CERRO STANDHARDT, NEW ROUTE, TORRE EGGER, FIRST ONE-DAY AND FIRST FEMALE ASCENT

Posted on: June 1, 2005


Torre de la Media Luna, Cerro Torre, Torre Egger, Punta Herron and Cerro Standhardt, showing a few of the routes that were climbed during the three-week spell of good weather from the end of January until the middle of February, 2005. 1. Compressor Route (VI 5.10b A2 70°, 900m, Maestri et al, 1970), which Silvo Karo and Andrej Grmov?ek used to finish their historic, 1700-meter “sitdown start” to the peak, and which Monika Kambi? and Tanja Grmov?ek (Andrej’s wife) used to make the first all-female ascent of the mountain; Five Years to Paradise (ED: VI 5.10b A2 95°, 1000m), climbed by Ermanno Salvaterra with Alessandro Beltrami and Giacomo Rossetti. [Photo] Greg Crouch

I stepped off the bus in El Chalten on January 29 and went immediately to Norwegos Camp. Conveniently for me, Dean had been in Patagonia for a month and had a full high camp set up. Eight hours after arriving in camp, we were climbing a new route alpine style on Cerro Standhardt.

We started at dawn or so on January 30 and summitted the mushroom in the early afternoon. Several pitches of full-on (clean) aid and the fact that it seemed like an obvious line convinced us we were climbing Motivaciones Mixtas (5.10d A2 85 degrees, 800m, Chaverri-Plaza, 1993), which had not been finished to the summit. Later we discovered we had actually done a new route to the right of Motivaciones Mixtas. We didn't name it—I guess it's the Spotter Route—and I don't know how hard it is (it wasn't too hard). We rapped the route to the main ramp of Standhardt, then continued down Exocet to the glacier. I am uncertain whether I was the first woman to climb Standhardt.

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Next, we failed on Titanic (ED+: VI 5.10b A2 90 degrees, 950m, Giarolli-Orlandi, 1987) on Torre Egger the day Bean Bowers took the sky whipper. [See St. Exupery climbing note in this issue -Ed.] Conditions were terrible. We roasted in the sun as we climbed, then the route became a waterfall and we got soaking wet. We spent a miserable bivy on a sloping rock fin waiting for the cold dawn, then got bombarded by half the summit mushroom. We got twenty meters below the disintegrating mushroom but could not get to the summit. Eight climbers—me, Dean, Bean, Johnny Copp, Josh Wharton, Thomas Huber, Andy from Germany and a climber from Slovenia—all failed to summit that day! We descended in more waterfalls. The day was generally no fun for anyone—but at least no one died.

Using a spotting scope to find a better path up the nasty summit mushroom (the way Bean went was superburly), Dean saw a promising line more toward the west and a few days later in the next weather window, we tried again. We went Yosemite-style, carrying twenty-two Clif Bars, a liter of water, Gore-Tex and a bivy sack. Dean had our only rock shoes, and we had two ice tools and one set of crampons. Starting in the evening, we climbed and summitted in twenty-three hours for the first one-day ascent of Torre Egger. Unfortunately, we lost one rope less than halfway down the descent, and spent a miserably cold night crouched together waiting for light before making endless raps the next day with the remaining rope. Titanic has really bad rock and no decent bivy ledges. We are happy we don't have to climb it again....

We went up one last time, during another perfect three days of weather, in late February, and climbed El Mocho so that Dean could base jump off it. I had to rappel (oh, what fun), but Dean had a great jump, and we were really pleased to come down with no traumatic incidents. The forecast is bad for the next week, and now we are heading home, so the trip seemed perfect.

— Steph Davis, Moab, Utah



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