BASE Jump From Cerro Torre
A Russian climber has BASE jumped from the upper tower of Cerro Torre, making the first known flight from Patagonia’s iconic spire. Valery Rozov leaped from a point “a little bit lower [than] the traverse on the route Compressor,” according to a report on Mountain.ru. “It seems to me that it is the only point possible to make the jump.” The Compressor Route’s 90-meter bolt traverse begins at about the 12th pitch of approximately 28 pitches on the upper route, which starts after an approach of several thousand vertical feet.
The Russians did not summit Cerro Torre, because of melting ice and poor weather. They are still on the mountain, hoping good weather will allow another jump from the summit or closer to it.
Rozov wore a small wingsuit, and his flight lasted 80 seconds. He estimates he descended a total of about 4,750 feet, and not without serious drama. “I opened the [chute] a little bit higher than I had planned to do it, as I didn’t want to miss the place of landing we had chosen,” he told Mountain.ru. “As a result I fell into a gust and for 15 minutes couldn’t land from the altitude [of] about 200 meters. I was flying up and down, up and down. But, God be praised, [the] wind grew weaker and I returned back to the Earth.”
Dean Potter, who pioneered BASE jumping in the massif, said of Rozov’s effort, “Jumping the Torre is rad no matter where it happens. I personally would like to fly from the top someday. When I was on the summit two season ago, conditions and ability prevented me from leaping…. Alpine BASE has a lot of potential, [but] steps seem like the best way for longevity.” In 2005, Potter climbed and jumped from El Mocho, the flat-topped peak at the foot of Cerro Torre’s southeast ridge.
Rozov has an extraordinary record of BASE jumps from difficult peaks. In 2004, he and teammates climbed a partial new route on the west face of 19,200-foot Amin Brakk in Pakistan, and Rozov jumped from high on the 4,000-foot wall. In 2006, he jumped from the Grandes Jorasses near Chamonix, France, after climbing the very difficult Croz Spur. Last winter, Rozov leaped from the Central Tower of Paine in Patagonia.
UPDATE: On March 5, Russian climbers Valery Rozov, Denis Provalov, Alexander Ruchkin, Oleg Khvostenko, and Alexander Lastochkin summited Cerro Torre in early afternoon. They spent some time searching for a good jump site for Rozov near the summit, but as the weather and visibility deteriorated they were forced to begin the descent. Rozov then successfully launched a second BASE jump from the same spot he had used earlier, about a quarter of the way up Cerro Torre’s upper tower.
Date of Descent: February 25, 2008