Mayan Smith-Gobat & Ines Papert: Riders on the Storm - Sidetracked Volume 7
On the 6th February 2015 Ines Papert and Mayan Smith-Gobat accompanied by photographer Thomas Senf summited Torres Central via the East Face, in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia. It was the fifth known ascent of the route named "Riders on the Storm", successfully completed 25 years after the first ascent.
Mayan wrote an account of their experience, featured in Volume 7 of Sidetracked magazine (pictured), along with incredible photos taken during the climb by Thomas Senf. Mayan's writing gives a sense of the atmosphere of the climb, the physical effort involved to even reach such a remote location, as well as the tension of being in a situation with uncontrolable and inescapable dangers of rock and ice fall.
Originally from New Zealand, Mayan Smith-Gobat is one of the top female trad climbers in the world. She has broken the female speed record on The Nose, El Capitan Yosemite Valley several times, and established many first ascents. Ines Papert is a four time world champion and multiple world cup ice climbing competition winner from Bavaria, Germany. During the 2005 Ouray ice climbing competition she bested all the male competitors to win the event.
Both women enjoy adventurous expedition climbing and seeking out new lines, so with Mayan's experience on granite big walls, and Ines' Alpine experience, they made the perfect team to attempt the fifth ascent of Riders on the Storm. The route involved 38 pitches and 1300m of climbing up to Grade 7c+ (2 pitches haven't been free climbed yet), and Ines and Mayan free climbed all but 4 pitches of the entire route, climbing for 15 days.
The expedition was filmed by Thomas Senf and Franz Walter. Through the film and Mayan's writing, it's clear that as the route pushed them beyond the limits of 20 years' climbing experience, the climbers' relationship was as important to the success of the expedition as their technical ability.
Read the story at Sidetracked - Riders On The Storm, and watch the film trailer below.
"Riders on the Storm", Torre Central 2800m, East Face - Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile