Cerro Torre: Todo Natural


The west face route on Cerro Torre climbs mixed ground to the rime-covered shoulder on the right, and then ascends close to the right skyline to reach the summit. Torre Egger is on the left. Photo courtesy of Ragnilecco.com.

Garibotti added in an e-mail that the west face was not in “particularly easy condition.” The notorious vertical rime on the upper face “is in the same condition it always is, minus the myth, which in the last two weeks got thrown out the door.” Garibotti climbed the route on December 1, along with four Argentinean climbers and a German woman, Doerte Pietron. This was the first female ascent of the west face, and the first female ascent of Cerro Torre without using Maestri’s bolts. 

There were other remarkable ascents, as well. Norwegians Ole Lied and Trym Atle Saeland completed the much-anticipated “corkscrew route” on the mountain, starting on the southeast ridge and then traversing above the south face to reach the upper west face and the summit. 

The Swiss climber Walter Hungerbühler made the first solo ascent of the west face on December 9—a remarkable passage, given the delicate nature of the rime-ice climbing. (There were three other teams climbing the route on the same day.) Hungerbühler’s ascent also marked the first solo ascent of Cerro Torre without using Maestri’s bolts. 

Cerro Torre’s west face is not only a more natural line than the Compressor Route; it’s also much more isolated. To start the route, climbers must first trek across the remote and stormy Continental Ice Cap. The face was first climbed in 1974 by Italians Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari, and Pino Negri, members of the famed Ragni di Lecco climbing group. Americans John Bragg, Dave Carman, and Jay Wilson did the second ascent (and first-alpine style ascent) in 1977. Michael Bearzi and Eric Winkelmann from Colorado did the first free ascent in 1986. Several teams have completed the west face without tagging the true summit atop Cerro Torre’s final mushroom. 

Dates of Ascents: December 1–9, 2008 

Sources: Rolando Garibotti, Colinhaley.blogspot.com  

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