Ines Papert

Euphoria, setback and a Quantum of Solace

It´s Ines Papert´s the second expedition to the remote range of the Kokshaal-Too in Kyrgystan.

Together with Wolfgang Russegger (Austria) I completed the first ascent of Quantum of Solace (ABO WI 7+ M7, 600m) on the Great Walls of China, a series of walls over 5000m, in the Kokshaal-Too range on the border of Kyrgyzstan and China. The southeast face of Kyzyl Asker remains unclimbed.

Franz Walter
Photo: Franz Walter

We traveled to the Kokshaal-Too with Charly Fritzer for a third attempt at the southeast face of Mount Kyzyl Asker (5842m). Charly however became ill during our attempt and we were forced to aborte our attempt approximately 500m below the summit. After descending Kyzyl Asker on September 13, Wolfgang Russegger and I then set off for an unclimbed route on the Great Wall of China; we completed Quantum of Solace within one day.

Photo: Franz Walter

Russegger, I and Thomas Senf first attempted the unclimbed southeast face of Kyzyl Asker in September 2010. That expedition was beset by logistical and weather-related complications. Following a bout of ill health, we turned back on our first attempt by an early appearance of winter weather. After a ten-day wait, we made another effort and advanced to approximately 200m beneath the summit, where we bivyed in heavy snowfall, strong winds, and avalanches. Under these conditions, and with a stove that failed to work, we descended for a second time.

First bivouac on Kyzyl Asker in 2010, the team was still convinced to make to to the summit.
Photo: Archiv Ines Papert

However, I was not dissuaded by the team's ill luck; on returning I praised the rock and ice quality in the Kokshaal-Too and expressed my excitement for another try at Kyzyl Asker.

Our truck got stuck while driving into the basecamp.
Photo: Franz Walter

In September 2011 I returned to the region with Russegger and Fritzer with the objective of finishing Kyzyl Asker. We advanced to 5300m and bivyed to wait for the relatively warm conditions to improve. While we waited Fritzer developed symptoms of acute altitude sickness, and the team immediately descended. While Fritzer recovered at advanced base camp, me and Wolfgang chose an unclimbed line on the nearby Great Walls of China, a climb that was "significantly harder than expected." The route comprises four pitches of difficult mixed terrain followed by a deep, unconsolidated powder slope. The crux was to get from the steep ice into the snow slope: one-meter-deep powder without any solid base. Underneath was the granite slab, where I could not get any hold with my crampons. First time that I have tried to swim on the snow.

Then my climbing partners got sick.
Photo: Archiv Ines Papert

The terrain after this snow slope was easier, and we completed 600m of climbing in fourteen total pitches. The endeavor took us approximately eighteen hours, eleven of which were spent climbing the route.

Quantum of Solace was our second choice and did not disappoint.
Photo: Archiv Ines Papert

Quantum of Solace come to me and Russegger as a consolation prize following our failed attempt at Kyzyl Asker. After our third attempt on that mountain, I was convinced that other objectives will draw my attention for at least the next two years; after that, if the route is still unclimbed, I may return for another attempt.

Expedition report 2010

Expedition report 2016

Facts

Quantum of Solace, first ascent by Ines Papert and Wolfgang Russegger

Difficulties: (ABO, WI 7+, M7, 600m)

Stories of Rock and Ice