Stephan Siegrist

Professional Alpinist

The natural spectacle of “Martinsloch”: Stephan Siegrist balances between shadow and sunshine

The sunlight then suddenly shines through the “Martinsloch”, a triangular window in the rock face, casting a beam of light over the lanes and rooftops of the village of Elm in the Swiss canton of Glarus.

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Anticipation… a hush descends… The sunlight then suddenly shines through the “Martinsloch”, a triangular window in the rock face, casting a beam of light over the lanes and rooftops of the village of Elm in the Swiss canton of Glarus. From September 30th to October 1st, the village’s inhabitants and visitors will have a chance to witness this magical natural phenomenon that occurs just twice a year. The Mammut Pro Team athlete Stephan Siegrist chose to portray this interaction between shadow and sunshine symbolically on the highline. Resulting in impressive photos depicting dreamlike images.

The sun shines directly through the hole in the rock onto Elm’s church tower for just two minutes. In misty weather, it forms a clearly visible 4.7 kilometer beam of light, casting a round light spot of some 50 meters. According to a legend, it was Saint Martin who was responsible for the hole in the rock in the Tschingelhörner ridge. He is said to have thrown a heavy staff with an iron tip at a giant who had tried to steal his sheep. However, the staff missed its target and instead pierced a hole through the mountain just under the ridge - resulting in the “Martinsloch”, or “Martin’s Hole”.

Since then, each year dozens of people make the pilgrimage to Elm, eager to witness this fascinating natural phenomenon. The Mammut Pro Team athlete Stephan Siegrist shares this fascination with the interaction of light and shadow. In a complex climbing feat, he tensioned last year a temporary highline across the “Martinsloch”. Imposing cliff faces, a balancing athlete, a red-colored sky and the sun approaching the horizon - a moment in time captured on camera by photographer Stefan Schlumpf.

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