CERRO TORRE, FIVE YEARS TO PARADISE

Posted on: March 1, 2005


The upper three-quarters of the east face of Cerro Torre, showing (1) Maestri Route (aka The Compressor Route, VI 5.10b A2 70°, 900m, Alimonti-Angeli-Baldessari-Claus-Maestri, 1970). (2) Devil’s Direttissima (ED+: 8+ A3 90°, 1200m, Jeglic-Karo-Knez-Kozjek-Podgornik, 1986). (3) Five Years to Paradise (ED: VI 5.10b A2 95°, 1000m, Beltrami-Rossetti-Salvaterra, 2004). [Photo] Rolando Garibotti

Finally, after five years of waiting, doubt, suffering, attempts and delusions, I realized my dream of climbing a new route on the east face of Cerro Torre. Of the nine days Alessandro Beltrami, Giacomo Rossetti and I spent on the face, four were good weather; I wasn't used to so much benevolence from my friend Patagonia. It was also a big help to find all the belays from my previous attempts and to climb pitches I already knew. We climbed every day—sometimes only a little because of snowfall, but we never stopped. Our days ranged from sixteen to twenty-two hours of work. Although it was their first time in Patagonia, my partners were a great help. Only Matteo Rivadossi, when it was time to begin, gave up because he didn't feel it.

With the summit imminent, a mysterious chimney appeared ahead of us that would bring us to the north face and the finish of a completely independent new route. I climbed two pitches almost entirely free, and finally I could see the chimney. The first part was composed of inconsistent, frothy ice. Farther on was more of the same. I had hoped for an icy chimney like the one on Exocet on Cerro Standhardt, but it wasn't to be. It would have been too dangerous to try it without protection, so I didn't.

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Instead, we went up and left to the juncture with the Maestri Route at the base of the headwall. And so, after eight days, I found myself climbing the final pitches of the Maestri Route with complete tranquility, followed by the last pitch of the summit mushroom. And on November 13 at 9 p.m., we were on the summit of Cerro Torre, having climbed Five Years to Paradise (ED: VI 5.10d A2 95 degrees, 25 pitches, 1000m). It was late, we had only one headlamp, and thus we decided to pass the night on the summit, beating our hands and feet for warmth, before beginning the descent.

— Ermanno Salvaterra, Pinzolo, Italy



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