Ines Papert—Ice Climber and Alpinist
LAST SUMMER, while attempting to set a new route on the south face of Shishapangma, the 14th-highest mountain in the world, Papert and her partner, Luka Lindic, awoke in the middle of night to a deafening roar. The two bailed from their tent only moments before an avalanche buried it and all of their gear. “For a moment we thought we were trapped on the mountain,” she says. “Without gear we had no chance to descend, so Luka was shoveling for hours.”
For the 44-year-old German climber, this is the risk you take when you’re pushing the limits of what’s considered possible in your sport. And push Papert has: Since retiring in 2006 from competition ice-climbing, where she became the most decorated athlete of her generation, she has made a habit out of racking up first ascents in some of the most technical terrain on the planet, from Morocco to Nepal. Some of her ascents, including Finnmanen in Norway, have never been repeated.
In 2015, Papert scaled Scotland’s the Hurting, thought by many to be the hardest single-pitch traditional mixed climb in the world. It’s these accomplishments—and her victory in Colorado’s Ouray Ice Climbing Festival, beating not only all the women but also all the men—that have led many to regard her as one of the best alpinists today.
Next year, she plans to begin the biggest project of her career: to drive from Alaska to Patagonia and climb every route of every type she’s ever dreamed about. Papert will take five trips over five years to complete the quest, just in time for her 50th birthday.Back to top