Ines Papert on Camilotto Pellesier
ClimbAndMore: Would you call this route the most important alpine route in your climbing career?
Ines Papert: Absolutely! When you compare it to the Eiger route (Symphonie de Liberte), there were one, maybe two hard pictches and even these were not that difficult. was without any doubt a very nice route but with only one hard pitch. So it’s the continuity of Camillotto which makes this route special. At the end of the route I felt an incredible pain in my feet, because I had tight shoes, which are only good for steep pitches. But if you are on this kind of route you have to accept the pain.
In this context I have to mention your accident on the south face of Marmolada in the Dolomites, when the flake broke loose and you broke your leg. Was it hard to overcome the psychological barrier and come back to the mountain route in the same place?
I think that in general I wouldn’t come back to the same mountain. Maybe in five or ten years. For me it’s a different mountain. The problem was with easier pitches, because there was almost no protection on them. The rock was really loose. All the time I had in my mind: “don’t hold the loose rock and don’t fall!” That is not what I like. I like hard pitches and steep rock, so maybe I should focus on harder routes in the future (laughter). I mean the routes where danger is not a factor.
So why did you actually choose the route on the Tre Cime? The rock there is much looser than on Marmolada.
I went to this route before my accident and my feeling was that it’s more like sport climbing in the mountains. First of all belays are bolted and it was one reason for me to go there. I always think that if belays are well protected you can risk a fall, even if there’s 10 or 20 meter long runout. A friend of mine, Kurt Astner from South Tirol, asked me if I wanted to repeat this route after Bubu had freed it. We were working together on the free ascent. Then I had an accident. In the meantime Kurt repeated the route but I had to wait. It was a long recovery and I had a lot of time to think about it. For me it was something open. I felt that it was not finished, that the route was waiting for me. This summer I’ve thought: this is the right time. My ankle is good enough now, although it’s still swollen, and there’s still lot of metal inside: twelve screws and a long plate, but it’s better than I thought.
How long did you work on the route this time?
During the first days I spent on the route the weather was really bad. Every time after one or two hours of climbing it was starting to rain. When it only rained it was no problem, because the wall is overhanging, but when there were thunderstorms I was scared and had to abseil down many times. So in total, including the bad weather days, it was about 15 days. Nine days of working alone on the fixed rope and six with partner. I had two final RP attempts, the second one was successful.
What about the crux of the climb?
The route has a very continuous character, long pitches with several cruxes. For most people the crux was the pitch which Bubu graded 8b. But for me the most difficult one was the last hard pitch of the route. It’s two meters overhang and it’s sooo exposed… 200m high over the talus.
What do you think about the protection of the route, the state of pitons and bolts you found there?
If you want to clip all pitons there you have to take 30 quickdraws and you don’t climb, just clip. When you’re freeclimbing the route, sometimes you climb on the left of the line, and sometimes on the right, so you can’t clip all the pitons. I tried to clip every second or at least every third one, because in case of the fall you never know. In fact nothing was broken, some pieces were bended and that’s all. On this route you have pitons every 80 centimeters, so climbing it with using aid you could do even with your running shoes on. They put so many pitons there on the terrain up from 6a, but on easier pitches there’s literally NOTHING – not even one , nothing. Of course if it goes a little bit harder like 6a or 6b, there are again dozens of pitons.
As far as I know Rainer Eder took photos of you on Camilotto during the real ascent, which is not typical in the climbing world nowadays when most photos you can find in magazines are the posed ones…
In fact it happened by chance, because Rainer was leaving to the States the following week and he wanted to make the photos before. I had told him that I wouldn’t pose. I didn’t want to repeat any moves, because my goal was to do the route. He was absolutely easy about that. He told me that he was sure I would do that route, that or some other time and that he could use the photos then. Actually the fact that he came with us turned out to be an additional motivation for me. He was on the top, crying: ‘Go, go, go!!!’ and my friend Wasti Schöndorfer was on the belay below, shouting: “Come on, come on, go, go!” So there were two supporters and it really helped me.
Did you have any falls during the final ascent?
Yes, I had one on the sixth pitch leading to the roof. It’s not that hard, 7a or 7b and I was climbing like always, but a footstep broke and I fell down. That was the only fall during the RP ascent.
Do you think about doing any other routes on the Tre Cime?
There is one I’d like to do, maybe not this but next year or even later. It is Phantom der Zinne. I think it must be a super nice route. Then we’ll see. Probably another mountain…
What about your next projects and plans for the following weeks and months?
Windsurfing! [laughter]. I spent a long time working on this route, driving to the Dolomites every three days, spending three days there and I put really a lot of energy into this ascent.. In August my son has holiday in kindergarten and my boyfriend has come back from an expedition, so we’ll have some days off windsurfing, and maybe a little slacklining and ladder climbing. And then we’ll see, depending on the weather. If it’s a long summer, maybe I will try another hard alpine route.
Ines Papert is sponsored by: