World’s First Trad M10?The Austrians Albert Leichtfried and Benedikt Purner have established what is possibly the world’s hardest traditional mixed climb. Senza Piombo is located in the Dolomites of northern Italy and is a naturally protected five-pitch M10.
“Our dream of the first M10 protected with natural tools came true,” writes Leichtfried. “We were able to focus all the hard mixed climbing and ice climbing from the previous years, for this single point.”
“From there on the character of the route changed dramatically and in front of us we saw an overhanging rock face with very little structure,” wrote Leichtfried. “[W]e thought this might be it and we couldn’t maintain our clean style. I was very impressed that even though it didn’t seem to be possible, Benni [Purner] climbed on and left all the pitons and bolts at the belay.”
Purner sent pitch three onsight, and Leichtfried took the sharp end on the route’s crux fourth pitch. Encountering steep rock with marginal protection, Leichtfried took two gear-ripping falls where his cams “dropped out of the shallow crack,” leaving him at his “wit’s end.” The team retreated, leaving the fourth mixed pitch and the final ice curtain for another day.