Tired of hearing about mixed climbing in scrappy, low-ceilinged caves? Albert Leichtfried has established a more substantial mixed route—a lot more substantial. On January 24, belayed by Dougal Tavener, Leichtfried led all five pitches of Illuminati (M11+ WI6+) near Wolkenstein (Selva Gardena) in the Dolomites of Italy. The route starts with two bolted M11 pitches (M11- and M11+); Leichtfried flashed the first but took four falls before sending the second pitch. An M8 lead gains an ice curtain, followed by a fun pitch of pure ice (WI4). Leichtfried thought he had it in the bag with just a steep but straightforward-looking pillar to finish the route, but this final 50-meter lead was nightmare for the tired climber, as sun-blasted ice made for insecure climbing and very poor protection.
Leichtfried climbed the route bareback (without heel spurs) and suggests it may be the hardest multipitch mixed rock and ice route yet. Last January, the Austrian climber established Game Over (M13), and he repeated it in December without spurs.Comment on this story