Ines Papert and Wolfgang Russegger's Quantum of Solace

Posted on: November 10, 2011


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

Papert, Russegger, 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, the trio was turned back on their first attempt by an early appearance of winter weather. After a ten-day wait, they made another effort and advanced to approximately 200m beneath the summit, where they bivyed in heavy snowfall, strong winds, and avalanches. Under these conditions, and with a stove that failed to work, the trio descended for a second time. Papert, however, was not dissuaded by the team's ill luck; on returning she praised the rock and ice quality in the Kokshaal-Too and expressed her excitement for another try at Kyzyl Asker.

This September Papert returned to the region with Russegger and Fritzer with the objective of finishing Kyrzyl Asker. The trio advanced to 5300m and bivyed to wait for the relatively warm conditions to improve. While they waited Fritzer developed symptoms of acute altitude sickness, and the team immediately descended. While Fritzer recovered at advanced base camp, the two climbers 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," Papert said. The terrain after this snow slope was easier, and the pair completed 600m of climbing in fourteen total pitches. The endeavor took the pair approximately eighteen hours, eleven of which were spent climbing the route.

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According to Papert, Quantum of Solace comes to her and Russegger as a consolation prize following their failed attempt at Kyzyl Asker. After her third attempt on that mountain, Papert says that other objectives will draw her attention for at least the next two years; after that, if the mountain is still unclimbed, she may return for another bid.

For photos from the trip click here.

Sources: Ines Papert, planetmountain.com

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