Cirque of the Unclimbables, Canada climbs for Ines Papert and Lisi Steurer
In August Ines Papert from Germany and Lisi Steurer from Austria made the first ascent of "Power of Silence" 400m, 5.13a on the Middle Huey Spire in the Cirque of the Unclimbables, Canada.
After debuting in the Himalaya with a new route up the 6093m high North Face of Nepal's Kwangde Shar in January, Ines Papert from Germany has recently returned from a trip to Canada, more precisely to the beautiful and remote granite Cirque of the Unclimbables, where she established a new route with climbing partner Lisi Steurer from Austria.
The two women opted for a line on the South Face of the 2310m high Middle Huey Spire, to the left of the 1977 route climbed by Karl Kosa, Erwin Weilguny and Erich Lackner. The duo forged their route over three days at the start of August then redpointed their "Power of Silence" a week later. Before leaving this "forgotten Yosemite" as it is often called, the two also blazed up the "South East Buttress" on the nearby Lotus Flower Tower and carried out the first free ascent of "Riders on the Storm" on the East Huey Spire, which now goes free at 5.12 d (7c).
The Power of Silence in the Cirque of the Unclimbables by Ines Papert
In the middle of the Canadian wilderness we achieved a fantastic and continuously demanding first ascent on the 400m South Face of Middle Huey Spire. We followed the logical line along cracks and through a very obvious system of dihedrals in the left sector of the wall which led us over some enormous roofs. We almost exclusively used traditional gear like pitons, Camalots and other camming devices. For the belay stations and four other necessary intermediate belays we placed bolts.
A British team left us 90 metres of static rope and thanks to them we are able to climb the upper part in one go. But every meter up to the summit had to be earned and climbing the route felt arduous and very exposed. Luckily the days were long. After three days of hard work on 2. August 2009 we reached the summit of Middle Huey Spire for the first time. This was Lisi's first alpine ascent, and this doubled our joy. The terrain seemed to be ideal for base jumping (for a basejumper), which of course would be the fastest way down. But we had enough adrenaline in our veins and were just as happy to abseil down route to the bottom of the wall.
We were now faced by two questions: would we manage a free ascent of our route? The first ascent had already demanded all repertoire of of technical climbing tricks, plus the wall was very steep. Also, would we be lucky with the weather? During our rest day we were plagued by these thoughts. But the weather god was on our side and even after one rainy day the wall was still dry. We spent another day in our route, practising and cleaning it and two days later we managed the free ascent. On 7. August, in the afternoon, we reached the summit a second time, very happy with out free ascent up this exposed route.
"Power of Silence" seems to be a perfect name. The silence and solitude of the wilderness provided the energy and helped us work as a team in perfect harmony. As a grade we suggest 5.13- (7c+). 11 pitches, mostly 5.11 and 5.12. This is only the second route up the mostly overhanging south face of the Middle Huey Spire, one of the most secluded summits in the area.
During a stable fair-weather phase, unusual for this region, we were able to realize two more dreams — an on-sight ascent of the most famous summit in the area, the Lotus Flower Tower via the 800m "South East Buttress" 5.10c in 9.5 hours and the first free ascent of "Riders on the Storm" 5.12 d (7c, 11 pitches) on East Huey Spire.
Thanks to our friends in Canada, Chris Atkinson and Marc Piche, who inspired us for this trip. They are currently working on a new guidebook and a coffee-table book to the area and thanks to them we got the chance to visit this wonderful area. Many thanks also to our sponsors, who never tire in supporting our undertakings: Arcteryx, Gore Tex, Black Diamond, Lowa, Julbo, Wild Roses, Suunto.
Cirque of the Unclimbables, Canada.
Power of Silence - Middle Huey Spire, S Face
First ascent: Ines Papert, Lisi Steurer 08/2009
First ascent: Ines Papert (climbing with Lisi Steurer), 07/08/2009
400m, 5.13a (7c+), 11 pitches
Riders on the Storm - East Huey Spire, NE Face
First ascent: Paul Friberg & Kurt Blair, 1997
First free ascent: Ines Papert (climbing with Lisi Steurer) 08/2009
5.12 d (7c), 11 pitches