First Ascent of Saphira M15- by Lucie Hrozová

Czech climber Lucie Hrozová recently made the first ascent of Saphira M15-  in The Fang Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado, USA - consequently ticking the hardest mixed route ever to be climbed by a woman.

Lucie Hrozová: First Ascent of Saphira M15-, 224 kb
Lucie Hrozová: First Ascent of Saphira M15-
© Jacek Czyz

During her visit to Colorado, Lucie also won the annual Ouray Ice Festival mixed climbing competition and would have taken bronze in the men’s category on the same route. Following the event, Lucie climbed Mustang M14, on her first attempt - formerly the most difficult mixed climb in the USA up until her latest ascent.

Lucie is the only woman to have succeeded on difficult mixed routes above M14-, with multiple ascents of M14-graded routes. She has now established the new hardest mixed climb in the USA, Saphira, which she rated M15-, since it was harder than all the M14s she has climbed previously, including Ironman M14+.

Lucie ice climbing in Colorado, 116 kb
Lucie ice climbing in Colorado
© Libor Hroza senior

Lucie wrote a short description of her time on the route:

"Standa Stenley Vrba discovered this 55m line line two years before and bolted it. A Czech native and an excellent alpinist, who has been living in the USA for 17 years and has numerous ascents under his belt.

I was so impressed with the Saphira line that it was the first thing I wanted to do. Saphira leads logically between rock and ice sections. It is characterised by its variety of climbing. Steep, technical climbing with a long, hard top section and the finish involves Jeff Lowe's legendary Octopussy icicle.

Saphira Topo, 233 kb
Saphira Topo
© Jacek Czyz

It crosses Mustang M14. It was a pity that I didn’t attempt Mustang as my first route, because I managed to climb it on my first attempt after having climbed parts of it for Saphira.

I felt anxious as I started climbing because the route had never been climbed before. US climbers had tried it for the last two years, but without success. On the other hand, it was a great challenge and Standa gave me a lot of support. Since I cannot fly like the mythical dragon it is named after, the climb up was a big battle, which I was able to conquer in the end. Apart from trembling legs, nervousness as well as fear due to the long run-outs, I also faced Alaskan-like cold temperatures and frost."

Lucie getting stuck in on Saphira M15-
© Jacek Czyz

Lucie is sponsored by: Asolo and Singing Rock

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