Weekend Warm-Up: Silbergeier

Nina Caprez and Cedric Lachat don’t come across like typical athletes. Well, Nina might, but Lachat could be mistaken for an assistant to Mr Bean. For every introverted expression to tick off a massive achievement, Caprez is confronted by her goofy boyfriend. No surprises, then, that in a recent article, Caprez describes Lachat as an “ex” boyfriend.

Yet Caprez also describes Lachat as the greatest influence on her climbing career, which is surprising: She has been a professional climber since 2009, while Lechat enjoys fast food and no training.

On Silbergeier, a 240m, 5.14a line in the Swiss Alps, Caprez is about to tick off a massive achievement. The idea of tackling one of the hardest multi-pitch routes in the world dates back to her 13th year, when an image from climber Pietro Dal Pra inspired her to tackle Silbergeier, but only once she reached 25 years of age. Why 25? It was always a magic number for her.

Pietro Dal Prà’s image, which served as inspiration.


So here we are. It’s 2012, and Caprez is with her goofy co-pilot attempting the feat that’s been on her bucket list for years. It’s uneventful. Caprez nails it with precision. She glides up the rock face with ease and grace. She manages to replicate the Pietro Dal Pra mid-air position she saw in that photograph all those years ago.

Nina Caprez achieves precisely as she set out to do.


You see, she comes across as one of those really smart athletes, the kind whose brain works like a calculator, meticulously reviewing every angle, every possible geometric scenario and equation to the main event. She’s also the athlete who practices so meticulously that she glides as though she’s performed the task countless times before. For Sibergeier, Caprez mentions she’s aware this climb could mean no second chance: the risk, or perhaps more accurately, the magnitude of such a climb, is not lost on her. And It’s that kind of brain that makes her successful.

That quiet approach has served as Caprez’s platform for an even greater success in recent years: free climbing the Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite. Caprez has become one of an elite pack of just eight humans to free the route.

Why do films such as this one attract over 872,448 views? Climbing Silbergeier was a major success for Caprez at the time. The climb is like a dance with nature. At a guess, the 166 “thumbs down” responses to the clip on YouTube are a response to the potentially irritating film style — a style that appears to resemble Lachat’s goofy personality more than the precision of Caprez’s (although Caprez describes herself as a gypsy who also likes to party).

But plenty more accomplishments have occurred since Silbergeier. Now just 32 years old, a back catalogue of world-class achievements and void of the goofy Lachat, we can only presume that Caprez has more fierce projects up her sleeve.