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Barbara Zangerl sends hardest trad pitch for a female climber

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Barbara “Babsi” Zangerl sent the trad pitch Prinzip Hoffnung or Principle of Hope (5.14a or E9-E10) in Bürser Platte, Austria, which makes this the hardest trad pitch sent by a female climber and also the third ascent of this sketchy route.

Zangerl, at 25-years-old, lives just 15 minutes away from the base of Prinzip Hoffnung. She started trying to toprope the route at the end of January, and she’d work on the climb after working her shift at the local hospital. A couple of weeks ago, Zangerl came extremely close to sending on her first ground-attempt, but she repeatedly fell off the same section. Prinzip is one of those walls that when you take a fall, you pray your gear placements will hold. Zangerl mentioned that the only nuts you can place are so small that they probably wouldn’t hold a fall. Because of this, she opted to climb the first 25 feet of the route without protection.

Beat Kammerlander, Austrian legendary climber, holds the first ascent to Prinzip Hoffnung. The climb is a thin 40m crack which splits the smooth slab right above Bürs in half. The crack peters out at circa 25m and the route breaks right at this point, via the desperate crux, to continue via another thin crack 6m higher to the top (planetmountain.com 2009). Last month Italian Jacopo Larcher repeated the route.

Zangerl became the first woman to boulder a V13 back in 2008 when she sent Pura Vida in Magic Wood, Switzerland. Last September, she became the first woman to complete the Alpine Trilogy which consists of climbing Das Kaisers neue Kleider (5.14a) 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, Germany.

Now that Zangerl can cross Prinzip Hoffnung off her climbing list, it’ll be interesting to see what she has her sights on next.

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