All mixed up

By Jonathan Thesenga ,

During the first two months of 2003, Germans Ines Papert and Robert Jasper raised the bar for mixed climbing by picking their way up several high-end routes in Switzerland. Papert, the dominating winner of this year's Ice World Cup and Ice Climbing World Championship, added to her status as the world's best female mixed climber during a week-long sending spree, encompassing six of Europe's hardest routes: Pink Panther (M9+), Slice of Scheiss (M10), Twin Towers (M10), Whiteout (M10), Tomahawk (M10/11), and-- becoming the first woman to climb the grade-- the popular testpiece Mission Impossible (M11). Papert, who has a two-year-old son, nearly on-sighted Mission Impossible, but fell on a traversing move near the ice curtain. She fired the steep roof on her second try. Jasper was feverishly busy fleshing out his own mixed résumé with an on-sight of Mission Impossible (the second person to on-sight M11 behind Dmitry Bychkov; see Hot Flashes 221) and two M12 first ascents in Switzerland. Jasper made a fifth-try first ascent of the 120-foot Vertical Limits and finished off Batman, another 120-footer out a massive cave, which he'd tried last year. Jasper, having nearly repeated Will Gadd's Musashi (M12) in 2002 before he skewered his right hand with his heel spur, feels that both of his new creations are of the same difficulty as Musashi. A little over two weeks after Jasper's ascent of Vertical Limits, 20-year-old Simon Anthamatten of Switzerland, fresh off sending a host of M10 and M11s, pulled off the route's second ascent, successfully battling out the overhang on just his seventh try.

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