of the coldest days of winter (-15ºC the previous day), and with deep snow on the approach.

“This [north face] was climbed 75 years ago and rated V+,” Sieberer wrote on a complete report at “Experience has taught us that a five on a scale that goes up to six can mean anything and, in addition, the wall was climbed in a dry state in the summer.”

Waldern on a traverse where the new route.

Waldern on a traverse where the new route shares a short section with the Diagonale route. Photo: Martin Sieberer


“The north face of the Schrammacher is crisscrossed by various bands of snow that run from west to east. We planned to get from one snow band to the next as directly as possible,” Sieberer explained.

The first problem arose at the second rock band, which resulted in a difficult slab-rock section of up to M7 that they had not foreseen and took some precious time.

The first difficult pitch on rock slabs.

The first difficult pitch on rock slabs. Photo: Lukas Waldner

The upper crux

Above that point, the climbers managed to follow thin layers of ice plastered on the snow. Ice conditions were very good. However, the highest difficulty came on the upper sections, as the men tried to climb a direct route up the headwall that led the climbers right to the summit.

Here is what happened, in Sieberer’s words:

I climbed over a ramp filled with perfect styrofoam snow to just below an overhang blocked by a snow mushroom. This is difficult to climb over, let alone knock away. I try over the right and over the left until I finally find space on my knees on the 1m tall mushroom.

the climber on an iced-up dihedral, below an overhanging rock section and a snow mushroom sticking out.

Sieberer below the overhanging section and the snow mushroom. Photo: Lukas Waldern


I find good placements and, lo and behold, an ancient, rusty hook sticks out of the rock. While I’m clipping him he’s almost coming towards me. I prepare myself for the overhang, try to stand up, and the entire snow mushroom falls off with me.


Luckily, the belay resisted and Sieberer stopped, together with the snow mushroom, just three meters below. “I was able to continue climbing immediately and with the obstacle out of the way, I quickly found a solution to the overhang.”

From that point, the way was open. After two more pitches and despite brittle rock, the climbers reached the summit ridge at 4:30 pm. Together, they walked the last meters to the top.

the climbers smail on the top, Waldern with the rope around his shoulders.

Sieberer and Waldner on the summit with the evening sun behind. Photo: Martin Sieberer


The descent down the east side of the peak was long. There was lots of snow and it required all of the climbers’ attention. They returned to a mountain hut by the light of an emergency headlamp at 8:00 pm.

“[It was] another unique day and a great adventure in the wild Valsertal. A climb that I will enjoy for a long time,” Sieberer concluded.

A new alpine route

In nearly two centuries of alpine climbing history, it may seem unlikely to find room for new routes in the Alps. Yet, the pair managed it. “Diretissima is a new route even if it touches the Gerade NW-Face in the lower part and crosses the Diagonale in the upper part,” Martin Sieberer told ExplorersWeb.
“Since the rock is quite brittle in the whole valley, climbers only come in to climb in winter. The Diagonale became a classic climb over the last few years,” Sieberer added.
Selfie showing half of Sieberer's face and his climbing partner meters behind, traversing a snow section right below the rock face.

Selfie by Sieberer on the final ramps before the summit ridge. Photo: Martin Sieberer

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.