The Kyzyl Asker, a bare and hard to access mountain on the border between China and Kyrgyzstan in the Xingjang Region has seen very few ascents so far. In 2010 Papert attempted to open a new line on the southeast face of the mountain but had to retreat just 300m shy of the summit due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. Expedition report 2010.
A second attempt a year later was also futile due to health problems of Papert's team. Expedition report 2011.
Five years later the force of attraction of Kyzyl Asker lead Papert to a third expedition to the uninhabitable terrain of the mountain. The line she had in mind before had seen several attempts over the course of the past years but so far no team had managed to climb the route to the peak.
When Papert spoke to Slovenian climber Luka Lindič about the line it quickly became clear that he was just as enthusiastic about the project as Papert herself. The team decided to attempt as fast and light as possible, in alpine style.
The two climbers set off on September 30th at 5am, simul-climbing the first few hundred meters in the dark. Papert and Lindič knew that they had to make progress quickly to reach the summit ridge that same day. Otherwise the predicted good weather window would close and they would have to retreat or they would get caught in a snowstorm.
The team gained ground quickly, climbing through huge roofs of ice. Papert lost sight of Lindič as he lead a pitch. All of a sudden she heard a piercing scream. Lindič let out a howl of joy when he saw what lay before them: perfect ice lead their way to the summit ridge. Papert says that neither she nor Lindič had climbed such a perfect ice and mixed route at an altitude this high before.
A thunderstorm set in as night was falling. The team climbed in the dark again until they were about 2 pitches below the summit ridge and set up an uncomfortable and extremely exposed bivvy with spindrift beating on Papert and Lindič.
After a tough and severely cold night the two climbers began their ascent to the peak the next day. They reached the summit ridge around 10am and left ropes and gear behind as they took on their last meters to the peak. Lindič made way for Papert with a wink, telling her that she should be the first after all her experiences and hardships on the mountain. Papert and Lindič reached the peak of Kyzyl Asker via the southeast face on October 1st, 2016 at 12.10 local time. They named their route "Lost in China." The line strikes one's glace immediately. It's the one line that begs to be climbed.
The team was aware of the weather window and they quickly rappeled down over their route, solely using Abalakov anchors. They arrived at the ABC at 7pm. Right after touching base a massive thunderstorm swept over the mountain, chasing spindrift avalanches down the face.
Lindič said that "Lost in China" is one of the best ice/mixed lines he has climbed on a big mountain. Lindič: "It is very rare to climb on proper water ice on a mountain like that. I feel very lucky that I was able to be part of Ines' idea and profit from her knowledge she gained on previous visits to the mountain."
Papert adds. "This was my third time on Kyzyl Asker. After the second failed attempt I needed to let the idea rest, I didn't want it to become my purpose in life. After several teams attempted the route the idea grew again. Failure is part of climbing. And so is patience and sometimes a third attempt. I am simply happy to be able to experience this moment."
Route: Lost in China, ED, WI 5+, M6, 1200m
Mountain: Kyzyl Asker, China, southeast face
Route: Border Control (First Repeat and First Free Ascent) 21st September 2016, Great Walls of China, China, Northeast face, ED, WI 5, M7, 650m