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Rise of the Machines

Born in East Germany, Ines Papert is one of the world's top all-arounders, male or female. At the 2010 Ouray mixed comp, this 35-year-old single mot...

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InesBorn in East Germany, Ines Papert is one of the world’s top all-arounders, male or female. At the 2010 Ouray mixed comp, this 35-year-old single mother looked as though she was going to repeat her 2005 performance and crush the entire field. “The comp route was so easy,” says Papert, “I figured other people had already completed it, and I needed to hurry.” In reality, only Sam Elias (see below) had topped out on the route thus far, with only two seconds left on the clock (competitors get 20 minutes to complete the route). Papert, however, reached the final, crux ice bulge with almost seven minutes to spare. As she hurried to pull the bulge, a tool blew and she fell. Despite her supreme dominance over the small women’s field, Papert was visibly disappointed when she fell.
samSecond-place finisher Sam Elias stole the show with his unexpected buzzer-beater completion of the route. With just seconds left, Elias made a mad-dash scramble up the final ice bulge, abandoning a tool in the cold matrix below, and diving to tag the red flag with two seconds left on the clock. Elias competed in Ouray when it was still an open event two years ago, but didn’t make finals. Last year, as a dark horse, he wasn’t accepted as a competitor for the now invitation-only event. This year, as part of the Rock and Ice team pick, Elias was allowed in. In recent years, Elias has proven himself as one of the country’s top all-around climbers, with 5.14c redpoints, 5.13c onsights and M12 sends.
JoshJosh Wharton, of Rifle, Colorado, won Ouray last year, and therefore had the honors of going last. Knowing he had to beat Elias’ time to win, Wharton raced up the route and topped out with an impressive five minutes left on the clock. Only Wharton and Elias finished the comp route, which competitors suggested might be as hard as M9.