Crack Baby

On 15 February 1993 at the Breitwangflue above Kandersteg in Switzerland, Xaver Bongard and Michael Gruber made the first ascent of Crack Baby, a route destined to become on of the most iconic ice climbs in Europe. Unfortunately, just one year after his first ascent, Bongard died in a BASE jumping accident in Lauterbrunnen. At the time, among the many who had admired his climbs was the budding alpinist Stephan Siegrist.

In this film Siegrist, now a highly acclaimed mountain guide, returns with Gruber to the Breitwangflue to pay homage to Bongard and their 11-pitch outing. It's interesting to note that this was Gruber's first time back on the line since establishing it 30 years earlier. To make things even more fun, for their ascent, the pair dusted off some of the original gear.

  • Mario Heller
  • Mario Heller
  • Mario Heller
  • Stephan Siegrist Heller
    Key Cast
    "Stephan Siegrist"
  • Michael Gruber
    Key Cast
    "Michael Gruber"
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Outdoor, Climbing, Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Adventure
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 37 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 16, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    7,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, German, Swiss German
  • Shooting Format:
    Sony Alpha
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Mario Heller
Distribution Information
  • Mario Heller
Director Biography - Mario Heller

Mario Heller is a passionate climber, paragliding pilot, filmmaker and photographer from Switzerland. He is always on the lookout for new and interesting challenges, whether it be pushing his limits at the local crags, finding new climb & fly adventures in his home mountains or making bold, alpine-style ascents in far off Patagonia. The combination of his high skill set and boundless charisma makes Mario a valuable part of any team; equally at home behind the camera – or on the sharp end in front of it.

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