Ice Climbing: Tim Emmett and Klemen Premrl have climbed Mission To Mars WI 13

Seven years after their first WI 11 at the Helmcken Falls, climbers Tim Emmett and Klemen Premrl break their own records with the first ascent of Mission To Mars, a hugely overhanging ice climb they have graded WI 13.

Ice Climbing: Tim Emmett and Klemen Premrl have climbed Mission To Mars WI 13

Sometimes the existing grades are just inadequate. We saw it in 2010 when Tim Emmett and Will Gadd climbed Spray On, the first ice climb in Helmcken Falls, and graded it WI 10. Or in 2017, when Adam Ondra managed to climb all the cruxes of his “project hard” in Flatanger, now known as Silence, first 9c in the history. Or in 2019, when Jacopo Larcher accomplished his long-term trad project in Caldarese “Tribe”, still no grade assigned but probably the hardest of its kind.

We have witnessed a lot of moments that signed new chapters in the history of the discipline, and now we’re happy to welcome a new one.

On 9 February Tim Emmett and La Sportiva ambassador Klemen Premrl exceeded themselves once again, establishing and freeing the 40 meters “Mission To Mars” through the steepest part of the cave behind Helmcken Falls, Canada. So steep in fact that it overhangs a massive 30 meters and led them to suggest yet another astronomical, heretofore unheard grade for it: WI 13.

The climbers’ pair is not new at the cave, since in 2013 they established Clash of the Titans (WI 10+) and Wolverine (WI 11). In 2016, they did Interstellar Spice (WI 12).

The hugely overhanging cave that gets its name from the immense waterfall was discovered by the Emmett with local climber Will Gadd in 2010 and over the years its particular spray ice - formed when the wind transports humidity from the waterfall that never freezes despite sub-zero temperatures - has become a reference point for the world’s elite.

Klemen described the overall line as “a natural 40m ice climb through increasing steepness with the crux being at the last three moves.”

The route is a 4-bolt extension to their recently added Nadurra Durra and is deemed a full grade harder than nearby Interstellar Spice established by the Emmett-Premrl partnership in 2016.

Mission to Mars  it’s the first climb at the suggested WI 13 grade which prompted Klemen to comment “the climb will be on my mind for a while. Not just because it’s one hell of a route, but because I had to dig really deep, to pull its last hard move