Home > Winter

‘Crack Baby’: Alpinist Retraces Steps of Legendary Swiss Ice Climb

Ice climbing comes in many forms. This edit from Mammut explores the history and future of a legendary Swiss route that's helped define the discipline.

Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes: This climb really is as insane as it looks.

First climbed 30 years ago by Swiss alpinists Xaver Bongard and Michael Gruber, Crack Baby offers nearly 1,200 feet — spread across 11 pitches — of uninterrupted ice climbing bliss.

Stephan Siegrist leads an expedition to tackle this monster WI6 route in a new edit from Mammut. Both historical and modern, the vid brings together the tragic history of the line’s original climbers with cutting-edge photography of a repeat ascent.

“Just one year after opening the route, Bongard was killed in a BASE jumping accident in Lauterbrunnen,” the vid description says. “Among the many admirers, he left behind was young aspiring alpinist Stef Siegrist, who looked up to the 30-year-old as a friend and mentor. In his new film, Siegrist takes Gruber back to the Breitwangflue to pay tribute to Bongard. For Gruber’s first attempt at the route since opening it 30 years ago, the pair dust off some of the original gear to get the job done in style.”

Runtime: 15 minutes

markus pucher free solo ice climbing

Free Solo Ice Climbing: Watch Markus Pucher's Stone-Cold Nerves in ‘Ice Chasers’

Markus Pucher started ice climbing when he was 16. Now, his approach reflects the barest of bare necessities. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.