SPANISH TEAM CLIMBS ROTTEN, 95 DEGREE ICE ON NEW ROUTE IN PATAGONIA

Posted on: October 17, 2007


[Photo] Courtesy of Santi Padros

Four Spaniards, Dani Ascaso, Santi Padros, Alvaro Novellon and Oscar Perez (the latter two are known for making the third ascent of Latok III last year), retreated from their intended repeat of a July Kelly Cordes-Colin Haley link up of the Marsigny-Parkin route and the Ferrari route, respectively, on the south and west faces of Cerro Torre. They then proceeded to make a first ascent of a mixed route on nearby Cerro Adela (2938m).

[Photo] Courtesy of Santi Padros

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Leaving their snow cave beneath the south face of Cerro Torre at 4 a.m., the team moved quickly through the easier, lower portions of the cliff, hoping to avoid rockfall and icefall later in the day. At dawn, just as they reached more technical ground, two huge avalanches cascaded down the face from a serac above. Barely enough time to collect themselves separated the first from the second. The team, concerned that such huge falls would occur so early in the day, with the temperatures still quite cold, immediately turned around and rappelled the route.

With the weather still holding, the team turned to nearby Cerro Adela. An obvious line up a prominent couloir presented itself, and the team set off at 2:30 a.m. on October 10.

Simulclimbing the lower angled slopes at the bottom of the route, the quartet split into two rope teams for the final pitches to the top. Ascaso and Padros took a direct finish, encountering long, difficult pitches of mixed climbing up to M5+ and rotten ice up to 95 degrees. Novellon and Perez, heading left, encountered their own difficulties: easier rock, but the same rotten, 95-degree ice at the crux. Both teams reported low quality rock in addition to the less-than-ideal ice.

After fifteen hours of climbing, all four met at the top of the route and began their descent to the south. The fall of darkness and complications traversing the glacier forced them to bivy in a small snow cave for the night before returning to basecamp the next day.

Sources: www.barabes.com, American Alpine Journal, Ronaldo Girabotti

[Photo] Courtesy of Santi Padros



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