Silent Baba prays in front of the Holy Mountain Shivling. This mountain represents the Hindu deity Shiva, God of destruction and benevolence.

With our porters, we walk to basecamp at the foot   of Shivling over the course of two days.

Tapowan. For some, this is a sacred place. Sadhus, holy men, live he during both summerand winter. Among them is Silent Baba, who has taken a vow of silence for two years.For us, this is base camp,a place to recover from the strenuous efforts on the mountain.

It is on: Alexander on the first pitch ofthe  North-East buttress of Shivling.

Alexander got sick and had to leave to expedition. In Tapowan,  I
met the  Swiss mountaineer Iwan Wolf and got him excited to be part of  the »Shivling north-east buttress« project.

The magic line to the summit of Shivling (6543 m.) appears where light and shadow meet.
Hans Kammerlander and his team have already climbed the lower part of the buttress, butfailed because of bad weather. The Japanese gained the buttress in the middle via a traverse from the left and traversed under the headwall to right into easier terrain.The perfect line remains untouched.

Iwan and Thomas start before dawn from theirbase camp Tapowan. The adventure unfolds…

We ascend 200 meters of fixed ropes that I installed with Alexander, to where we turned around last time

Thomas climbs 5.10 on perfect granite on the upper part of the »Kammerlander-Buttress«.

Carrying gear to our high camp at 6000 mThis part of the climb has to be done twice.

Our exposed bivy spot at 6000 meters. To both sides, the wall drops off, and the sharp ridge of the north-east buttress looms above us.

We start climbing. Above our camp, old rotten
 ropes  left by the Japanese team lead the way

Iwan is on the sharp end, the climbing is hard. It is very cold and windy, and the headwall scarily  looms above us. It promises to be a real adventure.

Iwan on the last pitch, along the old fixed ropes of theJapanese team.The headwall  is nearing and intimidating.

Iwan is psyched. It is too cold for climbing shoes,which does not help on 5.10 terrain.

The first pitch of the headwall: it turned to be Thomas´ greatest test as a climber and mountaineer up to that point. An overhanging mess of hollow and loose flakes that had to be climbed using mix of aid and free.

Thomas leads all the pitches of the headwall. Every pitch waits with a little hurdlethat can only be overcome with all the tricks that are available.

Iwan climbs the ice field two hundredmeters below the summit.

Iwan Wolf on the summit of Shivling, 6.543 meters.Exhausted from three days of toil on the mountain.

Thomas exhausted and happy. We made it. A thick cloud prevents us from enjoying the view.Yet, this is not about the view, but about this unique, incredible moment. A long, treacherous descent awaits. It is only in basecamp that we can say we`ve made it.

Iwan and I worked together perfectly. They name their combinationof the Kammerlander-Buttress, the Japanese Route and a direct finish up the headwallShiva´s Line. This expedition is awarded the Piolet d`Or in 2001



Garhwal Himalaya / India




Words: Thomas Huber


From April 25 to June 7 in 2000 we were at it again. This time we embarked on an expedition to the Garwhal Himalaya in India. Our objective was the beautifully shaped Shivling (6.543 m), the Himalayan version of the Matterhorn.


Alexander and I wanted to reach the summit via a new route along the Direct North Pillar. This magic line follows the Kammerlander-Hainz Route on the lower part of the wall, until it joins the Japanese Route at 6.050 meters. That route then avoids the 200 meters high, overhanging headwall by following a ramp system up and right. The new line continues straight up to the summit.

Bad weather, and the difficult conditions that come with it slowed our progress at the beginning. Then Alexander had to end the expedition due to sickness. I was lucky and found a new and ideal partner, the 28-year-old Swiss Iwan Wolf.

On May 29 we made our summit attempt and bivied on an exposed snow ridge at 6.050 meters. We spent another night there, and on May 31, after 12 hours of extremely hairy climbing, we finally stood on the summit of the Shivling at 6 in the evening. We named the route Shiva’s Line, and gave it a rating of 5.10+/A4.

On January 13, 2001 our expedition was awarded the Piolet d’Or.




Source: Wikipedia


Shivling is a mountain in the Gangotri Group of peaks in the western Garhwal Himalaya, near the snout of the Gangotri Glacier. It lies in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, 6 kilometres (4 mi) south of the Hindu holy site of Gaumukh (the source of the Bhagirathi River).

Its name refers to its status as a sacred symbol of the God - Lord Shiva's Shiva Linga. It was called »Matterhorn Peak« by early European visitors because of its similarity in appearance to that Alpine peak. While not of locally great elevation, it is a dramatic rock peak, and most visually striking peak seen from Gaumukh; that and the difficulty of the climb make it a famed prize for mountaineers.

After British exploration of the Gangotri Glacier in 1933, a German expedition led by R. Schwarzgruber climbed nearby peaks and did a reconnaissance of Shivling in 1938. They reported »no feasible route« on the mountain due to its steepness and the threat of falling séracs.

Shivling was first climbed on June 3, 1974 via the west ridge, by a team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, led by Hukam Singh. The ridge is the lowest-angle feature on the mountain, but still involves serious mixed climbing, and is threatened by the sérac barrier noted by the Germans. The ridge leads to the col between the two summits; a steep snow/ice ridge then leads to the main summit.

In the 1980es, the South Pillar and the South Ridge, as well as the North Face were climbed. German Thomas Huber and Iwan Wolf from Switzerland climbed the Direct North Pillar in 2000, an ascent for which they received the Piolet d’Or, the most important award in Alpinism.

In May 2012 Walerij Rosow made the first BASE jump from the summit.

Since the first ascent, at least ten other routes have been climbed on the peak, ascending all major ridges and most major faces of the mountain. All routes are extremely serious undertakings.



6.543 m
Garhwal Himalaya, India






2000, Thomas Huber and Iwan Wolf