Ines Papert

Super Cirill – redpoint & clean

In May 2011 Ines Papert sends her hardest crack climb.

The 9 pitch route Super Cirill on Parete di Sonlerto is one of the hardest free climbing multi-pitch routes in Tessin. Graded 8a/8a+, many of the cracks are interrupted by dihedrals and exposed traverses. It is a perfect technically challenging climbing experience.

Thomas Senf
Photo: Thomas Senf

A personal history

A double crack, like a hard splinter of bone, grins at me. Many years ago, fascinated with the rough granite and clean structures of this kind of climbing, I attempted this route with Stephan Siegrist. Disappointed then by the abundance of bolts, I returned in May 2010, pleased to see that the past few years had seen changes: 6 bolts in the first 6 pitches. It was about time to try again.

With my new climbing partner, world champion Liv Sanzos, I checked out the route again. Liv and I met as competitors during the 2001 ice climbing world cup. Today we are here as a team, ready to take on a high rock face. Terrific.

First ascent on this route goes to Cameroni, Moretti and Ferrari in 1985. Fascinated by the valley, the remoteness and the short approach of only two minutes, we invest all of our energy and will power to send the crux pitch, 8a/8a+.

Tropical temperatures hover at 27 °Celsius, thunderstorms and much humidity beg the question: Give up? Not an option!

We were forced to sleep long until the shadow begins to creep across the face.

After two weeks, Liv and I finally surrender to a free ascent in cooler fall weather. We can’t predict that something else will come up - an expedition to Kirgistan.

Liv's comments on Facebook

Ines Papert and I have been talking for while about how we’d like to share more climbing and adventures together. Recently, she suggested the "Super Cirill" route in Ticino. The crux pitch is a fingery crack (8a/8a+) on pitch # 6. The other pitches are either cracks or technical face climbing.The second hard pitch (7c+/8a) is a face climb, quite demanding, technical, not even vertical but really interesting to climb once you get the right betas. Given the fact that I had never free climbed a hard trad pitch, I was immediately stoked. Sharing this route with Ines will be awesome as she's a true friend and a solid climber. Plus it was a good opportunity to improve my experience with trad climbing. Unfortunately, we did not make it. We had to deal with the rain, very hot weather and then rain again...We tried to work the crux pitch despite those conditions but humid fingers sliding into the crack and slippery feet were not that fun. Neither Ines nor I are the type of person who gives up easily. But, evetually we had to leave. We are definitely planning on coming back together this fall."

New developments

Having learned my lesson, this time I head to Tessin in April, one month earlier than my last attempt. Liv is still climbing in the US, but being a mum and organizing the Basecamp Festival, that is due to start in a few days, my time management gives no further leeway to this project. Liv wishes me the best of luck; I still hope that she will come and join me!

Charly Fritzer, carinthian climber is my partner. Extremely motivated and strong, he is also a lot of fun to hang out with. We are the perfect team.

Five days in the route, Charly finally redpoints it.

His comment: "I'm not going home until you've done the same."

Over and over he pushes me. New inspirations, more encouragement, but I just can’t find the right sequence of moves for my body height. Slowly but surely, my faith dwindles. And then I find my beta. I know I can send this route.

26 April 2011

Without another rest day we start. Everything is smooth - I redpoint all pitches on first try... until the crux length, where I fall and curse my stupid-power-saving-tactics. I finish the pitch and clean it again.

This time to be even more committed. I spend everything and totally focus on the double dyno to the left and my fingers jammed perfectly. Reassured and calm, I place the 0.3 Cam, climb on up to the roof, accurately place my feet on the tiny flake and pray that the shoe will somehow stick. It does! My intermediate goal is the hand jam just under the roof, increasingly painful with all the sores on the back of my hand. Another placement for a 0.4 Cam, a heel hook and I make this one too. The remaining pitches I hardly remember - exiting! The route never felt so easy. To be totally immersed in the here and now is a state of mind that I experience most intensely when climbing. To reach the belay and to know, this was the perfect GO is better than any meditation.

With Charly cheering, I come back to reality. The final pitches are not that great. Mossy and a nice off width.

I finish. My perfect redpoint.

Thanks a million, Charly!


Ines Papert repeats Super Cirill

redpoint/clean 8a/8a+

200m, 7a+, 7a+, 7b+, 7c+/8a, 8a/8a+, 6c+, 6c, 6a+

Switzerland, Tessin, Valle Bavona

Gear: Set of Cams and Nuts, bring a 2nd rack smaller cams

Stories of Rock and Ice