Game Over, the M13 route in Austria said to be the hardest mixed climb in Europe, has received its second and third ascents, including a repeat by the first ascensionist in a more challenging style. Albert Leichtfried established Game Over last January in the Drylands area near Innsbruck. In December, the Scottish climber Scott Muir repeated the route on his first redpoint burn, using the same “comp style” that Leichtfried employed on the first ascent—that is, he used heel spurs for resting on holds but not for hanging on his tools. Later in the month, inspired by a push among some top climbers to return to the “pure” style of mixed climbing’s earlier days, Leichtfried went back to his climb and did it “bareback,” with no heel spurs attached to his crampons.
In a note to Will Gadd, Leichtfried said, “You can call it the fight of the year—felt like being on my last seconds after clipping the chain.” The Austrian also said the holds on Game Over had gotten a bit better and that it was probably M12- when climbed with heel spurs and M13 without.
Gadd, who last winter repeated The Game (M13) in the Canadian Rockies without heel spurs and added an extension called The Game Reloaded (M13+), has posted a chart on his website suggesting grades for the world’s hardest mixed climbs using various styles (http://gravsports.com/Gadfly%20Pages/gadfly20058.htm). For example, Vertical Limits in Switzerland, a route once considered among the hardest in the world, has been flashed and is now considered M11, but Robert Jasper, who established the climb, went back without spurs and believes it is solid M12 this way.
In an email, Gadd said, “It’s great to see the energy right now for mixed climbing; there’s been a huge spike in standards in the last two years. I think putting the pump clock back into hard mixed climbing has made the game a lot more fun for people. The sport feels wide open again.”