BD athlete Ines Papert repeats Super Cirill, a multi-pitch 8a/8a+ trad line in Switzerland
Black Diamond athlete Ines Papert continues to seek out demanding multi-pitch trad lines, most recently dispatching the 200-meter Super Cirill in Switzerland. Below is her report that documents the battle she went through before the successful redpoint. (Photos courtesy of Thomas Senf.)
Graded 8a/8a+ the nine-pitch route Super Cirill (200m, 7a+, 7a+, 7b+, 7c+/8a, 8a/8a+, 6c+, 6c, 6a+) on Parete di Sonlerto is the hardest free climbing multi-pitch route in Tessin. Many cracks interrupted by dihedrals and exposed traverses provide for a technically challenging climbing experience.
The double crack, hard as bone and just wide enough to fit my fingers inside, already grinned at me during my fist attempt of this route with Stephan Siegrist many years ago. I was fascinated by this kind of climbing, the rough granite and the clean structures, but disappointed by so many bolts (the first ascent of the route was in 1985 by Cameroni, Moretti and Ferrari). I gladly took notice of the route being renovated during the past few years. Now there are just six bolts for intermediate belays in the first six pitches. Just there, where trad gear would be unsafe. Just perfect for me to try.
In May 2010 I checked out the route together with the strong world champion climber Liv Sanzos from France. In 2001 we met as competitors during the ice climbing World Cup. Now we are a climbing as a team on a high rock face. Terrific. Two weeks we invested all of our energy and willpower in the crux pitch graded 8a/8a+. To no avail. Tropical temperatures around 27 °Celsius, thunderstorms and much humidity in the air just crippled our efforts to send this route. Giving up? Not an option!
We were fascinated by the valley, the remoteness and the short approach of only two minutes. We sort of "had to" sleep until noon, because only at midday the longed for shadow started creeping into the face. Liv and I thus postponed a free ascent to cooler fall weather. But something else came up—an expedition to Kyrgyzstan.
Liv's comments on Facebook:
Ines Papert and I have been speaking since a little while to share more climbing and adventures together. Lately, Ines suggested we should climb the "Super Cirill" route in Ticino. The crux pitch is a fingery crack (8a/8a+) on pitch # 6. The other pitches are either cracks or technical face climbing. The other hard pitch (7c+/8a) is a face climbing, quite demanding, technical and not even vertical. But really interesting to climb once you got the right betas. Beside the fact I had never free climb a hard trad pitch, I was immediately stoked. Sharing this route with Ines sounds awesome, as she's a true friend and a solid climber. And this was a good opportunity to improve my experience with trad climbing. Unfortunately, we could not make it. We had to deal with the rain, a very hot weather and the rain again...We tried to work the crux pitch despite those conditions but humid fingers sliding into the crack and slippery feet were not that fun. Neither Ines nor I are the type of person who gives up easily. But, we had to leave for this time. We are definitely planning on coming back together this fall.
This time, having learned my lesson, I went to Tessin a month earlier, in April. Liv was still climbing in the U.S.A., but being a mum and organizing the Basecamp Festival (www.basecamp-festival.de), due to start in a few days, my time management gave no further leeway to this project. Liv wished me the best of luck, and I was still hoping she would still come and join me!
Meanwhile Charly Fritzer was my escort. This Corinthian showman is not only an extremely motivated and strong climbing partner, but also much fun to hang out with. We made the perfect team.
After five days Charly finally redpointed the route. His comment: "I'm not going home before you've done this route."
Over and over he motivated me and gave me new inspiration, which was slowly but surely dwindling away. I just couldn't find the right sequence of moves for my height. But finally I did find the perfect solution and I knew I was able to send the route.
Without another rest day, we started on 26. April 2011.
Everything went smoothly, I redpointed all pitches on first try. All except the crux length, where I fell and cursed my stupid-power-saving-tactics... I finished the pitch and cleaned it again. This time I was even more comitted, gave everything and totally focused on the double dyno to the left and my fingers jammed perfectly. Reassured and calmly I placed the 0.3 Cam, climbed on up to the roof, accurately put my feet on the tiny flake and prayed the shoe would stick somehow. He did! My intermediate goal was the hand jam just under the roof, which is becoming increasingly painful with all the sores on the back of my hand. Another placement for a 0.4 Cam, a heel hook and I made this one too. The remaining pitches I hardly remember, exiting the route never felt so easy before. This state of mind, to be totally immersed in the here and now, I experience so intensely only when climbing. To reach the belay and to know, this was the perfect GO is better than any meditation.
With Charly cheering I come back to reality. The final pitches are not that great. Mossy, slopey and a nice offwidth.
I finished the route. My perfect redpoint. Thanks a million, Charly!