Barbara "Babsi" Zangerl has made an impressive third ascent of the tenuous trad route Prinzip Hoffnung (5.14a) in Bürser Platte, Austria. The 25-year-old Zangerl, who lives just a 15-minute walk from the base of the route, often worked on the climb after her shift at the local hospital.
"I started trying it on toprope at the end of January and the initial sensations were immediately very good," Zangerl told Planet Mountain in an interview. "I even got really close to sending it on my first ground-up attempt a couple of weeks ago. But then I started to fall off the same section, again and again ..."
Falling off of Prinzip Hoffnung is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, Zangerl opted to climb the first 25 feet of the route without any pro because she says "the only nuts you can place are so small they probably wouldn't hold a fall." Prinzip Hoffnung, which was first climbed in 2009 by the legendary Austrian Beat Kammerlander and then repeated by Italian Jacopo Larcher last month, consists of an extremely technical slab that joins two small cracks. The cracks are protected with small wires, which Zangerl had little previous experience with.
"In the past I've done some routes at Indian Creek and I've done some alpine routes, but they've never been this difficult," Zangerl told Planet Mountain. "Let's just say that I took my first falls onto wires on this route."
For Zangerl, the key to success on this psychologically demanding route was finally giving up hope of sending it.
"Things didn't feel good and so I wasn't stressed out or under pressure, and then all of a sudden I found myself above the crux," said Zangerl. "A complete surprise!"
Barbara Zangerl first made headlines in 2008 for becoming the first woman to boulder V13--sending Pura Vida in Magic Wood, Switzerland. However, after suffering a herniated disc, Zangerl switched disciplines and began using a rope. This past September, she became the first woman to complete the formidable Alpine Trilogy, which consists of climbing Des Kaisers neue Kleider (5.14a) (The Emperor's New Clothes) in the Austrian Alps, Silbergeier (5.14a) in the Ratikon range of Switzerland and The End of Silence (5.14a) near Reiter Alm in Berchtesgaden, German.