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Sven Krebs Has Proven He's No Troglodyte with Latest Mixed Testpiece

 Sven Krebs Has Proven He's No  Troglodyte with Latest Mixed Testpiece

by Editor

June 07, 2002

Sven Krebs is on the cutting edge of elite ice/mixed climbing. Sven has proven that he is no prehistoric cave dweller. Instead of living in caves, he spends his time climbing out of them. This past winter Sven Krebs of Montrose, Colorado climbed an impressive new mixed line Troglodyte, M9+, in the Skylight area just outside Ouray, Colorado. It is not only one of the hardest mixed lines in Colorado, but also in North America as there are only a handful of M9s in the United States.

We talked to Sven about the climb and asked him to describe the route in detail because sometimes pictures are not enough.

C4- Sven, Can you describe the route and the first ascent in detail for our readers?

Sven Krebs on Troglodyte, M9+ Sven- "The route, called Troglodyte, is about 25 meters long. The steepest climbing is right off the ground with 20 feet of long, pumpy moves out the horizontal cave roof. The crux is a long reach to a shallow, tenuous placement, used to pull over the lip-- right as the pump is really starting to set in. This move required amazing body tension to reach up and around the lip and at first seemed impossible following the pump of the opening moves. Above that, 40 feet of easier but awkward climbing pulls through another small roof (M7) and onto the hanging ice (WI6). An easy, 20 foot ramp of ice then leads to the anchors.

I completed the climb on my seventh attempt after working it through December and January. After my sixth attempt, several days before the Ouray (Ice) Festival, I finally felt I could do it, but I had to focus on participating in the competition, waiting till later in January to get back to it. It was great to see this project through to it's conclusion; From imagining that it might be possible every time I walked under it on the way to the Skylight area (for over five years), to the reality of climbing it. After all the time and effort spent preparing the route and working it, sending it was a relief. On the last several attempts I fell after pulling the crux due to mental errors and unimaginable pumpage. In the end it was just a matter of putting it all together without mistakes and staying focused after the crux (like every hard redpoint-- duh). Sending it also gave me the motivation and confidence to start looking at some of the more futuristic lines in the area to be climbed next season."

C4- When you are not putting up wickedly hard mixed routes, what do you do for a living?

Sven- I'm a full time climbing guide, working in the Ouray area in the winter, and at Devil's Tower, WY and in the Cordillera Blanca in Peru in the summer.

C4- Got any new goals in the near future?

Sven- In June, I'll be attempting a new line on Huascaran Norte in the Cordillera Blanca with Brad Johnson. In 2003 I'll climb on the Ice World Cup series. My sponsors are Petzl, Charlet-Moser and La Sportiva.

C4- Thanks, Sven. We hope to hear more about your new line on Huascaran Norte later this summer.

You can catch a glimpse of Sven climbing Troglodyte in the upcoming film MX Where Ice Meets West by M9Films.

Photos courtesy of Rich Purnell and

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