Ines Papert

Illuminati

One of the hardest mixed multipitch routes.

On 27/01/2012 Ines Papert and Lisi Steurer carried out the first female ascent of Illuminati, the incredible mixed route established by Albert Leichtfried in 2006 up in Val Lunga, Selva Gardena (Italy).

Hans Hornberger
Photo: Hans Hornberger

„Illuminati“ (M11+) in Langental near Wolkenstein demands not only skill but also patience. „Illuminati“ takes it´s time letting people climb up. Only then, when there is enough ice on the upper part of the face, can the mixed route be climbed. Only then, is the free standing ice pillar connected to the rock shelter below.

Photo: Hans Hornberger

Since Albert Leichtfried first climbed „Illuminati“ in 2006, I played with the idea of repeating but it took me several attempts. Sometimes there wasn’t enough ice and sometimes the temperatures were too low. To successfully climb this rarity, everything has to be perfect. Including the network. In January 2012 – I was hardly back from Harbin, China – when I got a phone call from Hubert Moroder, a good friend and Mountainguide from St. Ulrich: „Ines, you have to come! Immediately!“ Included in the team was once again my old friend Lisi Steurer. By the way, Hubert wasn’t just our informant; he was also our caring hostel warden. In the Lastei residence, Lisi and I were totally spoiled.

I managed to climb the rock pitches straight away. For safety reasons, we only tackled the stretch of ice that followed after the sun had disappeared behind the mountain. I became queasy when I stood in front of the metre long column.

Photo: Hans Hornberger

A freestanding 20 metre high ice column can be fragile and very dangerous. If it collapses, it will drag you down very deep. That’s why we decided not to set any ice screw into the column. Instead we positioned the next safety device further up, where the ice merges into the cliff. My thoughts were spine-chilling. No protection in vertical climbing at 20 metres! If you fall, it hits you unsecured at the front end. Then I had a good gut feeling, as the temperature was around zero degrees and this helped reduce the dangerous tension. I climbed with Lisi up to the exit. We couldn’t help screaming our joy. I was able to repeat the „Illuminati“ redpoint and Lisi had just successfully completed her degree exams a few days earlier. We had any reason to celebrate this evening.

Photo: Hans Hornberger

Facts

Topo Albert Leichtfried
Photo: Archiv Albert Leichtfried

Stories of Rock and Ice