German climber Ines Papert (42) partenered with Slovenian Luka Lindic (28) have made the first ascent of a much-tried line on the southeast face of Kyzyl Asker (5842m) on the border between Kyrgystan and China. The route, (now graded ED, WI 5+, M6, 1200m), was climbed in a fast and light Alpine style between 30th September and 1st October 2016. The pair have named their route Lost in China.
This well known and ephemeral iceline had thwarted Papert in her two previous trips to the mountain, and had also been attempted by multiple other teams of various nationalities, including Brits Es Tressider and Guy Robertson.
Good conditions on the route are very difficult to find, and the sun that hits the face can have catastrophic effects, sending spindrif and ice down the 1200m couloir. Luckily on this trip the pair found superb conditions for the most part.
Commenting on the Arc'teryx Blog, Ines said:
"Neither Luka nor me had climbed such a perfect ice and mixed route at an altitude this high before. The same route had cost us incredibly much time in 2010 because of the difficult conditions. This time it seemed almost easy."
Kyzyl Asker is the highest mountain in the western sector of the Western Kokshaal-too range and has several other routes on its beautiful granite south pillar. The most well documented in recent times in the line by the Belgian team of Sean Villaneueva and Nico Favresse back in 2013. The photo below shows the Belgian's line up the rock, and the recent ascent by Ines Papert and Luka Lindic takes the screamingly obvious ice line just to the left.
Their ascent went relatively smoothly, but the pair still endured an uncomfortabel and cold hanging bivvy, just 2 pitches below the top.
When they finally topped out after a big push from Luka, he relinquished the lead for Ines to summit first. She described the moment on the Arc'teryx blog:
"We untied from our ropes at the summit ridge, left them and the pack behind and made our way to the peak. Luka gave me a wink and let me lead: ‘After your experience and hardships on the mountain this is how it should be.’ I climbed the last metres to the cornice-covered peak. I was speechless and simply happy to experience this moment. Luka arrived and I could see joy in his face as he stands next to me. It is 12.10 local time."
- You can read the full report on this ascent by Ines Papert on the Arc'teryx Bird Blog