In 2002, Alex Huber free-soloed the classic 18-pitch Hasse-Brandler on Cima Grande in the Dolomite. At the time, it was one of the boldest free-solos in the range, with 500 metres of steep climbing up to 5.12a.
Huber climbed the rarely dry line in only four hours, passing suspect rock and sections of technical climbing. Of the 500 metres over 20 pitches, 350 are continuously overhanging. There’s one 5.12a pitch, four 5.11 and four 5.10, with the rest being mostly 5.9. To prepare for the climb, he spent six days training on it with partners and alone. He also free-soloed several single-pitch climbs up to 5.13c.
Huber said that his route was “mentally, the hardest thing I have done in mountaineering. Regarding the danger, when I began the route I had my emotions well balanced and the knowledge that my mental strength was stable. Of course, this route is valid only for myself and any other free-solo climber with similar mental strengths.”
The Hasse-Brandler was first climbed by Lothar Brandler, Dieter Hasse, Jörg Lehne and Sigi Löw in 1958, and freed by Kurt Albert in 1987. Read Huber’s account in the American Alpine Journal here.
There are several amazing free-solo videos online, but despite being nearly two decades old the below video of Huber free-soloing the Hasse-Brandler is still one of the best and most gripping.