TWO TEAMS GO FOR WORLD'S MOST COVETED TRAVERSE

Posted on: November 27, 2007


The summit of Cerro Standhardt viewed from Punta Herron. Standhardt marks the northernmost peak of the "the ultimate uberproject," a traverse connecting these two peaks with those lying just south, Cerro Egger and Cerro Torre, Argentine Patagonia. From November 21-23, two separate teams—one comprised of Patagonia veteran Rolando Garibotti and Hans Johnstone, the other of four strong Italians: Ermanno Salvaterra, Alessandro Beltrami, Mirko Mase and Fabio Salvadei—covered more ground on the traverse than any other team, but a full enchainment still awaits. [Photo] Courtesy of www.intotherocks.net

From November 21-23, two teams—one comprised of Patagonia veteran Rolando Garibotti and Hans Johnstone (Issue 21's "Local Hero"), the other of four strong Italians: Ermanno Salvaterra, Alessandro Beltrami, Mirko Mase and Fabio Salvadei—completed the second and third ascents of a bold Patagonian traverse, from Cerro Standhardt to Punta Herron to Torre Egger. The aim of both teams was also to enchain the fourth, taller peak, Cerro Torre. Connecting the four peaks has never been done and is regarded as "the ultimate uberproject.... Few lines anywhere are as aesthetic, obvious and difficult as this traverse," wrote Garibotti in Issue 4's "Unclimbed."

Salvaterra climbing one of the interesting snow formations on Cerro Standhardt. [Photo] Courtesy of www.intotherocks.net

The traverse works south-southeast along the massif, toward Cerro Torre. The Italian team climbed a single pitch descending via the long, controversial east face—familiar to Salvaterra and Beltrami from their first ascent of El Arca de los Vientos (ABO: VI 5.11 A1 90 degrees, 1200m) with Garibotti in 2005. Garibotti and Johnstone went higher, completing about half of El Arca before retreating late on November 23.

advertisement

In 2005, Thomas Huber and Andi Schnarf climbed the three-peak traverse in a thirty-eight-hour roundtrip. The ascent marked Huber's third attempt of the season to climb Egger from the north; the first, with Stefan Siegrist, ended with bad conditions atop Punta Herron, and the second, with Schnarf and Rok Zalokar, was nearly successful—warm weather having deterred them from Egger's summit mushrooms. Salvaterra had attempted the traverse a number of times with Maurizio Giarolli and Elio Orlandi throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Garibotti and Johnstone climbed Cerro Standhardt via Festerville (5.11), whereas the Italians climbed the west face to make the second ascent of Otra Vez (5.10 A1 80 degrees, Giarolli-Orlandi-Salvaterra, 1200m, 1989). It was Salvaterra's fifth time and Beltrami's third time summiting Standhardt. Both teams climbed Punta Herron via Spigolo di Bimbi (5.10 90 degrees, Calvallaro-Salvaterra-Vidi, 1991), and Torre Egger via its northwestern arete (5.10 and mixed). They rappelled to the Col of Conquest, from where the Italians descended the east face of Cerro Torre after one pitch and Garibotti and Johnstone continued upward.

Salvadei climbs through the final snow tunnel to the summit of Torre Egger. [Photo] Courtesy of www.intotherocks.net

Patagonia's unpredictable weather, coupled with the instability of these summits, makes the four-peak traverse (ca. 2200m of vertical gain) a fickle objective comprehensible by only the best in perfect conditions. "Undoubtedly great imagination and courage will be required to put together all the pieces of this puzzle," Garibotti said.

Sources: Carlo Caccia, www.intotherocks.net, American Alpine Journal and www.climbing.com

Here at Alpinist, our small editorial staff works hard to create in-depth stories that are thoughtfully edited, thoroughly fact-checked and beautifully designed. Please consider supporting our efforts by subscribing.


Comments
uberHuber

I agree with Marko. That traverse looks easy. Those guys are just posers. I bet the Huber brothers would be able to climb it in leather pants and with their shirts off and they will still have time to let their photographer climb ahead to take pictures. By the way, why dont they go climb straight up? Last I checked all the Cerro Torre hard routes from the 1980s are still unrepeated and untried. Silvo's South Face route anyone? or may be Proctor and Burke's unfinished East Face horrorshow? where are all the alpine stars of this generation? traverses.... bahhh

2007-11-29 21:35:03
armstrongw1

Are you serious^? I think you're just tryin to send people to Everest so you can bag the traverse. Is your last name Prezelj? I mean I'm sure you can free the east face of CT yourself, but not everybody can marko.

2007-11-29 11:46:59
marko

Wouldn't the "world's most coveted traverse" be the Nuptse-Lhotse-Everest traverse? Hard to imagine this little traverse being more difficult or "coveted" than that. I mean, c'mon, these peaks aren't even very high.

2007-11-29 04:09:11
Post a Comment

Login with your username and password below.
New User? Here's what to do.



Forgot your username or password?