Stepping up to the 5.13b/c first pitch of Scaramouche, Ines Papert knew what to expect. She had attempted the Huber brothers’
alpine testpiece several months earlier, only to be stymied by wet holds and inclement weather. So on September 4th, as she dispatched the first and
hardest pitch on her first attempt of the day, her spirits and hopes were high.
When she topped out approximately five-and-a-half hours later, supported by her climbing partner Matthias Reiter, Papert became a member of a small elite
to have climbed Scaramouche, the first “alpine 8a in the Alps” and a climb “considered to be one of the most technically demanding” in Germany,
according to a press release about her ascent. Hers is the sixth known ascent of the route.
The eight-pitch Scaramouche (5.13b/c, 5.12d, 5.12c, 5.11a, 5.13a, 5.12c, 5.11d, 5.12c) ascends a pillar on the west face of Hoher Göll, a peak
in Berchtesgaden, Germany. In his memoir, The Mountain Within: The True Story of the World’s Most Extreme Free-Ascent Climber, Alexander Huber
writes about looking up at the imposing pillar before he and his brother Thomas pioneered the route: “There was as yet no direct line up this impressive
section of the wall. Sheer, structureless and forbidding, it shoots straight up into the sky.”
The eight-pitch route has seen very few successful redpoint ascents over the years. The climb’s crux, on the first pitch, forced Papert to navigate “delicate
slabs, reachy boulder sections, tiny crimps, finger holes,” all while remaining calm in the face of massive runouts.
Though the grades of the subsequent seven pitches ease up slightly, the seriousness of the climb does not. On an early, but unsuccessful redpoint attempt
in 1989, Alexander Huber took a 40-foot fall and “massively bruised” his ankle, he recalls in The Mountain Within. On her ascent, Papert sent
every pitch on her first attempt of the day, save for pitch number three, which took her two tries.
“I have spent about 10 to 14 days in the route over the past years. I have cursed, doubted, and laughed,” Papert says. “Seldom have I climbed a route that
was as technically demanding.”