Ogre I Team Goes for the East Pillar

Italians Matteo della Bordella and Francois Cazzanelli, French Silvan Schupbach and Swiss Symon Welfringer will attempt the East Pillar on Baintha Brakk I, also known as The Ogre I.

The team started their expedition a month ago. After acclimatizing and patiently waiting out long spells of bad weather, they are ready. Their chosen line, the East Pillar, has some previous attempts but no completions, della Bordella’s mountain club, Ragni di Lecco, said this week in a press release.

The Pillar leads to the Ogre I‘s East summit (7,150m), also unclimbed. It will not be easy. The Ogre has won the first round against the Europeans, who had to retreat after a few pitches because of bad conditions.

“We had very high temperatures, 0˚C at 5,500m, and snow above that level,” della Bordella wrote.

Now the foursome is waiting for a new weather window, which could open next week.

The peak as seen on sunset light, the East Pillar in the shade.

The Ogre I. The East Pillar is the long spur rising from the shady right-hand side of the picture. Photo: Alexander Huber/Huberbuam/Facebook


Many dangers

The Ogre’s rocky faces are difficult but characteristically, the most dangerous spots are down below. Alexander Huber, who attempted the Ogre’s East Pillar in 2017, told Stefan Nestler that the Ogre I is a complex mountain with many objective dangers.

Yet the younger of the Huber brothers said he chose the East Pillar because it seemed like the safest line. It avoids the dangerous seracs hanging everywhere on the peak’s lower sections.

On that 2017 try, Alexander Huber, Mario Walder, Christian Zenz, and Dani Arnold couldn’t even reach the foot of the Pillar, because of marginal conditions in the icefall below.

“Seracs, collapsing snow cornices, rockfall, and wet snow avalanches, the first at 6 am, left us little room,” he said in a subsequent interview with Nestler. “Every activity had to take place between midnight and 5 am. Then we had to wait in the tent for [another] 19 hours.”

Moving solely at night, they couldn’t progress fast enough and eventually called the expedition off.

the climber progress on ice flutted, vertical terrain, towards the rock sections above him.

A member of Alexander Huber’s team on a section of vertical ice below the East Pillar of the Ogre I. Photo: Huberbuam/Facebook


Only three parties have summited the Ogre I: Doug Scott and Chris Bonington climbed the Southwest Spur in 1977; Thomas Huber of Germany with Urs Stocker and Iwan Wolf of Switzerland did the South Pillar in 2001, and Americans Hayden Kennedy, Kyle Dempster, and Josh Wharton started climbed a line that crossed from the Southeast Ridge to the South Face in 2012.

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.